A few weeks ago we helped some friends from church move to a new house. We had been praying for them for a couple of months to find the right place. House hunting in Nairobi is HARD!! There are so many things to think about and one of the biggest things is who the landlord will be. If you remember, when we lived in Malawi we moved 3 times because the landlords would just double the rent after a few months because we were westerners and they thought we had money. Even with a lease, you can’t always be sure to have a decent landlord. We were praying for them to find a good place, in a safe location with a fantastic landlord who would not suddenly surprise them and tell them to be out in a month because they wanted to move in. (That’s basically what happened to where they were living!)
So we rejoiced when, after a couple months (the landlord gave in and gave them another month to stay and look for a new place) they found something. Did I mention budget is another HUGE thing here. Because we live in a growing city with the UN and the embassies for all the other countries here, rent can be astronomical. The landlords know someone’s government will pay for a safe place, so it can be hard to find a safe, good place on a missionary budget! Plus usually the lease is for one year with the knowledge it will be raised a bit before a new lease is signed. Sigh…
Anyway, the Yardy’s found a great place, and as we were helping them move I mentioned how much I liked it. They informed me two neighbors had bought their own places and would be moving in a few months. We laughed and joked about it, but after asking what they pay (you’re allowed to do that here – it’e perfectly acceptable and extremely uncomfortable to our western minds) we actually started thinking seriously about it.
A place in the heart of where we do almost all our work? Only 10 minutes from church (rather than at least half an hour on Sundays with no traffic, and a good hour plus other days), significantly cheaper than our rent now, and not really too much of a difference to Rosslyn? Why wouldn’t we consider it?
After talking and praying a few days, we started asking friends here to pray. The response from people at church was amazing – everyone was so excited! I am that person that loves having people over, and right now we are too far away for that to happen with our church family. So that was a positive. Then we realized that we could also save money and put less miles on our car – another plus! The thing holding us back from jumping right away was worrying that the kids would fight us. We wanted to do the right thing for them, knowing they have been in transition a lot in recent years. So we asked them to be honest. Their response? “Does it have a bathtub?” Ummm…yes. (we don’t have one here.) That was it – they were ok to move. Apparently home is where we are all together and where we set up our things and settle in for whatever amount of time – and where there is a bathtub. Who knew?
After realizing that we did want to move, we started talking more about it to people and one of our friends overheard us. Did we want a place in Westlands? What was our budget? They had a place they were looking to rent, but they were being picky. (It is just as hard to be a landlord and find good tenants as it is the other way around.) Like I said before – knowing your landlord and trusting them is half the battle. So we arranged a time to look at it.
I need to preface this by saying when we were looking for this place we looked at a lot of places and each time (usually) I thought, “I could make this work.” Until we walked into our current house. Anna and I fell in LOVE immediately with it. Since we moved in Shawn has made the place beautiful outside and nice sanctuary. I prayed that the same would happen here if it was the right place.
We walked in and Anna and I both said, “Yes!”
It is a beautiful place with good landlords. In the heart of everything we do. A place where we can easily host church groups and have a BBQ if we want. (Many places in the area we were looking require you to be vegetarian.) It will save us money. It is just a little bit farther for Rosslyn, but not too bad.
We are very happy.
And all this happened within a course of less than 2 weeks! Unheard of here.
So be praying. Pray that the move goes smoothly. Pray for favor. Pray for a continued good relationship with the new landlord. Pray that our current landlady (who has been fabulous to us) would return part of our deposit. Apparently that is not too common here. Pray for new friendships with new neighbors – this is what they call a maisonette, or a townhouse. Pray for new doors to open with the community. Pray for our funding to be good – we really need some gifts in December since moving requires 1st and last month’s rent plus we pay quarterly. Also Rosslyn fees will be due by January. We are trying to be wise with the money you entrust us with because we realize it is a sacrifice for everyone.
Thanks so much! I will post a few pictures one we get settled in.
Oh! I know many of you are wondering about our garden (yard) that Shawn has worked so diligently on to make beautiful. There is something important we learned from our Area Directors for Serge. Each place they have lived in the past several years they built a pizza oven. They invest and make the pace better. Even more so, they put their hearts into it despite knowing they will not be there forever. As we settle in to another new place we will invest and beautify it. The potted plants are coming with us and we will add other things to make another sanctuary. Thankfully plants are cheap here and gardening is good therapy.
And yes, we will still have a guest room! Come visit!