I love God’s math! His math is not like our math – His math is “immeasurably more.”
Soon after we, as His church at Rolling Hills, moved into the WareHouse, we started to pray about 5 acres of the land to the north of us for future growth. We thought it would be great to have some land for green space, children’s playground and some future parking. At the time, the owners quoted us a price of $300,000 per acre since it was away from the main road. Obviously, this was more than we could afford. The 5 acres was a part of a total of 27 acres. The entire 27 acres carried an asking price of $8,500,000. One night I was standing in the home of Steve Craver, one of our godly lay-leaders at church, and Steve said, “Jeff, God is going to give us all 27 acres.”
Over the next 3 years, we have continued praying and watching. We periodically made more inquires about buying 5 acres, but it just never seemed to go anywhere. But, at the end of 2012, God did an incredible miracle.
By His grace, we were able to buy our own loan on our building back at a discount from the FDIC. In one night, 2.8 million dollars was gone. Then, this past September of 2013, we found out that the land was going into foreclosure – all 27 acres. The current owners had not paid on the land, so it was reverting back to the original owners. We did not know what would happen at this point. Jason Holwerda, a wonderful lay-leader of our Land & Facilities Team, showed up for the scheduled foreclosure at the courthouse and met the attorney of the estate. The attorney said he would talk with this people and they would let us know if they were interested in selling.
The next week we received a call that they were interested, but they only wanted to sell all 27 acres – they did not want to break it up. We asked for a price. They said that the family who owned it only wanted the money that they paid for it years ago out of it, so the entire 27 acres would be $2,350,000. This was an unbelievable price! For instance, we would be paying about $1.80 a square foot whereas land down the street is listed at $9.50 a square foot (they probably will not get $9.50 a square foot, but it does give us some perspective).
We drew up a contract and sent it off to the owners. We did not hear anything for a week or so – we knew something was up. Finally, the Executor of the Estate called and said that one of the owners had changed her mind and now she did not want to sell. The attorney and the Executor deeply apologized because they felt they had misrepresented her intentions to us. We were bewildered, but we knew God was in control. He was the One making everything happen in the first place. If He wanted us to have it, then He would provide.
After a couple of weeks, the head of our Land & Facilities Team called the Executor. The Executor told us, “You guys must have been praying, because yesterday this deal was dead. Dead as a doornail. Now, today, both owners wants to sell and they want to close by the end of January because they need money for a new house.” We were shocked and excited at the same time.
We only have three weeks to close, and there is a lot to do. From surveys to appraisals, there are still many things that need to come together. But, as only God can, everything seems to be lining up. By God’s grace, we had already arranged financing (before we knew they might not sell), so when they asked for an earlier close date we were ready. A bank has stepped up, given us a great interest rate, and now we are just waiting for the appraisal and closing documents to be executed. We are continuing to pray for whatever God wants in this situation. This is His church, and He continues to do miracles!
We are not sure what all God will want us to do with this property. Obviously, we will need future parking because God is continuing to grow His church. Also, we know we want a children’s playground, green space and possibly sports fields for our community. In addition, there may be an opportunity to sell off part of the road-frontage to help pay for the rest of it. We are not exactly sure, but we know God has a plan.
As Steve said, “Jeff, God is going to give us all 27 acres!” From a refinance one year ago and 2.8 million gone, to the land being foreclosed on in 2013 and the price for all 27 acres being 2.35 million; I would have to agree and say, “Yes, God is giving us all 27 acres.”
I love my God, and I love His math! Watch the church announcement here!