Shalom HouseDec 28, 2023
Newsletter for Shalom
We’ve been looking for a home. Let’s be honest. We have been“homeless” for over 8 years now since we sold our home in Michigan and everything we owned and followed the Lord into the wilderness (the unknown). We sold it all and didn’t look back because what we were looking forward to (God and his nebulous call to come) was irresistible (although terrifying and crazy).
Our boys (especially the younger ones) have only known “homelessness” for most of their lives. Our older boys have memories of “home” and long for it from time to time, but even they have lived most of their recollectable memories traveling from place to place in an RV or moving from apartment to apartment on the YWAM base or traveling to different overseas missions assignments.
But here we are, somehow by the Lord’s great wisdom back in Siobhan’s hometown living where she made all of her middle and high school and young adult memories. Our boys are going to school with kids who LIVE here, unlike in the RV and unlike in Kona where all of their friends were also “homeless,” and so they feel the sense of being “homeless” now. They are longing for a place to put away their things, make a space their own, and invite friends over to hang out. And so, we’ve been looking for a home.
We’ve looked at a lot of houses.
Rents are sky high for a family of seven (even more than our crazy rent in Kona) and purchasing is also discouraging because the inventory is low, interest rates are unbelievably high, and house prices are too. Eight years ago we sold the beautiful farmhouse on 2 acres that we bought for $125K and now we couldn’t even consider finding something similar for double or even triple that amount!
Yet still, we feel the yearning for a home and so we look and pray.
The word of the Lord over our family that He gave to us years ago was Isaiah 32:18
“My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.”
Another word of the Lord prophesied over us by some men of God in Franklin, TN (Tod McDowell and Papa Don Finto), that we have been holding onto for a few years, was that God was blessing us with a season of inheritance and season of land and people and a safe place for our family.
Siobhán and I were recently looking at a house about 25 minutes from the community that we are a part of for the majority of our day (kids, school, sports, church, etc.). The house wasn’t bad. It was livable. But it also needed a lot of work and the land was 1/4 of the size of our previous home. This house was listed at $299k. Our mortgage lender says we should be able to afford it. It’s on the high end of what they say we can afford.
To be honest, we can’t afford it.
We were paying $1700/month in Kona for our two loft apartment and I thought that we would be able to afford something to live in (rent or buy) around here for about the same price. Well, that has turned out to not be the case.
After looking at that house with the real estate agent that Sunday afternoon I was really discouraged. I told Siobhán that it feels like I’ve got to muster up so much faith to even consider this house that I don’t really want. It didn’t resonate with the peaceful dwelling place that we are believing the Lord for. I said, “If I’ve got to have faith for a roof over our head that I don’t want, why wouldn’t we ask the Lord by faith for a house that we do want?” Why would we just settle for a house when the Lord is speaking over us land and people and inheritance and peaceful dwelling places, secure homes, and undisturbed places of rest?
Discouragement led us then to faith. Faith is what PLEASES God. In fact, without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please him. That if we desire to draw near to Him we must believe not only that He exists, but also that He is a rewarder of those who SEEK Him. So we have been seeking Him. And, as we were seeking, the Lord began dropping the breadcrumbs…
- Shalom Rd.
- Currently, our drive is almost thirty minutes to school each way from Siobhán’s parent’s house where our RV is located. Each morning we pass by a road called “Shalom” Rd. and when I first noticed it I said to Siobhán, “I want to live on that road - it says Shalom, that’s Hebrew for peace, that’s our peaceful dwelling place!” “Shalom” is literally the word used in that scripture.
- About a month after I first saw the road, a beautiful old (1886) country home on 2 acres popped up for sale on this road that would be perfect for our family. Of course, it went under contract within days of its listing like most homes do these days, so we didn’t even think anything of it. But then, it went from pending back to active and even dropped $15K in price. It is, however, still WAY more expensive than we could reach for in our own strength. It is now empty and it is listed for $479k and has been on the market for 98 days.
- The Real Estate agent
- I thought about this Shalom house that I didn’t even want to consider because it is way out of our price range. I said to the Lord, “All of this is way out of our price range, Lord. I would like to look at this home but I don’t want to waste the real estate agent’s time and I have no desire to go window shopping.” We prayed, “Lord, if you want us to look at this Shalom house then show us a sign.” This was a Wednesday.
- The next morning Denny (one of our prayer partners) posted on our YouTube channel a comment, to another friend, the passage Psalm 86. While Siobhán and I were having our morning quiet time and prayer I thought to read it out loud to her and in verse seventeen the passage says, “Show me a sign of your favor.” I looked up and said to her, “Do you think that is a sign?” She said, “Yes, I think so.”
- I still didn’t do anything as I thought this was maybe just a coincidence.
- Guest Speaker at ANM (Advancing Native Missions)
- That same morning the mission organization that I have been serving with this quarter had a surprise guest speaker from Ashdod, Israel (they call him Andre’ 2) he greeted everyone that morning with, “Shalom.” I texted Siobhán right away to tell her. It was so unexpected.
- Then I realized this was not a coincidence but that I’d better be obedient. So I messaged the real estate agent and we made arrangements to go and look inside the Shalom house with our family on Friday.
- The Showing
- It was raining hard all day Friday (December 1) and I put out another fleece. I said, “Lord, if you’re in this and you really want us to look at this house then I want to ask that the rain would stop while we’re looking at the house.
- I left to go pick up Siobhán and the boys from school, it was raining. I passed by the house on my way and it was raining. I picked them up from school and it was raining. But as soon as we pulled onto Shalom road the rain stopped and the sun radiated through the clouds (like HUGE sunbeams hitting the mountains in the background). I had to tell the agent this.
- We loved the house. It’s a four-bedroom and a perfect fit for our family. It is 11 minutes from the school, 17 minutes from our church, and 17 minutes from Siobhán’s parent’s house and it has a big room that feels like it is to be filled with people and music and gathering often.
- Asking for a Loan
- We began praying and asking the Lord if there was some miracle he would do for us to have this home. Our agent thinks we can ask $460k for it. We asked our mortgage lender to see what options we have and she said none. She wouldn’t even run the numbers. It turns out that with no down payment and no money lenders aren’t too lendy.
- We had a few friends praying about this too because we wanted to know if God was saying anything through someone else too. I thought at this point these breadcrumbs were strong enough that I should ask others to pray too. I specifically felt to reach out to three friends of ours, who were given tremendous favor with either homes being given to them or a substantial amount of money given toward their home purchase, to pray with us and specifically ask God to give us the same favor He gave to them regarding this house.
- One friend said, “I feel like the Lord is telling me to share with you that you’re to ask someone for a personal loan at a 3-4% loan rather than the 7.5 % rates are at now.
- I don’t know anyone with the capacity to be a bank for us but I did get some helpful wisdom from others in this word. Still, I couldn’t shake that I feel like God is working something here and we were not to try to make his hand move but to wait for his signs and his word. Even at 3-4% interest we still couldn’t afford this home. Not even close…lol!
- School Announcements
- We started another week and the first words that came through the intercom for school announcements that Monday from the Principal was, “Shalom…,” as he shared that this week was Advent peace week. Graeme particularly perked up as he too has been cluing into these breadcrumbs.
- Advent Week - Peace
- Similar to the last breadcrumb I couldn’t have orchestrated these things to happen on a specific week like this when Christians everywhere celebrate “Peace on Earth” or as the Prophet Isaiah would say his name would be called Prince of Shalom (Isaiah 9:6).
- The Sign
- Every day that week we took a drive by the house to pray and ask God to give us this house and to ask for the next steps. That Friday we drove by the house and the “for sale” sign from the real estate company was hanging by one chain instead of two. Siobhán jokingly prayed, “Lord, if this home is ours then would you make that sign fall down so that no one knows it’s for sale!”
- Monday I drove by the house in the morning after dropping everyone off at school and the sign was on the ground! There was a light snowstorm with wind the evening before. I showed it to everyone on our way home from school that day, but then I felt conviction that if it were my house I was trying to sell that I would want the sign back up. So I thought to do the right thing and in the morning the next day, I went and hung it back up. This time I made sure it wouldn’t fall down because I used a quick link thread locking chain on each side of the sign. I said, “Lord, if this is really you then you’ll make this sign come down again.” That afternoon Truman, unprompted by me, asked the Lord the same thing as we drove by on the way home.
- The Christmas Card
- We received a Christmas card newsletter in the mail that was mailed to the person’s whole family and friends list (not just to us). They quoted Numbers 6:24-26 and said that instead of peace at the end they say Shalom.
- The Sign… again
- Today (December 18) as I was writing this letter I stopped at the beginning of writing point six because I had to go pick up Siobhán and the boys from school. I drove by the house. I could see from about a quarter mile away that something was different. There was no sign. Again. This time the post was still standing and the cross beam that held the chain and the sign had fallen down in the wind! The welding where it was welded together actually broke off. I just about came out of my seat in astonishment! “Lord, what are you doing?”
Adding More Breadcrumbs:
One of the things that brought us to Kona was our attention to the little things that God was speaking about. We had already felt that the Lord was calling us there but then he would confirm it in so many little ways with the word Kona. Camden once asked if we would ever move from there - and though I knew we would - I also would say that the Lord spoke very clearly that we were to be in Kona and he will speak clearly again when we are to go to another place. We only heard one clear sign from the Lord about being here in the Shenandoah Valley up until now and these new signs are clearly no coincidence.
So here is where you come in. I really don’t know what to say or ask but that maybe you could take a minute on our behalf and ask the Lord for favor in giving us this Shalom house. I suppose we are also writing this in hopes that someone may know whom we could consider giving us a loan at a lower rate than the bank. Another person on our support team suggested that maybe that person(s) could consider a five-year loan to help us get on our feet here. Like I said earlier, this alone doesn’t seem like the full picture as the house would still be out of our league.
I can confidently say that I am way out of my depth here in my own strength. This must be the Lord and so I can confidently say too that if God is for us who can be against us? Even reading this letter, if you’ve made it this far, you can hear my excitement and foolish confidence in our God who owns cattle on a thousand hills. Maybe we are asking the Lord to cash in a few cows for us. Would you, on our behalf, ask of Him the same? Pray for us and let us know if the Lord speaks to you. Man’s wisdom is not enough for this one. That is quite clear. We need to hear from the Lord and trust Him in this one.
It doesn’t need to be said that this is not your typical newsletter where I simply share what’s going on in our ministry and mission. There is a lot going on and we are grateful to be used of the Lord in such a special way. All of our communication is posted weekly at trentandsiobhan.com
It also is different in that I don’t think a link to give on our website is the right thing to place here. We are genuinely asking for mountain-moving prayer. And we are also asking that if you are the one or know someone who is an answer to this miracle then please call or email us.