Friday, December 11, 2009

Wow, God!

What fun it is to share this post with you--it's a testament to God's faithfulness and grace!

As you know, we recently moved from the DC area to California. What you may not know is when we moved to the DC area we bought our first home. Our first townhome, to be exact, and we loved it. We were especially happy that we could put 20% down, and we eagerly awaited the time we would sell it and make the kind of profit the people we bought it from had made.

Fast forward four years. It's February 2009 and we're scheduled to move in August. The economy has tanked, along with our house price. We have two choices: rent or sell, and neither appeals to us. We discover the stimulus package that was passed in February includes a provision to reimuburse military people who purchased their homes and are obliged to sell for a loss because the job is moving us, so we begin the lengthy application process. We are told the office is understaffed and overwhelmed with applications, but the policies that will regulate who will be reimbursed and how much are still being finalized. Check back in May.

We check back in May. After stating on their website that the Housing Assistance Program (HAP) policies will be finalized mid-May, we find that is a mistake and they have no definite answers when we can expect any further information. We can no longer wait to make our home decision so we decide to sell, be finished with the house, and take the loss. We find a great realtor and put the house on the market just after Ellie's birth. Because our house is a normal sale, we have four offers on the table the first weekend. After much prayer, we choose one and the decision is done. We are relieved and frustrated--our home's value decreased 33% since we purchased it, and when we closed in July, we brought more money to the table (to satisfy the mortgage) than the buyers did to purchase the house. In July, the HAP program is still unfinalized, though we know we will qualify if they ever get their act together. We are not hopeful that will happen this year.

Fast forward again to the fall. Every now and then Jon receives a seemingly random email from the HAP program asking for electronic copies of documents. He sends these immediately and we continue to wait, though, with very low expectations. I mean, honestly--do we really think the government is going to come through and reimburse us money lost when so many others have lost money as well? When does it ever work that we get free money? Seriously!

Mid-November we receive a letter in the mail stating we do, in fact, qualify for reimbursement under the HAP guidelines. This is great news--but when (if ever?) will we see money? We continue to be skeptical, but the prayers for this to work out have never ceased. Low and behold, I come home from running errands in the beginning of December and we have a phone message. The HAP program called to tell us they have issued our check and it should be arriving by midafternoon the next day. HOLY COW! This is unbelieveable. When I called back to verify they have our correct address I don't dare ask how much the check is for. We don't know what to expect, how much they may have deducted for taxes, etc. The next day the FedEx envelope arrives. I kid you not--the reimbursement is over 80% of our loss. In the letter that accompanied the check we find the president signed an addendum (in Nov) exempting HAP funds from taxes. Our incredulity reaches new heights until this can actually sink in. There it is, a check from the Treasury department, with Jon's name on it.

We know that this is a tremendous and completely undeserved blessing from the Lord. Only because of His grace are we in this position now, and we can not thank Him enough for it. I hope this can be a testament to you about how our God is able to edo xceedingly more than we can ask for or even imagine. He did it in our lives and I know He can do it in yours. Trust Him! Thank you, Jesus.

P.S. Sorry, no picture of the check. It's already on its way to the bank. :)


Betsy said...

God is indeed amazing. Much prayer has covered this challenge and we are grateful with you for His kindness, faithfulness and abundance. What thrilling news.. What a Christmas gift. Blessings and joy...Mom + Dad

Angela said...

That is so fantastic!! Praise God!!

Barak Strickland said...

Jon & Jen

Thanks so much for the Christmas letter! Congrats on surviving 2009 :-)

If you have not seen our family letter for 2009 it's posted at

Merry Christmas!

Barak (and family who are in Paraguay)

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a blessing! God really cares!

Shari Baker said...

Yea! What good timing, too. God rocks!

Anonymous said...

This is such good news! What a Christmas gift to the Luminati family!
Loved the video of Ellie opening her first gift. She's quite good at unwrapping. Good helping, Kate!
Loved your Christmas pictures.
Jon, thinking of you this week with the finals.
Al and JoAnn

Nana said...

I wasn't thrilled with the stimulus package, but to know someone who actually benefitted from it is amazing. What a blessing for you. Thanks be to God for His amazing grace. And who is so efficient to have already sent Christmas presents to you? Wow, I'm impressed with that person! What fun to see Ellie enjoying tearing the paper. And big sister is a big help, too!