Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Praise God: We Got the House!

Dear Family and Friends,

Praise God! We got the house! I emailed many of you a few weeks ago explaining how we were in danger of losing our home two days before closing on escrow. All I can say is a "miracle" happened, God is faithful & we didn't lose the house! I never would have imagined that as a missionary at my age I would be able to buy a home for my family. But by God's grace last Thursday my mother and I signed documents to own our first home in Sacramento California.

It's been my dream to buy my parents a house & I never thought it would happen so soon. This entire process has been a true test of my faith. I would like to share the testimony of how God provided this home for my family. From beginning to end it was His vision and His provision.

The Desire:
My mother raised my sisters and I singled handed. My father was in and out and we never had a steady household income. Owning a home was never in my mothers mind, but something like a far-fetched dream. About a year ago, God put this desire in me to believe that He would one day provide my parents a place to retire and rest. I used to think, "no way" could I ever buy a home because I'm a missionary on a "missionary salary" and it would take me many years to save up for a down payment. Well, where there is no way, God makes a way!

The Prophecy:
In January of this year I was having dinner at a couples home in San Jose. After dinner we decided to have a time of prayer for one another. While they were praying for me the wife began to prophesy, "Jaeson, I see that the Lord is going to give your family their own home, I see the Lord giving you a little white house!"

I thought to myself, "well I'm sure the Lord will provide this house sometime far in the future." I never thought it would be this soon.

The Possibility:
A few weeks later I was on a United Airlines flight on my way to preach in Hong Kong. I ended up sitting in the "premiere" section just behind business class. For some reason, a high-powered CEO had to sit next to me because there was no more room in the business class. We ended up talking and sharing about our occupations. He was a really successful investor so I asked him, "What would you advise a young man like myself in his early twenties on how to invest wisely?" He immediately responded with two words: buy property!

I told him that was a nice idea, but I didn't have the money to do so. He told me that I didn't need to have a lot of money to buy property. In fact, there were ways to get loans with "no money down" if I had good credit. Well, I was pretty sure I had good credit, but I was a bit skeptical, yet at the same time inspired. After my ministry trip to Hong Kong I went back to California with the two words "buy property" still in my head.

The Government Loan:
I ended up asking a few friends in real estate if it was possible for me to qualify for a home loan. One friend had just bought his first house through a government program called "CALHFA." It is a program that specifically helps first time homebuyers to get into their first house with "no money down." Yet, in order to qualify for this program you would have to meet certain requirements. These were requirements I knew I didn't have because of my occupation as a missionary who raises monthly support. I decided to call the loan agent to give it a try anyways.

I totally thought there was no chance I would be approved. But the loan agent told me after reviewing my credit scores and submitting my file to the underwriter they "pre-approved" me for a government loan. I was in shock & immediately began to house hunt!

The loan amount was a $330,000 maximum loan because we didn't have a deposit and high monthly income. With that amount I looked for some time in the San Jose Bay Area and could find no homes in that price range. There were only small condos that were not large enough for my family to live in. The median home price in the Silicon Valley was $650,000 dollars. The only place in Northern California where there were still decent homes under $400,000 dollars was in the Sacramento area. I asked my loan agent if there was any way we could increase our loan? He said, "only with a down payment of at least $30,000 dollars."

The $30,000 gift:
This next miracle is totally God! During the whole loan process my family was going through major spiritual attack. My sister went under massive spiritual warfare against her mind & my family was going through major conflict. A friend of mine was in prayer knowing about my family situation and decided to give my family a love offering of $30,000 dollars! I had never received such a generous offering in my life and this friend told me to use it for whatever purposes to help the family. When I received this check I just sat in awe and complete humility before almighty God. I was so broken and so blessed. It was a blessing beyond my imagination & I will be forever grateful for God's provision. How God never ceases to amaze me!

When I found out from my loan agent that exactly $30,000 was needed to increase the loan amount I asked my friend if it would be okay for this offering to be used to possibly buy my family a home. The friend responded with a full blessing to do so. It just amazes me how generous God's people are & how God provides right on time! The next step now was to find a home…

The Sacramento Story:
While were in the process of re-filing to increase our loan amount, I drove my sister to Sacramento to get counseling help. We ended up driving into a nice developing area in Sacramento where the Pastors wife lived. I found out from the counselors that the area was flourishing & the homes were affordable to our standard. That night I went back home to look online at homes in that specific area. The website I randomly submitted my search with ended up calling me the next day to offer assistance.

The realtor who called me asked me what was my occupation? I told him I was a young pastor and he responded exuberantly saying he was a Christian too with hopes one day to retire and become a full-time missionary! In fact, one of his main passions has been to specifically help pastors buy their own home so they could focus on the ministry. He told me, "Don't worry Pastor Ma I've helped 5 pastors buy homes in this area and I will get you the best deal!"

Well, moving to Sacramento is a big move since my family has lived in San Jose for nearly all my life. I needed to get the wisdom and council of my Senior Pastor. So I called him asking for advice and he basically told me, "Jaeson, you definitely need to stop renting and buy a home. If you can, find a Christian realtor to help you move just outside of the Bay Area to a nice quite and developing city."

My Senior Pastor had no clue I just met a Christian realtor that morning with a desire to help me buy a home in a nice, quite and developing city in Sacramento. I now had the peace to go search for a home north of the Bay Area.

The Little White House:

I only had two days to look for a home in Sacramento before I left for another ministry trip back to Asia. We were lucky to have just in time our increased loan pre-approved with a signed approval letter from the loan agent so we could put an offering on a home if we found one.

Our new Christian realtor found about 10 homes for us to see. Yet, there was one particular house that he said was the best value and best price. It was a "little white house" surrounded by a beautiful lake and custom designed million dollar homes. I thought it would of course be unaffordable, but he said this was a "track house" and it was going for $370,000 dollars. The neighborhood was rated one of the best in Sacramento county… in fact not only did it have the best schools, outdoor environment, & safe neighborhood, but it had what my mom needed most "a big Chinese supermarket" close by!

We decided to put an offering on the home. Later we found out there were already 14 other offers on the house. My Christian realtor told us he knew the seller and would do all that he could to convince him to sell us the house, especially because I was a full time pastor. He said there would be a high possibility the seller would raise the price on the home with so many bidders.

Later as I prayed with my mother about the situation I told her that it was in God's hands. I specifically told her that the maximum loan amount we could afford if the seller raised the price was $380,000. If the bid came back higher we would not buy and wait on God's direction.

The next day our Christian realtor came back to us and told us that the seller reviewed the bids and we made it into the final 7 bids. Yet, the bad news was the seller raised the price to $382,000 dollars! In my heart I knew I couldn't go forward even though it was only $2000 more because I promised my mother who was concerned about whether we could afford the monthly payments.

Without sharing to my Christian realtor my promise to my mom out of the blue he said, "Pastor Ma, I know that $382,000 is a lot more, so just to help you out I will personally give you some of my earnings and write your family a personal check if you get the house for $2000 to go towards your new home!"

That $2000 blessing brought the price down to $380,000 exactly. We decided to go forward with the bid & by a miracle…we got the bid!

The Challenge:
Everything seemed fine as we were given 30 days to close on escrow. During this period my loan agent assured me the process would run smooth and that I could be assured the loan process would close on time. During that time, I had already put a $5000 deposit that could not be refunded if the house didn't close. Before I did that I checked with my loan agent to be sure that everything was solidified. He gave full assurance that I had nothing to worry about.

During the 30-day process my loan agent began to concern me. He began to tell me that the underwriter who approved our loan needed more documents and verifications of employment. It was troubling as day in and day out I had to get him signed letters from my personal donors & detailed documents of my employment history. I began to question whether or not we were really approved. He again assured me that if I got him the proper documents it would be fine, I did so, but he was not honest.

On the second to last day before we were to close on escrow we still were unsure on the loan closing. He finally gave me a call and told me there was bad news. Their original underwriter had made a mistake in qualifying me for the government loan & the senior underwriter reviewed our loan and rejected it. Two days before closing on the home our loan was rejected & it seemed all was lost.

My sister a former loan processor was very upset because our loan agent gave us a written approval letter stating that the underwriter had completely approved our loan, yet in reality they never did. I was a very disappointed and upset at first realizing I was not only in jeopardy of losing my $5000 deposit, but also the house! Yet, the Holy Spirit reminded me of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus!" At that moment, the situation was out of my hands and I just went into my living room and began to pray in the spirit and praise God out loud over the situation. I prayed till I completely released the matter to the Lord and felt His peace. Somehow, I knew it would work out for the good.

"If I do God's business, He will do my business!"
Many encouraged me to report the loan agent to the "California Board of Real Estate" for his wrongdoing and sue him for damages. I didn't have complete peace about this as he did apologize and tried to offer me a second kind of loan. Later we found out the senior underwriter would not accept our loan no matter what we argued & we pretty much were convinced we lost the house. This is where my aunt comes in to the picture to save the day…

We were given a one-week extension to close on escrow from the seller. Since we couldn't trust the first loan agent to come through for us we had to pray for another option. My aunt was a loan agent and told me there was a possibility we could get a loan within a few days. Yet, in order to qualify for the loan I would have to put 10% down on the house, which meant an extra $10,000 dollars, I didn't have. When she told me this I was on my way to New York to speak at a youth conference.

"Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition present your request to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

When I got to New York I didn't want to worry about the whole house situation so I prayed to God, "If I do your business, God You will do my business!"

At the retreat the power of God moved in a great way among the students. Over 100 students committed their lives to spending one year of their life reaching university students in East Asia. Many parents were weeping as they watched their children surrender their lives to Jesus right in front of their eyes…it was a glorious sight!

After speaking in the main Sunday morning session a man randomly walked up to me. I didn't know him and he handed me a personal donation check. I thanked him for it and put it in my back pocket, not expecting much. A few hours later I pulled the check out of my back pocket and I stopped dead in my tracks, completely stunned. It was a check written out to me personally for $10,000 dollars! "God if I do Your business You will do mine!" Yes, He did!

Crunch Time:
I was now able to tell my aunt I could put 10% down on the house and she was able to secure me an incredible interest rate 3 days before closing on escrow. We now had two business days to submit the loan and get it approved. By God's grace in less than 48 hours both loans were approved! It was a miracle for sure compared to my first loan agent who took more than 30 days and he still couldn't pull through on approving our loan!

By God's grace & provision all I can say is…GOD IS GOOD! GOOD! GOOD!We closed the house exactly on the last day of our extension. I can't even begin to express the joy in my heart when I saw my mom sign the documents to put her name on the title of the new house! My mom is a proud owner of her very own home & it is all because our God is a GOOD Father who provides for His children!

Thank you all for your prayers, love, support and encouragement! Thank you for standing in faith with my family for this house! From beginning to end this house was a testimony to God's faithfulness. This entire journey has brought me to a new level of faith & humbled me…beyond words…I am so humbled that Father God would bless my family in such an extravagant way. We don't deserve this, but He chooses to bless because He loves us. So many in this world have no home, barley anything to live on, yet we are able to own a home in a place like California. Father…Thank You!

Forever grateful,

Jaeson Ma


At 6/15/2005 07:22:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so happy for your family!
Praise God, the One who provides! :)

At 6/15/2005 08:04:00 AM , Blogger Bunnybee said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6/15/2005 08:06:00 AM , Blogger Bunnybee said...

Dear Jaeson,

I am sooooo happy for you and your family. Amazed by His perfect plan and perfect timing!


At 6/15/2005 08:23:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hallelujah! Thanks to the LORD!
Yes, HE is good!
Psalm 107:8 "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"

Pastor Jaeson,Congratulations!
May God bless you and your family!

Keep u in my prayer!

At 6/15/2005 11:12:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

incredible. i read the WHOLE thing. every word of it. what a blessing. God is indescribable. im just in awe. yea i was at Nyack. and i will devote a year of my youth in south korea. actually the north needs God.

At 6/15/2005 11:56:00 AM , Blogger little hanner said...

hahah that was my post above. forgot my password AND username. lol

2 Corinthians 4:17

At 6/15/2005 01:51:00 PM , Blogger pearl said...

:) That's awesome. May His wonders never cease as we walk out in uncompromising faith. God bless you, Jaeson!

At 6/15/2005 11:22:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

God's provision is absolutely amazing. WOW.
He alone is worthy of praise forever!!
enjoy your new house =)

At 6/16/2005 08:42:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't be too surprised, God is powerful and in control of all things. He will always provide for you!!
congrats on your new home!

At 6/16/2005 08:48:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey thanks for your posts, I've read a lot of your posts and I've seen God providing so much for you...and it really reminds to me have faith when I need something because if it is in God's will, He will provide..thanks so much for that post I really needed the reminder! :)

And hey, I hope you and your family enjoy your new home :D Many more happy memories to share as a family in your new home! What a great blessing! :D I'm really glad for you guys!

At 6/16/2005 11:33:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hallelujah I praise to the awesome Lord.
After your post Pastor Jaeson, I've gained more faith in Him.
Enjoy this wonderful house God has prepared for you !

At 6/18/2005 07:54:00 AM , Anonymous alice said...

Pastor Jaeson,

Everytime when I read your journal,I feel so good and exciting! And your life adventure let me know HIM more and love HIM more,thank you!

May God Bless you and your family
also May your heart full of love and May your home full of forgiveness :)

At 7/25/2005 05:47:00 PM , Anonymous Steve said...

Pastor Jaeson,

Praise the Lord! Thank you so much for posting and sharing your testimony in your journal online. It is such a great way for God to encourage people to realize that God is Yahweh-yireh! About a week or two ago, I had this financial problem, and I was thinking whether I should tell my mom to send over what was needed since I'm a student only or I should ask for support from friends. But after reading your exciting journal, I know God is there for you and will be here for me too, so I began to pray. Amazingly, God told me that He is "Yahweh-yireh" and encouraged me not to be anxious, and all of a sudden I had this peace in my heart about finance. Supernaturally, through a phone call from a sister of my cell group, God provided what I needed while I was taking a nap! Ha..ha..
Thank you once again for sharing.


At 8/09/2005 11:42:00 AM , Blogger eve said...

I'm completely amazed at the Lord's provision upon your life!

As a fellow full-timer in His ministry, I would gladly say that your testimony will always serve as a constant reminder for me that our God is Good! Good! Good!

Thank you for sharing here so openly! :)

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At 9/09/2008 06:57:00 AM , Anonymous Some1 said...

Wow you actually got a house in sacramento. I'v read this entry once but kinda forgot where you got your house. Jus surprised me coz i'm applying for WJU to study in rocklin which is very close to sacramento i as i never been to US before. It's a scary thing jus thinking about it scars me that i hav to leave home and go to a place where i never been before with no one i know at all...Mayb i might bump into you someday xD lol j/k life isnt tat coincidental. If you could recommend some near by church to me it would be very helpful. Thank You very much your post is very encouraging.


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