November-December 2016: End of the Year
November came, and we found ourselves staying in the basement of Evangel church. We had access to bathrooms, showers, an industrial kitchen, and our rooms which we slept in: everything we needed but a home. Bob and Colleen looked for temporary work and thought that they may have found a place to land part-time jobs. They met with the owner of the company, and he said that he would be excited to have their help and that he would call them in a few days. When those days came and went, Bob and Colleen called, and he had them come in to see the place. When they let him know that they would not be able to work on Saturdays because of the Sabbath, he told them that he would call again in a few days after he had talked the situation over with his employees. Well, he didn’t, and so that time was wasted, but there was so much to do at the church. There were many little jobs that had been overlooked or simply never got done, and so we went through the church doing whatever we found our hands to do for our room and board. Many of the people at the church who usually did those jobs, or were aware they needed to be done, made sure we knew how glad they were that we were there.
When it looked like we would be at the church for awhile, we went back home—that is, to our sheds—and went through everything that we had, looking for our food and paper products so that we wouldn’t be using too much of the church’s resources, as well as our winter coats and hats and all that we would need for the colder weather. Even our cat loved to go to the sheds. It made her feel like she was home also.
The church was having a big Thanksgiving dinner for the community, and so we were there to help set up, decorate, cook, and serve. It kept us and many other people very busy for days. Thanksgiving day came, and knowing that we could not have our family at the church and that they had already made plans to go other places, we found ourselves alone in this very big church facility. But we were very thankful that we were there and not out on the street. No one wanted turkey after the week before—all we saw was turkey! So we had a meal of chicken and pasta, but we did have pumpkin pie.
Bob finally had a chance to have an interview for a part-time job, and after three weeks, almost four, he finally started. By now it was December. Many people continued telling us that we were a blessing at the church, and they had questions and wanted to learn, but there were also those who thought differently. In our travels we have encountered such people. The unknown always brings about fear, and we found there were some who were fearful about learning about the Jewish roots of their faith.
We continued to pray and seek God, and He kept telling us that He was in control. We continued to wait upon Him to make the way where there seemed to be no way. People came to decorate the church for Christmas, and we too decorated our little room for Hanukkah. During this stay, we had the time to work on a new Bible study. We had discussed doing this throughout our travels, and now being in one place for a while we were able to complete it. Paul seems to be the biggest stumbling block for those who take issue with observing the Torah, so we developed our Bible study, going through the Scriptures and explaining Paul, who even Peter said was misunderstood and whose words were twisted by others (2 Peter 3:15-18). We feel this will be a great eight-week course, and we are looking forward to teaching it in 2017, and making four to six new brochures from it.
But as Christmas/Hanukkah drew near, we found ourselves pretty much alone. We thank God that He never leaves us or forsakes us. All things in life have a purpose, and we know that God was doing a work in us just as He said He was going to do. Mitzi had the job of writing all of the holiday cards out so we could send them to all the people who we had the privilege of meeting and the churches and congregations that we had attended this past year. Not only our mailing list has grown, but so too has our prayer list. As the weeks went on, we have heard back from many of these people. We have made so many lasting friendships, you can only say, “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity,” (Psalm 133). The blood washed “Body of Messiah” is the greatest and most powerful weapon we have in life, along with His Word, the Sword of the Spirit. As we have been praying for others, so too they have been praying for us, and that wall of prayer has been our defense against the enemy of our soul.
Now it was the middle of December, and there was so much happening at church, rehearsals for the church’s Christmas program for one. Being that our room was right under the sanctuary, we knew the whole program by heart. There were holiday meals and a Christmas breakfast, but for us it was quite different. God’s hand was upon us and taking us in a different direction. It was letting go of the world: not that God did not want us to enjoy the season, but He was stretching our faith and preparing us for doing His work. Colleen finally got a part-time job and started a few days later. Instead of life getting easier, it became harder. As the time drew closer to having to leave, we were finding that God was closing every door and we had no place to go.
Hanukkah came on the same day as Christmas (we had already celebrated Messiah’s birthday during the Feast of Tabernacles). We lit the first candle of the menorah and made latkes (potato pancakes) to celebrate. We could not believe that we were lighting the last candle and then packing up and leaving on New Year’s Eve night. As everyone else in the church was busy planning and setting up for the evening’s festivities, we loaded up our vehicles and then slipped into the night. With no place to go again, and this time it was going down into the twenties at night, we rented a motel room. As we were on the way there, however, we noticed a smell when we turned the heat on…
Happy New Year, and read our story next month to find out what happens as we begin 2017!