Gaining Experience as a Christian
|Four months after
Dal and I were married, we moved to Eugene, Oregon. It took us three years
to find a good, Bible-believing, doctrinally sound church. It was there
that I was baptized in water as an outward sign of my inward experience
through Christ of death to sin and rising to new life in Christ. I also
received another baptism in this church, the baptism of the Holy Spirit
under the ministry of Rev. Vic Trimmer, a guest evangelist. The baptism of
the Holy Spirit gives believers power for service. This must have been
evident in my life because the pastorís wife soon asked me to teach a
fifth-grade girlsí Sunday School class. I had never thought about being
capable of teaching in church, but I decided if the pastorís wife had
confidence that I could do it, maybe I could. So I did. This was God
again, guiding my life through people around me and preparing me for His
later specific calling of a teaching ministry.
After our three children were born in Eugene, we moved to Sacramento, California, and began attending a large church. Rev. Dick Eastman was the youth pastor and noticed my love for Godís Word. One day, he asked me to coach a Bible quiz team. I didnít even know there was such a thing, but it tweaked my interest and I said I would. When our boys were old enough, they joined the team and memorized a lot of Scripture in the process. Rog was top quizzer at one point and one year even memorized the whole book of Matthew. Later, I was asked to become the Bible Quiz Director for the whole district and coordinated the program and Bible Quiz meets, recruiting pastors to help as judges. At this time, I held a Christian Worker certificate even though I was not in full-time ministry. But it served to give me approval for the Bible Quiz Director ministry in which I was involved.
Dick Eastman also asked me to help as a leader with the youth and to oversee one of his PEP (prayer evangelism partners) teams. Besides weekly meetings with the youth, this involved a program of Ambassadors in Missions, in which we led a group of youth to Nevada to work with the Indians. We took our children with us, and an interesting question was asked by our son Roger, who was still young, saying, "Where are all the Indians?" He had been playing with them, but didnít even know it. They were normal people, not like what he had seen portrayed on TV with their feathers and bow and arrows. This was a good learning lesson for him.
On Sunday afternoons, under Dick Eastmanís leadership, I also taught in his University of the Word. This involved seminars for college-age students.
When Rev. Rich Wilkerson and others became youth pastors at our church, I continued to be involved with the youth in various leadership capacities. In addition, I gained experience directing youth drama groups, holding kids crusades, and teaching Sunday School for all ages, including pre-school, grade school, junior high, senior high, college, and adults. At one point I even taught Berean Correspondence courses in Sunday School. I also led and taught Junior Church. In fact, both Robin and Tim became Christians at five years of age under my ministry of Junior Church. Rog had earlier become a Christian at four and one-half, when he asked me at home how to become a Christian. Although he was young, I figured if he could ask the question, he was able to understand and apply the answer, which he did. He became a Christian on his fatherís birthday.
Even at home I found myself involved in ministry. For all of the kids on our block, I began a neighborhood Kidsí Club. Of course, our own kids participated also. One girl who attended regularly lived next door and was born without arms and with one leg half the size of the normal one. She made the best of her handicap and had a very good attitude. One day when the kids were playing outside, she said, "Why donít we play something that everyone can play?" Of course, the kids did so that she could participate. She had a prosthesis for her short leg and metal arms with hooks for hands. It was amazing what she could do. One day at Kidsí Club when I taught about people with deformities and injuries being healed in heaven, she said, "You mean Iíll be whole in heaven?" She had thought that she would have her deformity for ever. She wasnít mad at God, but just accepted her condition. What a blessing it was for her to learn that she would be whole in heaven. Kidsí Club was worth it just for the delight and hope this knowledge gave her. With Kidsí Club, God had guided again to bless her especially.
At one point, I was impressed to write several doctrinal courses. In retrospect, these courses were precursors to my later teaching ministry and books. One of the courses was entitled, "Foundations for New Christians," and was used at various sites in the Western United States, Brazil, and Europe. The other course was entitled, "Things Which Shall Be Hereafter."
In addition to a little writing, I also decided to complete my B.A. in Christian Education, which I received in 1979 with honors from Sacramento Baptist College. Christian Education seemed the appropriate major for me at the time since I had been involved in various areas of Christian Education. A friend happened to tell me about this college which was near our home. Shortly after I completed my degree, the college closed down. I had completed my degree just in time. Again God was guiding this process.
During this time of my Christian experience, my motto and driving force consisted of two verses with similar meaning:
Genesis 24:27 (KJV)
Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)
I had not had a specific "calling" to serve the Lord in the various ministries mentioned above. However, when ministry needs were presented as I was going about my life, some seemed right so to do, and I did them with my might.
Since God knows that I am very focused, God in His wisdom did not give me a specific "calling" while I still was raising our children. He allowed me to focus on them even though there were periods of ministry. At times, I also obtained paid jobs to help with finances, but this enabled me to learn business and computer skills which would be of great use later.