How have we ended up moving to Mankato MN in one of the snowiest winters of the century?
I’ll try to be brief but there are so many moments where we felt God’s presence along this journey. (And a few pictures along the way…)
- The lead person on the search committee is an InterVarsity guy, Steve Baty. We have known him for years!
- There is a huge university in town: second largest in the state of MN.
- The lead pastor was willing to drive the 4+ hours to visit us. He was in a t-shirt. We were in triple layers I think. He mentioned training for Grandma’s Marathon and that his wife was a personal trainer. (We also talked about equally important spiritual matters that we agreed upon…)
- On our first trip to scope out Mankato, our van broke down in Jordan, about 45 miles north of Mankato. The alternator stopped us flat a block off of 169. Immediately a man named Art pulled in behind us, offering help and jumper cables. In front of us, a police officer came to see if we were ok. Art became our angel, allowing us to unload our gear into the back of his extended cab truck and driving us to Mankato. We had a spiritual conversation with him and had a wonderful, comfortable ride the kids and me in the seat for 3. 2 of us shared a seatbelt (shhh).
- Well, since we had no van, we had to rely on our hosts for a vehicle. They just happened to have events unfold that cleared their calendar for the weekend and could lend us their SUV for the weekend. This family turned out to be such a blessing. When we returned later for our interviews in December, they took our 3 kids for a long Saturday when they were hosting a family birthday party. It was a blizzard and the kids enjoyed playing in the snow!
- On our Mankato visit, we drove around and found fun places like a Ninja Gym (now closed – too sad!) Of course the Y was on my list. And just think: we ran into an IV alumnus, VA, in the parking lot. Well not actually running – she was walking and we were too. (and instead of typing parking lot, Parking “love” came out… we did feel the love VA when we saw you!). VA was one of our students who traveled to Russia with us when we were newly weds of 5 weeks.
- We had our bathtub refinished in preparation for selling and as I spoke with the secretary, she asked why we were moving and fixing the tub. I told her. She paused in the coversation and said, “you’re not going to believe this but our husband and I moved down to Mankato to plant a church over 10 years ago.” I mean, really? You just can’t make this stuff up.
- Other than our Art story, my last “favorite, huge answer to prayer and can you believe this actually worked out” story is about our house. We got to hire two new pastors at Lakeview Covenant and their families are just so great. One of the families searched for a home all fall to no avail. Somewhere in my head I kept thinking “if the timing of this whole thing works out, they could buy our house!” After we knew that all systems were a go, I was having tea with Laura. We talked about their house hunt and how they had decided to hit the pause button since it was December. At some point, she did tell me she liked my house and I invited her to take a look. Laura, bless your heart, came and listened to every thing that was wrong with that place. By the end of December, we had negotiated and this is us on signing day.
- I can’t even begin to tell you all of the stories of our wonderful realtor who was working during Christmas to get us our new home (when I say new, I mean it in every way – it’s brand stinking [actually it smells awesome] and she is a runner and we have a running date planned… the stories of the friends here in Mankato who helped unload our truck in 90 minutes… the babysitter we met from Ghana… the neighbors who have been so kind… the great Y here….
- Last but not least, we did have some crazy complications right before moving: we decided we really wanted to spend quality time together in front of our TV and in our beds. Calista started us off with 104 temps and then I followed with chills and fatigue and Elam, not to be outdone kept his temps up to the same measure throughout the weekend before we moved. This is his bag of tissues from about 30 minutes one day… I was glad I hadn’t packed the tissues. We used so so so many. When we moved to Mankato we were still blowing noses so seriously one of our first big purchases and move-in tasks was to have a box in every.single.room. Let’s just say I am grateful we were still able to get moved, had a ton of help and are so glad to be healthy now\