We are living in extraordinary and turbulent times – in so many ways. I have a feeling we’ll look back and tell our grandchildren about this “period” of time of significant economic downturn, recession, and shifts. We can say that admit to this, right? Any arguments?
Couple weeks ago, I shared about how our church is being affected and how we’re choosing to respond. Thus far, the trend continues: more layoffs and only a handful of people finding work. It’s a tough season but as I shared in that post, there’s always an upside to challenges.
In this post, I’m sharing about our personal situation – not with an intent to incite any sympathy but to simply put it out there and to ask for your understanding of some likely changes to this blog and some practical help. In a sense, we’re in the midst of a “perfect financial storm.” There was a day or two [late last year] when I was absolutely paralyzed and gripped by fear. How did we get into this situation?
- The current economic crisis has heightened fear everywhere.
- We were trying to sell our home and placed it on the market for six months – in hopes of using the proceeds on funding a vision. We reduced our asking price 20% and no takers. We definitely had interest but when the credit stuff hit the fan, everyone fled. And of course, we invested some significant money to try to get the home in its best condition. Thought it was a good idea then.
- During those six months, we also lost rental income since we needed to stage the home and for that period, paid double mortgages. Ouch.
- We invested some funds in some initial costs for the poverty org.
- Minhee started grad school in the Fall and well, there’s expenses to that. But so excited for her…
And just like that, we fell into a huge hole. The church leadership was very gracious and gave us a 13K advance to help us get by last year [which they shared with the church membership at the church's annual meeting]. But of course, we’re now in a situation with 13K less income this year, a home we really needed to sell but now off the market since after 6 months of it being empty, and blah blah blah.
Long story short, we are blessed and I know that one way or the other, we’ll get through this season even if that means we don’t get what we want. It hasn’t turned out the way that we thought it would. We could have never envisioned the economic downturn but who did? We’re still committed to the poverty vision and our pledge. But in the meantime, there’s something more important:
I need to provide for my family. This is a must and a non-negotiable.
And because of the circumstances I listed above, we’re depleted and now in a foreign situation. We haven’t been in this kind of situation since 8 years ago when I was working as a custodian at a Barnes & Noble store while planting Quest Church. And just like then, we’re doing okay. We”re learning more life lessons; We have peace and are working creatively and prayerfully to emerge through this season.
Please don’t mis-read what I’m writing here. We’re not asking for anything but I am sharing how we’re trying to navigate through this storm:
- Reducing Bills & Selling stuff. Just like everyone else. A few month ago, sold my mid-life crisis car and now, I’ve got no choice but to sell my collectible books. If you’re a collector, let me know.
- Gift Cards. We decided to convert our airplane mileage and other points to Gift Cards. This is a practical way you can help ONLY IF you need these Gift Cards. There were numerous options but we decided to convert our mileage to about $1500 of Home Depot Gift Cards in $50/increments. If you need them and want to “purchase” them, let me know and we can make arrangements. This would be a big help for us.
- Ads for the Blog. I’ve been mulling this for some time but now, no more mulling. Providing for my family is worth the sting of being called a “sellout.” In the coming month or so, I’ll be sharing about ad space for those that might be interested in sponsorship since I get emails from publishers already and blah blah blah. I rather go that route than working via Google Ads. And I promise there won’t be any ads for Viagra, Cialis, or other fun stuff. This is to give you some fore warning in the case you want to unsubscribe now.
- Lastly, Minhee and I hope to temporarily move out of our residence home and into an apartment over the summer and possibly longer. Our ideal renters: someone in the larger Seattle area who are renovating their home and in need of a furnished home or someone working in Seattle for the summer. We did this for a month last summer and thankfully, worked out well.
- I’m going back to modeling. Which is why the above are important. :)
The situation isn’t ideal and it feels embarrassing but we know that if we can get through this storm, we’ll emerge in a better place – and by that, I’m not talking from a financial perspective at all. It’s much deeper.
We know that God is deepening us in maturity, trust, and faith.
We are blessed. We have assets and stuff. This is certainly a tough stretch but I know it pales in comparison to folks in our church that are unemployed, making decisions about health insurance, etc. And certanly not even in the same stratosphere with those who are living on the streets or wondering where their next meal will come from. I sincerely hope that you are doing well and learning to place your trust in God and looking for opportunies to be gracious and generous with those around you.