In Part I I started the story about why we moved from Utah to Oregon. At the end of that post I had reached the time when the bank foreclosed on our house and we moved 35 miles south to Orem, to live with my in-laws, the Carters.
To Make a Short Stay Long
Upon moving into the Carter’s home Lynda and I expected to stay until the end of the year at the longest. We expected things to work smoothly, that I would be able to find employment and we would be able to relocate very soon. After all, Portland was where we felt the Lord wanted us to go, so He would provide the way, right?
During that summer I submitted application after application, had several interviews, mostly by phone or online video, but still had not received an offer. I began looking for temporary work in Utah so that we could start building a savings to help us make the move when the time came. I still had no luck finding anything.
It was a very frustrating time for me. Not only did I feel that I was not making any headway, the fact that we were now living with parents again made it seem like we had taken several steps back. We were very grateful that Lynda’s parents opened their home to us and provided a roof over our heads and food in our bellies for very little in return. However, it was hard to maintain a mindset of progress and feel like we were moving forward.
During the summer I came to a realization that I was expecting the Lord to help us, but I was not doing everything that I could to include Him in my life. I made a decision to attend the temple weekly. The Provo temple is open on Monday mornings and I decided that would be the best time for me to attend. Start the week fresh with a spiritual boost that would sustain me through the week.
It was a good thing to do. I felt much more at peace and more confident while I continued my job search. At this point, the thought was: if I received an offer of employment in Portland I could move up myself, work for a few months and then bring up the rest of the family. If I received an offer in Utah I would work for a length of time to earn enough money to fund a move.
While I built my temple going habit I was not having much luck in the job hunt. I was still hitting wall after wall and not getting anywhere. One morning as I was sitting in the temple after the session I prayed and asked Heavenly Father if He really still wanted us in Portland. It seemed to me at this point that there were so many things preventing us from making the move that I was starting to doubt.
As I said the prayer and asked my question I heard an almost audible “Yes.” It surprised me a bit because it was so straightforward. I guess I was expecting something more akin to a feeling, but I heard an answer and it was affirmative. My response was, perhaps, a little selfish. I pleaded with Him, said that if He really wanted us to be there He needed to provide the means whereby we could make the move. No response. I left the temple that day a little frustrated and sad.
It was not very long after that day in the temple that we received an answer to that prayer. I received an offer of employment from SanDisk, working in their Cottonwood Heights office. The job was a 6-month contract position with a pay rate higher than I expected. I started work there not more than two weeks after asking Heavenly Father to provide the means for us to make the move. When I received this job offer, and accepted, I knew that Portland was where we needed to be. And that Heavenly Father was involved in my life, more than I had really expected.
This position allowed us to build a savings account, as well as pay off some debts that we had and gave us some money to play with. It truly was an answer to prayer.
End of the Contract and a New Beginning
In May 2016 the contract work came to an end and Lynda and I made a trip to Portland to search out a place to live. We drove from Orem, UT to Clackamas, OR, making an overnight stop in Boise, ID. We stayed at the Clackamas Inn and Suites for about six days.
Most days were spent visiting apartment complexes. I had prepared a list of apartments to look at based on price, location and size previously. We looked at places in Hillsboro and Beaverton on the first day. While nice, they just didn’t feel right to us. Another day was spent in and around Clackamas, Tigard, Happy Valley and Portland itself. We looked at quite a few places that day, even getting an application for a complex in Wilsonville that really struck our fancy. The last full day of searching we spent in Gresham, Troutdale and surrounding area. I will say that the majority of complexes we had on our list were located here.
Many of the complexes were eliminated solely on the exterior look and feel of the place. Sometimes you just have a feeling about a place, you know. I remember one place we visited, I don’t remember exactly where, but as we drove into the parking to and were trying to find the leasing office I just had a heavy, dark feeling in the pit of my stomach. I don’t know if the place itself was really all that bad, but I did know that it wasn’t the right place for us.
After several complexes, being rudely refused at one and talking with several of the managers and staff we came to the last one for the day. Lynda was not trusting her feelings at the time. She had felt really good about the previous apartment complex, but the manager had rudely refused to come to the property from off-site to talk with us. We were both feeling like things just weren’t going really well.
This Is the Place?
We pulled into this last property with small expectations. We were both feeling down about ever finding a place to live, I even had thoughts of just going back to the motel and giving up. But then I decided, why not? There had been something about this particular complex that had stood out to me when planning the day’s search, but there was nothing really special about it. No special amenities or anything. I think it was because of this special draw on me that I decided to give it a shot.
When we sat down with the girl in the office we told her when we were thinking of moving, sometime around mid-June. She pulled out her list of apartments, finding some apartments that would be available around that time. There were two apartments available then, both on the ground floor. That was perfect! With Lynda’s muscular dystrophy stairs are difficult, and becoming more difficult as time moves on. The girl told us that all the apartments are 2 bed/2 bath. Lynda and I looked at each other and responded that that’s what we were looking for. There were other amenities that she listed for us and each one was on our list! Even a jetted tub! Which wasn’t really on our list, just a nice to have for Lynda. We filled out an application for these apartments and went on our way, feeling much better about things now.
Being unemployed made it a bit of a scary prospect to apply for apartments. Our savings helped, but it was not the best. I was nervous about getting the apartment. We had already been turned down for the apartment in Wilsonville and I just was dreading that happening with this one too. Lynda and I took a drive out to the coast the next day. Mostly just to get our minds off of things, but also just because neither of us had been out to the Oregon coast before.
We went to Cape Meares and did the walk down to the lighthouse there. While we were slowly making our way back to the parking lot, I received a phone call from the office at the Sunpointe Apartments. Our application had been approved! I was stunned and elated! It was just another message from out Heavenly Father that we were supposed to be in Portland. He had told us where we were to be, provided the means to make the move and was now providing us with a place to live. Things were falling into place.
What Is Our Purpose?
We have now been in Portland for almost eight months. I have yet to find a job. I have not been called to be the bishop of the ward. We haven’t yet made any close friends. So why are we here? That’s the question that I ask nearly every day. At this point I don’t have an answer. At the most I have a partial answer: cancer and its treatment. Hopefully over the next few weeks the reason for our move will become more apparent. But it may not show itself for many months, or even years. Until such a time, it is up to me to create a life that will say thank you to the Lord for what He has done for us up to this point. And isn’t that all any of us can do?