Buying all of our own things has been a goal of ours since we first moved down to Haiti. For one, because it sure does feel nice to actually have your own things instead of living in the constant world of mismatched and heavily used furniture. But more importantly because when we make our move up north to Port-de-Paix we won't be left furniture and appliance-less. Imagine us trying to fundraise for a property and furniture all at the same time! Quite stressful! Or worse yet, walking into a new property with little more than the clothes and bric-brac that we currently have. Echoey halls would be an understatement!
Needless to say, replacing all of our campus owned things with our own is the smart way to go and I believe that God thinks so too. I'll share with you two stories that end with us driving away with a new, higher efficiency fridge and you can decide for yourselves.
The first story begins back in Colorado. I am having a bit of a rough time during our prolonged stay for Evie's surgery. The reason? I haven't built anything with my hands for a couple months. Petty? Absolutely! But working in engineering/construction, even before moving to Haiti, was never work for me. I loved every minute of it, so I couldn't possibly call it work. So to be without building/designing something for months was actually quite the struggle for me. (Ask my wife, she'll tell you how it went. She might have called me a big baby once or twice.)
Anyway, it just so happened that someone we know named Benjamin needed a fence built for him during the time of our prolonged stay. After some prodding on his part, I decided to accept the project and got busy. It wasn't a long fence that needed to be built, but was a 6' wood privacy fence and did require building a vehicle access gate. I've only ever built one privacy fence before this time which was why I was apprehensive before about taking the job. In all, I think it took me about a week to build everything and have it ready to go. (With some help from my awesome 2 year old helper of course! He's really quite good at using the drill and saw, but don't tell Kate. :P)
Benjamin and I had not really talked cost before I started the job. A big no-no usually, but truthfully I would have built it just for the joy of building something. Fast forwarding an already long story, Benjamin heard about us trying to buy a fridge and ended up "paying" $1,000 for the fence. Our goal for the fridge had been $800! Woohoo we hit the goal and were able to budget the remaining money towards our residence visas for Haiti!
Phew! That was a long story! I'll try to make the second one shorter, so here I go:
The second story finds me in Port-au-Prince at a hardware store called CK Hardware. Sort of like a Home Depot/Lowes, but much smaller. I knew that they sold fridges so that was the place I went! Armed with an $800 budget and the technical specs of our current fridge, I set off through the store to find the fridges. Kate wasn't able to go with me, so we had a lengthy conversation on the phone involving google searches of product numbers and technical specs. The fridge selection isn't huge in Haiti, so it basically boiled down to two different choices. (There were about 10+ different mini-fridges, 1 commercial size, 3 large french door style, and our two options.)
An 18 cu. ft. fridge that pulled about 6.0 amps at $799 and a 16.5 cu. ft. fridge that pulled 1.2 amps at $950. (Still to this day I have no idea how it functions with only 1.2 amps. Most fridges I've seen are more in the range of 5-8 amps.) Our current, base-owned fridge was a 17.6 cu. ft. fridge that pulled about 7.5 amps.
We knew we wanted a more energy efficient fridge as the fridge was our main power draw in the house. Both fridges looked similar, so it was really a question of storage space and energy usage. The smaller more energy efficient fridge was a full $150 over our original budget, but after some debate we ended up choosing it for its power consumption. Sorry resident visa budget!
Or so we thought...
On my way to find a salesman I ran into the owner of the hardware store. He was quick to help me out and ended up ringing me up himself. He saw the $950 price tag, but with a wink said that he was going to see what he could do.
He typed away on his computer and soon printed a receipt. He motioned me to take the receipt from the machine and told me that he thinks I was going to be happy.
There on the bottom of the receipt was:
Total Sale..... $800
Not only was that a full $150 discount, but that was our exact budget for a fridge!
I think God was actually doing something there. He wants us to know that he provides. Or at least that's what I'm taking from it, because, honestly, that's what I needed to hear right now.