We were stunned when we were given just 30 days to find a new home after six years. We worked hard to make our rental house a home, build meaningful relationships with our neighbors and become part of the community. It was devastating. There was a deep sense of loss (and fear) about the change. But sometimes God shoves through a door He's opened so we can get moving closer to the goals He has set before us. With that in mind, we set about to find a new home in La Esperanza, Honduras.
We found our previous house in La Esperanza when a missionary contact connected us with the owners. But this time, we were on our own—or so we thought. Here are the lessons we learned by undertaking this monumental transition:
1. There are no want-ads or rental websites in Honduras.
To get anything done in Honduras, it's all about your contacts. Who do you know that has a connection to what you need? In this case, we utilized the extensive contact list we've diligently collected over the years. It was time to call in a few favors. We sent messages to church groups, neighborhood chats, pastors, mechanics and seamstresses. We even reached out to the mayor's office for some inside tips. Everywhere we went we begged for tidbits of information, looking for anyone with connections to a property for rent. Even the grocery clerk heard about our plight. We spent literally days getting the word out that we were looking to rent a new home.
2. We didn't know how blessed we were.
Rental prices have increased dramatically in our area. And most people prefer to sell, rather than risk renting property to unconcerned, negligent occupants. To find anything comparable to our first home, our rent had to at least double. This was a hard pill to swallow, but it reminded us how the Lord has cared for us all these years. We can count on Him to continue that trend.
3. Our neighbors have very little access to running water.
Our first house had a well, providing us with plenty of water whenever we wanted it. But we quickly learned that this is not common in most La Esperanza neighborhoods. Many times water comes through the city's water system only every three or four days, if at all. And when it does come, it's often filthy and the color of chocolate milk. Access to water became a primary feature we investigated as we searched.
4. Security is something we cannot afford to take for granted.
In our love for our adopted country and its people, we can sometimes forget that we live in a developing nation known for its often violent crime. Thankfully, we've been sheltered all these years from most of the effects of this aspect of Honduran life. The Lord has protected us more times than we care to think about. But we needed to be prudent and careful about finding a home that offers possibilities for basic security features like gates, walls, locks and cameras. Steve knew that feeling safe was key to my ability to adjust to this change and create a new home for ourselves. We had to find a home that was secure.
5. Our friends and neighbors can be counted on in times of crisis.
Wanting us to stay close, ladies in my neighborhood investigated every empty house in our area, sending messages and walking door-to-door with me. A pastor drove us around town looking for possible neighborhoods that would meet our criteria and advising us to stay clear of the more dubious areas of our city. Strangers from churches we'd previously visited reached out to their own contacts and many, many prayers were certainly uttered on our behalf. And when moving day finally arrived, missionaries, neighbors, friends and even children showed up to haul furniture—in the pouring rain. God has surrounded us with a community of which we are blessed to be a part.
In the end, we did find a lovely new home in a secure, gated community not too far from Team Solheim World Headquarters and the friends we've grown to love over the years. Our new neighborhood has clear, running water every day and a security guard on duty. While it is much smaller and much more expensive, we're convinced that God has brought us to this new place with purpose. He has been faithful once again and we can't wait to discover what awesome plans he has for us and our ministry through the precious gift of a new home.