After hearing the latest of Michael Bunker’s Podcasts, which can be heard and downloaded at www.michaelbunker.com I found myself thinking back to the process of steps we took that enabled us to actually take that step of faith and separate from urbanity to rural Christian community (Michael includes this topic on Podcast # 7).
When my husband (Bill) and I made our final decision to move, as we had thought about it and prayed for a few months previous, we started by going through all that had to be done. One of our major things was needing to scale down, as we had way too much stuff. In doing this we moved from a 3 bedroom 2 bath, 2 living room rental and moved into a very small 1 bedroom basement suite. This apartment didn’t even have a stove, but a hotplate. We as well had to share the laundry with the owners. When we moved from our bigger residence my sons, previously living with us, had decided to get a place together, which was perfect timing. I gave them a lot of the things we were not going to need. It was not easy parting with some things but the Lord showed me that they were not needs only stuff. And as the boys had nothing, it was a blessing to give to them. So now they were set up in a place of their own.
There was still much to do in the coming year in order to get prepared. Our first goal was to make a deadline! We made the deadline for the end of May no matter what. I had to learn what we really needed to keep and what we needed to get in order to live off grid. We also used this time to save as much money as we could. It was difficult as we still had rent to pay, which was high even without a stove. Living where we did allowed me to walk to work which saved us a lot on gas. Our location was important. We were able to walk to most places, again to save on gas. We cut down on everything we could and only purchased what we really needed. We visited second hand stores to find things that we thought we would need to get started. We found things like candles, oil lamps, cast iron pans, tools etc. These things were inexpensive and saved us money.
We also had looked into land in the area of the community via the internet, but found nothing within our price range. We knew we did not want to go deep in debt. But we had faith to believe that it would all work out. Our belief was that if God called us to be obedient and separate then He would make a way. In fact, we KNEW He commanded us to separate! So in faith we kept moving forward, and the last few months, before the move, He (and the community) graciously offered/provided us with affordable land and RV. So now we had a place to hang our hat and some land in which to start a small farm.
During the year we had had a few mishaps that set us back financially. Bill was in an accident and our car was a write off. So we needed another vehicle if he was going to continue working. We found a newer model great (we thought) van, but the transmission imploded just after a month so we lost big time on that one. But the Lord helped us quickly find another cheaper, but largely rebuilt, older (much older, as in 1991!) van, and a really cheap reliable car that Bill could drive for work related duties so as not to use the van until we were about to leave. The timeline on all of this only afforded about 5 months in which to go into super save mode, previous to the deadline.
So now it was time for me to think about what to keep and what to get rid of. I started by taking a lot of my clothes and jewelry, plants, dried flowers and many more things to work to either sell or give away. I had no need for Alfred Sung white towels down in Texas where my lifestyle would not allow such fancy things. If you have not experienced Texas dirt then you won’t know what I am talking about!!
When we got down to maybe 2 months before the deadline we made the decision to start selling off virtually all our furniture. We had a garage sale and were able to get rid of a lot of the big things. Then one of the ladies daughters at my work bought some things as well. We ended up with quite a bare place to live for a while but we didn’t want to wait until the last minute and be overwhelmed. In early May we sold the car and started using the van. At this point we hadn’t saved up a lot of money as we had started making payments on the Texas land back in January, and started paying for the used RV already down there that we would be living in until being able to build.
A week before the move we had the van inspected and new tires installed. We had along way to go. In fact it was to be about 2300 miles. We as well did a packing dry run to see how much of what we had left could fit into the van. Sigh… we found out it there was still too much . So we found ourselves having to sort again through much of it, mainly books, blankets and dishes etc, leaving a lot more behind. These things we needed, but we had to trust the Lord to replace what we could not take.
The day came and I said my goodbyes to my sons…. talk about one of the hardest things to ever do. But the Lord told us there was a cost to being obedient. I would have loved for them to join us but this was not what God will at that time or it would have happened. At this point we had, at the most, 1500 dollars and it would cost close to 600 for gas, food and accommodations during the trip. We were expecting to receive some fairly significant money once we arrived in Oregon, due to a long awaited family related business transaction, but didn’t know exactly how much. But again, trusting God to provide for us we knew it was all in His hands!
Since we lived in Canada, we had the issues of border crossing and the trip was a seven hr, not so pleasant trip through Seattle (I hate big cities)to Oregon we decided it would be good for me to fly just to Portland and he would drive and pick me up there. My flight was uneventful which I am thankful for. But my husband had to cross the border with our crammed to the gills van and loaded top which we hoped was enough to get us started in our new life. My husband is American so we thought it would be no problem for him to cross over, with the van being his as well as the belongings. When he arrived at the border he had to wait the usual border crossing time. When it came time for his turn he said he looked up at the most serious, stern looking border agent he had ever seen. This guy did not crack even a hint of a smile and proceeded to get very serious in his questioning. It quickly became obvious that this would not be a matter of fact casual crossing. After several questions, he did not seem very satisfied and the prospect of a smooth crossing was in, at least, some doubt. But right at a critical point, another agent came up, distracting him with another, we guess, more important matter, so he turned back to Bill and said, rather reluctantly, go ahead.
At this time I found myself waiting and waiting. I hadn’t heard anything until I arrived at the airport in Oregon and checked my email that assured me Bill had made it and was on his way. RELIEF!! When he finally arrived I was very happy to see him. We visited family for about one week in order to take care of some business. When we left there we had roughly about 5500 dollars. We knew it wasn’t much to get started, but trusted in the Lord that had sovereignly allowed it, knowing He would take care of us along the way, and provide for all our needs. This trip built up our faith in a mighty way, as the journey was long and at times bumpy (some inclement, and hot, weather, along with several radiator cooling rest stops on steep hills/mountains.
So I share all this to show how God looks after His own and how he blesses and protects us when we step out in faith and obedience. A move to separation is a step of faith. You don’t need to have a ton of money to start, but what IS needed is a true faith in the Lord, taking steps of faith and trusting He will meet your NEEDS, not always your wants. I can certainly vouch that that has been our experience….it’s been amazing at times seeing how our faithful God moves on our behalf, in His time.
We were concerned that time would be of the essence, that our move needed to be done soon. God placed an urgency on our hearts as I hope he does with you. We have been living here in Texas now for 8 months and the Lord has provided for our every need! And please don’t think that once you have arrived, so to speak, that all of a sudden you won’t have any issues to deal with and all is a bed of roses. There is much to learn and unlearn. We have had our ups and downs and continue to trust the Lord daily for his provisions and grace. There are blessings that come with being obedient and it starts in the heart. Don’t wait to pull the plug when YOU think you have enough funds or until YOU feel the time is right. It is always the right time to be obedient. Make a plan, stick with it and the Lord will guide and direct your path. Take that step of faith and you will be amazed how the Lord will go before you and prepare the way. Even if you are moving to another country!
This is just our small story but there are lots of stories out there about how God has helped His people. The Bible is full of them! And His children who have separated have similar stories.
I am still in the process of separation and learning more each day of God’s goodness and mercy to me. I pray for more of His grace and more light that I might continue to walk according to the old ways.