Such a Romp as No One Has Ever Had
”An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”
― G.K. Chesterton
Who knew that starting a school would be such an adventure?!? Well you probably did...most people besides us knew. Perhaps that's why they say ignorance is bliss. They say love is blind and it's love that fuels dreams...therefore it's only logical that dreams are blissfully blind. Over dinner with some people older than wiser than us, one dinner friend told us we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into and we should bow out. The other chuckled and said, "that's the beauty of it! The only way they would have the courage to do this is if they didn't know all that was ahead." We've known that we were blind, therefore my prayer has consistently been:
God of Vision be my sight.
But being blind to the looming challenges ahead is easy and kinda nice. When I'm being really honest though I have to admit that I've allowed my doubt to cloud my vision and miss God's faithful presence. As the journey hit road bumps and things felt hard I was so quick to wallow in my tears and blame God and throw accusatory "why's" at heaven. Seeing things in retrospect brings so much clarity, and we have been so blessed to see lovely traces of God's faithfulness whisping though our turmoil and doubts. In fact, those faint whisperings are growing in volume the more and more this journey unfolds.
So here's the whole story:
On April 30th I scheduled a showing for a property at 4328 Jackson Ave. The outside looked like a jungle hiding a janky metal building. I was doubtful that we'd find any promise, but there just weren't many buildings to consider. So I meet the investor who was going to purchase a building for us and we walked through the building. We were pleasantly surprised. The inside was almost ideal for our situation. It was well maintained and looked great! So we made an offer on the building. They wanted $220,000 we offered much less and in the end we agreed on $180,000 and set the closing date for 45 days. That put us in the building about 2 weeks before school was to start. It all seemed so perfect and that is where things got messy.
Due to strange zoning issues and issues with working with an out of state bank we hit snag after snag. We extended the closing date and worked on zoning issues and licensing issues and all sorts of things but we couldn't get it all done by the first day of school. So out of the blue we got a message from the pastor of Wornall Road Baptist Church. He found us on Facebook and wanted to know how his church could help. I was so frazzled at this point that I kinda stuttered about money and he interrupted me and said, "what about space? We have lots of space we can offer." I was overwhelmed by God's provision.
So we moved into Wornall Road Baptist Church. We created what we affectionately call "The Pop-Up Classroom." We have to tear down and move out all of things every Tuesday and Friday. It's not ideal, but it's wonderful! Meredith's car holds our non-perishable food supply, a myriad of school resources and donations. My house literally looks like a school building exploded in it. There are books and boxes and crayons and things I didn't even know existed filling the living room and basement. It's a mess. But somehow it's a beautiful mess.
So limbo is the word we use to describe where we are. This horribly uncertain waiting period has tested our patience and our faith and our thankfulness and it’s there where the story starts to get good.
The investment team working to purchase the building realized they couldn't just keep waiting, so they sat down and made a plan to offer the bank less money and close in 10 days and just take the property as is and we'd work through the zoning issues at a later date. Literally, hours before they made the call to the bank the codes office called us. They informed us that if we purchase the building and use it for anything besides education we have to update the building to the 2012 code standards. Lucky for us we are all about education, unlucky for the bank because they were hoping we would back out and they would sell to this other group who was interested in the property and that group wanted to put in an adult day care facility. The updates would cost over $100,000. The adult day care center backed out quick. So the bank called us and asked if we would consider paying a lower price and close in 10 days and take the building as is. We chuckled and said we'd think about it even though we were prepared with an offer. And as we pretended to think, the bank got a call from the current people leasing the building telling them the air conditioner went out, the hot water heater went out and the parking lot had caused 2 flat tires. We already knew these things were issues and budgeted to fix them already. The bank didn't know that and took an additional $7,000 off the price of the building. So through all of the waiting and uncertainty the building went from costing $220,000 to $144,000. Crazy.
Then we hit some more snags. When we purchased the building last Tuesday we also inherited the lease that the bank had with the current people leasing. We had already agreed to continue to lease part of the building to them, but when we went to work out a lease agreement we found out from them that there were some issues with their licensing that would probably prevent us from sharing the space. ARRRR....that means that we have to give them 30 days to move out. That pushes out timeline of moving in back and we don't really like kicking people out.
But the people leasing the building are clearing out a room for us and we get to move in this weekend. I don't really know how all the details are working, I just know we get to be in our building. It's again not best case scenario, but we're learning that God has a much richer understanding of best case scenario and we trust He is up to something we can't see.
Whew...that was a lot of details just to say we have a building and we have a God who is fighting for His glory and we get to sit back and watch Him work. It's beautiful...I think C.S Lewis summed it up well with this word picture from Narnia:
"'Oh, children, catch me if you can!' He stood for a second, his eyes very bright, his limbs quivering, lashing himself with his tail. Then he made a high leap over their heads and landed on the other side of the table. Laughing, though she didn’t know why, Lucy scrambled over to reach him. Aslan leaped again. A mad chase began. Round and round the hilltop he led them, now hopelessly out of their reach, now letting them almost catch his tail, now diving between them, now tossing them in the air with his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching them again, and now stopping unexpectedly so that all three of them rolled over together in a happy laughing heap of fur, arms and legs. It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind. And the funny thing was that when all three finally lay together panting in the sun the girls no longer felt the least bit tired or hungry or thirsty."