After two months of searching, sleeping in random guest rooms, putting up signs in the rain, knocking on doors, going to countless meetings, showings, interviews, open houses, rejections and false hopes: WE HAVE A HOME!
We were just about to give up hope when we got a call last night telling us that we actually got an apartment, and not just any apartment, a beautiful, God given apartment. The journey of finding a place to live in this crazy city has been quite the journey for us. Physically and spiritually. When we first came here we were really fighting to find a little house. Not to big, but something just right for us to move into and grow into.
After a month of searching for one, thinking we had one and then being painfully denied, we felt that maybe we should hold onto our dream of finding a house but allow God to give it to us in His timing and not ours. So we opened up our radius to also finding an apartment. We figured this would make the hunt a lot easier. We were wrong.
Finding housing in a large city where tons of people are looking at the same places is quite the challenge. Not to mention the fact that we are missionaries, with little income, a strange employment title and a job that is very difficult for people to understand, let alone accept. Some people on our team have been looking for three months now. Others for one or two. And it has really started getting hard on all of us. Trying to pioneer a huge new ministry in a crazy city without a home to go home to at night is a hard place to survive in. But thanks to God's beautiful grace on us, the temporary housing wonderful churches and friends offered us, and the faith the the Lord rose up in all of us to stand firm in our commitment to being here, we have survived.
When we gave up the dream of the house it was hardest on me. Uli is a boy and honestly not so picky when it comes to housing as I am. As long as there is a place to to lay our heads, eat our food and a room for him to play video games in, he's a happy camper. Which I admire about him. I of course, like most women, wanted something beautiful. Something that would inspire me to be creative, feel comfortable in, rest in and feel at home. So when we switched to "apartment hunt" I asked God for a few small details. At the time my friend Ruth was challenging me to pray for things in specific details. And so I tried that. When I asked for them I honestly thought I was just being a little brat who was being to picky and would never get any of them. But still I asked our heavenly father for: 5 rooms, glass connecting doors, a fire place to hang my stockings at christmas, a balcony and just to top it all off, chevron wooden floors…. I know, I'm a brat.
A few weeks ago as we were looking at many apartments, applying for about 20 and only able to get to see about 8, we ended up at a beautiful apartment. As we walked in Uli and I immediately loved it and thought it was perfect, but that for some reason automatically equaled in our heads that we were not good enough for this apartment and that the landlords would never give it to us. It has five rooms. A glass door connecting two of them. A green and read fire place (perfect for christmas) a tiny little balcony and…. chevron wooden floors. I was standing in an apartment that was my dream, and yet I felt unworthy to ask for it. It was also a bit out of our price range….
Uli handed the landlords our papers and hung his head as they made comments like "this is the income you make all together?" At this point we knew it wasn't for us. So we kept looking. Kept searching for new places. And then we found another apartment. It was also beautiful. Big and nice. But for some reason it didn't feel like it should be ours. We applied anyways, gotta go where doors are open right? And then the realtor told us we'd actually have a great shot at getting it! We were thrilled. Excited to maybe have a chance!
A few nights later I laid in bed and God asked me if I really wanted that apartment. I told him that the one I really wanted the beautiful chevron floor one, but that I knew we'd never get it, and that this one was also nice and I'd make it work and was grateful for it. While we were waiting to hear about the apartment we had a chance at, Uli decided to call back all the other places we'd applied for just to see if maybe something else opened up for us. Gotta have back ups! And when he called about the chevron apartment (that's my new name for it) the lady told us that it wasn't available now until October because of renovations and that her husband, the other landlord, would like to meet us in three weeks. Though we were surprised that they wanted a second interview with us, we told them we could not wait until October to move in. So we forever closed the door on that one.
Time was ticking and the last thing Uli and I wanted was to leave this friday, to go on our Burkhard Family Vacation (more on that soon) without a home in store for us. We hadn't heard back from the apartment that we had a chance with and no one else opened up doors for us. We laid in bed the other night praying and literally crying out to the Lord for help. We were totally done, exhausted and had lost hope. We started doubting if we made the right call to come here and if this was all for nothing.
Then yesterday happened. We were at work and Uli ran into the room where I was working and said "you're not going to believe what just happened!" "What!" I said. "The lady of the (chevron) apartment just called me and said that they want us to have the apartment! They really liked us and actually looked up our work in Herrnhut and find it really interesting (wuuuut). They will even move up the renovations so we can move in in mid august and they will send over the contract tonight if we want it! We have 1 hour to decide. DO WE WANT IT?"
My jaw dropped. I was in shock. Uli was in shock. Taylor who was on Skype with us was in shock. Again… wuuuuut?
Uli and I went to pray and ask the Lord about the place. Doubt and fear started running all over us again. How could we take such a beautiful place? We don't deserve it. How could we afford this place? It's to expensive. God, why would you give us such a beautiful place to live in, we don't deserve this. We were paralyzed. Uli looked like he was going to have a heart attach and I was about to throw up. Everything we wanted was right in front of us but we were to chicken shit (pardon my french) to go out and grab it.
SO. We prayed. And this time we just listened. And the Lord said this: "I have set this beautiful place aside for you both to live. It is exactly what you asked for and I want to give my children beautiful gifts. I would never give you a gift you can not afford or would burden you, so trust me when I say: I will support you in this. Take the gift child."
Our God is gracious. Compassionate and above all, a loving father. We took the apartment.
We sign the lease tonight and fly out to see my family tomorrow. Just in the nick of time. We also called the other apartment and asked if other people on our team could have it, and we are waiting to hear back from them on that.
God has beautiful things for us and half the time we just have to have a little bit of faith in order to reach out and grab them. Through all of this I have learned that in times of crises we must stay AS CLOSE to Him as possible. God could handle our nights of feeling hopeless and tears rolling down our face. He never once made us feel bad or unworthy because of this. Never made us feel like we didn't have enough faith or were not strong enough christians just because we doubted His plans. We doubted His plans daily, but we stuck with Him. We continued to follow Him blindly and terrified. And He could handle that… because He knew where we were going. And He knew we were going to a good, safe, beautiful place.
We want to thank everyone who has constantly and relentlessly prayed for our housing. You have no idea how much hope and support you gave us. A personal big thanks to the Schneiders who have let us stay at their house for weeks now. We are sorry about the plants. You guys are wonderful. And obviously God heard everyones prayers and we can't thank you enough for carrying us through this time. Please keep praying as we are only the first of about 20 who still need housing. Not to mention the other 200 students coming in September : )
SO YES: WE HAVE A HOME! We have no idea how God wants to support us in taking this apartment but we believe He has a plan. If you'd like to be apart of that plan and apart of our journey of missionaries in Nuremberg, and join our support team, please contact us through the "connect page."
We are unbelievably excited about this new journey and can't wait for the testimonies and stories to come out of our new home. COME VISIT US!