A good rule to follow in walking with the Lord is actually a question: Is my heart right?
We were told in April, that the building we were living in was going to be sold. Of course, we were asked if we wanted to buy it. But, buying was not convenient because we were already too crowded in the house. Since Olivie and Junior came to live with us and our American volunteer numbers have grown, the house was somewhat overcrowded on a daily basis and especially when team members were with us.
Over the last year, I'd ask Gary if he could possibly make the house bigger, perhaps another bathroom (in our bedroom--impossible), and a balcony knocking a window out and making a door, so I could go and sit to be alone. Impossible.
So, here we were knowing we would move sometime in April of 2011 but where? Most bigger homes are hugely overpriced as far as rent is concerned and how would we begin looking. Those that we'd looked at in the past were so overpriced we were sure the owners had lost their minds.
My prayer became: Lord, I just want to be alone with you, and right now there is no where to go in this house. When others are sleeping you don't dare make noise at 3AM (my usual wake-up time so I can pray). I would say it and leave it with Him, it wasn't something I dwelt on because for ten years I've consistently thanked the Lord for where we lived.
Gary and I have one goal and that's to be good stewards' of God's money and to be a pipeline. Concerning things, we gave. Concerning the Gospel, we gave. Concerning personal items we gave. Nothing means anything to us. If we have it and the Lord says give it, we do. That's it, Lord, make me a pipeline. That's still my prayer. Few people know what we do to help others. They can see the employees all of whom get paid a fair wage, but few know what goes out from our hand on a regular basis. God sees it, He's the only one who counts.
An employee came by and asked us to look at a house. We thought okay but here we go again. We were impressed by the size, the possibilities and that our vehicles would be off the street behind the gate. It wasn't just one house but two which answered the question as to what we can do with teams. This house would hold all our long term volunteers and teams adequately. To my utter surprise, the master bedroom had a balcony and a bathroom. (All I could think of was "God you are real aren't You?) We got some counsel from several people in ministry and approval from our board before we made the decision to draw up a contract.
The landlord was willing to sign that the rent would never go up, and the rent money did not cut into our budget. So we signed. When we showed the house to others there was silence and then talk. "I could never live in a house like that with so many people suffering." A statement like that brings me to one that my mother made when I was a child. "Eat all your food, remember the starving kids in China." How in the world would my eating all my food, help any child in China. How would my not living in this house help those who are suffering? And, those comments remind me of the time I wore a cheap ankle bracelet to Bible school. They asked me to take it off. I did because I'm well aware of the scripture that advises us not to cause a brother to stumble, but how was an ankle bracelet causing them to stumble? They gave me a pretty lame excuse. When I took the ankle bracelet off, I asked if now the anointing was greater than it was a minute ago. Is our anointing gone because we moved to a bigger house? Are more people in Haiti going to suffer because we live in a nice house?
As I pondered these comments and questions this morning the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, "Is your heart right?" And so I thought about this house, it will be used for ministry, for teams, for our Haitian staffuse will be used for ministry to teams and to Haitians and to our resident volunteers. If there were a disaster (and I pray not) this house would be used for the homeless. I can answer the question because I took the time before the Lord to check my heart. Nothing has changed within me because of a house. I don't care about things, I care about Jesus. I care about ministry. I care about helping others with their needs. Where we live and what we wear has nothing to do with our heart and relationship with the Lord IF our heart is right.