Thank you so much for all your prayers and encouragement in our unpleasant dealings with our landlord (see the background info below). God hears our prayers and he is faithful no matter what happens.
The landlord came up over the weekend and had some very long conversations with Alan. Much of the (more than four hours of) conversation centered around money and the improvements we have made on his house. His attitude was basically that what we have done to improve this house is no big deal to him and not worth keeping the rent stable, and that what he wants is a lot more money.
In the end, Alan offered a very modest monthly increase in the rent, which the landlord promptly refused. After which Alan told him that if that was the case, then we would be leaving, leaving him all the improvements we have made without our being compensated for them (kind of like giving him the shirt off our back). This caught him completely off guard, and all of the sudden he was very accepting of the modest increase that Alan had initially offered. So we are increasing the rent slightly for the next year (Sept 1 to Sept 1). We were serious about leaving, despite the loss of the money invested in the house, but Alan feels that our desire to leave called his bluff – that he really has no one else to rent this house right now.
Obviously we have prayed a lot about the outcomes of our discussions with him, but we also really wanted to show God’s love (and not get angry with him) in the midst of our frustration with his behavior, and we feel like God answered both of those prayers. We agreed on a modest increase in rent, AND Alan was able to remain calm, patient, and respectful during their conversations.
Because of the landlord’s increasingly unreasonable behavior towards us over the last few years, though, we are very much ready to be out of this relationship; we know that these unpleasant confrontations (and all the accompanying frustration and anxiety) will only be repeated each year, until there really is another prospective renter, at which time he will make us leave. There are other factors involved besides his direct treatment of us; in casual conversation with Alan (while not discussing our rent), he has boasted about other things going on in his life that make us even more uncomfortable being in a financial, contractual relationship with him. We would really like for this to be our last year in his house.
Ready-to-move-in rental property is hard to find in Montepuez; pretty much every other house for rent would require extensive work or has serious disadvantages. The other option is house construction, which would include fundraising, both of which are a little overwhelming!
So keep praying for us! We are so thankful for all your prayers and encouragement. We want most for God to be glorified in all we do!