Lover of God, wife, mother, British missionary in Peru... click here to learn more about Anna and this blog and how it can serve you.

Returning to the words {Celebration testimony, final part}

Returning to the words {Celebration testimony, final part}

I want to share a few words first with my regular readers, so if you want to skip to the story do scroll down! 

Christmas has been celebrated! It was hectic and non-stop on Christmas eve ready for the Peruvian Christmas evening celebrations and chilled and restful on Christmas day with no cooking to do.  I was sick and struggling for a couple of weeks in December so I have hardly looked at a computer for a while, even now I am doing so semi-reluctantly! It is Summer here and that means sunshine, late mornings, no homeschool for a bit until I shift to Summer homeschool (reading and practical activities like art and cooking and lots of sport) and I am spending lots of time just sitting and thinking and reading now and again, when I am not decluttering and spring cleaning different parts of the house.  All that to say I have done little writing and that has felt like the right thing to do.  I do however want to finish up the month of celebration well and finish sharing the testimony of how God provided our ministry with a church centre, so against the flow of not writing right now I am going to emerge and continue the story!  

If you are new around here, welcome and you might like to read the first parts of this story - they can be found here and here. (And if you have forgotten because I have been slow with posting this month, you might like a re-read!) 


Let me backtrack a bit.  Let’s go back to the beginning. 


For a couple of years now we had been praying as a team for God to release a central building to us.  We had been meeting in our house for over 6 years and although God gave us lots of grace for that, we were outgrowing the space and needing a shift as a family.  


When Mark and I were visiting my parents for Christmas last year, Mark received a word from a friend that felt God was saying that we needed to have ‘extraordinary faith this year’.  My first reaction was to raise my eyebrows and then it sunk in and I said to Mark - wow, God must be going to do something big this year if we are going to need ‘extraordinary faith!’.  


Little did we know. 


A week or so later we returned to Peru and our next door neighbour came round upset.  She was saying that the owners of her house were thinking of selling and she didn’t want to move out. Because they were family members of hers she paid very little rent and she knew she wouldn’t find anything comparable for so little.  I prayed with her (she has some level of faith) and encouraged her to trust in the Lord.  And that was that.  But as the conversation finished I began to wonder if God might be wanting us to have that house as our central building.  (A little bit awkward as I cared about the next door neighbor!) 


Next we received a prophetic word from someone telling us that God was going to give us some land.  


The next week we received a phone call from someone (my boys call the ‘enormous donut’ because they misheard ‘anonymous donor’!) saying that they felt God telling them to buy us some land or a building for a church centre! 


We decided to wait to tell the leadership until the next meeting when we would all be together and we started the meeting asking them to dream-brainstorm with us about what we would love God to provide for us in a church centre.  We were still unclear if we should be interested in the house next door or in another plot of land that was for sale behind our house.  We wanted to know if the building next door could meet the needs.  The leadership came up with a vision for a church and family centre to serve the local community and to provide accommodation for training, prayer and retreat purposes.  The house next door and the plot of land beyond it (we haven’t bought that yet as the owner has decided not to sell yet after previously wanting to) would work perfectly.  


“What’s the point of even doing this?” asked one of our team.  “It’s not like we have the money for it or anything!” 


Mark and I looked at each other and smiled and told the team of the call we had received and about the house next door potentially coming up for sale! 


After various tearful conversations with our neighbor it became clear that the owners definitely wanted to sell the house and so after praying I approached the neighbor and told her we were interested in buying the house.  She actually took it well and was slightly excited, promising to help us get in contact with the owners and encourage them to give us a good price.  The process began to get all the legal documents in order, both from our side and theirs.  It was March and I was praying daily about the building.  It was possible that it could be completed in a few weeks, although one of the things God said to me at that time was: It isn’t going to happen as quickly as you think.  I’m not sure I thought it would take 9 months though at that point! 


So after we lost $18,000 due to Brexit AND God has seemingly told us not to ask anyone to help cover the costs except the local church and not to tell anyone outside of Peru we entered into the time when we needed ‘extraordinary faith’! 


It was the beginning of July and we had our legal side sorted out but we were waiting on the other side to complete their paperwork - mainly a power of attorney document because the owners were not present in Peru. We hadn’t told the owners we didn’t have enough money anymore because we didn’t know when or how God was going to provide the money. 

When we had originally talked about the price they had asked for $160,000 and we had negotiated to $150,000 which the owners had agreed to and then asked us if we would actually please pay $160,000 because it was worth that much.  We had agreed at the time but now we were $18,000 short with the legal fees.  God told us to wait until they approached us, so we prayed and waited for 3 weeks until the next time we met with the agents.  We explained the situation to them, showing them our bank statements and asking if they would consider putting the price down to $150,000 again.  We would still be $8,000 short but it would be a step forward.  They said they would talk with the owners and so we waited another week for their decision. 


They agreed! 


So now we were short $8,000.  


We took a special offering at church and people gave sacrificially (the average monthly income in our church is around $200 / £160 a month) and sold cakes and pizzas to help towards to the deficit.  We made $2,400. 


We were still $5,600 short and by now it was September and the owners had finished their legal documents.  Using every overdraft and credit card we had we could perhaps make up that shortfall but we really did not want to do that.  That didn’t really seem like miraculous provision either.  


Mark was getting uncomfortable again because he hadn’t heard anything personally from the Lord, only I had.  He found it difficult to rely on my words of faith and I was uncomfortable because Mark was uncomfortable.  I didn’t know why God had spoken to me and not him, and I wanted the words I had to be weighed too - I wasn’t out for heading into a storm complacently!  Did God really want us to have this building? Maybe we didn’t have enough money because it wasn’t God’s plan for us.  None of this was logical and this was the problem because we both knew faith generally flies in the wind of logic! I had no logical arguments, just a peace in my spirit, which I hoped was faith, but I couldn’t prove anything to anyone.  I knew it was hard for Mark because he hadn’t had the dreams or the words and he didn’t feel the same peace. I also didn’t want everything to be riding on me or for Mark to be following what I felt God had said blindly.  So we went back and looked again at all the different ways God had spoken to us about the building this year.  It took a while but after looking at all the ways God had guided us and praying Mark felt God was telling him to trust the words I had and we kept to the plan to make public to anyone outside of Peru about what was going on.  


And then the miracle happened! 


Some of the money we receive in from a business in the UK goes to projects here in Peru, one connected with Oikos and one that is not.  The money is sent through twice a year and then we pay it out monthly.  The money had been running low in August so I had contacted the donor to ask for more money to be sent through our church in the UK.  When it came to sending through the money I had been told that £5000 had been sent, but the church emailed us and told us that £10,500 would be sent through.  After checking with the donor and the church it appeared that the extra £5,500 had been sent in April but because we hadn’t been informed, we had not requested the payment from the church.  When I had asked for more money, the company had assumed we had received the previous amount and were just running low.  After talking to the donor we established that the extra money was not an overpayment, but just an advanced payment and there would be more money than we needed for the specific projects this year.  The extra money could be used for anything related to Oikos.  Including the new building! 


So one week before we signed for the building we finally had all the money we needed! God had provided miraculously, without us asking for any support outside of Peru for all the costs and He had provided the money just as we needed it! 

And so here it is - our new church centre, the house next door to ours! 

And we have already had lots of opportunities to use the building to celebrate what God has been doing in our lives! 

If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed...nothing will be impossible for you.
— Matthew 17:20

This post is part of a month long embracing of the spiritual discipline of celebration.  It is part of a year of embracing grace through spiritual disciplines.  You can find out more here.  

5 reasons to fast

5 reasons to fast

Which requires more faith? {Celebration testimony part 2}

Which requires more faith? {Celebration testimony part 2}