Tuesday, February 19, 2013


During summers through college I worked at summer camp. I loved it. My best friends were there, we were outside a lot. We made enough money with our school-matched scholarships that it was worthwhile. I never felt so close to God as by the river after an intense summer at camp. This camp was in Yosemite National Park in California about halfway between my home in southern California and my school in northern California.

Sorry Chrystal and Amy, it's the best I could do!

Our camp directors were awesome and lots of us are still friends in real life or at least on Facebook. I'm the one in the striped shirt standing on that platform tied to a tree. Ropes Course Director, 1998.

Eventually it was time to grow up and move on. In 1999 I got a job teaching Kindergarten in Las Vegas at our church school. I went back to college in the summers to earn my Master's Degree. No more summer camp.

I was single and usually ok with that, unless my heart was freshly broken. I knew the strong and fun kind of man I wanted to marry, someone who loved God and America and children and travel, someone who was handy and secure and who would laugh at my silliness. Definitely NOT someone from the midwest and NOT a PASTOR!!!

In 2003, I think it was, I visited a friend who was working at an academy in Ohio. Well, she had worked there the year previous and was now getting a master's in Indiana. Anyway, I wasn't that impressed with Indiana, but my friend took me on a roadtrip to Ohio to see the school where she had worked. I fell. in. love. with Ohio. It was so pretty and slow and family centered. 

Fast forward a few more years. I met and married my sweetheart. He was an engineer (whew!) but he was born in Wisconsin, considered Nebraska home and was living in Iowa. I moved to Iowa with him the day after our wedding in 2006. 

We lived in Iowa for 6 years and welcomed each of our three boys into the family. Then last spring my husband felt strongly that he should quit his job as an engineer and go through training as a Bible worker which would lead to a career as a pastor. Never say never.

We put our little house on the market and moved out in July. We traveled to California for Gary's training. We spent four months there, hearing how well Gary was doing, what a natural he was, and how surely he would get a call as a Bible worker or maybe even as a lay pastor! But nothing happened. Calls wouldn't get returned. Ideas fell through. He wasn't hired at all.
We came to Missouri to spend a week or two at Gary's parent's home for Christmas. There was an offer on the table for a lay pastor position that we had heard about the day we left the school in California. 

We waited over three weeks. The job fell through. 

We knew we wanted to go with Adventist Frontier Missions to Scotland. We both felt sure of that. But while filling out applications for the long-term (it's still 18-24 months away) we knew we needed some way to pay the bills in the short term.

We prayed. A lot.

After two months and our savings completely drained, Gary felt impressed to check a different website in search of a job. He created an account so he could see a wider spectrum of available positions. Nothing really sparked his interest, but he saved four of the options and asked me to look at them. He never does that.

I glanced through the list and noted with a chuckle, "I know the principal of that school in Ohio! He's my camp director! Small world!" Gary asked me to contact him and because that principal is my old camp director from the late 90s, I did. I sent him a note on Facebook, of course, because that was the only way I could. I mentioned that we were between AFCOE (the school in CA) and AFM (missions) and needed a short-term job to fill in the gaps.
He wrote back: Call me.

It's been a couple weeks and we're still working out details, but Gary is going to be an assistant boy's dean at Mt. Vernon Academy in Ohio. Where my friend taught in 2002. Where I visited in 2003. Where I first fell in love with the midwest. Where my old camp director from California is now the principal!

Now get this. Pastor Dan is super excited that Gary was trained at AFCOE and that we're going to Scotland as missionaries. See, his vision is to train the students in friendship evangelism (which is what Gary learned about at AFCOE) and send the students overseas for a hands-on experience! That means the same students that Gary teaches in Ohio will come stay with us in Scotland! 

God had put the idea in Pastor Dan's heart before he knew our situation.

You know what else is cool? We'll be starting in March. Talk about God's timing! We'll be there through next school year as well and be ready for the three-month missionary training the following summer. 

We're so excited! Aren't you?


  1. Well, you know I'm a HUGE fan of schools, so you'd also know that I love, LOVE this story! Wishing you many blessings. Those teens are going to be blessed to have you there in their lives!

  2. I don't even really know you but I am so excited for you and your family. God's timing never ceases to amaze me, I love how we can look back and see his hand in our lives every step of the way. Blessings to you and your family Ellie!

  3. I love this story!!! Congratulations all around!

    What a huge blessing. What an amazing opportunity to be able to teach these teens and then take them with you here to Scotland. They will be needed here.

    I have 2 sisters and my mother all live in Ohio! I grew up in West Virginia on the border of Ohio. I love it there. You'll love Ohio! My family lives in Mansfield, Wooster, and Marietta, Ohio. Good luck with the new job!

  4. What wonderful, wonderful news! You see, God had this plan in line for you all along-you just had to search it out. How very, very perfect...the timing...the job....the long term possibilities. I am thrilled for you! xo Diana



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