A while back I shared about the uncertainty of our living situation. You can read about it here. That June deadline of us finding a new place to live has been creeping up on us, and while we have pretty much held it together, we have been under a lot of stress just because we haven't known where we were going to go.
In the midst of the uncertainty, however, we do feel that God has shown us that we are not ready to leave Porto Alegre. We have been a witness to strong workings of the Spirit in the last few weeks and there are so many opportunities for us to continue to serve here. We feel needed.
But, finding a place to live IN Porto Alegre has been....... challenging. This city is booming. Houses are hard to find, and expensive. Apartments are small, expensive, and in great demand. After a lot of waiting, looking, back and forth, we decided that we needed to rent. We wanted to rent a place close to our kids' school. They are in school until lunch time, then eat lunch at home, and often go back to school for special afternoon classes. We only live about 15 minutes from their school now (depending on traffic), but we were spending between 15 and 20 hours a week just driving back and forth to their school several times a day.
We began combing the neighborhood around the school for something to rent. We drove around, we looked online, etc. We found an apartment to look at, but when we got there, someone else had already moved some boxes in. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, and about 50 other people were looking for the same needle.
Yesterday I was walking on the sidewalk near the kids' school and I saw a man that I had been introduced to at the beginning of the school year. This man had a house and an apartment, both within walking distance (one block or less) of the school. At the beginning of the year, he showed me both of them saying that he didn't know if they were going to rent their house (where they have been living) and move into the apartment, or sell/rent the apartment and stay in their house. I looked at both the house and the apartment but at that time, we didn't know if we were going to rent or buy. Later I got back in touch with him asking him if he would be willing to rent the apartment or the house. He said he had decided to stay in the house and sell the apartment and already had 2 interested buyers. Oh, well...I thought. But then I drove by his house and saw a "For Rent" sign on his house. I asked him about it and he said that they were thinking of renting the house commercially (very expensive) and move into the apartment. They weren't going to sell it after all. He said his wife couldn't make up her mind.
I told him that I understood, that where you were going to live was a big decision. I told him that we had been frantically looking for a place but with no success. He got a quizzical look on his face and said, "How much do you think would be fair for rent on our apartment?" I told him that we had looked at another apartment that size and it was XXX amount. He said, "Do me a favor. Call my wife this afternoon and offer her that amount for our apartment and see if she will take it. You will be helping her make up her mind and it will help me out a lot." Wellll.....OK! I said.
I called her, presented the offer, thought I might have to nudge her a little, but she accepted right away!! So we have an apartment to move into! It's not cheap, but in this city, cheap doesn't exist. But it is on the same street as our kids' school. That is going to save us so much time, so much gas money, and just simplify our life in general.
This apartment is big, for an apartment. There is no apartment "big enough" for a family of 8. But starting in the fall, we will be a family of 6, since Bronwyn will be at college and Ansley in Equador. So we will be crowded for a few months, and then it will be just fine.
I know a lot of you have been praying about this with us. THANK YOU! I have no explanation as to why this family changed their minds and decided to rent us the apartment, other than God was working.
I have learned a lot during this time of anxiety about where we were going to live, and I want to share some more of that on future blogs. I do know that God works when we pray and He has shown me that in these past weeks, in much more important ways than just finding us a place to live.
So that is our big news. This again will be a temporary living arrangement, but we are just so happy that we have a place in such a great location. Thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement during this stressful time.
PS. This apartment is one block away from our "clube" (like a YMCA) where there is a big playground for the kids, soccer fields, swimming pools, etc. YEAH!