Home’s aren’t built in a day.

messyhouse

But, a house can be rented out pretty quickly! Today we’re celebrating God’s providence because as you can see in the photo above… we’ve got a new home! It’s full of boxes… and after our adventure to IKEA last night it’s been filled with even more boxes. But, we’ll get there.

Our last house here in Taipei was an apartment that we lived in for four years. It was actually the longest Brittany and I had lived in one place since we got married eight years ago! To say it meant a lot to us might be an understatement. Not only was it half our marriage to date, but it also signified a huge blessing that God had given us since purchasing a new house was a dream we gave up when pursuing overseas missions.

However, since that dream has passed it seems appropriate that we in someways “downgraded” our home to something smaller, more affordable, and much more simple; 1 bathroom. We’re still not sure what we think of that last one… but we’re excited about the possibilities this small apartment contains and we’re counting our blessings because God provided! (And rather quickly, too!) God brings us into different seasons and from one house to another, but thankfully we take the home He’s created for us along on the journey. One neat add-on is that our landlords are Christians and live in the unit right above us. They had prayed that they would find renters for whom this apartment would be a blessing.

Speaking of homes and the people in them; our family is well. Praise the Lord.

That doesn’t mean life here hasn’t been crazy at times. Upon arrival in Taiwan we made it through quarantine, but Justin and Kennedy were required to stay home since they had both reported symptoms upon arrival in Taiwan. Justin’s test quickly came back negative, whereas Kennedy had to wait a full fifteen days. (Her results were negative, too.) Thank the Lord we made it through. We’re thankful to now be able to go about our ministries here in Taipei.

And speaking of ministries… like much of the world, our work has been turned upside down due to COVID-19. Taiwan has had to become more strict with their rules in keeping us safe. Indoor activities need to be 100 people or less and there must be enough space for everyone attending to maintain 1.5m distance from one another. If you’ve seen our cafe, you know that isn’t gonna’ happen. That’s meant online meetings and online church, like many of you are experiencing. Praise the Lord, Justin and his team were able to quickly put things together to launch the Aroma Church online! Who knew everyone would have to become TV producers! ( Check it out! thearoma.online.church )

All this to say, we have a house. Our family is well. Ministry is changing rapidly due to the pandemic at hand, but throughout it all God is good. He’s sovereign, too!

It will take some time to unpack, adjust, and build up new routines such as nap times and daily commutes. But, that’s all part of building our home here in Taipei. We’re excited for the journey God will take us on as we get there. We hope you are too! Thank you for your prayers. ❤️

One house, many blessings

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…

One house, many’s home.

Our house has always been home to many. During our time in Taiwan we’ve called a lot of people family. One group of people that this title is placed on are the awesome interns that come through our organization, Envision. Four years, and thirteen interns later… goodbyes can still be tough! (See Kennedy’s face in the picture above?) Our dear sister, Laura (Who’s also featured in the picture with us above.), has lived with us for the last year and now she’s heading home. We get to say, “until next time” to her as well as our new(er) sister, Lindsey, who’s been staying with us for two months.

You learn a lot by opening your home up to people. The do’s and don’ts. What’s really necessary and what can wait. Regardless of their age, culture, or citizenship and especially regardless of whether or not they stay for long here are a few things I’ve learned about bringing people into your home…

Opening your home means sacrificing your stuff and money.
Whether they scratch up and completely ruin your favorite pan or you have to invest in a really good plunger because your new roommate is having bowel trouble. You’re going to have to pony up to host well.

Opening your home means making room for new family.
These new roommates might only be home once every day right before you’re going to bed. (This was me in high school.) Or they might just be around all too often. Either way; we treat them like family and we open up the time we are together to spend with them, too. Cry sessions on the couch. Watching movies on a raining weekend afternoon. You’ve gotta’ make that space to be family.

Opening your home means doing ministry together.
A family that doesn’t do ministry together is in trouble. After all, as Christian’s we’re called to go out and make disciples. What better way to demonstrate Christ’s family than to take them with you when you leave your home. Sometimes that’s really difficult. The more people the harder scheduling becomes… but it’s so worth it!

Pet peeves are a small chance to extend great graces.
When we first started bringing people into our home I remember going over pet peeves together. I did this in an effort to be “considerate” to each other; however my intention was always to let my new roommates know what I did and didn’t like. These days I don’t so much care to discuss such things. Instead, when someone doesn’t put the dishes away just the way I prefer them or forget to turn a light off at night I can extend grace and I actually have peace knowing that me not breathing down their neck about small things brings them comfort in our home.

After all; that’s the goal! Creating a comfortable and safe space for my fellow brothers and sisters to call… home. Friends, it’s worth it. Despite the discomforts, the beauty of sacrificially giving to each other and taking care of one another is worth it. My family is growing and I get to check in on them even when they’ve left our house. I couldn’t be more proud.