One of the first things Jeff and I began to think about when we learned we'd been blessed with baby #4 is a vehicle. Our small house was a close second, but we figured we'd cross that bridge later. The vehicle situation was a bit more urgent. A family of six would definitely not fit in either a Jetta or a Taurus. Jeff began an internet search over the next few weeks, just keeping an eye on what was out there and figuring up how much money we'd need, the value of our current vehicles and how to juggle it all around to get a van of some sort. Being a VW nut, he naturally had picked out his ideal - a 2003 Eurovan. In the meantime, we had been borrowing his parents' truck, trying to sell it for them while one of our vehicles was undergoing maintenance.
Jeff's parents had graciously offered to share a portion of the sale price of their truck to help us get what we needed for a van. That amount plus what we saved, plus selling one of our cars would give us a nice amount for a good used vehicle. We were very thankful and Jeff continued looking for a suitable van. After some thought and prayer, Jeff and his parents decided that it would be easier all around if we just traded vehicles - we would have the truck to sell, keeping all the money from it, and he would sign over the Jetta to them and they could sell that.
Meanwhile, incredibly, Jeff found a 2003 Eurovan, silver, in really good condition but with high mileage. The price was truly lower than we'd ever expected to find, yet slightly higher than what we could profit from the truck. Exchanging emails, Jeff inquired whether they'd take anything in trade. The reply was a curt, "Only a 4 wheel drive truck." Well, guess what we had to trade ...
After more emails with pictures and details going back and forth, the couple agreed to meet up with us - at their house in North Carolina to see if the trade would work out. You know how there are moments in your life when everything comes together perfectly? That God has truly orchestrated the steps and prepared the way so that His hand is unmistakable? This was one of those times. They immediately liked the truck and we knew this was the van for us.
As the men looked over the vehicles, the wife and I began chatting and discovered many similarities in our lives - a connection to the military, children with a similar age gap (i.e. Kaity and baby being 13 years apart), homeschooling, even their little girl's name being the same as Joe's middle name! When we walked into their home, the first thing that caught my eye was a familiar-looking carved wooden plaque on the wall. As I approached it, I realized the carving was of the city where I was born in Germany, with the name carved underneath! When I asked about it, the husband told us his grandmother had immigrated to the United States from that very city.
It was really overwhelming to see God meet this need in our lives so beautifully. We traded the truck evenly for the van, at no out-of-pocket expense other than the gas to collect it.
As an interesting follow-up, Jeff's brother Jason had had the Jetta, working on it and getting it ready to sell. Jeff and I went to pick it up so Jeff could list it for sale and have it available to show to those interested. When Jeff arrived home with it, our neighbor came over to ask about it. Amazingly, he was in the market for a good used vehicle and ended up buying the Jetta!
Our van, which I affectionately refer to as The Big Silver Rectangle. It's much roomier than a standard minivan and we love it! It seats seven, in case God has any more surprises in store for us ...