Updated: May 25
The next couple of blogs will explain why Al and I are going to move to Jordan.
First, a little background of our life. You can click on the "About” tab on our website and get a general idea of our life, but in this blog, I will add more details.
Al and I met as students at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was freshly back from Vietnam, and I was completing coursework for my degree in Theater and English, preparing to graduate. Our first date was July 27, and exactly five months later, we were married on December 27.
In the early years of our marriage, Al was ordained as an Assemblies of God minister, and we were on staff or pastored several churches in the Tulsa area. Our first child was born with a birth defect, and during this ministerial time, we struggled with trying to keep her alive. The Lord performed a miracle when she was eight years old and healed her completely. In a future blog, I will tell her story.
It was during our time in the pastoral ministry that God (Elohim in Hebrew) birthed a great desire in us to learn about the Hebraic roots of our Christianity. Often, after a Sunday morning service, we headed over to one of the synagogues in Tulsa to see what they were doing if they had a special event that day. We wanted to learn about the festivals of the Lord (Yehovah) as spoken of in Leviticus 23 and elsewhere in the Bible. Also, we looked into the classes held at the Jewish Community Center, being specifically interested in the Hebrew language. Unfortunately, there were never enough students to meet the class minimum. But Al was able to enroll in a class on the book of Isaiah.
About twelve years into our marriage, we left the ministry. I had taken a class in calligraphy, loved it, took more classes, practiced, and parlayed it into a business. Sad to say, pastoring was not kind to us, and we needed a break. So we decided to expand the business by going on the road doing art shows all over the US. Previously, I made prints of my work and sold them to a wholesale manufacturer who framed them and retailed them to stores.
I wanted to meet the public face-to-face and be able to talk with those who bought my art. We were fairly young and didn’t know any better, so we took a leap of faith, bought the equipment we needed to make framed pieces, and hit the road. We traveled all over the country, eventually visitingforty-one states.
We started homeschooling our children before we made the decision to be “roadies,” so they got first-hand knowledge of the geography of their country. We earned our living this way for fifteen years. All this time, we still hungered to know more about the people and land of Israel. Al held Sunday services at many of the art shows we were in, but that was all the ministry we were involved in at that stage of our life.
One day in 1992, I said, “If we don’t do something about this urge to know more about Israel, I am going to explode.”
We decided to find someone who would teach us the Hebrew language and then move forward from there. Yehovah led us to a woman who grew up in Jerusalem, the daughter of a minister and scholar. She returned with her husband to the US as an adult and lived in Tulsa, teaching at ORU. We asked her if she would consider teaching us in her home on our schedule (we were still traveling), and she said, “Yes.”
It was as though Yehovah said, “OK, buckle your seatbelts. I’ve been waiting for you to take a first step.”
He brought many people across our path, and we began learning the things our hearts had desired for years. Eventually, we started a Messianic congregation and later a home fellowship. The new things we learned changed our spiritual path. We eventually left the Assemblies of God. You can read that part of our story by clicking on the tab “Who We Are.”
A few years later, we moved from Tulsa to my hometown to care for my widowed mother and remained there after she passed away. While we are not part of a fellowship group here, we are still on the same spiritual path that we have been since 1995 when we started our first congregation. That was the same year we left the road, realizing that Saturday (a day when virtually every art show in the country takes place) is the Sabbath, and we should be keeping it holy instead of working.
Our income dropped to zero, so we had to find jobs. I worked at various things:
Managing a wedding chapel
Designing greeting cards for a Christian card company
Working as a customer service rep for an insurance company
Managing an office for a heating and air conditioning company
Managing another office for a young entrepreneur who owned oil wells, apartments, and a car dealership
Working as the director of an arts and heritage center
I had a very diverse background.
Al retired early, and I continued working for several more years. After I left the workforce, we enjoyed a life of leisure for about a year and a half when we began sensing the Father telling us to leave the United States. We didn’t really know why.
Was it going to become dangerous to live here?
Were there more affordable countries to retire in?
Was He going to pour out His long-overdue wrath on this very sinful country?
Did He want us to be part of a ministry in another country?
He didn’t tell us why, where, or when.
So we set about trying to find out. I literally set up an Excel spreadsheet listing all the countries in this hemisphere, checking into such things as climate, cost of living, health care availability, presence of other believers, ability to live on our retirement income, availability of work, etc. After we finished this project, we prayed sincerely about it, but we could get no peace at all about any of the countries we had researched.
Frustrated, I said, “Well, I guess He’ll tell us the where and when as soon as He gets ready.
So we moved on.
My previous boss---the entrepreneur---called and asked if I would help him on a temporary project in his office. So for a few months, that’s what I did. We didn’t forget about our call, but it faded into the background.
Almost a year went by. One night, I was on a website where people were discussing whether Christians should leave America. The comments were mixed. Some said, “No, you should stay and fight for righteousness.”
Others said, “Yes, we should leave while we can.”
There were a variety of answers in the forum. But one simply posted a web link. No comments. . .just a link.
I clicked on it.
Landing on a website offering a tour of Jordan, my first thought was, “Who in the world would take a tour of Jordan? Why would anyone want to go there? If a person were going to the expense of flying to the other side of the world, why wouldn’t they go to Israel instead?
Not having an idea of exactly where Jordan was, all I knew was that it was east of Israel. I couldn’t have drawn the outline of its borders. And I didn’t know one thing about it.
There were several buttons to click on to listen to radio interviews. I paid close attention for several minutes and was surprised to hear from quite a few American ex-pats living there, having felt called by God to move. As I focused my attention and listened to their stories, something unbelievable happened.
I clearly heard the voice of God from behind my left shoulder. He spoke directly into my brain without making a sound.