It’s time again to give witness to God’s faithfulness in providing for our housing needs. As many of you know, we purchased our Atlanta house on March 25, 2016, paying the seller in full immediately, thanks to loans and gifts from nearly 90 individuals or families. Since this crowdfunding effort was the work of Christ’s church, we coined a new term: “churchfunding.” (Here is the post that officially launched this adventure.)
At the beginning of 2020, we owed $35,062.50 in house loans. By the end of the year, we owed only $28,782.50.
Here is how that $6,280 difference breaks down:
- We repaid $5,180 in loans, at a little more than the promised rate of $500 per month.
- We were forgiven $1,100 in principal and interest by several generous lenders.
In total, our house debt declined by $280 more than we expected in 2020.
At the promised $500 per month, we should have all remaining lenders repaid within five years—by about October of 2025. As promised, we are using a random number generator and prayer to select who is repaid each month. If you have a financial squeeze, however, let us know and we will consider prioritizing your repayment as possible.
Cash Flow and House Happenings
Ironically, given the coronavirus economy of 2020, our cash flow was slightly bigger than previous years. A temporary end to piano lessons and slowdown to my Choice Books work were both offset by government stimulus efforts, and after I transitioned to teaching piano online (mostly), my student pool has ballooned to 35 as I head into 2021.
On the other hand, our vehicles are now 15 and 18 years old (go, Toyota!) and we are still years away from having saved enough for a dreamed-of western trip as a family. But, as I often pray with thanksgiving, God is meeting all our needs, which he identifies as food and clothing/shelter, and much more besides. We are grateful.
Our main house improvements this year involved windows. First, I used my spring coronavirus “vacation” to finally strip and repaint the big original steel window in our living room.
We also got the windows replaced on the northern side of the house, in the piano studio and the laundry room.
The originals were single pane and one was broken.
Other projects included painting the front door and some exterior trim…
…building a cabinet in a bathroom…
…and painting the laundry room and installing coat racks for the girls.
Next projects? Well, a dishwasher is on order. Perhaps after that we’ll get the shower in the master bedroom working? Or build more closet shelves? Or make the basement entrance functional?
Meanwhile, we’re thankful for what we have–and that God protected our house in October, when we saw the worst flash flood in our backyard that we’ve seen yet.
Our public and private lives continue much as last year. We continue to worship with Cellebration Fellowship, where I am now responsible for scheduling music leaders for each Sunday. I take my turn leading, too, sometimes with the help of my daughters. This year we have met variously in a building, online, and in a campground.
I am thankful for the devotion to Christ that is evident in the words and actions of so many in the “Cell Fell” group. Here’s a photo of most of us from a little over a year ago:
On our street we aim to be good neighbors in Jesus’ name. Sometimes that means sharing food (which Zonya often does) or tools (as I just did now). Over Thanksgiving we loved our neighborhood by spending several hours clearing a nearby hiking trail.
Often our service is through the ordinary means of faithfulness in raising children, loving students, selling Christian books, and writing the occasional blog post.
I’ll end with four 2020 happenings that were noteworthy for our family.
First (in every way), my father passed away in February. Though we have not traveled back to Canada since his funeral (thank you, coronavirus), I miss him. He left a legacy of gentle integrity, hard work, and dependence on God’s mercy. I especially think of him while working with my hands around the house, since he was a master craftsman.
Here is a photo of my family, taken at Dad’s funeral, which happened about two weeks before the Canada-USA border started shutting down.
Second, we finally managed to go camping somewhere besides our backyard. Here is an amazing sunrise we saw from our north Georgia campsite.
Third, we got our first pets! We raised chickens from eggs this spring and bought the girls a cat for Christmas. Having animals around complicates life, but is good for all four of my girls.
Fourth, my wife’s brother got married in December, and my daughters and I provided the special music. Preparing for this occupied much of our time for a couple months.
We remain deeply grateful for all our churchfunding supporters. We want to faithfully steward this house for Jesus in 2021. Please pray we will walk faithfully in the Spirit of Jesus. May God bless you and make you salt and light in your own community!
For Christ and his Church,