This is going to be a long letter, please read it through :)
Buffalo Area Timber Bay is going to be looking for a new home. After 8 years in the Loft, it is time to find our next home.
The owner of the building we've been in has been insanely generous in allowing us to use his space without ever asking for a dime! We've used his electricity, WiFi, heat, air conditioning, parking and he's never asked for anything. Plus, there is no tax write off for space.
Now, as heart wrenching of a decision as it was for him and his wife, the need is there for him to rent out this space. This was not an easy decision at all. He and his wife love Timber Bay, love our kids and, as I said, are insanely generous. It's been a good relationship and I am very thankful for it. All good things come to end and, as far as Timber Bay being housed in their building, it is the end.
We hope to finish out the school year, but that all depends on how long it takes to find a suitable renter. The space will be listed in March and it is kind of up in the air from there. We, however, will start looking around right now.
We told all of our kids this week. The responses were as varied as our kids. Anywhere from big tears to , "ok, now can we have pizza?" I cannot put into words what this space has meant to our kids. We are trying to focus on the opportunity we have to find a new place and the chance for God to show us just how big He is, but the sense of loss is still very strong. Our kids have all lost so much their entire lives and this is as big as any. My hope is that, in getting through this, we will all be bonded together stronger because the bonds will be founded in relationship instead of place. But we still will need a place.
Our plan right now is to find four or five "temporary" places to rotate between while we search and wait on God to bring us the next "permanent" place. We've had a couple of youth pastors from local churches offer the use of their youth rooms. We've talked to the people at the Buffalo Community Center and they are excited about partnering with us. We've even had people offer use of their homes. If we had to move out tomorrow we would have places to go, and that is a big load off my mind. I believe that we are going to see support in this that will be absolutely amazing.
Also, we have a LOT of stuff we need to store. Couches, tables, chairs, refrigerator, stove, bike stuff, camping stuff, pool table and sooo much more! And without knowing how long we will be storing it, it's hard to know the best route. Do we buy a large shipping container as opposed to renting a storage space? Either way it could cost a lot of money that I was not planning on using this way this year. Lots of decisions are going to have to be made along the way as we just go step by step.
I hope that is enough information for now and that you can imagine the magnitude of this without me over-dramatizing it. It's a big change!
I need your prayers! I do not want to go anywhere other than where God leads us. I've been under some very strong attacks where my mind goes all sorts of unreasonable places and I need clarity in order to make the decisions that lead us where God wants us to go.
Also, I need your ideas! Do you know someone with a place that might be available? Do you know about shipping containers or storage lockers or the advantages of one over the other? Or maybe someone who has space we could store stuff in? God has used me over the years in places where I've had to develop some business-sense, but I'm far from being very good at making businesslike decisions. I'm open to hear ideas or advice you may have for me!
As we told our middle school kids about this, one of them started dreaming about having a mansion with go-kart tracks and swimming pools and enough rooms that we all could just live there. I'm not sure what came over me, but I told him start talking to God about that and sometimes God is just waiting for someone to try something that seems completely ridiculous and impossible because it is the exact thing He has been wanting to do. I don't know that God wants us in a mansion, but I do think it's time to start thinking crazy, impossible thoughts and see where God would lead us!
I told you this would be a long letter:)
At 6'1" and around 250 lbs. Bob* looks like he could be a defensive lineman on any school football team. Once he smiles, though, it's impossible to picture him throwing aside opposing players to smash a quarterback. He is a gentle giant.
Bob has lived in many places over the past 14 years of his life. Too many to be involved consistently in any activity. Currently he lives in a local hotel with his dad and siblings. Peace, quiet and stability are rare commodities for Bob. That's part of why Timber Bay is so important to him right now. Bob's older brothers and sister were involved with Timber Bay for years. Watching them made Bob want to be involved also.
At 11 years old, he attended his first camp at camp. At 12 years old, he started attending the middle school groups and camps. Now he is involved with our high school group. Timber Bay is a place of consistency for him. The staff are always there. The large group time is always there. The Loft is always there. This provides a security that he desperately needs in his life.
In his own words, if he was not involved with Timber Bay he would spend most of his time getting high, which he hasn't done in over three months now. The camp provides the peace and quiet that Bob craves. His dream is to move to Alaska one day to have a wide open space. Until then, he has Timber Bay.
Around town, he enjoys going fishing. Whether we catch anything or not, he simply enjoys being by a lake where the only noise is a slight breeze, chipmunks playing on the rocks and an occasional eagle's cry.
* (not his real name)