As the work progressed on our little house in CT, the Lord provided lots of great help. At the end of that first week Barbara and Josh arrived, which gave us a boost.
More significantly, an experienced retired fellow from our church, John, came multiple times and guided us through a lot of the building process when our own limited experience proved inadequate. Then my brother, Les, and brother-in-law, Chris, came out from Ohio and spent a week of their vacations helping us.
By the end of the three weeks we were pretty beat, but very pleased with all the work that had been accomplished. The complete shell of the house was up and closed in.
There was, however, one unhappy note for me. I had ordered the steel roofing and made special mention of when I needed it. But when I called a couple of days before that date to check on it, the man said that I had never actually told them to order it.
I was angry. However, the Lord knew what He was doing, and I had to choose to praise him for it even though I didn’t feel like it.
When I came back two weekends later to put on the metal roofing, our friend John came to help and under his direction we spent the first six hours making corrections in the rafters.
Now I saw the reason for the Lord preventing the roofing from coming when I wanted it. If it had come according to my desire and I had put it on by myself, it would have been done poorly. At that point I had been tired from three intensive weeks of work, plus I wouldn’t have known to make the necessary corrections.
God is in control of all that comes into my life and seeks to free me from my own potential errors! I needed to remember that for the next times things didn’t work out according to my plans and desires.
We continued to work on the house on weekends during the winter. Nat brought his Chinese roommate home for Christmas vacation and they both spent hours helping us. In fact, everyone who visited got drafted into doing some work with us.
Josh read up on electricity and did all the wiring. He even thought ahead and put in wiring for the internet as well. I did the plumbing with plastic pipes; it was like working with the tinker toy set I’d had as a child and I enjoyed it.
At one point we returned from an overseas trip to find that the house had been broken into and all our tools had been stolen: generator, nailing gun, ladders and electric tools–about $2000 worth. There were no firm leads and the police were unable to help us.
We had to surrender this, too, to the Lord, praise Him for what He had allowed and move on. Some folks in our church gave us a generous gift to replace some of the tools, for which we were thankful.
In order to finance this construction work, I applied for a $20,000 loan. The guy at the bank laughed. “It’s not worth our time to approve such a small loan. Ask for $120,000 and we’ll give it to you!” he said.
The Lord, however, gave us another idea. We had received a new credit card offer, which included balance transfers with a 3% interest rate for a year (now you can get 0% offers, but not back then). So we bought all our supplies with one credit card and then transferred the balances to the other. After several transfers the credit card people objected, but when I pointed out that I was only taking them at their word, they relented.
During that year we worked at paying off the balance using our own savings, a large money gift from Barbara’s mother and some of our retirement funds. By the end of the year the Lord had made it possible for us to clear the whole $30,000 debt
At the end of May in 1999 we made our official exit from the home office as part of our returning to live overseas. We loaded up all our goods in Pennsylvania to take them to Connecticut. I drove the big rental truck, Barbara drove our old Mercury Sable, and the boys had our resurrected van. We left in the evening to avoid the heavy traffic around NYC and arrived safely in Canterbury at 2:30 am.
It was ironic that in rural Canterbury where traffic is so light, at this early hour of the morning, I had to wait for three cars to go by before I could turn into the yard of the house where we would be staying!
Our plan for the summer was to visit all our supporters before going back overseas while we worked to finish our house. We had to have fully pledged support before we could leave the States. During our time of service at IMI headquarters, all of our churches had continued their support. It often happens that workers returning to work in their home office lose a lot of the support they received when overseas, so we were very thankful for the faithfulness of those that stayed with us.
At the same time, the support level needed in the States was higher than it had been when we were in Turkey, so we were $500 “under” each month, causing us to build up a substantial deficit. During the whole time we were in the States we had been praying for God to provide for this lack, praising Him for whatever He would chose to do. We also asked Him to show us what part we should take in this process. Interestingly, He did not lead us to ask people to help us but instead to work on helping others with their financial needs.
Later, while we continued visiting our supporters, we ran into an old friend from His Mansion who had married a successful businessman. We had a nice chat, and later they invited us to visit them in NYC. We did not talk at all about money, but shortly after we visited they gave us a large gift that covered the whole of our deficit! And then, when we got back to Turkey, they gave an even larger gift that helped with our outreach work. God provides wonderfully when we wait on Him.
Pictures, top, house after 2 weeks, bottom, middle of 3rd week