Friday, January 20, 2012

Faith On Trial

My heart is trepidant as I (Shannon) write this time... I don't know why I should feel this way... We've faced this sort of thing before... but it never ceases to make my heart beat a little faster and my palms get a little uncomfortably warm (and notably I get warm under the collar too, I must admit, much to my disappointment in myself at that fact) whenever we get first wind of something like this coming up. It's not the sort of thing that you can talk to just anybody about... so many do not understand or do not wish to understand. I mean, that's what causes the whole problem in the first place, an unwillingness to "get it."

We've been feeling so blessed by Tim's job at a factory that shall remain unnamed. Then came a physical trial earlier this week when Tim was moved from first shift to third. It's been really tough for him to switch his wake/sleep cycle in complete reverse order. Not only that, but it's hard to figure out when you're going to eat your meals because it's not natural to want a meal in the middle of the night while at work, then you're too tired to eat when you get home in the morning and probably shouldn't eat and immediately go to bed anyway. Factor in travel time to and from work, and you've got about 6 hours of wake time left before it's time to head to work again. So, you get about one meal a day, two if you're lucky. That's what it's been like for Tim anyway. It's emotionally exhausting, especially when it occurs to him as the sun is coming up as he's driving home just after 7:00 a.m. that he has to be back at work again about an hour after his regular bedtime that night. Suffice it to say that the physical and emotional condition my husband was left in after a week like this (also including the noisy construction going on not 50 feet from our house when Tim was trying to sleep yesterday) was not ideal for the situation he faced this morning.

People at work had been saying the new supervisor for Tim's area was, well, a jerk. Today I'm thankful that Tim has not found that true. He was approached by his supervisor this morning with the news that there was going to be a mandatory Saturday workday. That's not really the concerning part. There have been other "mandatory Saturdays" while he's worked there. They have never been a problem before. Two other supervisors Tim has had were very clear that they were okay with his religious beliefs precluding him from working during the hours of the Sabbath (from sundown on Friday evening to sundown on Saturday evening), especially since Tim was always willing to work Sunday. In fact, that was what they indicated was the policy anyway... as long as you worked one of the weekend days when there was a mandatory Saturday, you were okay. The new aspect of this was that there's a supervisor that is new just a little further up in the hierarchy. Tim's direct supervisor kindly gave my husband a heads-up that this other man was going to try to force Tim into working Saturday (actually starting Friday night with the third shift hours). Wisely, Tim approached the man to explain to him the reason he would not be coming to work Friday night, but would gladly work Saturday night instead. In fact, he had already volunteered for it. The man was not impressed and said Tim's reasons were all well and good, but that he wanted three press-men on third shift tonight (nevermind the fact that there are only two on any given night anyway). The message was clear - he expected Tim to be there, Sabbath or no. Tim's message, though calm and kind, was also clear - he would not be going to work on the Sabbath. You the reader may recognize that this is unlawful. In fact, it is considered by the law to be religious discrimination. I'll spare you the rest of the minute details, but the issue is not resolved yet. It seems for now that Tim has been given a pass for this time (only), but the problem is almost sure to flare again next Friday night, as a mandatory Saturday is expected.

The devil always tries to attack us Christians when we are otherwise weakened, or at least worn down. It so reminds me of Christ in the wilderness. Satan didn't come to him the first day out, when Jesus was still feeling fresh and clear-minded. Nor did he come to Him the whole first week. He came to Him after 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, when he was physically worn out. Similarly, Tim was dealing with so much this week already and then the devil piles on one more "big-deal" trial, just one more to break him... At least, that's what Satan was hoping! While it may make us nervous to think about Tim losing his job over this, we're experienced enough to know that God always takes care of us. We may be tempted to fret a bit over losing health insurance just shortly after rejoicing over finally being insured again after a few years of not having that security, but we know that God always takes care of us. Things may not turn out how we would like them to, but that's okay because we know that God is in control and "all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Perhaps there's something in your life that you feel is just the icing on the cake, only it's bitter icing layered on top of all the other trials the devil has already placed in your life of late... Take heart! God is still on the throne and He is still in charge! As He said to Jeremiah (ch. 29, v. 11), "For I know the plans I have for you... plans to prosper you and not to harm you... to give you a hope and a future." Our hurt is not in God's plans. Again, things may not go as we want them to go and we may get our dander up about it, but God sees the big picture, so hang in there and wait until He shows you the bigger picture... and then it will make a whole lot more sense. Trust the Lord! Ask the faithful friends you know to bear you up in prayer that you may withstand the numerous trials you may be facing. Oh, friends - Jesus waits to come to our aid if we only ask! Sometimes we have to hand over our difficulties to Him multiple times. With all this being said, we do ask for you to lift us up in prayer, that our faith would be strengthened and that Tim would be encouraged. We will stand firm on our position that the Sabbath is sacred and not another workday, but we need the kind of faith that enables our hearts not to speed up and our palms not to get sweaty. We need the kind of faith that goes on cheerfully and continues a right representation of Christ and Christianity. We pray that Tim would continue to be employed by this company and that they would see that what they are trying to do is wrong, but most of all we want God's purpose to be accomplished and Him to be glorified. Thank you for praying with us and for us! May God bless you for it and may you also turn to Him in your trials and despairs.

In love,


Sunday, August 7, 2011


Hmmm. Turnouts. I suppose one would wonder where I'm going with this title. Well, if you've gone to a national park (like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or Pikes Peak or other mountain park), chances are you've seen the spots where the road widens out to the right side or has a little loop-like lane off to the side. Sometimes it will be extra wide and have parking spaces. The purpose of these turnouts is more than just to let faster cars pass by (although that's handy, too). You quickly learn that there is often something to see - some spectacular sight, some unique outcropping of rock, something breathtaking, a vast view to make you gasp in awe and contemplate the wonder of creation. I love these turnouts! I think sometimes Tim gets a bit impatient with me when we're traveling because it's as if I want to stop at every one of them!!

Still wonder where I'm going? Well, we are currently on what I would perhaps call a turnout, it seems, in our ministry journey. Tim's last contract ran out at the beginning of May and we, along with a few of our friends in ministry, are not hearing of many opportunities yet. I'm not sure if it's the economy or time of year or what. While we are somewhat, ok more than a little, frustrated by this gap in the timing of our ministry jobs, I am certain of one thing. God has asked us to pull over at this turnout. There's something He wants us to see, to learn, or to do. I don't often stay in the car when we pull into a turnout. I want to get out and walk around, take the camera out and see if I can get a few memories on the SD card. So far, however, it looks like a turnout with not much to see, just a place to let other cars pass. I've seen some like this on our trips, though. At first there doesn't seem to be any reason for the placement, but if you get out to stretch your legs and walk a couple of minutes, you might see a great view or a trail to investigate, and come upon something extraordinary that others never pay attention to. That's sort-of descriptive of this time for us.

It seems as if we've pulled over at Someone else's request, thinking it will be a super short stop, because at first glance there's no reason for the turnout. However, we know that the Lord takes us through experiences for our own good, for our spiritual growth. It's tough staying with family and not having our own place, and Tim finds it frustrating to work in a factory when he feels that there's more worthy lines of work to put effort into, but amongst all this, we need to "walk around and investigate the area" spiritually. What is it God wants us to learn here, or who is it we should be reaching out to? Divine appointments are arranged by God, not just on a 10-minute conversation out of nowhere, but also in these turnouts of our lives. There's something here for us to learn that we would not learn, or at least not learn as well, if we had gone on quickly to our next position. Are we anxious for this time to be over, to move on already? Sure! But if there's a blessing reserved for us here, just as if we would stumble upon a path leading to a treasure few will notice, I don't want to stay in the car and miss it!

So, here I'm asking for your prayers. Please ask the Lord to make it plain to us the reason for the break in our ministry journey. Perhaps you're facing a lull in your own spiritual journey and are finding it frustrating. We need to think to ask the Lord the reason for His pulling us aside. There's a lesson and a blessing to be gained, I'm sure. I'm hoping you'll get out of the car and poke around a little, too. I don't think we'll regret it! I'm praying that our ministry and yours, too, will be enriched and strengthened by our time in the turnout lane... and maybe, just maybe... we'll learn to enjoy the view and use the leg-stretching time to our spiritual health.



Saturday, May 14, 2011

I was just reading through our last blog posting. Wow! I can't believe it's been a year! I hadn't really realized that I left that post in draft rather than getting it on here, but at least it's up now. :) We have been able to observe the full annual cycle of seasons here, and as I write this, I am looking out of my second-story window to a yet unplanted field across the road, bordered at the not-too-distant far side by the beautiful conifers that gave us something green to look at all winter long, but also the new leaves that have been growing and greening up to cover the skinny, bare branches we have seen for months. Closer to the house and entering my vision out the window from the right are the wonderfully green leaves bouncing in the breeze, dangling from the second tallest tree in our yard. I've got the window half open and the happy voices of the birds carry through to my spring-starved ears. Such beauty I see and hear outside, even though today is a rainy, cool, overcast day. Oh! Did I mention it's Sabbath? :)

It's been a wonderful experience to be here in Michigan and in ministry for this particular church for the past year. To say we've learned a lot would be an understatement! We have made so very many close friends here, so of course, it will be incredibly hard to leave them. Tim and I are learning that when it comes time to leave, you worry over the contacts you've made much like one would worry about a child going off for their first sleepover or to camp for the first time... Who will take care of them? Who will see to their spiritual needs? Will they stay in touch with them? Will they be able to relate to them the way we have and help them along the way when they stumble or get discouraged? We have no choice but to leave them in God's care and in His hands and pray that the people He calls to nurture them will answer that call faithfully and lovingly.

Our family has had the privilege to see a few baptisms here in the past 365+ days, for which we give great thanks. We feel sure that there will be more to come as well. Tim preached his first evangelistic series in April, just before his contract ended. He put so much time and effort and study into each presentation, trying to make sure it was just right. As I sat in the second row that very first night, I was so happy to see him doing something that he loves - sharing the message of hope, trust, and salvation. I don't remember whether it was 5 minutes after he started preaching or 15, but I honestly sat there stunned. I've been hearing my husband preach the Word for 13 years, but as I listened that night the thought ran through my mind several times, "Wow! I've NEVER heard my husband preach like THIS!" The Lord added such power to and really blessed in great measure the hard work Tim had put into it. While I didn't reveal it to him until two weeks later, that was the first night it occurred to me that maybe the Lord will someday call him to be an evangelist. And, to surprise myself more, I found my heart willing if that should be the case.

We don't know as yet where we will be going next other than that we cannot stay here if Tim is not working, so waiting on the Lord is the name of the game. There was a call extended to us in Northern Minnesota, but we felt that God was not leading us in that particular direction. Things are uncertain, but in a peculiar way, I'm starting to get accustomed to the uncertainty that our lives have been filled with since late 2008 when this journey started. We have a couple of leads on different positions and are just praying for direction. (By the way, we always appreciate having others join us in that prayer.) It's getting difficult to envision moving every year or so, and so the desire of my own heart is for something a little more long-term. Nevertheless, we will follow where God wants us to be.

As a side note to our fellow Adventists, if your church (or one you know of) is looking for a Bible worker, lay pastor, or evangelist, please prayerfully consider contacting us. You never know from which direction the Lord will open up a new door. You can contact him through this blog or also through Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism, care of Don Mackintosh, who will get the message to Tim.

As always, God bless!

Monday, May 31, 2010


Well, friends, by the title of this post you can see that the next phase of our adventure is taking place in Michigan! After arriving home from California in November, we really weren't sure how to go about finding a job in ministry and how hard to chase after it, other than just going off of the leads Tim was given by the director of AFCOE. Apparently we needed to learn some patience or something, because it took a while for things to fall in place. I was still working, but things were tight while we were waiting, so Tim went back to Walmart, though a different one than before. Whatever the reason for the delay, we tried to make use of it in our daily contacts. We had a few different ministries in different states that were interested, but for one reason or another usually unknown to us they either decided not to hire anyone, or went with someone else. Then, some friends of ours from Illinois were talking with their family in Michigan. That church had been in the process of hiring a Bible worker, but it didn't work out for them. Our friends hadn't said anything about us until then because they hadn't wanted to interfere with the church's plans to hire this other man. When our friend heard it hadn't gone through, however, she mentioned us and gave our contact information to them. It wasn't long (hours I believe) before we heard from someone at the church and Tim sent his resume to them right away.

Well, after some waiting and some praying, Tim and I traveled to Michigan for his interview. A few weeks later, Tim and Ethan came so Tim could sign his contract. Then, at the very end of April, we made the move to Hope, Michigan. So, we've been here for just over a month now. Tim is working as the Bible worker for the Edenville Adventist Church. We are settling in, though things have been a little hard financially with no paycheck for Tim in a month and a half (due any day now thank the Lord!), but we love the house that we're in. A church member is giving us a discount on an old farm house that was just renovated. It's in the country, but there's a park right across the street, and we're only 13 miles away from all the big stores to do our shopping. For the first time in our married life, we even have a guest room! It has no bed yet, but the room is there, haha!

Ethan is thrilled beyond thrilled to have a decent-sized room again, and frankly so am I! The main thing that is missing is our dogs. Ethan got to name them when we got back from California and it took quite a while, but their names are Brindie and Samson. He had to choose to keep just one of Sadie's puppies and it was a very hard decision for him, but he picked Samson. If you're wondering about his name, it's because he was over 40 pounds before he was four months old! The vet says he will top 100 pounds and he may be there already! He's a huge dog. Unfortunately, he and Sadie had to stay in Illinois for now because we had no way to transport them when we moved and also because we didn't have a pen or anything for them to be in up here in Michigan. We hope to be able to get them here in a couple of months and then our family will be together once again. Oh, if you're wondering what happened to Brindie (so named because of her beautiful brindle-colored fur), she is a permanent resident at Grandma Opal's house! We had hoped a family member would take her so that Ethan could see her when he visits, and what could be better?! Sadie won't be having any more pups; we had she and Brindie spayed and Samson neutered. That was sad, too, but while Sadie had beautiful babies, we couldn't afford more and it can be hard to find a good home for animals.

I apologize for the length of this post, but when you only get around to blogging about every 3-4 months, you have a lot to catch people up on, haha! Until next time, though, God bless you, friends!

All our love,


Monday, February 1, 2010


I know it's been a long time, but for those of you whom we don't see very often, we are back home in Illinois. We got back at the end of November, and safely. I (Shannon) am currently working on a post and hope to get it up soon. Thanks for your patience, and check back! I hope to get it done this week, but should have something finished and up by early next week for sure. Blessings!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Our apologies that it's been so long since our last post... Tim has been exceptionally busy with outreach and classwork on top of that. Ethan has been doing schoolwork... and a lot of playing with the other children! I have been working away at my regular job, plus doing all the cooking and housework that Tim and I usually share at home. Oh, and I started taking piano lessons - a daunting task at my age! Mom and Dad (Elaine and Franz) have visited here since our last post also. They were here in September for just over a week, and Mom and I celebrated our birthday together, as usual. While they were here, we went to Yosemite National Park, which is where the pictures in this post came from. Tim couldn't go with us, of course, because of classes, and we missed his presence, but still had a good time. I also took them, mainly for Dad's pleasure, to the highest bridge in California - the Foresthill Bridge at the Auburn Ravine. It stands over 700 feet above the American River at the bottom. I think he enjoyed seeing the construct of it and we walked across on the sidewalks they have on each side, so that was another of his pleasures - being high in the air. The van was having issues just after their arrival, so we had to rent a car just to go to Yosemite, but other than that, didn't go far because of travel troubles with the van. Mom enjoyed the property here at Weimar Inst., especially the farm and the view from the water tanks (the highest point on the property I believe). Ethan and Mom went on a walk on one of the trails and saw Moses Rock together. Dad and I also went on one of the trails because I wanted to show Dad the flume, and he also got to see Moses Rock. I'd forgotten that I wanted to take them to Auburn to watch a glassblower and so I still need to set that up to do with Ethan, but I wish I'd remembered when they were here. Oh, and we also went to the Empire Mine, the oldest and largest gold mine in California. I hope to post pictures of some of that here, but our internet is so slow that it's difficult to do much of that sort of thing.

The prophecy series that Tim and the other AFCOE students have been doing outreach for is starting tonight. It will go five nights a week for several weeks. This has been a hard area to work in as far as the Lord's work is concerned. Apparently there is a lot of the occult here and also much in the way of drugs (especially marijuana growing), even though it's a somewhat affluent area.

Well, I should go and get ready. I really don't want to dress up to go, but since the AFCOE students are required to wear at least khaki's and polos for the guys and dresses/skirts for the gals, my husband didn't think it would look very good if he was wearing dress pants and a button-down shirt and I was in jeans and a t-shirt. I tried to persuade him that someone needs to make the general public that comes to this feel comfortable and that it could be my ministry, but he wasn't convinced!! Ha ha!

Love to you all,

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Puppy Pictures!!!

We finally got pictures of the new puppies a few days ago! Tim's mom took some polaroid pictures and sent them to us, so I took digital pictures of the polaroids to show here. They're not very clear as they're pictures of pictures, but they're good enough to see what they look like. The girl is on the left and is brindle-colored. The boy is the light tan one on the right. They do not have names yet because Ethan will name them when we get back home, so they are just called "Girl" and "Boy" for now. They are eating a lot of dog food, but will still be nursing for a few more weeks. Sadie's being a great mom we hear, and everyone enjoys the puppies when they visit Tim's parents every Sunday. We just can't wait to cuddle them, though I'm sure they won't hold still for that any more than they did for the pictures. The only way they could get them to be sort-of still was to put them on the picnic table. But aren't they CUTE?!!!