About this time 29 years ago Mark and Marcia Benkert asked us if we wanted to go with them to Montana to do a Discipleship Training School (DTS) at the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Base. They began by telling us it was a 5-month program …and I turned off my hearing with the thought: “I have a job, 2 young kids, and a nice house 5 minutes from the beach that needs to be paid for.” Jackie and I did talk about it and considered it too far-fetched for us to do. Maybe later.
Within a couple of weeks we had determined we must be crazy because we were selling stuff, getting a leave of absence from work, renting out our house and making our plans to go with them to Montana. What a great decision that turned out to be. I was 37 then and Jackie was 30. That 5-month school turned into a YWAM ministry from 1987 – 1996 and then from 2003 – 2007.
That was 30 years ago. Kids are grown and gone; house is paid for; grandkids are still around and that pulls heavily on our decision making and future plans. I’m healthy, Jackie has had a heart attack and knee replacement and joint pains and couldn’t run out of a burning house. Her spirit is intact, focused on God and she wonders, as I do, what are we thinking? Start over? Again! Have we lost our minds?
Two weeks ago we were in Montana and it was a time of rekindling old friendships
30 years later: same dreams but a lot less youthfulness
that run deep and true; friendships with those we served with in YWAM for so long. The encouragement was so strong for us to jump back in to YWAM we could barely resist saying “yes” on the spot. But sometimes wisdom kicks in and emotions settle and a decision can actually be prayed about.
Before you click out of here because you know us so well and think you know what we are going to do, there’s a twist that came our way we hadn’t expected. Homes of Hope, based in Chula Vista (San Diego), CA, is a ministry we were aware of and by chance (do you believe in “chance”?), leaders from that ministry were in Montana the same time we were and suggested they fly us out to see Homes of Hope and how we might fit in there. He was in the same DTS as we were in 1987 and his wife was one of our students in 1990 when we led the DTS program. You can see Homes of Hope and read about it here: http://www.ywamsandiegobaja.org. There’s a link to People Magazine at that site that has a brief history of Homes of Hope you can also check out.
August 18th we fly out to taste and see if this is indeed what God has for us. As an added bonus, the man who led me (Bob) to Christ lives 30 miles from where we will be and has walked with us in our God adventures for 44 years. We will be able to spend some time with him and his wife, and I know that his prayers are going up on our behalf as I type. And that’s why I’ve invited you to our blog: We want your prayers too. Starting all over again gets more difficult each time we do it simply because it’s just not that easy a task to shut down your home, load it all into a 1998 Buick, tell your kids and grandkids to come and see you and then drive to California. And then there’s the little factor of how we pay for this. The first time we went into YWAM we left Florida with $400 a month in support. For a family of four, that’s pretty slim. God provided. Now there’s just the two of us but it is 30 years later and we won’t be getting paid to teach English as we were in Thailand to fund our adventure there. We’ll be living in Chula Vista, about a 10 minute drive to the ministry in Mexico, and I hear it’s a bit more expensive than in Florida. So we’ll have to raise a little support and figure out a lot of stuff over the next couple of months IF God leads us there, or to Montana. We have invitations to go back there as well as Hawaii. Oh my…sometimes options aren’t that helpful.
Please put us on your prayer frig (list) and ask God to speak to us in a way even we can hear! Thanks so much. We are thrilled about what comes next.