While I plan to chronicle a few things we have been up to here, I will start with a brief update on our status on our work in England. Overall, not much has changed. Our level of support has gone up, the school continues to market classical Christian education, and our preparations have continued. Just this last week both Jessica and I sold a couple of larger possessions. God has been generous to us in so many ways, not the least of which is providing buyers for items that we need to sell prior to moving. I continue to pray for this as we have much that is yet to be sold.
The only other major update is on finances. If this stuff does not interest you as much, feel free to skip ahead to the next heading. However, I want this record to be as thorough as possible. There are two primary aspects of our financial planning for the year ahead. The first is to plan out our income and expenses to make sure we have enough support and are prepared for whatever can reasonably be expected. The second is to plan out the transition to managing our finances in a new country, while still receiving support from the States.
For the first: recently I have been running and re-running numbers based on our anticipated expenses, tax liabilities, and tithe. While we initially asked for support only for our monthly expenses, we have had a number of people advise us to ask for support to cover additional related expenses like those incurred during moving. While this seemed like a far cry from reasonable back when we had 10% of what we needed, now that we are so very close to what we initially asked for, we are planning to listen to this advice and to continue raising support after we have reached the initial $35,000. When we reach the amount, (which we are now only $1,100 away from!), we plan to let our prospective supporters know that we have reached our first milestone and where the second milestone is. If my numbers are correct, I think that will be an additional $4-5,000. However, if we are able to hit that second milestone, it will mean that Jessica and I will be completely funded with money set aside for taxes, tithe, expenses, some margins in the budget, and all moving expenses covered. Should that happen, we would be able to, well, save all of our savings (while we had initially planned to spend much of our savings if needed). Thanks be to God.
For the second: in terms of international banking, Jessica and I have decided to go with an HSBC account, since they have have both a US and UK presence. We will, however, need both a US and a UK account with HSBC–one for dollars and one for pounds. However, because of monthly support, we are going to go ahead and keep one Chase account open. Once we get to England we will open the UK HSBC account. The goal behind this is that people can send support to our Chase account (or to Venmo which is linked with my Chase account). Then that money can be transferred to the US HSBC account, which can then be transferred to our UK account and used. Sound complicated? Now try to imagine what taxes are going to be like in April of 2022.
Making the Most
One key preparation for leaving Phoenix has been working to fully enjoy our time that remains. More than anything else, I suppose this has come through food. This past month, Jessica and I have hosted two culinary events to share with our friends and family.
The first was an Eastertide dinner party. Jessica and I prepared an extensive menu, rearranged our apartment, and set out all our nice china for a formal dinner party with friends. We had a garden salad to start, French onion soup made by yours truly, roasted pork loin with apples and onions, a cheese and fruit course, and pavlovas for desert. It went marvelously well.
Then, just this weekend, we hosted the first (and hopefully not the last) Montecito cooking challenge. We had 4 apartments competing for a grand prize of a bottle of wine, a bottle of olive oil, a bottle of balsamic vinegar, and a Sprouts gift card. All apartments were given the same set of starting ingredients, then they were able to choose more specific ingredient from the “pantry” at our apartment. They had a total of three hours to cook.
After cooking, their dishes were brought to the judging table, where a long judging process then took place. Our friends Sam, Paul, and Alex sat down, tasted each dish, deliberated in great detail over spice mixtures, doneness, and ice cream until they finally judged a winner. Afterward (and a little before) the gathered contestants ate the extras and leftovers from each apartment’s contributions. I did have some things I would do differently next time, but that doesn’t matter! Overall, I had a lot of fun, everyone else seemed to have a good time as well, and some amazing food was created.