Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Miracle of our House

More than a year ago when we started to feel God prompting our hearts to pursue a calling to Haiti. The first part of that journey was to downsize our possessions. Ericlee and I prayed about it and we really felt like downsizing for us meant selling our Fresno home. Our beautiful, four-bedroom home nestled in Fig Garden has been a place for making memories and for cultivating community. We have used it as a house of ministry as we have had the opportunity to invite many friends, relatives and missionaries to stay with us through the years.

But we started to ask ourselves if we really needed a 4-bedroom, 2-bath house with a pool when it meant spending so much energy spinning our wheels to pay the mortgage. We had less and less time for family and even fewer resources to serve and share with others like we dreamed.

We originally put the house on the market in September 2010 over Labor Day weekend. We hired my brother, Paul Lazo, who works as a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker Town & Country. He helped us make some updates and clean the place up. He also gave us the hard advice along the journey when we had to reduce the price because of a struggling housing market.

We prayed for a miracle. And so many of you prayed right along with us.

We expected a miracle.

Sometimes miracles come in the most unexpected ways. God has built our faith through this journey of waiting. We believed that when He raised the money we needed and sold the house it would be our time to go to Haiti.

On Thursday, May 26, we decided it was time to try to rent out the place. We knew we only had a few weeks before we were slated to depart for Haiti for the summer. Within a few hours of posting the rental on my Facebook page, our phone was ringing off the hook. Paul also listed it on Craiglist and officially on the Multiple Listing Site for real estate.

That weekend we had 12 families come see the house who were interested in renting. Two additional agents called to show the house to potential buyers. We are excited and exhausted by all the action. In the midst of all these visitors, one family in particular stuck out to us as being very responsible and someone we would love to see enjoy our home. Ericlee actually had a connection to them through a classmate at Fresno Christian.

Long story short we negotiated and the family accepted a two-year lease on our home with the option to buy in two years. They were willing to pay $400 more a month than we originally proposed. We will not go into any debt renting out the house. They even asked my brother to be their agent for a short sale on their current home. How God's story is always more intricate and nuanced than we expect.

Ok, let's be real; it was crazy! We had less than a week to totally clear out the house and clean it for our new renters. I am tempted to dwell on how last-minute all that felt. We were certainly blessed by a small army of friends who came and helped pack boxes, haul our stuff to another friend's house for storage and even cleaned and dumped garbage. For a full day of that process, Meilani, Giada and I were in bed with a nasty flu (a story for another day). How humbling to sit and allow others to serve.

My brother and family came up from L.A. to help in the final paperwork and move. The cousins finally did get in some playtime. Paul drew up the paperwork and we signed on Sunday with the new family. We departed for Haiti on Monday. Yes, it was a whirlwind. God bless my parents who had to deal with the aftermath of items left behind, items to be donated and even mailing us some of the the things we forgot (like all our malaria medicine!)

Now sitting on this side of that wild week, I am so grateful. I see that God was always working underground while we are waiting. I can't imagine being in the desert for 40 years waiting on God. One year felt like my eternity. Yet, I know He was growing us at this time. He was preparing us for what is to come. He was working out all the details for this new family to live in our home. He was putting together puzzle pieces I still do not understand.

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