Since college, we felt called to open the door to the Light. We were able to serve Him in bus ministry, youth ministry, and finally family ministry full time from one coast (Alaska) to the other (Boston) and many points in between. Despite our imperfections, God used us and the harvest was sweet. Seeing the transforming power of the Gospel remove the chains of sin and free people to walk with the Lord is truly one the greatest blessings we have received.
When we first arrived in our final full time ministry, we were just a young family of 3. With one other couple, we began a weekly Bible study in our home. In a little over 5 years, it multiplied to a house church of 75+ with 6 weekly small groups.There were days that each of us had 7 disciples we mentored. In addition, we were privileged studying the good news bi-weekly with just as many men and women that God had put in our path. Hectic but joyful, our physical and spiritual family had grown. we were now a family of seven and like their parents, our kids were strong willed and needed shaping. Our lives were full and happy, but there was a constant struggle to find time to do it all well. Believing a Godly leader's first test is raising his offspring to have personal faith and passion for God, our hearts were torn. Believing we were 'called' into ministry, what would He have us do? The kids were little and available any time they were awake but we knew that time was short. Could we 'be all things to all people' without sacrificing their spiritual well being? Thus we began to wrestle in prayer for an answer.
Ed clearly remembers the day he asked God to do whatever to get all our children to Heaven---even give up full time fishing for men. And as usual, He answered that petition completely out of left field! The congregation thought they were cutting staff for budget reasons, but God was just using them for His new course for us. After an insurance job fell through, working a multiple of part time jobs late into the night, we interviewed for new ministry position in Houston..Assured that it was only a matter of details to have the position, we packed up our belongings, put them in storage and moved to Kansas.There we lived with Ed's parents to wait for the call which never came. Now if any of you have ever had to move back home, you know it was not an easy road. Put five active kids in a small three bedroom home with two retired people, and no more savings,and no job, you have a house full of stress even on a good day. Ed polished up his resume and went on endless job interviews for jobs, but who wanted to hire a 'Preacher'? Who knows what experience colored their view, but the doors did not open. Meanwhile I was pleading with God and Ed to get us out of his parents place. Looking back, it is a wonder someone didn't have a heart attack! But here is the first of God's blessings through that, our kids got to know their grandfather well before he was struck with Alzheimer's and they took care of them as need be.
Doors began to open by God's providence.A person who knew Ed's family had just finished renovating a three bedroom house there in town. It was 2 blocks from the school so the kids could walk to school and he offered to sell it to us.Though Ed didn't have a job and little credit left, he carried the loan simply on the family's reputation. Ed's folks helped with the down payment, and we moved in with no furniture.We used what little room on our credit cards to rent a U-Haul and Ed headed out to the East Coast to get our things. On Halloween weekend, we moved in the stuff not knowing how we would pay the bills
.Ed began placing candy boxes in businesses and donating a portion of the money to Carpenter's House, a children's home. My parents got us a second car and I too began to help with the candy route. We called our business 'A DIFFERENT DIRECTION'. Money was still tight so Ed and I decided to try supplement our income. With our love of Christian books, we used that experience to create a mobile Christian bookstore that exhibited at various religious venues within driving distance. Then while worshiping in Wichita, someone asked if we could get some Christian tee shirts for the teens which Ed tracked down Living Epistles. They were 'the' manufacturer of early years of Christian apparel design. We had already decided to exhibit the next month at a large Christian workshop the books and music we had. So I suggested we add shirts. But Ed said we didn't have room, so we decided to step out and purchase another booth space in the cheap section of the exhibit hall for shirts. We paid cash for one box of shirts and headed out. The first morning of the event, the whole box sold so we rushed to a pay phone and ordered 2 boxes shipped over night and the rest is history!
Satan kept attacking through the years, but God has been faithful. (read the BLESSINGS post on company blog for specifics) He enabled us to raise five wonderful strong disciples of Jesus to adulthood. Each of them created our 'A DIFFERENT DIRECTION ORIGINALS' and worked hard along side Mom and Dad.They strove to do their best in whatever they did. Each of them got a college education through scholarship and their hard word. God blessed each of them with talents and opportunities to be lights wherever they go.
Fishing for men full time was our heart, and as we watched others' abuse their positions and waste their talents in world pursuits, we wondered "Why God?" It was like a seasoned successful basketball player who just loved the game, being benched, and watching the team lose. A deaf ear was turned to any suggestion to try things that worked from your past. And we turned that pain inward and took it out on one another. Our marriage took the brunt of our grief and we separated for three years. You see, we didn't know what to do. We were Christians, we loved God but there was too much anger between us. Many thought it was hopeless and there seem to be no other path but life apart.
Praise God worked through Dr. Steven Scheufler, MD, a man of faith to diagnose our depression triggered death of a dream and changes in the body due to age and genetics. We had always believed that a Christian just 'pulls themself together with prayer' and depression was an excuse. Fortunately we have learned that just as we wouldn't expect a person with diabetes to just 'pull it together' without treatment, depression is a real medical problem. And with proper medication and behavior modification, it can be managed. and Love and Respect Ministries. That fire refined us and our marriage. We have learned what does and doesn't promote healing in relationships. We would love to aid others to move from hurt to strength especially those can't afford marriage counseling or fearful that revealing problems will cost them their ministry. If we can aid you by walking along aside you, do not hesitate to contact us.
Dan, Emily, and Nathan have added wonderful Godly mates to their lives and we rejoice in that answered prayer for them. The family continues to grow with our first grandchild and them scattering across the country in their vocations. Though not all now actively involved in A DIFFERENT DIRECTION, they occasionally use their gifts for its growth. In fact, Phil, a web designer for Ingram, has donated his skills to create this new site. And they all still come to help Mom and Dad to continue to exhibit at Leadership Training for Christ in Dallas/Fort Worth each year. You may have seen them grow up if you attended.
Due to the economy and life changes, our years of traveling to the many Christian music festivals, home school conventions, and youth conferences like Creation East +West, Cornerstone, Spiritwest Coast, Lifefest, and so many more have probably passed.
So thank you for being fellow workers in the kingdom of God, and if we can be an aid to you, please let us know!