Johnson Family home in Paradise Point, Signal Mountain, TN!
Brett and I want to say a big thank you to our family and friends for all the love, care and support you have shown to us through the years, especially with regard to our housing. Eighteen years ago we sold our home in Belmont, California and we have rented since then. The story of God’s provision and guidance in this not-always-easy renting process is truly amazing (and one day needs to be told in a book!) Five-and-a-half years ago, we packed up our entire household and put it in storage in the Bay Area, and the life of being “upscale gypsies” continued.
Throughout this entire period, we have been dreaming, longing, discussing, praying, planning and mostly WAITING and TRUSTING for the day to come when we could have a rēp base and also be settled in our own home again. This has also been a deep longing for our family. In the past we thought it would be in California and we worked towards that. In recent years, we realized that some of that initial vision was needing to be adjusted and we started to think through different options. We have traveled to different parts of the USA to check out various housing possibilities, in between getting the work in South Africa up and going.
The BIG NEWS is that…
In December 2018 we saw God make a way for not ONE place for the Johnsons to live, but TWO!!
House one: the rep residence
Because of the great generosity of the rēp community, we were able to purchase, remodel and move into the “rēp residence” in Cape Town in mid-December, 2018. This property will be used as our home and also for hosting rēp leadership trainings, many other events, hospitality and as a sending base to take rēp into Africa and beyond!
Read the encouraging story about this rēp house and the remodeling process here.
House Two: the Johnson Family Home
WHY TWO HOUSES?
In June 2018, we shared that we believed God was leading us to buy a house in Cape Town AND a family home in the USA. We outlined our thoughts in this video. Please watch to get context. At the point when we shared this video, we had just purchased the home in Cape Town, but didn’t have anything lined up in the USA.
I (Lyn) inherited some money when my parents’ estate closed early in 2018 and we began to look more seriously for a home that we could purchase for our family using these precious resources. I have felt such an urgency to have a place where we could gather as a family, especially during the holidays, and also to provide a landing place so we could get our household items out of storage after SO many years. We had a list of criteria including:
Not too far from my sister Michelle
Close enough to an international airport to facilitate all our travel
A place where our family and specifically our grandchildren could come to be together, relax and have fun
A place we are able to afford, so the San Francisco Bay Area was not a possibility!
A home in the USA where we could spend a couple of months each year to enable us to have more contact with our precious USA friends and community who are not able to come to South Africa for a visit.
A place that enables Brett to get to paying work in the USA as Dollars go further than Rands!
We looked online on a daily basis, having previously made some road trips looking for houses in various states in the South East.
And then after a very unusual set of circumstances…
ON DECEMBER 31 AT 10.30 PM (South African time) A HOUSE IN THE USA TRANSFERRED INTO OUR NAME!
We moved into the Cape Town rēp house on December 18 and two weeks later owned one personally in the USA.
CRAZY!! Can you believe God?!!
The year ended with God’s incredible provision! I had written, “Buy a family home in the USA” as a 2018 goal and was able to miraculously check that off at the very last minute!!
Rejoice with us and be encouraged that God hears our hearts’ desires, and even if the wait is LONG, He fulfills them in His timing! (These photos were taken in summer when I saw the house for the first time.)
It is quite a miracle story!! Here is the background.
On June 7, 2018 (the same day Brett received the word that we should buy two houses—see video above) with just minutes to spare before someone else bought it, we put in an offer on the Cape Town rēp house, and the offer was accepted!
On July 10 2018, I (Lyn) saw a property in the USA online. It looked suitable, and remarkably, was very close to where my sister, Michelle lives. I spoke with the realtor to find out the details. There was a contingent offer on the house that I was told was very unlikely to materialize, but otherwise all looked good. The realtors sent photos and videos of the house over the next couple of days.
Four days after seeing the house for the first time, I booked a ticket to Chattanooga and hopped on a plane the next day! I felt a bit nervous, wondering if I was totally crazy. When Fay heard I was coming, she booked an overnight flight to join me, and Michelle and Hubert drove 15 hours from Connecticut to be there with me for support. The pressure was on! Would we like the house?!
That morning before going to see the house, my daily Bible readings were filled with house and land references, and my heart filled with peace. Fay, Hubert, Michelle and I went to see the house, liked it and, after speaking with Brett who was back in Cape Town, I put in an offer for the amount that was on my heart. The owners accepted it as a back-up offer and we all went out to celebrate. (The price for this house was lower than anything else we had been looking at, and ridiculously low from a Californian perspective!)
Two days later we heard that the other buyer had removed their contingency (the realtor had said there was a 1% chance of that happening) and, if they were able to get a mortgage, the house would be theirs. We were very disappointed, but began to pray. For six weeks we experienced a roller coaster ride as there was some possibility of the house becoming ours, but on September 1 we heard the house had closed. It was not to be ours.
I (Lyn) cried myself to sleep (true story) and my sister was so very disappointed. For 40 years we have never lived anywhere near each other and we were both looking forward to the opportunity of living in the same area (at least for part of the year.) Michelle said she had never prayed so hard for anything. Fay said, ‘Maybe they will fix it up and then sell it to you.’ I wrote in my journal that I didn’t understand the whole situation as I had felt led to go (in a quiet, not very clear way), but stated that I would trust God. We moved on, not looking at other houses (the motivation had totally gone), and gave our full attention to the rēp Residence in Cape Town.
On December 1, I (Lyn) received a text from the TN realtors who had gone to get their hair cut, and the hairdresser (who happened to be the new owner of the house we did not get) asked, “Do you still have that interested party, and would they want to buy the house? If they want to buy it, we will take it as a sign that we should sell. If not, we will keep it. We don’t plan to put it on the market.” Having been assured they were serious sellers, the realtors contacted us to see if we were still interested. A couple of days later, on December 7 we made the same offer we had made less than 5 months before to the previous sellers. (We called from our car so Davey wouldn’t hear the conversation as we wanted it to be a surprise!) The offer was accepted the next morning.
After some challenges in moving the money as we were out of the country, we closed at 10:30pm, our time, on December 31st! The couple (with 7 children) who sold the house to us, moved out after exactly 4 months!
I met the initial owners when I went in July and they are a delightful, older couple. They built themselves a smaller home on the adjacent land so will be our neighbors. They were thrilled when they heard that we now own the house. The family that sold it to us have 6 children and have moved to be closer to schools, etc.
Brett and I are still trying to get our minds around all this! God’s timing is so incredible. Our brains could never have coped with all we needed to do to make the rēp residence a reality at the same time as trying to think through and plan for the house in the USA. It seems as if God took it off the table and then placed it back there again when He knew we had the margin to cope with it.
It was so very, very special to share the excitement with two of our children in person when Fay and Davey were here in Cape Town with us. We got James and Jessy on Facetime as we shared. (I wrapped a house ornament in a box inside a box!) These photos show the JOY and the tears that we all shed as we celebrated in God’s goodness and provision for us!! After sharing with our children, we contacted Michelle and Hubert to tell them that we will be spending part of each year in THEIR town! They were delighted! I am sure my mom and dad are smiling in heaven as they see their hearts’ desire fulfilled with their two daughters having homes near each other!! How amazing!!
Brett and I flew to Tennessee on January 30 so that Brett could see the house for the first time! We received the keys and are making plans for what needs to be done in the house before we move our household items here. It is an old house, not very large, but with great potential, so another remodeling project is about to begin!! The house has almost 8 acres of land and is part of a private group of 6 homes behind a “security” gate. This enables us to have property, but not feel isolated or insecure, especially as we won’t be there most of the time. The neighbors have been so welcoming bringing us the gift of a holly bush and a freshly baked cake.
To be honest, the prospect of all that needs to be done to get our house set up in Tennessee along with what is happening here in Cape Town is a bit daunting. We are taking it step by step and will share the details as we go. Right now we are still finishing the Cape Town house as there are some essential items that need to be completed such as the front wall which we need from a security perspective, and Brett’s office. We are also ramping up preparations for rēp training and Institute and Heartistry activities so all the “house work” needs to happen in our “spare” time.
We are deeply grateful for each person who has prayed with and encouraged us through the many years. We know this is God’s work and not our own, and we are extremely thankful.
Our new address will be 112 Paradise Point, Signal Mountain, TN 30377 (great address, right?)
The Tennessee realtors that have worked with us were so excited (and amazed) by this entire transaction. They shared in a text, “Seriously, this entire transaction has been like a Hallmark Movie…The Christmas Miracle at Paradise!”
Our prayer is that God receives all the glory for everything that has, and will happen in these two homes. We will continue to share the story as it unfolds.
We would love to hear your thoughts about this post, or any words you have to share with us. You can email us at Lynj@inst.net.
Brett and Lyn
P.S. Fay quickly drew this to share the layout of the house with Brett after seeing it for the first time. She is so excited about the possibilities!