The Post I’ve Been Waiting For – Part 2
At the end of January I wrote THIS post about the whole process of feeling called to move the mission to new facilities and how a buyer came along and everything that God did through that situation. Over the past 10 months you’ve been following along with us as we’ve been under construction, but there’s a story lingering in the background that we haven’t shared – until now!
I just re-read that post, and I’m so grateful that I wrote it. Just reading it reminded me of so many things that have happened in the past five years through this whole process that would easily be forgotten had I not taken the time to write it all down.
“The reality that we get to be in the front row watching all of this unfold is always before me and it’s so very humbling. How did we get so lucky? Yes, it’s been SO hard over the years. It’s been painful and gut wrenching on many occasions. We’ve felt lost at times. We’ve wondered why. But, here I sit and I see it before me and I can honestly say that every single thing, every part of the hard stuff, has been worth it to experience the privilege of watching God show up. I don’t believe in chance, especially in situations where things are so specifically matched. I believe in a God who allows us to experience hard things so he can show us how he cares for us, how he equips us, how he enables us to go through things and do things that we never thought possible. And I believe in a God that provides us with joy and hope even when everything seems bleak.”
So many times in the past year I’ve uttered those words. The fact that we get to be sitting front row watching God show up and do amazing things has me feeling so humble most days. It’s exciting. It’s crazy.
And, as if that whole story wasn’t enough on it’s own, what we didn’t realize when I wrote that first post is that it wasn’t in fact the end of the story, but that it would just become another chapter.
You see, one morning, in I think April, I woke up and got my day started. After a shower I wandered into the kitchen bleary eyed and trying to figure out what I needed to do next. Chris has had to learn over the years that I can’t handle big, important conversations first thing that might involve the need for interaction, so typically he checks his email and reads the news while I start making breakfast and wake up. By the time the food hits the table I’m good and we can talk.
Not this morning though. As I wandered into the kitchen and started putting things in their places he turned from his chair and said, “So, our buyer backed out of the sale.”
And record scratch.
I stood there looking at him. I’ve learned to gauge responses to big news things on how Chris responds because he usually processes info before he opens his mouth. As I looked at him I thought it was strange that for such a huge bomb of information he was very, very calm and relaxed.
“What do you mean the buyer backed out of the sale?”
“I just got an email from his lawyer to tell me that he can’t continue for health reasons and that we should look for a new buyer.”
Um, okay. Where does that leave us???!?!?
Thankfully when Chris’ dad was working all all the negotiation and contract stuff there was a clause put in that stated that if the buyer couldn’t continue on with the purchase, the deposit of half the purchase price would become an interest free loan to us until January 2016. We still had the funds to continue building, and we would need to find a new buyer.
We went to work in advertising the listing again within our networks. We had some interest right out of the gate which continued on for the next few months. We went on vacation in June and came back at the end of July. After that things kind of died off until we got contacted by a woman representing an organization.
She had tracked us down through a Facebook group for Haiti expats and missionaries, and really wanted info on the property because she thought it might be a good fit for her children’s home. She had about 25 kids that were all genuine orphans following the earthquake.
Initially Chris had no desire to sell to any kind of organization because of some of the problems we’ve had while living here. He just felt like it was very likely that they would have the same kinds of issues, and not know how to deal with them. He was sure it would be better to sell to a Haitian family because they would know how to deal with the issues here. I kept reminding him that we really didn’t get to choose, and that God would bring the right person along when it was time and we’d just have to go through the process.
He went back and forth with this woman for a while, probably 6 weeks. She sent two of her staff people to look at the place, and we liked them right away. And no, it wasn’t because they were oohing and ahhing the while time they were here. It was because they were just really nice, genuine guys, that got really excited about certain things because they knew it would be a great place for the kids to be. It’s fenced, it has all the room they’d need in the right configuration, there’s grass, and there’s even a swing in the yard :)
Eventually she was able to come for a visit. In all honesty, we anticipated that she would come and be excited and then we wouldn’t hear any more from her. When she arrived she was not at all what we expected – in a good way. We all clicked right away, and after the walk around we went up and sat in our living room for several hours talking.
During that time we got to hear her story. She’s been through hard things. Both before Haiti, and after coming to Haiti. Really hard things. The kinds of hard things where we all just kind of got each other. As she started talking Chris and I kept looking at each other. Not in a way that was because we felt sorry for her, but because we could hear our story in hers. Having to battle the legal system here, feeling threatened and unsafe, alone, and wondering if it was time to go and yet knowing it wasn’t and having people question your sanity because you choose to stay. We told her some of our story and watched her do the same thing. We all just got each other.
When it came time to talk details she asked us point blank what we needed from the sale, and Chris told her that he wanted full price because it would mean we could finish building everything and have some left over. She looked at us and said, “Then that’s what I want to give you. I don’t want this to just benefit my organization, I want Clean Water for Haiti to be looked after too. I don’t want you to sacrifice because you need to sell. I want to pay full price if that’s what you need from this.” We were a bit shocked, and very appreciative.
The only problem? The money. As in, she and her organization didn’t have any.
Normally this would be the point where you’d say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” When Chris asked about it she said, “I don’t have the money, but God does.” She then told us that her board has been preparing on their end for this move, and it had already put a lot of pieces in place. The final piece before jumping into a fundraising extravaganza was her coming to look at the property and saying yes or no. As soon as she got to the states they were going to jump in and get the ball rolling.
We decided we’d let her do her fundraising and told her that until we received the deposit we still had to show the place and accept an offer if one came along. She was okay with that.
We still had people coming to look at the place on a regular basis, but no one made a serious offer. We kept in contact with her and stayed updated on both sides with where things were at.
Around the end of October someone stopped by to look at the place. He did a walk through and told Chris he was looking at property on behalf of a friend in the US who would be returning to Haiti soon and wanted beach property. We didn’t think he was seriously interested like most of the people we’d talked to. He took pictures and went on his merry way. And then the next day he called to give us an offer.
It was much lower than we were willing to accept. I forgot to mention that we’d had an offer earlier in the summer, but it too was lower than we wanted to accept. This second offer was lower than that one, so Chris just explained he’d received that first offer, which still stood if we wanted to accept it. We thought that would be the end of it.
A few days later I was about to get to work on some stuff for the new house, and Chris and I were standing in the driveway talking about details of selling to the woman from the organization when his phone rang. From listening to his side of the conversation I started to get excited. It was the second guy calling back with a new offer. One that we could seriously consider.
In fact, when we stopped and thought about it and this whole crazy process, it was the exact price point that we had said we would feel comfortable selling at if we needed to drop the price from full asking price. The exact point. It would cover the repayment of the loan to the first buyer and still provide us with more than enough to finish the entire building and development of the new site.
Chris asked him if he could wait two weeks for an answer. We knew that the organization had all of their fundraisers coming up over the next 14 days and we wanted to give them a fair shot at doing it. We know that might not seem like the best business strategy, but in our hearts that was just something we felt we needed and wanted to do. The guy agreed.
A couple days later Chris got in contact with the first lady to let her know that we had received an offer, but we had asked for some time to make the final decision. It took a few days to finally talk to her on the phone because she was running like crazy from fundraiser to fundraiser. Their big gala, the one that they knew would be the biggest of all the fundraisers was set for the 13th of November. When Chris talked to her he explained things in more detail and assured her that we wanted to give her the time to try to raise the funds.
The next day, a week from the phone call with the offer that we knew we could take, Chris called the guy with the offer to ask if he could meet with him to explain in more depth why we needed the time to consider. They met the morning of Friday, November 6th. It was a good meeting. Chris talked to the guy that this guy was working for and explained that while he knew he was under no obligation to this woman, he wanted to give her a chance to raise the money by the 13th, and that he would have a final answer on the morning of the 14th.
We went through that day, and talked about things periodically, but for the most part it was just another Friday. Until that evening.
That night, while we were getting ready to turn in and watch a movie before bed Chris’ phone rang. It was the lady. When he answered we both had mixed emotions. Good news or bad news??? She asked if I was there with him and if so, could he put us on speaker phone. He did.
“Are you calling to tell us you got a big donation??”
“Chris, I’m calling to tell you that I got a check this morning for the ENTIRE ASKING PRICE!!! From one donor!”
I have chills just typing that.
There were a lot of tears from her and me and Chris just sat there with this goofy grin on his face.
As always, there is always more to tell than what we see on the surface. And for me, that was what I kept thinking about.
You see, almost two weeks earlier I had been in Port running errands with Richard. We were picking up the last stuff that I would need to go crazy building. Paint, wood, finishing stuff – all of it. I had let him drive because some days I just don’t feel like it. As we were on our way between stores I was just looking out the window when I got this overwhelming urge to pray about the property sale.
I started praying that God would just provide. I asked for him to do it soon because the stress of waiting and not knowing was starting to wear away at us. I thought about Chris and how it can be hard for him to trust that God still does big things, and I asked God to be the God of the impossible. To show up in a way that meant we, nor any man couldn’t take credit for what happened with the sale. In a way that meant no one could look at this entire process and say that Chris and I did it of our own desires and strength. And then I started praying for this lady. I prayed that God would show up for her, that he would be the God of the impossible for her, and that maybe this would be something that would help her move forward after so many hard things. As I kept praying my prayers shifted from what we needed to asking God to do something for her. At one point I literally prayed, “God, I don’t even care about us. I know you’ll take care of us and you have a plan. Do this for her. Please, just do it for her.”
I told Chris about it later, and again we both talked about the fact that while we shouldn’t be selling the property with our hearts, and that we needed to stay open to all options, deep down we really wanted it to be her. When she called about the check I went back to that time driving through town, and realized something that I hadn’t before – the very place where I got the urge to pray, was a place that had caused a lot of pain for her in her life here in Haiti.
You might be wondering how someone just up and writes a check for the entire purchase price of a property. Well, there’s a story there too.
While the donor wants to remain anonymous, they are known by buyer and she had a chance to talk to them the day she got the check, mostly to find out if what she was holding in her hand was for real.
The donor had been in church recently, and the pastors message was about how Jesus literally gave it all, even his own life, for us, and that sometimes God asks us to give it all. Even in ways that seem crazy from the outside looking in. And, our role in that is to trust him and walk in obedience, even if we don’t know why or what he has planned. This person was feeling led to make a significant contribution toward the property purchase for the organization, so they talked with their spouse about it, and together they realized that God was asking them to “give it all” – the entire asking price. So they did. They gave it all.
And you know what makes me well up with tears? That family may never, ever know the extent of what their obedience has done. This thing that God asked them to do, they’ve done with one understanding – that it would help this organization purchase land that would be so much better for them than what they have now. And yet, this gift is going to be so much more far reaching. Instead of the story ending with our buyer, it continues on. She essentially becomes an intermediary that passes along funding that will allow us to finish our new facilities on time. We don’t need to stop construction. We can pay off that loan. And, the new facilities will increase our capacity to reach so many more families in Haiti. Reaching those families with filters will very literally be saving countless lives for many years to come. We won’t ever know exactly which lives, we’ll just know that God is using all of these people, and this tool, to save moms and dads, kids and grandparents, and allowing them to live because they don’t have to drink contaminated water.
You guys, this whole thing has been mind boggling and amazing. When I think of how our stories are all woven together it amazes me. For so long we had a hard time explaining to people why we wanted and needed to move, aside from the better facilities. For so long our buyer has struggled to be where she is, wanting so much more for her kids, and yet walking in obedience to keep doing what God has called her to in a period of such great loss. God didn’t just bring us a buyer, and he didn’t just bring her a property. He joined brothers and sisters in Christ together over similar experiences, and allowed us to share our stories and connect on a heart level. We are so excited to welcome this new face into our local community, and we love knowing that she’ll just be down the road. Our missionary community has been prayer for her and for us through this whole process, and they’re excited to meet her and welcome her with open arms.
I wanted to share this with you because I think it’s easy, especially in the developed world where we can meet all of our needs 24/7, often of our own doing, to forget that God is still the God of the impossible. He loves to do the impossible because it’s those times where we can’t point to any other thing or person and give them credit. We have to let him be God. There is nothing in this story of provision that we can attribute to mans doing without having to give credit to our Father leading and guiding. The people he brought into the story were being obedient, just like the rest of us, to his call on their lives.
I did a Bible study this spring on 1 & 2 Thessalonians by Beth Moore (Children Of the Day). There was one verse that just grabbed me, because it came at a time when I just needed to see the big picture. We were doing this huge thing and so much of it was following God’s leading, and so much of it was trusting that he had a plan, or plans, that we couldn’t possibly know.
“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
I couldn’t shake it, because that’s so much of what this journey for the past 6+ years has been about for us. When things were hard and everyone was asking us why we were still here, we just knew that we were supposed to stay, that God wasn’t done with us in Haiti yet. When we started talking about moving and met with a lot of opinions about it, we just knew that we needed to keep moving forward and be obedient to that calling, even if it made no sense to those on the outside. As we went through the process of buying the land, we held on loosely to let God take full lead, and what he provided for us was way more than what we even imagined the mission would have. As we’ve been building and seeing the facilities come together we’ve been so blessed because we know what it will mean to the future of how we work, and we see our staff getting excited about it. And, when we had no idea how God was going to provide a buyer and how we would make any of the decisions that needed to be made, he provided two options.
I firmly believe that he gave us two options for a reason. I think he wanted us to stand on the brink of the impossible and crazy, so he could show us what he loves to do. But I think he also brought along the second offer so we knew that he was taking care of us. It was exactly what we knew we could accept. It was there if option A didn’t work out. We knew we were going to be okay, and we knew we would have a firm answer in two weeks. We just needed to sit back and see which option was the right one. It allowed us to focus on everything else that needed our attention, and to know that we didn’t need to try and do anything to push the sale through. We weren’t desperate. We were sitting in a really great place. But, then he did more. He didn’t just do more, he did it all. He didn’t just want to give us a really good option, he wanted to give it all.
He will do it.