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Personal update: We’re buying a home!

Personal update: We’re buying a home!

The past few months have been an exciting time for the Stoering family. Two years ago, we moved to Shakopee and joined a local church. We met many wonderful people and joined two vibrant small groups. We have been hosting one of them on our living room for nearly a year now. As the group grew, our house started to feel a little bit too small. Around six months ago, Jessica and I began to seriously consider the possibility of buying our first home. We knew that we wanted to find a home that was fit to host our growing array of ministries. What we didn’t know was that God was about to join us in the search.

God’s providence and the financial hurdle

In January of this year, we had $500 saved towards our new home. Around the same time, we discovered that Jessica needed a LOT of dental work. We wondered whether buying a home would be a possibility at all this year. And then, out of the blue, God provided. My company stock surged, nearly doubling before my stock purchase plan came through. A few days later, I received my first promotion at work along with a significant bonus. Within the course of two weeks, we had the entire 3% down payment ready for our first home. Our health plan, though somewhat limited, was able to cover our needs and get us through the tight squeeze.

If we had saved all of this money over the past two years through our own grit and determination, I would have little to say about it, save for vain boasting. But that didn’t happen. We were praying, but it would be a stretch to say that we were prepared to move any time soon. God has spontaneously met our needs more than once in the past two years, but never this suddenly or to this magnitude. One day, we had a dream; the next day, a reality.

God’s providence in the search

Above all else, we were looking for a place where we can more easily minister to those around us. God was about to grant this request, along with nearly every other desire we had for a home, even the frivolous or silly ones. White cabinets and ceiling fans for Jessica. Double sinks in the bathroom and a fireplace for me.

On Friday, March 16th, we met with a realtor for the first time. We have visited many open houses in the past three months (the Parade of Homes is great!), so we had an idea of what we wanted. The market goes very fast around here, so we were prepared for a rough ride. Six days later, we went out on our first showing. We saw two houses, and we decided to make an offer on the second. Four hours later, I got a phone call during small group. We had the home, but only if we pulled in the closing date. In less than 24 hours, our search was over.

God’s providence in the little things

I must admit, at this point I began to worry. You see, until now, I believed that I was in control of the situation. Like a child who thinks he’s driving the car just because he is holding a toy steering wheel, I thought that I had (somehow) wrestled the money from the stock market myself and negotiated a contract through my own skill and cunning. But I knew that our landlord had us on contract until the end of June, and I couldn’t see how God would provide the money needed for us to pay both a mortgage and rent for that month. As I sat at work, worrying about a situation that was in God’s capable hands from the very beginning, He gently reminded me of His grace.

Throughout the day, I began to remember things that I had forgotten. We had paid the last month up front. June is the month with three bi-weekly paychecks. We had a security deposit that would (mostly) come back to us. I sat in my cubicle and cried silently. God gave us a lavish gift, and here I was worrying about the leftover pennies. His generosity cut to my soul. At that moment, I gave the whole venture back to Him. It was obvious that there is a plan, and the plan isn’t mine. I resigned myself to take a backseat and let Him lead.

In the past few days, things have continued to fall into place. The inspection passed uneventfully today. Our landlord agreed to let us go a month early. We’re on track to close on April 27 – much sooner than either Jessica or I could have imagined one week ago. At every turn, I’m reminded that there are three of us buying this house, and neither Jessica or I can claim to have paid for it or even chosen it ourselves. God is clearly leading the charge.

The part of our story that we can control.

The only thing that I can say to our merit is that we have tried our best to be faithful with our current rental. Plans and intentions aside, our living room has become a place where friends and family can gather and grow in Christ. We are carrying this intention forward in everything we do. I know that God has given us a great gift. My only hope is that we can give it back over the course of the coming months and years.

We plan on continuing to host small groups in our living room. From the office, I plan to continue writing about God’s goodness here on Raisingthebanner.com. We plan on purchasing a spare bedset so we can provide a place for visiting missionaries or friends in need. God has brought this house to us, I believe that our job is to build it into a stronghold for the kingdom of God. For everyone who is able to come and is interested, we would like to invite you to join us in dedicating the place to God’s work. We’ll be sending out details for that event when the time comes. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has been praying for us or otherwise supporting us through our many adventures. God’s goodness through all of youl has not been lost on us.

In Conclusion

I could have told this story in many ways. Some parts of the story might seem like “good fortune.” Other parts could be taken as a reminder to keep track of your own money. If I were more alert, or perhaps more arrogant, I could claim to have had the situation under control from the very beginning. But I have no such illusion now. The story I have told is the only story I know to be true – a story of God’s unending and unrelenting goodness to His children.

Fortune is fickle. My own strength and cunning has its limits. But the mercy of our God is without bounds. We have done our best to be faithful in the little things. It feels like God is not entrusting us with something bigger. But I pray that we never stop at earthly rewards. The home we are buying will be destroyed one day. But the eternal kingdom that can continue to grow from within these four walls will never fade. My prayer is that the memory of our new home will be preserved eternally in the hearts and souls of everyone who sets foot in it. Soli Deo Gloria – may the glory be to God alone!

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