As I mentioned in a previous post, Ken has been rated 100% disabled (for purposes of the US Veteran's Administration). We are not yet quite sure what the dollar amount of our monthly disability check from our Uncle Sam will be, but we did receive a little back payment of funds that dated from the day he contacted his VA Representative.
One of the concerns we had when I left Jubilee Church (who just installed their new pastor this morning) was our vehicle. I won't go on and on about our financial situation, but it has not been happy. I'm driving a beat up van with about 200,000 miles on it. I've been concerned about what I'd do when the van finally died and lately I've said a prayer almost every time I drive it. 'Nuff said?
So when our VA check arrived we knew that one thing we would have to do right away was find a drivable vehicle. Yesterday we went van shopping. Everything that was in our price range had well over 100 thousand miles on it. We talked about whether to put down half and finance another chunk so as to have a newer van that would last longer. We didn't really know what was the prudent thing to do. Of course, a "newer" used vehicle would be good, but we are already in way more debt that we want to be, so what to do? We went to sleep last night without really resolving our thoughts.
This morning (in the shower--I do some of my best praying there) I laid it all out before the Lord, once again. I asked for direction, for wisdom, for blessing. Yes, I think it is fine to ask for blessings as long as I don't start thinking I'm entitled or can "claim it." ;-)
I decided to get specific. I said, "God, you know our situation. You know we have faithfully given to the Kingdom even when we really did not have money to give. You know all about it, and you know what I need to drive. The most important thing is not to have lots of repair bills. Please help Ken and me be of one mind on this, whichever way we need to go. But since I'm asking, I really would like it to be red--and to have a CD player." (Our current one is champagne, a color I hate. We always end up with neutral colored vehicles, and I'm not a neutral color person. And none of the vans in our price range had a CD player either.)
I felt a little silly, but I added, "And God, you know I would have chosen for Ken to be healthy and never to receive this little money gift from the USA. But it isn't a lot, and we do have lots of needs. So...could we get it for no more than $6,000?"
Off we went to church. On the way home Ken suddenly said." Hey! Go back to the Kwik Trip." (Wisconsin's version of a 7-Eleven type store.) "There is a nice-looking van there with a FOR SALE sign on it." We drove back. Yep, a nice RED van (the picture doesn't show it, but it is kind of a candy-apple red). I had a funny feeling--ever had a feeling that God is grinning at you?--and I said, laughing, "I'll take it! Call the phone number right now."
Ken looked at me funny. "Right now? You don't want to go home and at least get a checkbook?"
Ken dialed the number on the sign. No answer.
But about 20 feet away on the sidewalk was a man walking with his wife and baby. His eyes met Ken's.
"Did you just call about this van?"
"Well, that's my home phone. I'm not home. I'm right here."
Turns out that he had just happened to be out for a walk. He parked the van there earlier today. He was asking $6,500, already well under "Blue Book." We drove it (and during the drive I said to Ken, "He'll take $6,000)."
We loved it. It's a Town & Country and so is longer than some other mini vans. Long enough to stow Kevin's wheel chair in back.
Ken asked the guy if he'd take $6,000. He hesitated, saying that $6,000 was his rock-bottom price and adding that a guy was coming over to look at it...then, a bit reluctantly, "But since you are standing here with your check book in your hand, I'll take the $6,000."
It has higher miles than I'd have liked. But I think it is going to be a good buy. What do you think?
P.S. It's a 2003. And it has a CD player. It's "loaded."