In my last post, I promised to bring you some news of what is happening in my life. David and I have decided to move to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There are many reasons why we’re making this decision, which I will name later.
The easy part was selling our house here in Broadway, Virginia. If you want to see the listing, you can follow this link. A young couple getting married is buying the house. We need to be out of here by July 14 and we don’t have a place to move to yet. Therein lies the challenge.
The real estate market is tight in many places, but I’ve not encountered anything like Lancaster County. Many houses in our price range are selling for anywhere between $15k and $40k more than the asking price. At that point, they are no longer in our price range. That’s just the first hurdle. Then there is the fact that most buyers won’t consider an offer with contingencies, which means we cannot buy anything there without first having the proceeds of this house in hand. At first we thought we’d rent something short term as we watch for the right house to come on the market. No such luck. Landlords expect us to sign a year’s lease, and they expect tenants to have at least three times the monthly income of the cost of the rent. So there are more hurdles to convince property managers to consider our cash assets. We’ve decided to commit to a year lease because we will need that time to decide which part of the county we want to settle in, depending on where we get jobs, and which church community we become part of.
Our ideal situation is to house sit/rent from someone who is overseas for some months. We’ve sent a notice to several Mennonite churches to this effect. Basically David and I are quiet, we don’t smoke, we have no pets, we take good care of the place we live in, and we pay our bills on time. So if any of you reading this post know of someone in Lancaster County who needs their place taken care of whilst they are away, feel free to send them my email: email@example.com.
Now back to the reasons we made this decision. Several months ago, when David and I were in Lancaster for the retreat I attended, we met up with our son Tim and his girlfriend Niina. They had driven a little over two hours from Newark, New Jersey to meet us there. It had been nearly two years since we’d seen them, and we realized how good it would be to see them more often. We don’t like driving into Newark to visit them because of the traffic, and they don’t like driving five hours to see us. There are 14 trains a day running between Lancaster and Newark, which gives us the option of visiting them via train. And they are fearless drivers, so they will hopefully come visit us more often. This also gets us closer to our Vermont son, Paul, so we’ll hopefully see him more often as well. He is in love with a woman named Betsy, and we look forward to meeting her soon.
We will also be living in the same county with our young family, the Cains, who live in Ephrata. They have the two young lads we’ve adopted as our grandsons. Their five-year-old was so excited to hear that we are moving closer to them. When his parents told him our plans, he thought we were going to be their neighbors. His mom explained to him that it might not be real close, so our young lad said, “Oh, so they can move to the town of Ephrata.” The other day when David and I were looking at houses for rent we found one on Main Street in Ephrata, and I started laughing. I realized our favorite five-year-old has that vision for us.
I look forward to working with others in the Lancaster area who are doing important healing work for survivors of abuse. Linda Crockett is a good friend, and she would like help conducting workshops for her organization, Safe Communities. As of now, there are no translators for the court system of Pennsylvania German in all of the state of Pennsylvania. I want to learn the local “dialect” of the Amish in the area, and then I hope to become a court interpreter for Pennsylvania German speakers.
David and I will be looking for jobs. I hope to become an office manager in one of the colleges or churches in the area. David hopes to do something that involves energy efficiency and/or sustainable gardening and agriculture.
When I first left my Amish community, I wanted to go far away, which is why I chose Vermont. In those early years when I was going through the most intense part of my healing, those six hundred miles between Ohio and Vermont were just about right. As I get older, I have the desire to circle back to my Amish/Anabaptist roots and to assist those who may be struggling with some of the issues I faced when I left, both in terms of wanting more education, and in terms of healing from the trauma of leaving. Lancaster seems like a good place to build a bridge between my past and my present.
I pray that God will lead us to where we need to be to continue our life’s work, and I appreciate your thoughts and prayers as well. This move requires faith and some days I have more than others. Our first step is to find a place we can call home for the next year.
In my next post, I will continue the series I started. The next story will come from Aleta Schrock, who grew up Old Order Mennonite in Indiana. Hopefully that will be before our move. We’ll see.
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