Pray for the Samora Project.
"Plan B"-to buy 30 yr old building:
The ABWE leadership gave us until the end of 2014 to raise the funds for the Samora construction project. Through many sacrificial gifts from God's people, a total of 130,000 €uros has been received. This amount is about half of what we needed for the construction project. For a couple months we have been looking at possible "plan B" options, checking with city hall on some vacant buildings, asking the folks in our church for suggestions and contacting real-estate agents. One newer store front we liked that was move-in ready, on the main east-west highway through town had 400 square meters on one floor, but discovered the asking price was 400,000 €uros. Sometime later, the agent called about a 30 year old, two story building that had been in bankruptcy for awhile. Over the years it had been used for various things including a health club and most recently a bar - discotheque. The bank was asking 107,500 and we offered 100,000 €uros, which was accepted. After receiving approval from the ABWE Project office and our field team governance, I signed the "Promise to Buy and Sell Contract" on March 10, 2015 along with a 10,000 €uro down payment. Plans are to have all the paper work in order within three months to celebrate the closing and pay the remaining 90,000 €uros. It could be sooner but could also take a little longer. Lord willing we'll have the building purchased by July or August and be able to begin remodeling the inside and fixing up the outside, hopefully with some volunteer help.
Details of the former "Esteva-Bar" = future Church
The ground floor was originally designed for a store and the upstairs for the owner's home. We should be able to remodel the bottom into an auditorium and also have a smaller part for the bookstore to use. The shower rooms will need to be remodeled into better space for a handicap bathroom and storage space. There are six rooms upstairs that could be used for classrooms and office, or possibly later for a parsonage for the future Portuguese pastor that the church would call to take over when it graduates from mission status. There appear to be many advantages in buying this property: 1) its located in a quiet neighborhood yet only two blocks off the main north-south highway through town, 2) a "stand-alone" building that needs no aproval of other "condo owners" for a zoning variance, 3) a nice park and soccer court across the street, 3) plenty of parking nearby, 4) much more space for our church group to grow into (total of 335 square meters) and 5) the most recent appraisal for tax purposes was set at 196,000 €uros, so it appears to be a good buy. See the photo gallery album with pictures, drawings and a map of Samora showing its location in relation to the current bookstore, our apartment, the Cook's apartment and the piece of land we were hoping to build on. Another advantage to this purchase is that we don't need to sell the land in order to have sufficient funds to purchase and remodel the ground floor. I had hoped this could be a medium range solution and eventually try later to build on the land we purchased in 2007, but the majority of the men on the field governance (7 Portuguese pastors and 5 ABWE church planters) would like to try to sell the land and use those funds for another new church somewhere else. Giving up on a dream is often difficult, but trusting God and watching Him open this door has been very encouraging!