September 17th, 2012
Ten years ago, God provided a reliable van for our family in a wonderful way.
Through prayer and counsel we determined back then that a minivan was the most fitting vehicle for our growing family.
We researched the reliability and resale values of various models and listed exactly the features we were looking for.
And through a combination of savings and donations we determined that we could spend $13,000 on a van.
After some weeks of searching, Jackie told the Lord one morning how tired she was of shopping for a car and asked if He would just lead us to the right van that day. Within the hour, one of the dealers we had contacted asked us to come see a vehicle he thought we might be interested in. We went down to see it, but it didn’t appear to us to be the van God had for us.
Then across the street, we noticed a two year old Nissan Quest with 40,000 miles on Jeep dealer’s lot. We took the Quest for a test drive and it had everything we were looking for. But it was listed at $18,000 and the dealer wasn’t about to knock $5,000 off the price. And we didn’t feel led to go into debt for a car.
However as we tried repeatedly to excuse ourselves, the dealer kept coming down on his price until he finally let us have the van for what we had felt led to spend!
With regular maintenance and normal repairs, this van served us well through a number of cross-country trips as we added 180,000 miles to it over the past ten years. Then two weeks ago the transmission went out (as described below), launching us on a new round of prayer, research and seeking counsel.
Through this round of car searching we have already received four great blessings:
- Contact with the leader of a local church-base ministry to help people with their car needs.
- Rediscovery of MATS – Missionary Automotive & Transportation Service.
- A donated 1994 Volvo station wagon suitable for Joelle’s new transportation needs.
- And an unexpected large gift toward what we are hoping to be able to spend on a van!
God has certainly proven faithful as we have put our faith in Him and followed His leading!
We expect Him to provide just as faithfully now, whether through a similar deal or something totally unexpected.
At present, it appears to us that the best value for our needs will be a 2010 or 2011 Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey with about 40,000 miles on it.
We invite you to pray about helping us with this purchase in these ways:
- Pray for God’s guidance and provision for us as we acquire our next family vehicle.
- If you know someone preparing to buy new who might like to sell us their used van for cash rather than trade it in, put us in touch with them.
- And ask God if He would have you give a tax-deductible monetary gift toward our purchase, using any of the avenues listed at the right.
September 5th, 2012
Monday morning our van’s transmission failed at the end of three movies at the Whidbey Island drive-in.
It was a long night.
Even though the maintenance is all up to date, at 220,000 miles we question the wisdom of investing another $2,500 to $3,000 in a van we no longer have confidence in for interstate travel.
Do you know of anyone near Mount Vernon, WA with good use for the old van as is?
We have been on the lookout for a newer van for more than a year, but now with Joelle on the verge of driving to college every day, we need a second car in the family sooner rather than later.
The funds we had been setting aside for a replacement van largely went to self-funding our ministry this summer. So we spent Tuesday looking at vans we can’t yet afford, and praying for God’s guidance and provision.
As an interim measure we are now considering a low cost older sedan which our girls could eventually take over.
We would want something inexpensive and reliable for local travel.
This could carry us until we can afford a van suitable for longer road trips.
So here are the range of options we have thought of within our means:
- $500 to check whether a simple outer part has failed.
- $1,000 to fix just an outer part if that might get it going.
- $2,500 to $3,000 for a full transmission rebuild with a 24,000 mile warranty.
- $2–3,000 for a used sedan which could be shared with our daughters as they are starting to drive.
- $5,000 for a 2002 Toyota Prius with 84,000 miles.
All of these only provide temporary patches against our longer-term need for something suitable for long, cross-country drives.
Tuesday and Wednesday we also looked at a variety of other options, all outside our immediate resources:
- $14,000 at a Honda dealership for a nicely kept, higher end 2005 Toyota Sienna with 107,000 miles.
- $25,000 for a new low-end Dodge Caravan.
- $30,000 through Costco for a new low-end Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna.
We welcome your prayers, advice and leads.