While living in E-Town, PA back in June 2007, Dennis made a tough decision to leave a job that he loved (working as a caregiver at a group home for mentally disabled men). From there, we made a decision that he would not go looking for another job but that we would wait upon the LORD to see how we would be led or wait for opportunities to present themselves.
Note: I'm sure you might be wondering how we could financially swing such a decision. Well, we've been blessed beyond measure in the area of being financially savvy (Praise be to the LORD) and therefore, we've learned to live off of the least amount of money possible. But even through many months with NO income, we STILL lived very comfortably. We always had more than enough food, more than enough clothing and a roof over our heads at all times [and with no government assistance]. This is an area where I sincerely pray that we are able to help others someday. I do not believe we have this knowledge just for ourselves.
Back to the story: In July, we had a Spanish exchange student living with us so we considered ministering to him our full-time job for that month. We then had a Japanese exchange student stay with us for a few nights. Throughout the summer, we spent extensive amounts of time writing, handing out, and mailing Gospel tracts. In August, Dennis spent the entire month doing some intensive seeking of the LORD in a way he could not have done while working (e.g. a 21-day water-only fast.).
In September, Dennis started a business he had the idea for back in August. I thought this was a great business idea, but for some reason, when he started actively promoting it, I was not at peace. As it turned out, he had various physical ailments [linked to his coming off his extended fast improperly] that kind of slowed him down with the business. So, he would take a break, but then when he would go back at it, he would get physically hindered again! Coincidence?!? Perhaps, but between the physical ailments and the dissension because of my lack of peace, Dennis let go of pursuing the business despite the promising prospects he had.
From there, as certain events took place [or didn’t take place], we were pointed in a whole new direction that we never could have planned on our own. One of the biggest events that took place to affect our decision-making process at that point was on October 1st when Dennis went to a dealership to sell our Honda Accord. Funds were getting low and so we decided to get rid of one of our many "spoils." Dennis had been doing full-time ministry and we agreed that we did not need two vehicles. Over the phone, the dealer said that we could get a check in 20 minutes and our rent was due that same day! So, Dennis went to the dealership and the dealer told him to pull the car around. Dennis got in the car and...It wouldn't start!!! We call it "the click that changed everything." Had that not happened, we would have sold the car that day, paid our rent for that month and continued on as we had been (i.e. waiting upon the LORD's provision, one month at a time).
However, on October 5th, we had dinner at our landlords' home and Dennis filled them in on our situation up to that point. Knowing that the "king's heart is in the hand of the LORD" (Proverbs 21:1), we had a romantic hope that the LORD would move their hearts to work with us in some kind of way, but apparently the LORD had other plans because that didn't happen. And so...after a delicious dinner with them, but now knowing we would have to give our 30-day notice and move, I was quite distraught since we had no leads on what we would do next. When we got home, I went straight to bed.
Dennis was distraught at seeing my demeanor but before going to bed feeling defeated, he decided to just praise the LORD through it all. During his time of prayer and worship that night, he had a complete paradigm shift and received what he calls a “realization-revelation.” In our romantic views, we were expecting some type of grand supernatural deliverance in order to keep our current lifestyle, but that wasn’t necessarily the LORD’s desire.
In this case, Dennis received the realization-revelation that we were actually in a very blessed situation where we were being forced to be freed up from worldly wealth and possessions [which often equal prisons because they can become our treasure and possess us]. In the end, Dennis felt an impression to downsize by getting rid of all of the possessions that we couldn’t fit into our minivan and then leave for the “mission field.” What we once feared and saw as a burden (i.e. losing our lifestyle), we could now embrace as a blessing and newfound freedom. Without being tied down to a home and lots of stuff, we would gain the flexibility to do or go wherever the LORD might lead.
After that weekend, we got the car fixed (cost=$400), sold it and paid our rent for October. I'll share some of our neat stories from getting rid of most of our things in the next blog.