By Ryan Shaw
Last week we began looking at some of the ways of God in guidance. We are using the background story of how God led, confirmed and brought to fruition a property in Chiang Mai, Thailand, that SVM2 is using as a Great Commission Equipping Center.
We left the story with our taking notice of a property in August 2014 that we drove past every day but had never paid attention to. Yet doubt entered in as we considered the size of the property.
In January 2015 the thought resurfaced about this particular property. It was as if the Lord would not let the thought go. It still seemed ridiculous yet this time I saw it from a new perspective – something to grow into for years to come.
I felt drawn to begin to ask around about it and to pray seriously about this particular property. We soon learned the asking price was 33 million Baht (close to 1 million USD) to buy or 100,000 Baht (close to $3,000 USD) a month to rent.
We laughed as this was much higher than anything we could or were interested in considering. We continued to pray and ask the Lord that if He were in this He would somehow lower the price and make a way.
In February 2015 our team undertook a three day fast. I spent one entire evening praying into this property, trying to get the mind of the Lord.
The Lord reminded me of three specific historic biographies I had read recently about leaders obtaining properties, specifically as training centers, through faith and trusting God. These testimonies stirred faith as I sensed God preparing the way with this property.
A strong sense of this being “right” gripped our hearts as well as those few we shared it with. Instead of looking at all the fear-producing downsides, the grip of the Lord seemed to be encouraging us to dream with Him.
In early June, the strong sense continued. Up to this point I had been preparing my heart of potentially needing to buy the facility, if the asking price was at least cut in half. We obviously didn’t have the money, yet if the Lord orchestrated events, we were confident He would lead us to the funds as well.
However, I was starting to get uneasy about the legal/ liability issues of potentially buying a facility here in Thailand. As a foreigner we have little rights in the country.
Purchasing a property began to seem like unnecessary risk. I began to pray the Lord would protect us from a circumstance that could be used down the road to hinder or harm us in some way.
A week later our real estate broker asked to meet. He shared there was a Japanese group who signed a contract to buy the property at the asking price. My heart sank!
But they were having trouble getting the balance together. As a result, the owner had contacted the broker and made an offer to us for a rental agreement. No buying offer was mentioned, but the rental offer was half of what the owner had previously stated as the rental amount.
The rental amount was surprising for the size and location of this property. It was incredibly low, exactly as we prayed all those months. We sensed the Lord answering two of our prayers, an incredible low price for what is being received and protection from the liabilities of buying.
We signed a contract with the owner in July 2015. While doing so, I had a nagging sense that the process was moving too smoothly. Something was not quite right. It made me a bit uneasy.
In early June, while praying about the property, the Lord impressed on my mind a phrase – “This place will be a beachhead in my purposes for parts of Asia!” I had no idea what a “beachhead” was, looking it up in the dictionary.
A beachhead is a defended position taken from an enemy by force, from which an attack can be launched. We sensed this confirm God’s plan and purpose for this property related to being a prayer center, training center, retreat center, and renewal center that will attack the enemy’s strongholds and release more of God’s Kingdom in Thailand, Asia and the world.
We began initial renovations on the property in August 2015. In early September, the neighborhood homeowner’s association informed us we needed to stop renovations to await a vote in their annual meeting (scheduled for Feb 2016) to use the property for non-profit offices and activities.
The neighborhood is zoned for residential purposes, though this is not enforced. We fought this as much as possible but in the end needed to wait.
We continued to sense a deep peace that we were not to give up on the property. We surrendered it back to the Lord, telling Him that if this whole thing was merely our idea, to take it away.
We reviewed the way He had led and guided us and clung to His promises in the Word. He personalized many Scriptural promises for us in this circumstance. We had a sense that this was His property and He would fight for it.