Written by Scott Englund
So as life goes, blessings surround us from all sides. It is our problem, better yet, our self inflicted blindness, that keeps us from realizing that we are taken very well care of by our heavenly father, Yahweh.
I have been experiencing some eye opening and heart filling blessings as of late, and wanted to share with you an account of how great the God I serve really is. This story does not have any particular starting point, but I choose to start about 6 years ago. It goes something like this:
Our family was living a very comfortable life. Our spiritual health was good. Our marriage was solid. Our kids were doing great in school. Income from work was plenty. Our friendship circles were filled with wonderful people. Little was to be complained about.
It was a time in our lives about six years ago. It was easy to see that God had spilled out His blessings on our family. In fact, we chose to invest in a second home which was to be used for recreation as well as investment. It was a wonderful cabin in the mountains.
During our times spent at the cabin, we grew together as a family. We enjoyed time paddling the surrounding lakes while teaching my princesses how to catch fish. Many trails were discovered via motorcycle and foot. The local hotspots became common. This cabin was a true gift. We did not need it, but enjoyed it for sure.
We were able to use the cabin for our family as well as ministry. I recall a youth group ski trip where there was hardly space on the floor to curl up and sleep. The beds that sleep 14 were just the beginning. They were all full and each part of the carpeting that was big enough to sleep on was taken. Memories like that were what the cabin was all about.
As life’s journey’s go, we found ourselves on a trail full of obstacles and wonderful views. Some of the events that were taking place in our lives were what most would call trials. Our financial situation was such that we could not afford the cabin any more. We had also made the decision to go into the mission field and move to South America. As volunteer missionaries, it was just not possible to keep the cabin. So, on the market it went.
We priced it right in line with what we thought we could sell the cabin. However, with the economy and housing market starting to really decline, we found it difficult to get an offer. Over the course of a year or so, we had dropped the asking price by about half of our starting price. Still no activity. During this time, our family had sold everything else, boarded a plane and moved to the bottom half of the planet. Arequipa, Peru was our new home. We were living a dream in a foreign land serving to build God’s kingdom through volunteer missions with the Church of the Nazarene.
Back to the cabin-The clock was ticking on the arrival of the foreclosure process. We stopped making payments as we just did not have the cash to cover the mortgage. It was really tearing us up, and it looked like we were going to lose the cabin. Within a day or two of the foreclosure notice being processed, an offer finally came in.
It was not an offer that got us really excited. In fact, we were not sure if the bank would even look at it. It was a short sale and the offer was about as low as the bank would consider. Here is where the story gets exciting!
The offer was accepted. The people that were purchasing the cabin had a few things on their end, we had a few things on our end, but the process of escrow started and off to the finish line we raced.
During the process of escrow, Susan, the buyer discovered my email address somewhere on the correspondence paperwork. My email address was hosted with the website of the ministry organization with which we were working in Peru. She did a little cyber stalking and found out that we were volunteer missionaries.
She did the unthinkable, at least from the real estate agents standpoint. She contacted me. It was a strange thing for me, but it was a pleasant email that highlighted the idea that they were Christian people blessed by the opportunity to buy the cabin. They also let us know that they felt God present through the time that they found the cabin. It was a God thing on their end. Susan proceeded to tell me that she was blessed to know that we had gone into the mission field and that her and her husband had talked about doing the same, but for whatever reason, they never did. Here they were buying a cabin that had been used in ministry by a Christian family, all the while, they were going to use it much in the same way. It was encouraging to us that another Christian couple was going to buy and enjoy the cabin and use it for ministry.
One thing that really stood out in the email was that Susan was offering for us to use the cabin as if it was still ours. She was excited that we were doing the Lord’s work and that if we needed the cabin for any length of time, that all we had to do is let her know. It was ours to use. In fact, she let us know that she was going to leave “The Englund Family Cabin” sign up on the front porch.
I am writing this, knowing that Susan will probably read it. So understand that this was a bit weird that someone was going to be so gracious and so generous to us. It was one of those things where one has to question motives. This lady had no reason to bless us like this, as far as I could tell. God had a different opinion.
My thoughts were that people like that are hard to find. What are the chances that these people that were buying our cabin were such folk? It was kind of like running across someone that is so nice that it is hard to really believe them. I have had the privilege to know a couple of people like that, but the odds of running into another like that were not that great. Well, I had, but at the time, I was still unsure.
The offer to use the cabin came with much discussion amongst our family. My wife frankly thought it would give her the creeps to go back and use the cabin. She was so emotionally attached that it would be hard for her to see it again and re-experience the surroundings. She let me know that she may not be able to ever go back. I understood where she was coming from, but as a man, I was thinking more on the lines that it was just a bunch of sticks. She was much more emotionally attached.
We knew that visiting the cabin was not an option in the near future. So we put it out of our mind. We could come back to the discussion once we had plans to return to the US for a visit. We had planned on being in South America for a while with no set dates to return.
During the course of our time in Peru, we continued to stay in touch with these folks who bought the cabin, but not on a regular basis. Susan was and is a prayer warrior and has a network of people that she provides with prayer requests. I have the honor of being included on the email requests. That has been the bulk of our communication over the past year and half.
It was a late evening as I sat on the couch in our apartment in Cusco, Peru and my Blackberry device started buzzing. It was an email from Susan. This time it was not the prayer request type. It was addressed to me specifically. What I began to read brought me to point of humility and utter blessedness. Why does God do to me such things as this?
The email message went something like this-“Scott and Teri, Warren and I are no longer spring chickens and we have been discussing our plans for things when God decides it is time to take us home. We want to know if you would be able to cover the taxes and upkeep on the cabin if we were to give it back to you upon our passing. Talk to your family, pray about it, and let me know.”
As I sat on the couch in amazement, tears began to well up in my eyes. I read the message a few more times to make sure I was getting it right. Then it was time to share it with my wife. As I told her that she had to listen to this message, she could see that something had stirred me up. I am not sure if she could determine if it was good or bad news at the moment. I began reading and it was not long before I wiped the tears from own eyes only to lock vision with her as I saw the tears rolling down her cheeks. It was a moment in our lives that we just sat there speechless. For me, that is rare.
Well, yes! We’ll take it. Of course! Not sure how God could have conjured this one up, but it was not the first time I had been baffled by His brilliance. He was using a situation that we thought was all bad. It turned out that He had a better plan. In fact, not only was He able to bless us in a huge sort of way through our years at the cabin, but he was also blessing someone else by providing a wonderful retreat for them. In addition, we can still use the cabin as if it was still ours. And now, it looks like we may end up with the cabin after all. Besides, we are in the mission field and cannot even use it. Could I have thought out a plan that was remotely close to this? Not a chance. That is how the God I serve works!
After a couple of years in the mission field, our family was ready to return to the US for a visit. In fact, we left just a few days after receiving the message from Susan about the cabin. Susan had wanted us to come and use the cabin. We on the other hand, wanted to meet these people and see what was making them tick. We set up a time to go to the cabin as we needed a little R and R. We met Warren and Susan at a little restaurant in Cascade, Idaho, where we were able to visit for about 2 hours.
It was a great time of getting acquainted. They are wonderful people with a real heart to abide in God’s will. They have such an amazing outlook on life. Susan mentioned that she grew up in an atheist home. She had later gotten involved in witchcraft and that type of lifestyle. God had miraculously pulled her out by His grace. She is now living life as if it was a gift. It truly is…
Warren shared with me his background and how they came to Idaho. It is always interesting to see the types of people that make up this creation called life. God has blessed us with knowing these folks.
During our conversation over dinner, we were once again blessed by the evolving story of the cabin. They were able to share with us how they ended finding and acquiring the cabin from their standpoint. It is amazing to see the King of multi tasking in action.
It went something like this-God was lying on Susan’s heart that she was to make a large purchase. She managed to keep it to herself knowing that if it was God talking that He would confirm it through her husband. Besides, would God really want her to make a big purchase? She wrestled with God and just chalked it up to her own self that wanted something. At the same time, Warren was also feeling the same. Sure enough, God had been working on both of them. Even though God was sending the message, they ended up fighting God on it. They thought that God didn’t work like that. It seemed a bit odd that God was directing them to make a purchase. After much wrestling and not knowing the specifics, they continued with this idea of making a big purchase. They figured that God would make it happen if it was His will. So they forged on somewhat reluctantly.
It was a few days later that Susan had a strange and out of context conversation with a clerk at a store. During this conversation, the clerk had mentioned that there were some great deals on real estate in Donnelly, Idaho. Susan took that as a sign that maybe God was steering them to look in Donnelly and maybe she should give up the fight and let God work. She contacted a real estate agent to set up an appointment to show her some places. Of course, the agent wanted to know what she was looking for. When she told the agent that she was not sure and that God would reveal it, the agent must have rolled her eyes and wondered about the mental stability of this lady. It was during a time that most real estate agents were starving, so the agent decided to go with it.
Our cabin was on the list of upcoming foreclosures. The agent decided to take Susan by our place, as she thought it may be a good place to show. As they approached the door, the agent unlocked the lock box, entered the front door, and left Susan standing in the entry while the electricity was turned on.
Upon the agent’s return, Susan proceeded to tell the agent that she wanted it. “This is the one!” Susan exclaimed.
The agent brilliantly pointed out that Susan had not even seen the place yet. A short conversation continued and the agent realized that she better get the paperwork done before this crazy lady changed her mind. So the rest is history.
So, there we were back at the restaurant in Cascade, Idaho and Susan put the icing on the cake. She mentioned that she and Warren were going to meet with their attorney the following morning and that they had figured out a way to throw in some extra funds to cover the taxes so that it would not be burden on us.
In my wildest imagination could I ever think this would be happening to our family? We do not deserve it. We do not even need it. God has just impressed the beegeebees out of us (spell check doesn’t have that word). This story is a blessing like no other. God is good that way. That is the type of God I serve. It is just like Him to give something precious to his children, use it to bless others in the meantime, pass it on to some of His other children so they can use it for His glory, and then mix it all up like He did and end up leaving a trail of blessed people that are so excited about giving Him the glory that He deserves.
As the old hymn states, it’s just like His great love!