Thursday, March 4, 2010


Holly and I are at a crossroads in our life. We both recently graduated college and have begun our careers. This is a really good thing and I'm excited... well sorta... bittersweet at best. Shortly after coming to know the Lord, I was influenced by Richard Wurmbrand, Jim Elliot, David Brainerd, and the like, to live a risky adventure at the helm of God's providence! I couldn't wait to get out of college so that I could take the gospel to the darkest places of the world.

As I was finishing school, God put very special lady in my life with a similar dream. We have looked into several programs (MTI, BCTP, Downline, etc) wondering what the possibilities were of us completing them. Now that we are both out of college the "rest of our life" has begun. Questions come up like, "what do we do now?" "When do we have kids?" "Do we still want to do MTI, BCTP, Downline or something similar?" "Do we want to be missionaries overseas?" "Do we want to be missionaries here?" etc... etc....

Here are two options we are considering for the time being as we try to figure out where God wants us:

Option 1: We both continue to work in the DFW area. We buy a house to get the $8,000 from Obama and put it towards our debt. By the time our debt is mostly paid off (2012) we will have a kid or two. From there we can decide if we still want to do a mission sending program and go into the mission field.

Possible problem(s) with option 1: We might get too comfortable with living the American Dream and lose our passion for missions.

Option 2: We buy a house in Memphis where we can do Downline and pay off our debt. We get the $8000 to help us out and remain in Memphis for 3 years. We have kids when our debt is mostly paid off and from there think about going into the business world or mission field.

Possible problem(s) with option 2: We are far from family as we will miss them. We also would like to raise our kids near their grandparents. We will also miss our friends here in Texas. We would have to start all over in Memphis.

This is just to give everyone a heads up on what we are thinking about. Feel free to contribute any thoughts and above all, pray that God will guide us wherever he wills.


  1. Depending on how much debt you have, live cheaply and pay it off. Graham and I had 25k in student loans when we got married. We paid it off in a year by just working and never spending money. Buying a house will put you more in debt (you will wind up wanting to pay off part of the mortgage with that 8k) - you don't want to have a house payment on top of having other debt to get rid of.

    And I can't believe I am saying this, I think Graham is finally rubbing off on me with this Dave Ramsey stuff.

  2. I don't look at house buying as debt but an investment. We will have to pay "rent" to someone whether it is to our landlord or to ourselves (if we buy). If we buy now, we get the $8000 to help pay off our school loans. If we choose to sell the house in 3 years (assuming we sell for the same price we bought) we will have made roughly $22000 in the process. Thoughts?

    BTW - we are seeing Dave Ramsey on the 13th!

  3. Dave Ramsey considers a mortgage a wise investment, not a debt (as in car loan, pool loan, credit cards.s.s.s.s.) With the help of Dave Ramsey and the blessings of the good Lord, my wife and I became debt free 18 months after the class (Financial Peace University-FPU) and have paid cash for everything since. We use a credit card for company expenses and pay it off monthly.
    On another note, I want to be selfish and ask ya'll to move closer to Austin verses further away.... Buying a house now is a great investment...1. interest will go into double digits in the next 12-18 months-happens after every recession, 2. you have a good tax write of, 3. Texas will grow by 10 million people in the next 10 years, 4. houses are still below value in Texas, 5. the sense of ownership and utilizing good stewardship, one house at a time.

    Take it from your father, buy a house and enjoy it!

  4. As much as I would love to move to ATX, our jobs are up here. Maybe one day.

  5. I am sure y'all are praying about this.... do you not feel like you are being led in any particular direction? Buying a home is an investment/debt... you are definitely NOT "paying" yourself each month.... sounds good but you are still "slave" to the bank. And even tho people say "this is going to happen or that is going to happen" with interest rates.... who knows for sure? No one. Your 22K you THINK you might get MIGHT NOT work out that way.... also don't forget, you'll be "buying" a lawn mower, weed eater, furniture to fill the house, decorations, frig, etc, etc..... oh don't forget the "window coverings"...... All that to say, I would love it if you stayed here.... BUT let God's wisdom lead you... not Obama's 8K incentive.
    Have you sat down and put to paper how long it would take to pay off your debt if you stayed in an apt and put every penny to it?
    Going to Memphis could be very good for y'all. Kim and Jason would be there and that could be nothing but good..... I get the impression you think being in the mission field makes you a "better" Christian because you HAVE to rely on GOD MORE.... I think you may be surprised if you get a house and do what you call "the american dream". This is a quote from Rise and Shine by Chuck Swindoll, "Generally speaking, there are 2 kinds of tests in life: adversity and prosperity. Of the two, the latter is the more dificult."
    We love y'all and will continue to pray about your lives. Y'all just keep praying too!!!! Listen to Him.
    By the way, where are you going to see Dave Ramsey?

  6. One other thing Jame, I would like to tell you that I praise God for you and could not be happier that my son-in-law is at a crossroads deciding WHERE to serve God! I am so happy you are not a sil that is trying to decide which job will pay you more.... which will give you stock options.... which job you can climb the ladder the quickest! I pray the Lord will show you where HE wants you soon!!!

  7. Like we told you guys - it sounds like you're thinking through the right elements with this decision. It is definitely tough to balance (1) paying off debt; (2) family planning; (3) proximity to family; (4) pursuing the type of mission you believe God has you on; (5) receiving proper training and/or engaging in specific kinds of mission before your life situation makes it harder for you to do so; etc...

    With that, I have a few thoughts on this after reading this post and the above comments.

    First, it sounds like you'll be chipping away at debt no matter what you do. The question is more of how long you are comfortable with it taking you to pay it off at this point.

    Second, though there is wisdom in buying a home as an investment, it may not ALWAYS be the wisest thing to do. It might make you a lot of money... or it might be a money pit. This is especially true over a short period of time (3 years, for instance); not to mention a short period of time when you'd be busy with classes in a discipleship program, engaging in ministry, possible mission trips (?), and working as much as possible to pay bills, pay off debt, etc. In this situation, there's not a lot of time and/or money to make many repairs, renovate, etc. So, you'd either end up cheating time out of your training program and ministry to work on your house (thereby not getting the full effect), or you won't have time to do anything at all with your house. This is all not to mention the hassle of dealing with realtors, showings, closing costs, maintenance costs, etc. Three years would be borderline for me to want to buy a house somewhere while trying to do a discipleship training program - unless I had a good deal of time/money to pour into it. I'm not saying it would be a bad decision, but just that I personally wouldn't always be comfortable with it.

    Third, you guys are in a unique situation with unique circumstances and a unique calling and unique goals as a couple. It is certainly wise to get counsel from friends, family, etc... but you'll obviously have to weigh all of this by what God is leading you to do and what seems to be most wise given your discussions as a couple. Sometimes God calls us to the unordinary or unpopular (see Wurmbrand, Elliot, Brainerd, et. al.) and sometimes He doesn't. Both are fine (unless, of course, you go the opposite way from where He's leading!).

    Finally, Proverbs 16:9 comes to mind: "A man makes his plans but the Lord directs his steps." It is good to come up with a game plan (as you guys are doing), but realizing that God will direct and lead you. Maybe the housing market will get better, maybe it won't. Maybe interest rates will go up, maybe they won't. Maybe you'd make money off buying a house and maybe you wouldn't. Maybe the government will extend the $8K house credit where you could get it later, maybe they won't. Maybe you'll be able to plan out when you start a family and maybe it will take you a while. And so on...

    Going off that thought - have you considered calling the folks at DL, MTI, BTCP, etc and asking them what your time with them would look like given your life/financial situation? Who knows - maybe one of them (or all of them) would say they'd rather you get out of debt first... or they might have some folks in mind who were in a similar situation with whom you could speak to get insight on what it might look like? I know DL won't accept you if it would mean you going further into debt... So, it might be good to run these thoughts by them. God may close doors or open opportunities you didn't even think of.

    Just my fallible, inexperienced, often-biased 2 cents. :)

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