Keeping in touch with friends and family while living on the other side of the world.

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Good News

Doesn’t seem to be a lot of good news in the media these days!  But I guess that just reminds me of the best Good News – that God loves us, that his Son Jesus died to forgive us from our sins, and that one day God will bring his children home to heaven to live forever.  This year I’ve spent living out of boxes and suitcases makes me really long for that eternal home;  I’ll finally be able to unpack and settle in some place for good!

As for our housing situation here in France, the good news is that my in-laws have a buyer for their house and the transfer of ownership is October 3rd.   With that “eviction date” so close now for us, we have set our decision deadline for September 15th, to give us a good two weeks to pack and empty out the house.

Here’s the problem:   Nearly 12 million people (20% of France’s entire population) live in the Paris Metropolis.  Because of the over-population, owners have the privilege of being very choosy when renting their apartments.  It’s really hard to explain the whole ‘culture’ of renting in Paris.   It’s taken us 4 months to just kinda figure it out.  But we really have tried everything.  We even tried getting Guillaume’s parents to rent an apartment for us, and their application was also refused.

So, that last paragraph doesn’t look like it has a lot of good news in it, does it?    But, I guess it really does.  The good news is that God knows exactly where he wants us to be, and he is completely capable of accomplishing his will.    We would love to be able to get housing here and stay in France.  We’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money on our move over here.  We’ve made friends.  Guillaume has a good job that he enjoys, with good co-workers.   But if we don’t have housing lined up by the 15th next week, we have decided we will have to return to America.

If it was just us, Guillaume and I would go live under this amazing bridge in Paris! But well, we have Lily to think of, and she can't swim yet.

So, pray for us.  We’ll be making a few more phone calls today, following up on a few last housing leads.  Pray for God to open the right doors and close the wrongs ones.  Pray that we have peace with the decision we’re led to, whatever it may be.   God is good.   And, well, that really is just the best news.


Housing search update

Here’s a quick post to just update everyone on our search for housing here in France.

Since we arrived in France last fall, we’ve been living in my in-laws’ house, while they are on furlough for the year.  This has been an incredible blessing, as we’ve been able to have a cheap place to live while job searching and adjusting to life in general.   My in-laws will be returning to France next month, and hope to have their house sold by August, so they can move on to their next ministry several hours south of here.    Guillaume’s new job is about an hour’s drive south-east, so we’ve begun a search for our own housing in that area.   I am glad we started early, because we keep running into hurdles as we figure out the ins and outs of the French housing market.

Our original plan has been to rent an apartment, since we don’t really feel financially stable enough yet to take out a mortgage.   Renting is so simple in America, I guess I assumed it would be similar in France…. but, not so!   I think it has something to do with laws protecting renters from eviction, and also the expense of setting up a rent agreement, but owners are very picky about who can rent their apartments.  Owners require a dossier of documents, and then will review them, and then can refuse you for any number of reasons.   In your dossier you must prove that your net income is 3xs the month rent value (including all charges), that you have a steady job (copy of your work contract), tax documents, and copies of your previous 3 months rent payments.  Also, for all young couples (like us!), rarely will an owner accept a dossier unless we have a co-signer, outside of the immediate family.

So after long searching, we found a little apartment that would suit us, and the owner refused us, because… we have a baby.   Ok, this was pretty unexpected, since there was nothing that said children weren’t allowed.  But the realtor said, Oh yes- You will have a hard time finding a place to rent within your budget, because owners think your small family will outgrow the small apartment and you will move out soon.  Well, of course!  In my mind, renting isn’t a permanent situation.  We want to rent for a year or so, until we are settled and ready to buy a house.    And I definitely don’t want to rent a huge apartment just for a year, as that’s less money we’re saving for a future house.

So, since no one will rent a small apartment to us for just a year, our next step is actually applying to buy an apartment, as the mortgage will be significantly lower than a home mortgage.   Hopefully there will not be so many time-consuming, difficult steps in buying as there is in renting.   We only have 2 months to move, after wasting 2 months chasing dead ends.    Please keep us in your prayers as we keep searching for a place to live.  It has been quite frustrating, but if God wants us to stay in France, He will continue to provide for us as He has so far!