As I discussed in my last post, God taught the Israelites to remember and pass on to their children His great works in their lives. Thinking on that I began writing a bit of our story of moving from our Matrix of the “American Dream” to God’s call to full-time missions work. That took us on a whirlwind trip during which I quit my job as a corporate attorney and took my family just ten days later to Kona, Hawaii, where YWAM’s University of the Nations is headquartered.
So, on July 8th we landed in Hawaii trying to find God’s way for our lives. We knew we were returning to Arkansas in a month, but we didn’t know what would happen after that. We were a bit scared, out of our comfort zone, and utterly uncertain of what lay ahead.
Our good friends and YWAM missionaries, John and Jane Ray, greeted us at the airport to show us the way they had lain out for us: an 800-square foot studio apartment about a quarter of a mile off of the campus, a refrigerator full of food, and a quick tour of the small city of Kailua-Kona. We were exhausted but exhilarated by the excitement of it all. Even though we were jet lagged we found ourselves having a hard time going to sleep that first night in our new “home.” Regan, then 2, had to sleep in a too small “Pack & Play” right next to our bed and the boys slept on a pull-out sofa. Finally, about midnight, everyone drifted off to sleep.
An hour later I woke up, my normal waking time at home, but 1 a.m. in Hawaii. I was freezing. The apartment we were in unusually had a small window unit (unusual because many people don’t use air conditioning in the breezy island climate). The Rays, oozing hospitality, had ensured that the air conditioner was cooling things down the way people often do in the Southern United States.
Greatly nervous that I would awaken the children or Tara I stumbled my way to the A/C in the dark, without my contact lens in, and in this place I had only known for a few hours. I reached for the temperature knob on the A/C unit and turned it, hoping to make it shut off the compressor, but not the fan, the steady white noise being good for sleeping. Unfortunately the knob I turned was not the thermostat; instead, I turned the on/off switch. As the machine (and its noise) came to a sudden stop, I feared again that someone might awaken. The last thing I needed was for one of my kids to start bouncing off the walls again.
In my state of fear I quickly turned the A/C back on. As I did I could literally hear my dad’s voice, from some 25 or so years before, saying “Don’t ever turn an air conditioner off and then immediately back on because you can blow the compressor.” Sure enough…. when I switched the A/C back on nothing happened. Silence. I switched it off and on once again and it still didn’t work. No one was awake and I assumed I might have blown a breaker so I decided I would just go back to bed and enjoy things warming a bit while fearing that I had broken the A/C on our first night.
The next morning I went straight to the A/C and turned it on. Nothing. Because of our jet lag we had overslept so we quickly ate some cereal and left to make our trek to campus. For our kids (then aged 7, 5 and 2) the trek up hill on a busy highway was quite a journey. I told Tara my fears but also told her I hadn’t yet checked the breaker box and would do so when we returned after our first day in class.
So, we returned that evening and I began looking for the breaker box. Finding it I also discovered there were no problems there. Just in case I switched them and then went to the A/C again. I turned it on. Nothing. At this point, about 18 hours after I switched it off and it stopped working, I realized I was at the end of my rope. I had broken the A/C.
And then I heard three voices. Really. Not audibly but in my head and they all took turns speaking.
I first heard this: “Pray with your family.”
I then heard this: “You can’t do that. If you pray with your kids and nothing happens, it will destroy their faith!”
Lastly, I heard this: “If I hadn’t quit my job and had an income I’d just go to Sam’s and write a check for a new air conditioner.”
Praise God the first voice was the one I followed. I told Tara and the kids that we needed to pray together, so we clasped our hands together in a circle and I prayed something like this:
Lord, we don’t know what to do so will you please help us and fix the air conditioner?
I walked over to the air conditioner and turned it on. It worked perfectly and never quit again.
Now, do I have some great gift of machine healing??? It definitely is a miracle if I fix something because I became a lawyer for a reason…. mechanical inclinations weren’t a part of my gift set. What God spoke to me in that situation was two things. (1) Walk in faith – I am faithful and will lead you in the way you should go. (2) You are right where you need to be. I am confirming that you have made the right decision.
You see, we were definitely out of our comfort zone and uncertain if we were doing the right thing, quitting our jobs and beginning this crazy journey. But God gave us a small miracle to mark our way. He gave us something to hold on to and look back upon to remember His faithfulness. He also then pointed us to the next marker.
And so the story will continue…. (A few pics below from that time, including one with the A/C in it!)
The air conditioner behind my bouncing baby boys
Just outside the University of the Nations campus
Making the trek
Every morning Regan would wake up and squeal “Daddy’s here!” because for the first two years of her life I was never at home in the morning, always already at work by the time she awakened.