Back in July, we shared with you the saga of our house in Lawrenceville. You can read the complete story here.
We spoke with our bank about doing a loan modification, so we could avoid adding to the debt by doing a refinance. Before beginning all the work, we were assured by the bank that they wouldn't just look at our income and mortgage amount. They would take into consideration our entire situation. We began the process of the modification. It was painful. We couldn't do anything via email, which makes things difficult when you are dealing with a 14 hour time difference and located on the other side of the world with limited internet. This left most of the work on Tara's dad. Our first hurdle was having the bank actually recognize his Power of Attorney and talking with him. That took a while. The second hurdle was getting our information to them. It seemed that no matter how many times Dad would upload or fax the information, they would still need stuff again and again.
The third hurdle was convincing them why we needed a modification. This was tricky because if you just strictly looked at the mortgage payment and our year-to-date income, we should have no problems making our payment. The one-time gifts we received to help cover our costs for plane tickets, moving expenses, and training were all lumped into our year-to-date income. We also had to explain the much higher cost of living in Papua New Guinea in addition to the decreased rents in the neighborhood.
We drew up a budget and a letter of hardship for the bank explaining all of these details. We explained the reasons for needing a modification. It took months of going back and forth between my dad and our "representative" from the bank. Finally it made it to the review panel. Unfortunately they looked at our income on the our pay stubs and looked at our payment amount and said 'denied'. We were so frustrated and angry and unable to understand what happened. We felt like we were lied to and deceived. Our "representative" told me that our reasons didn't matter because they said we could make the payment according to their "charts" because we weren't living in the house. I wanted to shout "if you knew this, why didn't you tell us to begin with? The information we have is that you do NOT have to be living in the house to qualify."
The week before we received the word our modification was denied, we learned that we had someone who was willing to rent our house. (happy dance!) It meant almost $400 less per month than we were getting with our previous renter, but we figured it was better than no income. We know that somehow God would take care of it. We thought for sure that modification would come through, but it didn't.
It was tempting to just quit paying our mortgage and tell the bank they could have the house. But we didn't. We couldn't do that to the people that had just signed a rental agreement, especially since they had to move because the owner of their last rental was being foreclosed on. We know that had we not had these wonderful people making our house their home, we would have just thrown in the towel. We know that God has a plan for us in all of this. He has a plan for this house. Oh, how I wish I knew the plan, but I don't. Instead I just have to rest in His sovereignty.
We are now back to trying to refinance the house. Lots of fun to try to do during the holidays. We are trusting in God to provide for the difference in the rent and the current expenses of the house. How? I don't know, but God knows. So grateful that He is still in control and on the throne!
Please pray for continued wisdom as we deal with the situation and finances back home. Pray for God's continued provision for our family and for Him to be glorified in all of this!