I was born in Kansas. My father was in the Air Force and my mother was from Oklahoma. I grew up in Southern California, Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Wayne, Nebraska. I have wonderful memories of growing up on the air base in California, I love the weather, beauty and living near the Mississippi River in Missouri but my high school years in Nebraska were difficult.
When I was 11 my father retired and we moved from California to Missouri where he became a college professor. When I was 15 we moved to Nebraska. My father was again a college professor and my mother was director of family health services. Both were very involved in democratic politics.
My life, between the ages of 15 and 27 were difficult. My parent’s marriage was rocky. I was in and out of relationships and lived a pretty wild lifestyle. I married at 19 and divorced at 20. Married at 22, had a baby at 24 – the same year my parents divorced, and divorced again when I was 26. I found myself a single mother, working nights and going to college during the day. My life was not pretty, and I will not go into all the sordid details, but I can state very plainly that I was headed for a breakdown.
When I was 27, I came to know the Lord through my younger sister Shannon and our Catholic priest Father Jim Bushelmann. Father Jim had a “born-again” experience on a trip he had taken to the Southeastern part of the United States. He was so on fire, the church board was simply furious! Father Jim died very young a year later due to a brain tumor.
At the ripe old age of 27, I was at the end of my rope. I also had a few strange encounters, a few life and death encounters, so the Lord was getting my attention. My sister had given my daughter Timoni, who was three (3) at the time, a children’s Christian album, which we played over and over. I found myself crying whenever the music played and was humming the tunes without realizing it.
I went for counseling with Father Jim as I feared I was having a break down. Father Jim shared his testimony with me and I was amazed, but leery and excited at the same time. At this point in my life I felt very unworthy, very shamed by my past. For some reason I watched a life of Jesus movie on TV and the movie Peter and Paul, as it was Easter season. On Easter Sunday I gave my life to the Lord, with my sister Shannon leading me in prayer.
A week later I met my future husband Larry, who had also given his life to the Lord on Easter in Whidby Island, Washington. We married five weeks later. After we married, Larry and I decided to find a church we both liked. We visited every church in the area and then my sister Shannon invited us to a church she was attending, Word of Life in a nearby town. At first it was a wonderful church (modeled after the AG church) and we became very active in many areas of ministry. We learned so much and our faith grew. The Lord also blessed us with three more children
In January 1991, Larry was asked to pastor a church in Decatur, as the pastors had taken a one year sabbatical. In late 1991, soon after our fourth child was born, we experienced a tragedy in our church as the head pastor’s wife began having an affair with another pastor. Some of the other pastors were justifying her actions and we knew that the church was going in a direction we were not comfortable with and stepped back from ministry. After Larry’s year was over as pastor we left the church and for a little over two years we drifted and healed. Sadly, the church soon fell apart.
In June of 1993, the local AG pastor’s son invited two of our children to a Kids Crusade. At this time we learned the AG church had reopened and was doing well. It was a tiny church and we immediately went “back to work” so to speak. The church grew quickly and a new one was built in 2001.
My husband was a deacon for six years and was a major part of the building team. We had also quit farming and Larry had become a full time building contractor and rural mail carrier. He put many volunteer hours into building the new church. It was an exciting time for us. In 1999, my husband was re-elected as a deacon.
I knew something was distracting him as had been spending much time in private prayer. He told me that he believed we would move after his three-year term was over. I agreed and we continued to pray over the next three years that God would have his way in our lives.
In February 2002, Larry‘s term as deacon ended. That very same month, Pastor David and Kathy Winter took us to supper and presented us with the idea of joining them in a ministry in the Black Hills. In July 2002, after much prayer and a visit to the Black Hills, we accepted the call of the Lord. In June of 2003 we moved to the Black Hills.
In April of 2011 we resigned our position as camp directors. Our home is on the market and we are excited about our future as empty nesters serving the Lord!
And, the rest will be His story.
God Bless You and have a wonderful day!