Episode 2.11–3152 Chicago

God is moving! And it looks like the Purcells are too!

The Big Yellow House on the Hill

The answer to our prayers in regards to a home for us is not completely finalized, but God has picked us a house! The story of how God has led this is incredible and pretty long. Its actually so overwhelming to me that I’ve not been able to get this out to you because I’ve been in too much awe to really articulate what’s God is doing. But we want you to know and we want
you to celebrate our Father and King’s abundance!

I called on the house on Sunday, February 20th.  I had a great conversation with the landlord. At one point she asked, “Can I ask why you’re doing this?” I explained why, briefly, and she said, “oh wow, we just had some people at our church last week that are doing somthing very similar to this in Florida”

On Wednesday night, the 23rd, we looked at the house.  Lisa and I dropped the kids off and drove down, arriving in the neighborhood about 20 min early to drive and pray. We had some pretty high expectations: In May a retreat some words were given for us concerning our house. “Jesus is already there, sweeping it out and preparing it for you”. Lisa and I fasted during the day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  During our times of fasting God gave Lisa and I quite a few good nuggets, including “You will see your Teacher with your own eyes. He will stand behind you tell which way to go, to the left or to the right (Isaiah 30). So our prayer was that the neighborhood would be one of peace and that we would see and hear Jesus in the house. We also knew that we would have some emotional resistance as this particular neighborhood is going to stretch us.

So, we walked into the home with eager expectation. We looked at the house for 45 minutes. It is a great size. It has a lot of space on the main floor for hosting and hospitality. It has a small office/library on the main floor. It has a east facing sun room on the second. It has a nice little porch. But It is pretty beat up inside. It has mostly been rented by college students. It hasn’t been updated since the 70s and the kitchen hasn’t been updated since the 50s. There’s an apartment in the basement that rents for $525…much too high for the condition it is in. It usually rents to
older single men who are in recovery. That one is a pretty big deal breaker.

But the most disturbing part to us was that we didn’t see Jesus, nor did we hear him. We didn’t hear a yes OR a no. We drove home pretty conflicted and confused. But as we processed the neighborhood and the potential for ministry and the potential for the house we had a hard time imagining any place that would be better. Our minds said yes, our hearts were not there. Needles to say, we didn’t sleep well Wednesday night.

On thursday I had a lunch planned with one of our supporters. I wanted to go back to the neighborhood and spend some time listening. So we planned to meet at California Taco…just three blocks from the house. I arrived early to drive and pray and listen. On a nearby street I saw a man out picking up trash on the street. I thought he may be homeless, but I decided to see if he lived in the neighborhood. He
does, and his name is Brent. We chatted for about 20 minuetes. He is a working class man with only a part time job who cares a lot about his neighborhood. He was very articulate about the neighborhood and seemed curious as to why I was inquiring into the neighborhood. That was a great interaction.

At lunch I processed with Scott. He agreed that our home needed to be a haven and we needed to “feel at home” in it. But he also agreed that it seemed like this neighborhood really fit what we’d been dreaming about. He suggested talking to landlord about a possible compromise on rent for both the house and the basement apartment.

After lunch I popped in to the KNJ Grocery. The man working at the counter looked to me to be Sudanese. When I approached him he was friendly and engaged me quickly in conversation. Turns out he’s from Ethiopia and recently moved here 8 months ago. This blew me away as God had prepared me for this as well. I am studying through Isaiah. Chapter 18 is about Ethiopa. The description of the Ehiopian people in this chapter really struck me and I literally fell in love with
them. Then, while in California, two different people in our training had connections and a great love for Ethiopia. One of them had just returned from there and has three children that they have adopted from there. My thought then was, “God, what’s the deal with Ehiopia”. So wild!  Who knows what God has in store for that relationship!

As I left the neighborhood on Thursday I was very strongly believing that this was indeed the right neighborhood….but what to do about the house. That kitchen needs some help and Lisa is going to be spending a lot ot time in there. If she’s not comfortable, none of us will be…

I had a Skype appointment with our leader, Travis, that afternoon. As we visited he affirmed the problems, but also pointed out that as I talked about the area and the house I spoke of much possibility. He suggested laying a fleece. “See if the landlord will strike a deal. You take both apartments for less money and the freedom to make
“cosmetic” renovations. I called her that evening. She manages the property for her parents, so she doesn’t have the final say, but she said, “if it were up to me it would be a big fat YES! She told me her parents were traveling through on Friday (they live in northwest iowa) and that if I would write up a proposal she would talk to them
about it. She even got a little excited and started dreaming with me!

On Friday I was all mush and still conflicted. “why hadn’t I seen Jesus?” In my quiet time I mostly sat there dumbly. Eventually I grabbed Isiaiah 32. Here’s what I read “…like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land (v2)–both of these are recurring images God has been using to lead us-“But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity (v8)–we have a community standing behind us–“quietness and confidence forever
(v17)–twice during the week God gave us the word confidence-through two different people!–“My people will live in safety, quietly at home. they will be at rest (v18)–this is what we need our home to be for us in the middle of the work–“The Lord will greatly bless his people. Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up (v20)–the promise of fruit!

I read this and had no idea what to do with it. Like I said, I was mush. It sure seemed like God was saying, “this is your house”, but why didn’t I have peace?

My phone was sitting next to me. It was blinking. I picked it up and opened an email that had just come from the landlord…”My parents said they like the proposal. They want to do it.”

I fell on my face and began to weep. Who else could orchestrate this? Who else could receive the credit for this? The awe and fear that swept over me in the presence of God’s honor and glory was too much for me. I don’t know how long this went on, but I was finally able to sit and be. I closed my eyes and saw myself in the little office…and Jesus was there! He walked to me and gave me a big hug!  And then whispered in my ear…

“Welcome home”

We’ve worked through all the details and will be signing the lease next week!

Now to find someone to rent the apartment and folks to help us clean the place up!