Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hickory Dickory House

Teena's idea on the title. Jeff wanted to put "In a quadrant" due to the curious layout and addressing system of this town.

Sorry for the delay in posting, but we wanted to wait until information of major significance was ready to share.

We are scheduled to close on a house in Hickory next month (2/22). We opted for a classic colonial style older home that has large rooms, a cozy family room with fire place and a sizable rec room or whatever you want to call it that is a converted garage. The house meets our needs for a large kitchen and entertainment area that makes it possible to host family gatherings and house church meetings. It’s also got a large lot and is centrally located, an added plus which makes it easy to get to work, downtown, or even to our future, still yet unspecified coffee shop location.

There were a few God-things that happened as we were considering making an offer. When we were pre-approved last week, the interest rate was at 5.5. First of all, we didn't expect the owner to come down much, but he did come exactly half-way from his asking price and what we thought we could afford. That seemed like an answer to prayer knowing that we will still be leaning on God to supply our needs. Before we made the offer, we checked back with our lender and asked if the rate was still good. She called us back a few hours later and informed us that it had dropped to 5.125! She told us that she had not seen that type of drop in quite awhile. We locked it in and that is where our rate will be for 360 months. It amazes us to think how the rate was 10% with the first house we ever bought.

So, what’s happening with the coffee shop?

We’ve been concentrating on getting settled into our part-time position as managers of the storage rental facility and on securing a home.

Now that this hurdle is out of the way we can begin laying the groundwork for the coffee shop. Currently we feel it best to work on relationship-building with the small congregation of Living Hope Covenant church, the church we are working with.

So, last night we went with their small youth group to nearby Morganton to do community service work. There we helped carry bagged groceries to people’s cars and pray for them. There are many people out of work because so many furniture factories have closed. Jeff met a man who worked for Drexel Heritage for several years and retired just prior to the industry relocating to China. He was much better off (but still in need) than many who had their jobs whisked away without having other skills. Many never finished high school in order to secure work at the plant. The Outreach Center (where we volunteered) has their hands full helping people pass their GED’s and training them to learn basic computer skills. We learned much from “TOC” and think we will be doing more of this type of service via the coffee shop.

We’ll meet with some of our core leaders this Friday night to get better acquainted.

We may also have a Superbowl gathering at another leader’s home as sort of mixer.

All this is leading up to future small group meetings, which we feel will be a good start on our coffee shop foundation.

Goals for the near future in addition to this include making contact with a NC non profit assistance organization to help us determine the legalities of this type of ministry, write a business plan and perhaps apply for a loan.

Once we figure out how we will operate and how much we need, we’ll start looking for an actual location.

Current needs to pray for:

Truck or van for Jeff for transportation
Lawn mower for our house since we had to leave ours behind
Knowledgeable person to help us determine business plan and business aspect

Friday, January 11, 2008

AC on!?

It's January 11th and we've got the air conditioner on in the office at Newton-Conover Self Storage. It is currently 74 degrees outside. Is global warming really a crisis? Kinda feels nice to me (The "grandchildren Jeff!" "Oh, sorry").

We went house-shopping today and have narrowed our search down to a "high-five" list. We're hoping to be able to make an offer by this time next week. We value your prayers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


We're starting to catch our breath, though not completely.

The storage business is very fascinating. People rushing to pay for the month before late charges are imposed have kept these brand new plates of ours spinning. Plus learning the format; plus unloading our trailer and packing our things into 3 10' X 10' storage units. With the latter completed and the customer rush dropping off, we have a bit of time to reflect and do other things.

This afternoon we will be looking at 5-6 houses as we try to transition into the dwelling place God will provide for us for the next few years (hopefully). In the meantime, we are making 2 one-hour trips each day to and from Teena's mother's house in Lewisville to Newton. What a contrast to commuting in the Bay Area. We actually cover more mileage, using less gas (at about 20 cents cheaper) and enjoy much more beautiful scenery in the 120 minutes we trek. Jeff is hoping to get a vehicle in the very near future. Please pray about that.

It is also much more enjoyable having conversation with each other in the car instead of wasting oxygen, carbon dioxide and vocal chords with other drivers. The most astounding aspect of travel is that 99% of the people out here actually use the passing lane to pass. As hard as it is to believe, they return to the right lane when they're finished passing - as does most of the nation, from my experience. One of the biggest frustrations I had with folks in CA was getting them to understand this. A majority used the wimpy rationale: "I'm using the fast lane since I'm going fast" (which would vary anywhere from 62 to 76 mph). I'd like to find the CA driver's manual to use for kindling - that is if we get a house with a woodburning fireplace. ;-D

Weather out here is more variable, but within a moderate range. The temperature dipped down to about 20-some a few days after we got here. All the papers made headlines about it, so that gave us a perspective. Being in northwestern PA for 13 years easily gave us tolerance for that type of chill. Yesterday, we had the AC on in the office as it hit 70 (don't recall doing that in January anywhere I've lived). It's supposed to be like that for a couple more days here.

We have the espresso machine set up in the office. We need to get a 220v outlet and a water supply before we get to learn how to use it. After we find a home, we will look for space to lease so that we may prepare for launching. Keep praying. It's working. We both have a powerful sense of peace and a "right as rain" sense to what we're doing with our lives currently.

May you be blessed with the same!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Major Day

Today marked a major day for us as another burden was relieved. With the help of some of our new friends out here in NC and Teena's sister and nephew, we unloaded the ABF trailer with our furniture into three storage units. That process went much faster than loading the trailer and we were done by 3 pm on Sat.

Everyone joked about not answering phones when the next need rolls around for moving from the storage facility into a home.

With this big hurdle out of the way, we can now concentrate on looking for a home and we ask for your prayers in finding the right place and not rushing into purchasing because of desperation driving us to make a rush decision. Teena keeps praying for God to do exceedingly above all we ask or think when it comes to finding us a new home.

---New needs to pray for. We ask for you to keep our house search in your prayers.

Another need is for a truck or van for Jeff to replace the one he relinquished when we left CA. Of course it would be awesome to have one donated. But if anyone knows of one that is in the range of a few thousand dollars, please let us know.