One of my last blog posts was titled “One house, many’s home.” In it I talked about some of the things that come with opening up your home to others. It’s not always easy, but it comes with many blessings. (The photo above features a dinner we were able to have in our home. Not everyone in Taipei has a home that can host so many people at once!)
Recently we tried to move out of our home, and even then we were blessed. Here’s the story:
Since moving to Taiwan, we have been blessed to be able to live in the same apartment. We’ve been here for over four years now. After our first two year lease, our landlord graciously extended us another two year lease at the same rate, despite her property having gained value and her most likely being able to get more money if we moved out.
During those four years we were able to host many small groups, short term team dinners, baby showers, wedding showers, and a whole bunch of short term and long term Envision interns. It even allowed us to extend an extra bed in times when some of our Taiwanese friends needed a place to stay. One house, many blessings.
However, with our six month furlough coming up and no roommates to help pay the rent, we knew staying in our current home would not be a wise financial choice. Because of this, we’d need to move. Our lease ended on September 1st and we weren’t scheduled to go back to the USA until December 3rd. We weren’t sure what to do…
What happened next was several weeks of stress, anxiety, and more worry than I’d care to admit I let into my heart. I know full well that God provides. If only we seek first His kingdom. (Matt. 6:33) His plans are good and so worry and fear are not something we need to allow into our lives, because Jesus is our hope. (Jer. 29:11) Yet, in that moment our options and time crunch felt like too much to bear.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)
Brittany and I took to the internet to search several Facebook groups and local websites for apartment listings near us. We even visited a home not too far away from where we now live… still, nothing seemed like the right answer.
Days before our lease was to expire, as Brittany and I sat in Aroma Ximen’s cafe, we had a thought, “What if we ask our landlord to let us stay in our place for the next three months without signing a new lease?” Maybe? It’d make our budget pretty tight since we don’t have any roommates. It’d mean we’d have to pack up everything right before we fly out for the States. We wouldn’t have a house to put our things in while we’re gone either… Do we rent a room somewhere and put all of our things in it while we’re gone? The wave of questions and more worries flooded my mind.
Meanwhile, I began to write up a “Looking For” post on a local Facebook group. I’d asked my friend Steven to correct some of my Chinese. Steven walked up to me and confirmed some details of what exactly I was trying to say in my post and I suddenly asked him. “Steven, do you know of any storage units in Taipei City?” He replied, “Yeah, my friend actually works for a storage unit company.” And just like that, what seemed like an impossible flood of worries quickly washed away. God had already planned this. He orchestrated everything.
Steven showed me the company’s website; a much more financially sound choice, rather than renting an apartment we wouldn’t be living in for six months out of the next year. Only one more piece of the puzzle was needed; Where do we stay until December? It seemed pretty simple in that moment. “Let’s just call our landlord. It can’t hurt to just ask.” Her response, “當然！” (Of course!) She agreed to let us continue to stay in our home until we plan to leave in December; an extra three months, lease free.
That day, the Lord provided. He had a plan and it was good. While all my ideas were failing, His prevailed. Whether Steven ever really understands how relieving his reply was, or if our landlord considers how much this meant to us… God continues to use people in our lives to extend His grace and mercy. What a blessing…