[insert really cool picture that i can't make load - gggrrrrrr]
I found this picture while I was looking through pictures of Mexico. It makes me smile. It is Matt Mitchell and I during our first week in Durango, outside of an internet cafe/ice cream shop. I didn't have a home then, and I don't have a home now. I'll tell you the story of homeless Amy in Mexico today, and maybe tomorrow I'll tell you about homeless Amy now.
We arrived in Durango on September 10th, 2005, very late at night. We paid off our bus driver to drop us off at our hotel instead of the bus station and quickly went to bed. The next day we woke up, had team church time in the basement of the hotel, and then made a plan. We wanted to be moved into a house/houses by the end of the week. So we split up into teams, one going to campus to get things rolling with the ministry, and one team to scout out places to live. The latter was my team...
We poured over newspaper advertisements for housing, talked to every contact we had in the city, and finally drove around town with Gabriel, a student the summer team had met. For three days straight we looked at crummy place after crummy place. Finally we found an apartment complex that was right between the two main university campuses we would be on, was right in our price range, and was in a safe neighborhood. After the other team got home from campus we walked them over to the apartments and we all agreed this was the place for us. There were two apartments available...one for the girls, one for the boys. The girls were going to each have to share a room with another person, and it was on the small side, but we would be right above the boys. And regardless, it was the best thing we had seen so far. The landlord's son had shown us the place, so we had to go eat dinner and then go back to sign the lease.
As we walked into the lobby of our hotel, the receptionist said that Jen, my teammate, had a phone call right that second. So Jen grabbed the phone and the rest of us went to our rooms. I settled in for some time with the Lord, and quickly realized I didn't feel peace about signing a lease on the place. So I prayed about it for a few minutes and finally just asked the Lord to provide something better in the hour before we were to sign the lease if the uneasiness was from Him.
As soon as I had finished praying Jen came in and shared about her phone call with us. That summer our friend Marta (from UNC) had been in Durango and had met with a lady about us renting her house. When Marta got back to the States she lost the lady's info and we had just written it off. Well, about two weeks before we left, unknown to us, Marta had found the lady's info and had emailed her, telling her we needed a place to live and the name of the hotel we would be at. The lady had just checked her email that very day and had called the hotel to ask us to come that night to see her house.
We start walking to her house and one by one we each share that we had been very uneasy about the other place. We laughed as we all shared things about it we didn't like, but were planning on just settling with! Not a single one of us had been honest that we didn't like the place. We get to this house and it is huge, in our price range, enough bedrooms for us all to have our own (though Sarah and Steph ended up sharing anyway) and plenty of space to have students over. The best part is, it was two blocks from the apartment complex we had been looking at, so the boys were able to get one of the apartments and be very close to us. The entire year I had no complaints about the house - it was perfect for what we needed!
Yet we had all been willing to settle on something that we all knew were wrong, just for the sake of finding a place. I know that God could have still done amazing things if we had lived in those apartments, but our large house provided room for students to hang out, have parties and lead bible studies. We even had Christian neighbors!
So, I'm homeless. However, I know God has plans. I know that He will unveil them at the perfect moment, just as He did in Mexico. He won't let anything happen to me that is out of His plan. I just need to keep spending time with Him, following Him faithfully.
My heart is longing to settle into my own home. I have been living out of a suitcase, in someone else's room, since March 29. And the year before that I lived out of suitcases as well! It has been over a year since I have seen my own bedspread, used my own pillow, seen my photo albums...you get the picture. Pray with me that the Lord would move soon. Things seem to work out, then they fall through. Which, as I learned in Mexico, is only a sign to me that He has something perfect planned out.