Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Grace Upon Grace in Cartagena

This is the continuation of what I wrote of yesterday about what God is doing in Cartagena and His Colombia Grace Foundation.

We went to meet with the chicken coop property owner this morning. We met with him and his daughter, Maria, at their attorney's home. We met for about 15 minutes while Ramon and the owner, Javier, Maria, Jhorman and their attorney chatted in Spanish. Maria asked us a few questions and then announced that everyone was in agreement and that the deal could proceed. They agreed to start the process today and accomplish as much as possible. Maria also revealed to us that the property was in her name and that she was the actual owner of it. As we stood to leave, THEIR ATTORNEY said that we should pray about the transaction and asked Mike to pray. We came together in the middle of the room and joined hands and Mike prayed that God's grace would be revealed in this transaction and that above all that God would be glorified in this ministry. It seemed amazing to me that we had gone from dealing with a guy and his attorney who had shown themselves to be rather greedy and less than honest, to dealing with owners who wholeheartedly approved of the future ministry on their property and were willing to pray with us about it.

When the others left the room and Mike, Josh , Maria and I were left alone, I began to tell Maria about how we had come to their home the day before with no real intention of buying their property, and how God had changed all three of our minds. She related to us that they had dealt on a sale of the property two months ago and it fell through. I asked her how long she was visiting from Florida and she told us that she had arrived here this Wednesday, and would be leaving next Tuesday. She had planned on making this trip two weeks prior, but for personal reasons had postponed it til now.

We marveled together at the "coincidence" that she just happened to be here when we were. Mike told her that she was welcome to visit the property at anytime. She said that she had wanted to ask if she could do that, but didn't want to be that bold. She proceeded to tell us that her and her husband have a furniture business in Florida, but they have a burden for working with children in some manner. She said that they are seeking God's will for their life and that this deal was part of the answer to their prayers. God showed us yet again that his entire undertaking is not about the property, it is about the hearts of His people. It had never occurred to me that God would bless the lives of the SELLER of the property through this ministry. He see's way further than we do.

We left to begin gathering documents and photocopies and to meet with the government officials that are necessary to complete the transaction. It was already afternoon on Friday and we were skeptical of getting much done this late in the day on Friday. Little did we know that we were in for an amazing day. We went and picked up our attorney and as we were driving downtown, she began singing How Great Thou Art in Spanish. Here we are, riding through a city in a foreign country, singing a hymn, in a foreign language, with our attorney. We met up with Jaimey, our interpreter, and went to the government office to find out about translation of our English documents to Spanish. The lady at this office was a Christian and when Ramon told her about the orphanage, she offered to help us in any way she could. Though it was late Friday, she expedited her part and told Ramon where to go to obtain the official translation.

We went to another government building and met up with Javier and went in to obtain another document. When we went in, the government official rose from his chair and greeted Javier. They were old friends. Again our paperwork was expedited and we were on our way within minutes.

Our attorney called and said that she had everything that she needed and that we were ready to proceed. Ramon left to go to the official translator's office, while we went to an internet cafe to call home and begin the money wire transfer. As we entered the internet cafe, there was a sign above the door that read: Dios es Bueno. God is good in Spanish. We had just been singing that on the sidewalk on the way to the cafe. We were able to contact Sharon and set the wire transfer in motion.

Ramon picked us up and told us that the translation would be very expensive. Usually. When he told the translator about the orphan ministry, she told him that she would take it home with her and do it after work for free. She wanted to be a part of the ministry.

As things stand right now, we will have all of the necessary documents in place a 10:00 am tomorrow(Saturday) and will sign the papers then. The money will be transferred into the owners account at 11:00 Monday and the property will belong to Columbia Grace Foundation. Mike had read that it takes an average of 22 days to complete a property purchase in Colombia. God had move that time frame up to about 2 days.

As we drove home to Pastor Ramon's house the sun was setting over the ocean and it was a beautiful sunset. We decided that God had given us that just as icing on the cake of blessing. We were overwhelmed with joy at the work of His hand. We agreed that we must go up on the roof tonight and sing His praises.

Maria had mentioned that they used to call the property the Nest. Josh suggested that we now name it Nest of Grace. Mike looked nest up in the Spanish dictionary and the word for nest is Nido. So the official name of the property is Nido de Gracia.

I was reminded of the story in the bible of when Jesus was about to enter into Jerusalem and sent some of His disciples to fetch a young colt for Him to ride on. When they went to do that and were asked what they were doing, they said their lord had need of it. They were immediately given permission. These were people that God had in place to fulfill a specific ministry at a specific time, just like he did today. Everywhere we went and everyone we met, were God's people, ready to do a specific task at a specific time, to fulfill God's purpose. From Pastor Ramon to the owners, attorneys, translators and government officials, He had them there and ready.
Praise the glory of His Grace!

Sorry it is so long. We had to proclaim God's wonderful work before we forgot anything.
Rick

Friday Grace In Cartagena

I wanted to tell you about yesterday how God worked. After we looked at the chicken property, none of us had much peace about it. When we realized that Ramon was taking us to meet the owner, we told him that we didn't know if we were interested or not. He was irritated and told us he had already set up the meeting and that we should go. We reluctantly agreed. We all were feeling like we wanted God to lead us but couldn't see how He could change our mind about this property. As we walked into the owners home, we all just wanted to get the meeting over with and go.

As we were talking with them, It struck me that we were dealing with people completely different than the previous owners we had dealt with. The first owner was a voodoo shaman. The second owner was only interested in the money, and was dishonest with us. This family was happy that the property that they had loved for 40 years was to be used for an orphan ministry. They had lowered the price. ( last night we found out that they had lowered $40,000 from their original price!) They showed us hospitality and grace and were very pleasant int heir business discussions.
Their daughter, who is visiting from America, took over the translation and did a great job.

As we left their home, I realized that God had indeed changed my heart about the property. Suddenly all of the positive aspects became prominent in my mind. The extra work of removing the chicken coops seemed insignificant, in light of getting this fresh perspective on the history and the heritage of the property. I realized that while we were looking at the amount of work that it would be, that God was providing us with something far more significant. That the heart of the people that He is using is His priority. He could use any property to fulfill this ministry, but He was showing me that the heart of the previous owners was important to Him. I walked out of their home believing that this was God's plan all along.

When we got home to Ramon's house, we went up on the roof to pray and worship. As I described my feelings, Mike and Josh were nodding in agreement and saying that they had the same exact response. They both described how bummed they were on the ride to the owner's home and that they both thought maybe we should just come home and wait and see what God was doing. When the elevator stuck, it seemed as if we were being thwarted at every turn. They walked into the owner's home feeling like me. Let's get this over with and go home. They both realized that as they left, they were sold on this property. That God had indeed changed their heart, though none of us knew yet what the others were feeling. As we all described our feelings both before and after the meeting with the owners, we realized that it would not be that significant if one of us had changed our mind, but it was not one or even two, but all three of us were describing the exact same feeling and experience. Of having our hearts inexplicably changed, in a matter of minutes, without even being aware it was happening. We all just suddenly realized our mind had been changed, when we felt certain that it would not. Quite the coincidence don't you think? We realized that only God could do this. We thanked Him and had a great time of worship and praise to Him. What a mighty and gracious God we serve. He works in the hearts of men in spite of our short sightedness. When we least expected it, He blessed us and worked in our hearts. When we were focused on the immediate, God revealed the important. Glory to His name.

Even if this deal does not go through, we will praise God for showing us this. he has renewed our confidence in Him yet again and we are in great anticipation of what he is going to do.