I wanted to give you a detailed update on the remodel first, then a prophetic word the Father told me.
As I write this a back-hoe is digging in our yard, moving lots of dirt in order to establish footings for the remodeling of our house. The pouring of concrete is scheduled for this coming week, about the time you read this. After that the framing can start, and we hope to be framed in by the end of July.
We are excited because it will be much easier on both me and Chris when it comes to bathroom and bathing time for him. As it is now, me lowering and lifting his 180 (81k) pounds in & out of a bathtub on the other end of the house from his bedroom, by grabbing him under his armpits often twists his back and mine!
He can support his weight for a few seconds only, and his room and our house isn't wide enough to roll a wheelchair through, so I 'walk' him by standing behind him with my arms under his arm pits and 'walk' him to the other end of the house to the bathtub, carrying most of his weight. I used to think the Lord may have made me so tall to play basketball, but now I realize I needed to be this tall and strong to handle my son.
The enlarging of his bedroom will mean a wheelchair can roll through and into a shower and/or bathtub right next to his room – so many changes. Thank you to those who have donated to this project, we are very thankful.
How it started
A couple of house church leaders and good friends visited us in Tulsa a couple years ago and I was driving my 350,000 miles truck as that's all I had - rather beaten up and with the paint peeling away - and I think it made an impression on them, for they were soon asking what the biggest need in our life was (besides a reliable vehicle to drive).
At that point Barb and I had been asking the Father what we were to do with Chris' care, so that was our biggest need. In 2008 Chris was dying in the group home some 2 hours from our home in the Tulsa area, and we knew we had to move closer to him to save his life.
We had sought homes that would split the difference between our home in the Tulsa area and Chris, but while praying I was suddenly in the Spirit and saw a map of Grand Lake with an oval circled around the north end of the lake and west side of it.
I drove right to the location I saw and a 'for sale by owner' sign was in the yard. I had been given a price by the Father and Barb and I figured a $500 monthly payment amount we felt we would be able to afford, so I called the seller. It turned out to be a Baptist pastor and his wife who were moving closer to their church which was 45 minutes away, and to the church provided home right next to it.
The pastor said though he had received an offer for about $50,000 more than ours and other offers between our price and that high bid, but he felt the Father wanted it to go to us, and they wanted their house to go to someone in the ministry as well. We were thrilled!
It is a 'manufactured home', a double wide, 3 bedroom and 2 baths, the 2nd one being too small to maneuver Chris in and around, but a well built modular style with 6" (15cm) external walls and a solid metal roof. So at the time of our friend's visit, the need to figure 'what's next' in Chris' care was top priority.
Barb and I tend to be pretty private, maybe in part because caring for an adult handicapped child's personal needs is by its nature private, maybe in part because all we do in church is home based, down to earth, and transparent in life & ministry, that part of our lives we need to have to ourselves, so it was hard for us to allow (James, our good friend) to write a letter explaining our need for a home remodel and vehicle.
Since then, the Lord has graciously provided a truck for us, and we are thankful!
From James' letter about the need for Chris and since then, a total of $26,848 has been donated to help with the remodel, and we are SO thankful you can't imagine it. With a walk in tub alone costing at least $6500 before extra electrical and bigger plumbing than normal (heating the water, fast fill, fast draining), the total easily tops $10,000, so the donated gifts helps considerably. (Chris loves his bath time, maybe the all encompassing warmth, maybe the weightlessness that makes it easier as his left arm isn't of much use, I don't know, but running errands with me and his bath are the highlights of his weekly overnight with us)
We are keeping the gifts designated for Chris, for Chris' part of the remodel, but with us knocking out the south wall of the house to make his bedroom big enough to roll a wheelchair through, and building a connected bathroom large enough for a roll in shower and walk in tub, we needed to complete the wall on that end.
So the plans allow for a larger office for me which will allow a permanently set up web-cam, because next year when we get high speed Internet to our neighborhood I want do webinars and offer a video of my Weekly Thoughts, as well as offer more video teaching series.
And it will allow for the first time ever in our almost 36 years of marriage, a room for Barb for her office and projects. She does so much from keeping the CWOWI books to the annual legal/court work with Chris as we are also his Legal Guardians, to the massive amount of paperwork and meetings in the oversight of Chris' care at the group home, and doctors, to ministry related phone calls - she can hardly wait to have an office of her own! And frankly, there will be enough room for all 6 grand kids to have floor space to sleep on!
We also wanted a basement because we've already had to command 3 tornadoes to go around us, one in 1994 and one in 2005, and 2 years ago the Joplin related tornados that hit first on Grand Lake before reforming and devastating that city just 25 miles to our northeast as the crow flies. We wanted a basement with stairs wide enough that if needed we could scoot Chris down on his bottom at least, if a storm comes.
Basically the handicapped bathroom, Barb's room and enlarged office comes to about 500 square feet at $90 per foot to get it to sub-floor and walls that are ready to be painted. We'll do a lot of interior work to save money. We have a small savings account with $5,000 we are keeping as emergency back up, and I have some cash value in life insurance of $10,000 we are borrowing from, and we'll finish off the interior as we can, figuring it will take at least another $10,000 to complete it all.
As you can see, those who responded to James' original letter and who have taken upon themselves to make donations to help us, have been the bulk of why we are able to do all this for Chris, with the added benefit to Barb and me and CWOWI/ministry - we thank you SO much.
I'm not trying to compare ourselves to other ministries or anything, but for me and my heart, I feel a responsibility to those we are in relationship with to show that we are being faithful with what has been donated, and to provide therefore some details on what is going where and why. And that we too are giving of ourselves, doing much of the work and expense ourselves, so no one thinks we just want others to pay for what is essentially, our issue with a handicapped son.
I don't know how this transparency comes across, but know my heart, I'm not trying to fund raise though I know some will be touched and want to help, and it will be very much appreciated, but for my heart, I have to be accountable thus far in the process to you we are in relationship with, even those who just read my Weekly Thoughts. It is still a relationship, and that's why I am sharing in such detail. Thank you for understanding.
Even 'just' prayers are so appreciated, as at times I get so overwhelmed I ask the Father how in the world He expects me to juggle a world-wide house church network, phone, Skype, Instant messages, Chris, family, local Tulsa church, travel, not to mention prayer and study and recording and writing, mowing the grass, weed eating, and, and, and...the list goes on! Then I re-center to the peace (because He is pretty silent on my work load, so I just take it as a 'be quiet and keep your heart right because you haven't shed blood for me thus far, so stay in peace' sort of silence, lol) So thank you for your friendship, prayer, and support!
The Father spoke this to me a few weeks ago and as often happens with things He says, it raises as many questions as it answers, lol.
“The time of separation between the US and other nation’s economies is near. The US and dollar will continue to retreat economically while many nations will see their economies increase. World leaders will see this and it will hasten the removal of the USD as the world standard and reduce US influence. Those in the US will try the old tactics of reviving the economy, but they will find the old tactics no longer work, and the US will fall further behind much of the rest of the world economically. Because this is of their own doing, the US must suffer the ramifications of years of unwise decisions, but because the tipping point has been reached, others are now involved and that makes factors uncontrollable by US leaders. So no matter what they do, much of it is beyond their control. All these things must come to pass in these days.”
What I find interesting is that you’ll recall last summer He spoke of a change-over in leaders both in the church world and politically that we’d see through this fall, 2014 – and since then people like Chuck Smith, Ed Dufresne, Charles Capps and many others from many different streams in the faith have passed on from this life – and now we’ve seen a change in the GOP leadership.
It seems changes are coming this fall in the US, yet from what the Father recently spoke to me, no matter what is done in Washington, other nations are now at least in part, deciding the fate of the US dollar in world trade, which directly affects our economy and will over the next few years.
That said, I have such peace about being in the middle of the Father’s will – and I know those walking with Him will see provision and even prosperity even in the midst of difficult times overall. Stay in peace! The things He shares with me and other ‘watchmen’ is for our information, as a ‘heads up’, as a basis for prayer – but never to instill fear or worry – His promises remain intact and unmoved by mere economies of nations.
I shared yesterday at our all-church gathering in Tulsa some things the Father told me to talk about, and it had to do with John 10:3-5, how strangers are talking to us all the time, but it is the voice of the Shepherd we are to hear and to Whom we respond. Too many know better the voices of strangers speaking this and that, than the Shepherd's voice speaking peace. Don't look at the wind and waves and sink as Peter did - continue to walk on the water, for He will provide, and miracles if you haven't realized it already, are a way of life, not exceptions to the rule - we can live in that supernatural timing and peace and Presence! It is a process!
I had intended to share about some house church news from around the world, but I've run out of space, so will save for later. Know though, that people are finding such freedom to live in relationship based faith, that it is quite a journey to mentally strip away the constraints imposed by the program/building based faith to relationship/Christ in you faith, yet we are seeing the Bible patterned house church emerging now - home and family based, friends, neighbors, co-workers, the person of peace, in a balanced and healthy fellowship of disciples.
Thank you for your prayers, emails, caring, and financial support.
John and Barb