Tag Archives: churchfunding

Churchfunding Update 11: We Bought a House!

Thanks to God, and thanks to the kind help of God’s people—and that is not mere pious, flowery verbiage—we are now owners of a house in Atlanta, Georgia! This weekend our realtor gets the keys for us, and we can begin work on the house as soon as we’re ready.

hosting_area
God willing, there will be many house church gatherings hosted in this space.

Life is now too busy for a long post, but I do want to share the good news. For all the prayers we have lifted, we had better now lift some praises! Do I hear an Amen?

Here is a skeleton record of our last two dizzying weeks:

  • Friday, March 11 (only two weeks ago today!): We receive verbal confirmation that our offer on a house in Atlanta has been accepted. At last!
  • Saturday, March 12: I start driving to Pennsylvania to pick up my wife Zonya and our girls (who were there to visit Zonya’s grandmother, whose health has been declining). I stayed overnight in Ohio, with Rodney and Faith Troyer—Rodney being the CPA who provided crucial vision and guidance for our churchfunding project.
  • Monday, March 14: We drive all day from Pennsylvania to Georgia.
  • Tuesday, March 15: We receive word that our offer has indeed been accepted, and we see inside the house for the first time. It is really nasty! We pivot and immediately visit another house, one I had seen back in January. It is much nicer. I cancel the inspection that we had scheduled for the first house.
  • Wednesday, March 16: We place an offer on the second house.
  • Thursday, March 17: Our offer is accepted!
  • Friday, March 18: I call early in the morning to schedule an inspection of the second house ASAP. My call wakes up the scheduler, who is a grandmother and works from home and thanks me heartily for waking her up so she can get her grandchild off to school! Later in the day I drop off some earnest money at the realtor’s office. We also cancel our offer on the first house.
  • Sunday, March 20: Inspection completed, that evening we head to South Carolina to visit friends for several days. Zonya and the children have a great time. I car shop, without success—but also enjoy some gracious southern hospitality.
  • Wednesday, March 23: I call my Iowa banker, just to be sure we’re ready to initiate a wire transfer the next day. My banker tells me I need to be in Iowa to do this! A mad scramble begins, changing our plans to have all parties present Friday morning for closing.
  • Thursday, March 24: We leave South Carolina and return to Atlanta—about a 3 hour drive. At 1:00 p.m. we go to the attorney’s office and sign for the house purchase. Then we drive all night home to Iowa—spending another 17-1/2 hours on the road.
  • Friday, March 25: At 9:00 a.m.  I am standing outside our Iowa bank—actually, they see me outside and let me in early! We send off the wire transfer for the house purchase. Later the same morning the seller signs the papers at the attorney’s office in Atlanta. We receive confirmation mid-day that the wire transfer was successful and the transaction is now complete!

Since this is a public blog, I don’t want to share too many details about the house here. If you want to know and see more, contact me privately.

But here (visit GINGRICH HOUSE ATLANTA) are some photos of the house God is allowing us to steward. (Photo credits to Christy Smucker.) A few notes:

  • All the outdoor photos are of the first, rejected house.
  • The inside ones begin in the master bedroom, progress through the other bedrooms and the main bath, survey the main hosting area, and end up (with a few extra bedroom shots) in the room I expect to use for teaching piano.
  • You also get a bonus shot showing how pleased my wife is with the kitchen!  I’ll put it here so you don’t miss it. 🙂
zonyas_kitchen
“Can you believe it? It’s big! It’s bright! It’s almost too good to be true!” Yes, the kitchen still needs a lot of work, but I expect that a lot of great cooking will happen here. I thank God for remembering my wife when he gave us this house.

Here are some extra photos I took of the kitchen, from the dining room doorway  (looking left, center, and right):

kitchen_sink

kitchen_cupboards

kitchen_window

And, finally, here are two shots of the yard immediately behind the house. The house is on the left of the first shot (and plenty of backyard parking space). The second shot pans to the right, with more greenery and an outdoor hosting space across a little bridge.

backyard1

backyard2

Well, I better stop. I need to live life and not merely report it!

But please do take time to join us in thanking God for his goodness! And we covet your prayers for the weeks ahead, which will include many decisions, much travel, and lots of time apart as a couple and a family.

Our prayer is not only that these busy days will help free us to be more useful in years ahead, but also that we will honor Christ in each moment, right here and now.

Oh, and one more thing: Next month is April, and we have not forgotten: We indeed plan to begin repaying our lenders, in random order (giving preference to seniors), in $500 monthly increments.

Share your celebrations or advice in the comments below. Thank you!


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Churchfunding Update 10: We Might Have a House!

I’ve been too busy house hunting lately to blog! But it’s high time for a brief update.

In short, we placed an offer on a house, the offer has been accepted, and closing could come as soon as this Friday. The sudden action has left us dizzy and grateful and relying more than ever on God!

This house is not the same house that I mentioned in my last post. That house turned out to have multiple problems that we couldn’t see until we looked inside–especially water damage in both the basement and the attic, with a slope to the property that promised more flooding problems in the future.

P1250465
Most of the run-off from two properties drains here, then—unless the sump pump is fully dependable—right into the basement.

The moment we stepped out of that house I asked our realtor what he had scheduled next. Did he have time to immediately look at another house?

Regrouping outside the house we rejected. L to R: Me, our realtor, Steve, Zonya.
Regrouping outside the house we rejected. L to R: Me, our realtor, Steve, Zonya, our middle daughter.

He did. So we all drove right over to a house that our realtor and I had looked at back in January. At that point it appealed to me in a lot of ways, but seemed beyond our budget.

Since then it dropped in price. We are currently under contract for buying it for $65,000. More price negotiation may yet happen based on an inspection we had done this past weekend, and we can still back out if we wish.

This “new” house (definitely a well-used dwelling) has a lot going for it. Most importantly, it has lots of room inside and out for hosting church gatherings and piano students, there is plenty of parking space, and the street is quieter than some in the neighborhood. While we might not often walk from there to Steve and Christy’s, the park, or the library, we can drive there in about five minutes or less.

The main hosting area. L to R: living room, kitchen, dining room. The door in the center leads into the "piano teaching room," a bathroom, and a laundry.
The main hosting area: Living room on left, dining room on right, kitchen through archway. The door down the hall leads into the “piano teaching room,” a bathroom, and a laundry.
backyard
Two Smucker boys marching over the stream into the back of the backyard. Under all that brush is a lot of stone landscaping, including an outdoor fireplace.

(I’ll likely share some better pictures of the house after/if we actually buy it. For now I’m exercising caution for privacy and purchase negotiation reasons.)

The churchfunding effort that many of you have joined on our behalf is making this house purchase possible! And since we can make a cash purchase offer, it is giving us a leg up on price negotiations, too.

If any of you want to help out more—and make your money go further, and see our house!—then here are some ways you could help:

  • Offer to stay in our new house—starting almost ASAP—to help keep it secure while we wrap up things in Iowa and prepare the house. Sign up to stay for a few days, a week, or a month. Free Atlanta lodging! Not luxury at this point, but hopefully with water and electricity. 🙂
  • If you have already offered to possibly help prep the house, confirm if you still think you might be able. An experienced (and hired) contractor to oversee the repairs would be a blessing. Steve can offer part-time oversight, which is great and may be enough, though he does have a day job. Work tasks will include HVAC installation, wiring, drywall, painting, doors, flooring, replacing window panes and at least one window, and other similar things. House cleaning and yard cleanup will also need to be done.
  • Pray! As first-time home buyers, we are on a steep learning curve. Pray we can make wise decisions that will free us long-term to serve God and others.

I think that’s all for now. Send me an email or Facebook message if you want to discuss any of this further.  (Or comment below with more general responses.)

One more thing: It was a great blessing to have the Gingrich and Smucker families all together again this past week for the first time since last summer! Children and adults all enjoyed it. Sharing a Lord’s Day together—including celebrating the Lord’s Supper for the first time as a fledgling church fellowship—was especially special.

For Christ and his Church,
Dwight Gingrich


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Churchfunding Update 9: An Answer to Special Prayer?

On the morning of February 16 I sent out an “invitation to special prayer” regarding our Atlanta house hunt. On my lunch break that day I spotted a house that had just been listed for sale that same morning. Unlike any house I had spotted for several months, this one seemed to be a good match for our ideal criteria. Given the timing, I couldn’t help wondering: Is this the answer to our prayers?

The days since have been full of nothing. Full of waiting, that is. We were waiting on responses from the seller’s agent… and he was apparently waiting on a house key from the owner… who reportedly was waiting on the renter to provide a copy of the key… since the owner had lost hers. Some of you have been following my blow-by-blow commentary on Facebook. Finally, yesterday, the log jam started truly moving.

Today we finally placed an offer on that house. However, our offer was not accepted.

What does this mean? Several things could happen:

  • We could receive a counter-offer from the seller tonight or tomorrow.
  • The seller might not respond to us at all, especially if they have received another offer they prefer.
  • We may try again with a bigger offer.
  • Regardless, our realtor will be contacting the seller’s agent in the morning to see what we can learn.

If we do come to an agreement with the seller over a purchase price, then we will have some busy days ahead! There will be a “due diligence” period of about a week. During that time, the house will need to be inspected, with an assessment of the cost of any needed repairs. We will need to decide if it is indeed a good match for us. Then, if it is a good match, we will need to process the paperwork to close on the house.

Thankfully, closing should be less complicated than sometimes, since we plan to make a cash purchase—thanks to many of you! If we can secure this house, our realtor says closing could come yet before the end of this month—maybe even within two weeks. We actually might own a home before we start making our promised “mortgages payments” in April!

Is our Atlanta house hunt nearing an end? (And will Steve and Christy Smucker finally see our promising words translate into actions?) We don’t know. But we do know that our God is strong, and wise, and good. He will answer our prayers in the best possible way.

And we also know that your prayers and words (and emails and “likes” on Facebook) have been strengthening our hearts as we wait on God’s perfect timing. So, once again, we say Thank You!

Please continue to pray with us as we continue our attempt to purchase this house! This house seems like it could be a very good fit—even better than the one we wanted last fall. We would dearly love for this to be the one…  May God’s will be done. (Please pray also for the renter, who has lived there for over 5 years and may soon be looking for another home.)

For Christ and his Church,
Dwight and the Gingrich tribe

PS: Once we indeed close on a house, then I will joyfully share some pictures and links with you all. Until then, please be patient as we try to avoid leaving the illusion that several hundred people are all interested in “our” house! If the seller sees that much “demand,” we might all be reaching deeper into our pockets…


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