Why we live in a single wide trailer on borrowed land by Travis Sharpe

My wife April and I set up housekeeping in May of 1998. Most of you younger folks have probably never heard that term . “Setting up housekeeping ” is what the old timers used to call it when a couple got married and moved into their own home.

We rented two different places and then finally bought our first house. It was a nice little three bedroom, two bath house in a good neighborhood. It had a big backyard and was convenient to everything. We loved our home!

In 2009 when we moved from South Carolina to Alabama, we purchased another house. This one was also a three bedroom with two bathrooms. It was on 3 acres in the country. It had a barn, a big yard and plenty of room. It was an older farm house that had been re-modeled. It was a nice place.

April’s favorite part of the house was the kitchen. It was full of country charm but it also had brand new appliances. She also loved the huge laundry room.

About 10 months after purchasing that second home, The Lord began making our new ministry plans clear to us. (We were in a time of transition then). One night while were were in a missions conference in Maryland, God really spoke to April’s heart. She shared with me that she felt like we should sell that house so that we downsize and be more effective in our ministry.

I was shocked.

I couldn’t believe that she would consider selling this house she loved so much. About 30 days after the for sale sign went up in the yard we were at the lawyers office closing the deal! We moved into a rent free home for a few months and in a short while we bought a motor home to travel in.

We quickly found out that a family of four needed somewhere to call home and at least get out of that motor home every once in a while. If you have ever lived full time in an RV then you know what I mean!

The search was on.

So we began to search for another home. As we began this search we stayed committed to our purpose. We just didn’t want to spend a thousand dollars or more on housing each month because that greatly hindered our ability to operate our ministry. Of course, as we looked for a new place to live it seemed that everything was sky high.

For nine long months we lived in the motor home. Three months of that time were were parked behind our church. That was interesting. Especially on Sunday mornings!

Friends to the rescue.

One day some of our friends from church offered us a portion of the land they owned. They had nine acres and there was a portion of it that they didn’t use. They said it might be perfect for parking our motor home or even for a mobile home.

At first I was against the idea of a mobile home. I had always viewed them as “below” what I wanted to live in. I wanted a real house. Don’t judge me, you have probably thought that too.

Living on less.

After much prayer, my attitude changed. In an effort to stay committed to our goal of living on less so that we could do more in our ministry, the land and a mobile home really began to appeal to me. We humbly accepted our friends offer!

They helped us clear the land and get it ready. Other friends helped with the septic tank and the driveway. We found a slightly used single wide trailer in no time at all we were once again setting up housekeeping.

It’s funny because our kids are older now and much bigger, yet we live in the smallest house we have ever owned! Sometime it gets a little tight. Sometimes we all wish for bigger bedrooms and thicker walls.

But the reality is that we, unlike most people on earth, have a clean, safe place to call home. The land is great. It is a nice place to live. You see, we could afford to buy another house. We could live in something much bigger. But we have tried to be sensitive to God’s will for our family as much as we can.

And God’s will for us as missionaries is to live on less so that we can go and help more people. Trust me, we would like a bigger house! We are not against nice stuff! But we are all for what God has told us to do. With very low over head we were also able to get out of debt.

Now we can go.

All of this has been part of “master plan” for our family. We began praying about five years ago for God to open the door for us to minister overseas on the foreign mission field. In the last year that prayer has been answered. As a matter of fact, we will be leaving in January to go live in the Philippines for five months.

We will be ministering to homeless children while we are there.

With very low overhead here, we are able to go there. We are very thankful for our friends who have provided the land for us, they have made it possible for us to have a safe place to call home while at the same time have the ability to go and preach the gospel to the poor around the world!