Thursday, March 18, 2010
Almost two years ago, we left our home in Aylmer, Ontario. From there we headed up to South Indian Lake, Manitoba where we spent the summer serving in the church while missionaries Tom and Cathy Talley went on a furlough. While we were in the North, we visited the Town of Gillam. We only had a few hours, but this is were we believed God wanted us to start a church.
As we continued on deputation, the Lord put a desire in our heart to be on the field in May of 2010. This seemed a little preposterous since our support seemed very slow in coming. But we kept going in faith. As time went on and our faith wavered, we kept the idea of being on the field so soon to ourselves. You know, just in case.
At the end of 2009, we started praying more earnestly for God to make His will clear. It seemed that with the situation in Gillam, housing was virtually non-existent. We tried and tried to make contacts, to search the housing market, but God just kept closing doors. We knew that He was testing our faith and our faithfulness. Knowing that God could open doors as well as close them, Keith and I started praying without the other's knowledge. We were praying that God would send us a “man from Macedonia” to show us if He truly wanted us in Gillam, or somewhere else. A month went by and nothing. Meanwhile, we started looking at the need in other communities.
Then at just the right time, God answered our prayer. We received a call from Bro. Jeff Freisen, Pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Kenora,Ontario. It would seem that just about the time we started praying for God to give us clear direction, God started working in the Freisen's life. Bro. Freisen was needed back at his home church to fill the position of assistant pastor. The assistant pastor that was there was being called to pastor a church in Southern Ontario. Bro. Freisen was asking God who should replace him and the Lord placed Keith's name on his heart. It made no sense, since we were heading to another town and he had only met us once over a year earlier. But Keith's was the name God gave Bro. Freisen.
To shorten this story a little, we will fast forward to the last two months. Needless to say, Bro. Jeff Freisen was our “man from Macedonia”, saying come over and help us. After visiting the church and getting to know the people, the church voted to have Keith come back to candidate for the position of pastor. This was the reason Keith was in Kenora this past weekend. Last night, Victory Baptist Church of Kenora, Ontario voted to have Keith come to Kenora and be their pastor. Our first service will be May 9, Mother's Day.
When this started, we wondered how God could call us to one town and then change directions. But did He change directions? You see, if we had never started on this journey we would not have been in the right place for God to show us His complete plan. During the past two years, God has used each circumstance to prepare us for this time and place. During deputation our eyes were opened to the GREAT need for men and woman to take a clear stand on God's preserved Word, the King James Bible. Our stand has been strengthened. Facing the necessity of relying solely upon God's provision to meet our needs has strengthened our faith. Traveling together as a family has made us closer. We have met dear folks who will be friends for life. God is good.
I'm glad God didn't reveal His will all at once. The responsibility of shepherding God's people is a fearful thing, but we know that God will be with us and He gives grace and wisdom. After a week in Kenora, we felt like we found our church family. These dear people love the Lord, His Word, and Missions. When I was younger, I sang a song called, “Unmerited Favor.” That is how we feel, like God has bestowed favor on us that we do not deserve.
We look forward to seeing how God will provide for our housing, and the balance of support we will need. God has done so much for us. Please pray with us that God will use us to be a blessing to our new church family. I'm sorry this post is a little long, but God has done so much for us it has been difficult to keep it this short.