As I sit here in our home in Berlin, I am somewhat overwhelmed with the task at hand. The task of sharing with you all that the LORD is doing, has done, and what we believe will do. Part of me wonders if you want to know. If you want to hear. Part of me wonders how clearly I can articulate through written/typed words all that the Lord is doing. Then I brush those thoughts aside and remember that I am told to proclaim the goodness of the Lord, and so I will do so as often as I can...dismissing the silly thoughts that you might not want to hear of His ways.
We moved here just under one year ago. The thought of that really takes my breath away and causes my brain to swirl in the whirlwind that has been this past year. The past three years, really. When we moved here, we were like horses at the starting gate. Ready, eager, prepared, skilled to bust out and "run" the race set before us. And, for the most part, we did. The race is exhilarating when you are a Thoroughbred. Ridiculous if you are a an Arabian horse. In this area, we felt well equipped, vastly trained, and just ready. We are so very thankful for the plan the Lord had for our family to get us here. We do believe it made all the difference for a smooth transition to a new land, a new language, a new people. Never executing the run perfectly, but trusting in our identity being in Jesus alone. Not doing this singlehandedly, but with the Lord guiding us each step, each day, sometimes through each breath...
Another area of growth in our family has been that of hearing the voice of God. Tuning in to what the Spirit has for us each day and acting upon what we hear. This is an area that seemed grey before, but now is becoming clearer and clearer to each one in our family.
Our housing situation can be described as "only of the Lord". He led us to the home we currently live in. We got to meet and become friends with the previous family that lived in this home. We feel blessed beyond measure at the provision He has constantly set before us.
About mid fall of this past year (2014) as a family we began praying for a place closer to the school. Without going into much detail, transportation/travel time is an issue for us. It just is. Our ministry is all over this grand city/state and it can be quite the challenge to arrange meetings and such throughout the city during the week. Without boring you with details of our schedule, it's just plain crazy at times! And super draining. For example; Emma, Jacob, and Ben all three get out of school at different times. Yea.
If you follow us on social media, you know that we have had friends and family come and visit. These dear ones have entered into our lives here and have walked where we walk, and seen the way we live. Upon seeing, they have all agreed to a need and desire, of our hearts. And that is to be closer to the kids' school....for SO many different reasons. My sister in law even expressed after leaving that she and my brother in law were so "burdened" for us due to the travel schedule. This was needed confirmation in our hearts to press in to the Lord and see if He would move us.
There is a website here much like realtor.com in the States. We used it before we made the move, and have occasionally glanced at it afterward for fun. After praying, we proceeded to view two ideal homes that were near the school. Things are WAY different here in Berlin, and I don't know how to fully explain the difference except to say that they are not afraid to discriminate. There may be laws against it, but from what we have seen there are not. Anyway, suffice it to say, we did not get "chosen" for these homes. We shared this information with our friends and family that had been praying alongside us, and we pressed on.
One day I received an email from a realtor that I had never contacted. She used my name and knew my "profile". I am guessing when I first started using the site, I entered in some information about what we were looking for. She gave me the address of a house and thought our family should go look at it. When I looked up the address, I found that it was very near the school. Being trigger-shy, (is that a Texas saying?? Would people here understand the opposite of "trigger-happy"?? I digress...) because of the not being chosen for the others homes, I was hesitant to mention it to David. So I prayed. I felt an urgency in my heart to tell David and ask if he wanted to see the home before we picked the kids up from school. He said, "Of course!". Looking at Google Maps the home was a 7 minute drive and a 10 minute bike ride to the kids' school. THIS is HUGE for our family! Really, that distance seemed too good to be true.
We drove out and our first impression was, "Whoa." You need some vision when you look at this place. But, guess what? One of my FAVORITE shows happens to be "Fixer Upper", so I knew what vision looked like! Yay, HGTV and Chip and Joanna Gaines!
Peeking into the windows of this vacant home, our talk began to get a little hushed and excited as we thought this might actually be a good place for us. Then we heard a voice behind us boom something in German...and I will admit, I felt like a child caught INSIDE an abandoned home trespassing...people, it scared me! But, the man switched to English when we replied in English and all was well. He proceeded to tell us that this home belongs to his sister and that his bother is taking care of the rental issues. "Do you want to go in?", he asked. We did, but we were so cautious because it looked big and we really knew nothing about the rent or anything else for that matter.
We looked around inside, and the "vision" needed when looking at a fixer-upper began in both my mind and in David's. It is the perfect home for what we are here for. We asked some questions and after finding out that it is 500 Euros more a month than what we are currently paying, told the landlord that we couldn't afford it. "Oh, we can negotiate that price." Hmmm, 500 euros less a month? We would have to pray and find out.
We brought the kids out later that day to pray over the house and see if they had any impressions from the Lord. They loved it and we got a unanimous "YES!" from all three. As luck would have it, wait...do we believe in luck?? As the Lord saw fit, the lady across the street saw us and asked if we were the new tenants. We told her we were looking into it, but didn't know yet. She was so very pleasant and told us that we should go and visit with the family that lived there before. They bought a house down the street and would "love to meet you and talk with you."
Y'all, there are times I feel like I am on Candid Camera or something. This was one of those times! This WHOLE experience is so surreal to us!
So our little American family of five walked down the dirt sidewalk to the home of the family who previously lived in the house that we were interested in.
Can I just say that God is amazing in the way that He lays out each stepping stone if we will just get up and walk?
We turn the corner, and find the home of the family. They are the sweetest German couple and invite us into their garten right away. (Backyards are called "gartens" here.) We asked questions about the home and they were so very awesome to teach us some things that we just would never know otherwise not being from this country. They also told us that if we moved in, that we could come to them at any time with questions and such. They also proceeded to tell us that they paid 500 Euros less a month than what the landlord was asking.
So, David asked if we should try to negotiate that monthly rental price. They both said, "Absolutely."
One other thing to note is that in Europe it is very common to move into a home/apartment that has a completely empty kitchen. Like, just walls and tile. I think they are required to have a stove and a sink, but other than that...empty.
We purchased our fitted kitchen from the family that lived here before us. We have also been blessed with a large-for-Europe kitchen. This presented some concern when thinking about the house. The house has a very tiny kitchen. For comparison, the closet in our master bedroom in Texas is bigger than the kitchen in this home.
We sat with the landlord, and. boldly asked him to come down on the monthly rent. Here's the deal, if this was from the Lord, there was nothing that could thwart His plans. We decided to takes steps of faith and really walk in what we knew the Lord was placing before us. The man agreed to lowering the rent. Which is a HUGE praise! We have talked with many other people who have lived here for years and they were astonished that; number one, we asked. And number two, he agreed. The Lord is so good!
Back to the kitchen situation.
There is a small room that shares a wall with the kitchen. The room is kind of misplaced, as it isn't quite a bedroom and not quite big enough for a dining room.
Remember I love the show "Fixer-Upper"? Can you see where I am going with this? I told David we need to ask this guy to bust out that wall. I seriously think David must have thought I was INSANE at this moment! We "talked" for a bit about it. Brought our friend, Rob, into the discussion. Which was definitely in my favor since Rob is an architectural major. We all went out to show Rob the kitchen and the walls and all, and he agreed it made sense if the wall I was wanting removed wasn't a load bearing wall.
So, my brave husband asked the landlord if he would actually consider taking out a wall and enlarging the kitchen...and he said, ever so nonchalantly, "That sounds like a great idea. I will see if we can get a contractor out there to see if it can be done."
Another stepping stone that we gladly placed our feet upon.
The landlord also agreed to pay to have our current kitchen moved from our apartment and installed into this home.
Friends, we can't make this stuff up! The Lord is always Provider! Always!
Some heavy things have been happening in our local body in Texas. Aware of that, but also aware of our desire to sit under the great leadership of The Village Church, we presented this opportunity to our elders and pastors. We asked for them to pray with us and over us and to share anything that they got from the Lord. We always want to live openly, and always want to be ready for feedback even if it is not exactly what we want to hear. We trust our pastors and elders and safely sit under their leadership in this part of our lives. Their response to us was to "Go for it!" which was an affirming delight to hear.
Which leads me to the whole reason I am sharing this with you. We do not bring every need public. We first take it to the Lord. Most of the time, He provides without us ever having to open our mouths to friends and family in an effort to share a need.
We have been living for almost one year on $800 LESS a MONTH than what we were advised to live on. God has proven Faithful Provider every single day and we have grown in our trust in this characteristic of His.
There are times when we hear Him saying to us, "Invite others in." THIS is an area where we are still growing. That can be so hard. So humbling. So, scary. But, we trust Him and trust His leading well over our own.
So, we are inviting y'all in. It will take some financial efforts to get us from this apartment to the new home. Humbly, we admit that we don't have that. There is also a deposit to pay, and set up fees for internet/electricity/water/oil, etc. This ALSO falls upon our one year renewal time for health insurance.
It would be best for our family and the teams visiting this summer for us to get everything moved and settled by the end of June/beginning of July.
All that to say, we are humbly inviting our friends and family along on the journey that the LORD is laying before us. He has been with us every single step of the way. You all have played such an enormous part in being His hands and feet in providing for our family. Our request is that you ask of Him, "Lord, would you have me/us be a part of this adventure You have the Campbells on? And if so, what would You have me to do?" We are so very eager to have y'all along! Our God has done some spectacular things when we have all joined together! All over the GLOBE! We really do sit in anticipation as we wonder, "God, what will You do in this time?? And, don't let us miss one single bit of it!"
We love you guys. We bless you, in Jesus' name. We are indescribably thankful for all that you have already sacrificed for the Lord's work here. We sit in eager anticipation as we wait upon the Lord in this. If you have ANY questions at all, we totally want you to contact us. There is always an open door with us. If you would like to make a financial contribution to this effort, simply click this link.
Be blessed as you seek Him.