The Fraser Family, Derby

Buying a property can be difficult when your primary earnings are from the church or as a missionary. We spoke to Fiona Fraser, about how her family were able to buy a home with the help of a Kingdom Bank mortgage.

Tell us a bit about yourself and Hope City Furniture:

My name is Fiona, and I set up Hope City Furniture alongside my husband Richard. Before this we were working as missionaries with WEC International in their drug and alcohol ministry – Betel, but moved to Derby in 2017, where we began to feel that God was calling us to help in some way with the refugee crisis. We didn’t have a clear plan, so spent six months praying, looking around at ministries that were already happening, and seeing where God would lead us. We became aware that there was a real need for furniture provision, and as we spoke to different networks it became clear that there wasn’t really anyone doing this in our area.

Since that time, we’ve set this up as a ministry, initially sourcing free furniture online and storing it in our garage. We were eventually given a van and a shipping container, but as the ministry grew and we needed more space, we’ve begun renting a barn for storage and distribution.

What excites you about your work?

Our work gives us loads of opportunities to meet with new people every week. We get referrals through from lots of different organisations, housing associations, departments of councils, and teams who work with people in crisis. This means we end up delivering furniture to a real variety of people, from many different backgrounds, nations and religions. 

Our heart is for people to encounter something of God’s presence as we meet with people in their homes. We give out copies of the New Testament with the furniture; we always offer to pray with people if they would like us to, and we have invitation cards for church which we give out. This ministry is unpredictable, and each day looks different, but we want to give people an experience which stays with them, and an opportunity to encounter Jesus. I think that’s what excites me most; being open to God touching people’s lives, and what develops from that.

Why did you decide to buy this property?

We had always wanted to have our own house, but it never felt possible, as we didn’t have the money for a deposit, and the nature of our income meant we would not be able to get a mortgage from a normal high street bank. Every year our rent was increasing which was becoming too expensive for us to maintain, and it felt like renting wasn’t a wise use of resources. 

There was also always that uncertainty hanging over us that the landlord may have to sell the property, which could have left us without a home at short notice.

But as the frustration increased, we felt God was starting to open doors, and so started looking into whether there was a way for us to purchase a property, which was when we started speaking with Kingdom Bank whom we had heard about from a friend.

How were Kingdom Bank able to help?

When we initially phoned and spoke to Jackie at Kingdom Bank, it transpired that we didn’t have enough of a deposit to purchase a property so we thought that was the end of that. However, a couple of days later, my husband’s mum phoned us to say she had felt prompted by God that she should give us the money that she had set aside for her retirement, so that we could buy a family home. This meant that only a week after my initial call with Jackie, I was able to phone her back and say we had a deposit!

We are so grateful that Kingdom Bank provided a mortgage for us, as we don’t have a straightforward income, so this wasn’t an easy job. Jackie went completely above and beyond what we expected, even when there were complications along the way. She put in so much effort to get us to the figure we needed for this house, and we are really appreciative of the service we received.

Looking back, it is amazing how quickly everything happened despite the difficulties along the way with finalising the mortgage. After viewing the house in October, we had the keys just a little over three months later!

What does the property enable?

This house is a family home for us, and provides us with the stability of not having to suddenly up sticks and move. It gives me an office space to do admin for Hope City Furniture two days a week, and means we aren’t worried about having to pay increasing rent costs. For our ministry, this house is part of a wider, long-term prayer that one day Rich will no longer need to work part-time but will instead be able to get back to running the charity full-time, where we really want to be investing our time. If we were still paying rent this would not be possible but once we clear our mortgage and no longer have these monthly outgoings it will be.

If you’re in Christian ministry and looking for a mortgage, we’d be delighted to see if we can help, including discussing shared ownership options if appropriate. Get in touch by completing our mortgage enquiry form to find out if a Kingdom Bank mortgage could be right for you, or click here to find out more.

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