Saturday, August 12, 2006

Money, Moldova & Quite Possibly Madness

Amy and I are going for it.

We're going to commit ourselves (insert punch line here) to going to Moldova in a few months to work with children in an orphanage for a short while. It would will be my first overseas missions trip, and the furthest travel either of us has ever attempted.

We, of course, have a certain level of hesitation regarding Amy's health, but she has more good days than bad as of late, and one of the couples with whom we'd be traveling has journeyed a similar path over the course of their marriage and is grappling with many of the same concerns. I certainly don't want Amy to be overtaxed and I know my job will include making certain she doesn't try to do more than she's physically capable of doing. Yet even if she has a string of "bad days" while there, we'll have folks with us who know and understand what that's like, relieving any guilt that might arise.

Truthfully, I'm feeling a certain level of providence about this idea.

We will have to raise some money - I haven't decided if I'll hit up blog readers or not or how that would work - but Amy has in past years hosted dinners and baked bread to help finance similar missions trips - the only difference this time around is we would be an actual part of the mission team.

Other things will have to fall into place too, but in terms of work schedules, vacation time I could commit to the endeavor, and the like...those things all appear feasible.

As we get our financial ducks in a row for the new business, we've had a chance to be in a number of institutions - lending not mental, although I'm not ruling out the latter in the weeks ahead - and I've taken the opportunity to browse through some of the literature regarding Home Equity loans, something I've steered us away from when we were in a much worse position credit wise.

Now though, we've dug ourselves out of nearly two thirds of the debt that hounded us a couple of years ago. Looking back, I'm rather proud of how much we've tackled. I'm not going to detail the exact amount but believe me it's substantial. Of course, what we still owe is no small sum and the dragons still have to be fed. Yet, from everything I've been able to read thus far, and doing some simple calculations (the only type of calculations I'm capable of doing), it appears I could consolidate our remaining debt via a home equity loan, eliminate all of our remaining credit card debt, and if need be, still finance much of our Moldova costs without having to beg too much - something I'm uncomfortable with, but which I suspect I'll have to become more accepting.

Plus we'd have money set aside to replenish our emergency fund and have a small amount left over for very modest home repairs/improvements.

All the while we'd also be increasing our monthly cash flow.

Yeah, it sounds like a no-brainer...which always makes me suspicious that I'm overlooking the obvious. I'm going to be aggressive but still tread lightly and ask a few friends who are more financially savvy than me - a position for which it doesn't take much to qualify - for their thoughts.

Anyway, this next week Amy and I plan to take the first step - getting our passports - something neither of us has ever had or really needed. I also plan to pursue the home equity loan rather aggressivly, because unless there's a downside I haven't seen yet, it appears it could certainly simplify my life - and put us on a little sounder financial footing following a year where we've shelled out huge dollars for: foundation repairs, plumbing repairs, roof replacement, and most recently car repairs.

Hopefully that trend of "draining" money out of our now non-existent nest egg can be quickly reversed, and we can focus on the business, plan for 50 hours of travel to Moldova, and come up with a plausible explanation for our insanity.

Anyway, there's no way to be certain we'll be able to pull any of this off unless we step out of the boat, so we're taking the step...wish us luck!

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" - Matthew 14:30-32