Fairhaven Survivor


Yes, that’s me.  Just look at me.  Don’t I have the haggard, refugee look?  I mean, I’ve been through it all: the church (IFB!), the academy, the youth group, the college –the MEXICO TRIP! (oh,no!) –and I even grew up living on campus!!!

And I survived…and very well!  I now am very happily married to a wonderful man, attending church and serving the Lord in a like-minded IFB church in Pennsylvania, have great friends, wonderful relationships with my parents in in-laws, and we are expecting our first baby in February!  I have soooo much more than I ever deserved, and all because of the grace of God in my life.  Boy, is He ever good to me.

Married May, 2009

And a big part of God’s grace to me was placing me at Fairhaven Baptist Church.  My Dad and Mom met at Fairhaven (before they ever were “Dad” and “Mom” –and before I was even thought of!).  They were married and eventually I was born there in Indiana.   Later Sharon and Jim were born, and eventually Lindsey.  Lindsey had lots of complications at birth, and the whole church prayed and prayed for her.  She eventually learned to walk and talk, and today everyone loves Lindsey at Fairhaven –maybe because they remember praying her through those precarious early days!  God is so good to all of us, but often we forget.  I grew up with some friends who have forgotten.  I wonder if any of them remember how God spared and healed Lindsey?  How we all prayed together for her, and saw God’s miracle?

Well, I spent my childhood growing up at Fairhaven, attending Sunday School, riding on the Chesterton bus route that my Dad served on, attending school at the Academy, and going to day camp in the summers.  I loved it!  And I am so thankful for godly parents.  I feel so rich to have had a Dad and Mom who were faithful to read the Bible to us every day and who also were tough on us in order to teach us Biblical character.  Now Mom is in Heaven, but what a legacy and gift she left us.  Of course my parents disciplined us…and thanks to God’s grace in giving me this discipline, I am what I am today.  I would not be the person I am if it were not for the godly discipline in my childhood.  It is Biblical…it’s right.  I count myself privileged to have had the wonderful childhood I had.  I wonder if any of my friends remember those things.

Our family at a Fourth of July concert

Later I entered the Junior High Youth Group.  I loved Junior High.  I really began to have an interest in spiritual things in Junior High.  I accepted Christ as my personal Savior in the eighth grade.  And I even was present on that Mexico Trip of 1997.  For all the criticisms and allegations and bitterness that are taking place right now regarding that trip, I wonder if anyone remembers the trip how I do –?  I remember a trip where I fell in love with the Mexican people, where I treasured every word of Spanish I could learn, where I heard good, Bible messages, and was challenged from the Word of God almost every day –a trip I was sad to see end.  I wonder if my friends remember any of those things about that Mexico Trip?

Don't you just love the hairstyle! It was hot down there!
My friend Becca...I know she won't mind if I post this!?! She's very forgiving like that!

I went on through Senior High and College, and even stayed an extra year before going out on my own.  I consider my education at the Academy and College as superior in every way, and that is very valuable to me.  Why, our teachers labored over their lessons, and loved us and cared for our personal lives too!  Our pastors, Pastor Damron, Pastor Whitecar, Pastor Voegtlin, and Preacher loved us and prayed hours for us!  The Lord gave me a strength of character, and a love for Him and His Word through Fairhaven.  I would not trade it for anything!  Nothing.  I wonder if any of my friends remember how God worked on them during those years.  I know He did, I remember distinct times for some of them…but what happened?  Have they forgotten all of that?  Oh, that they would remember…how much God loves them still!

Our family --and Dustin...He became more and more of a permanent fixture around our house until I finally married him!

Because of Fairhaven, I married my wonderful husband, and because of Fairhaven, and the biblical teaching I received there, we have a wonderful marriage.  Now we are thrilled at the responsibility and blessing God has given us in a little child to be born in February.  We look forward to raising this little one for the Lord too!  We are currently very happy to be serving in an Independent, Fundamental, Baptist church in Pennsylvania.  God is so good to us, and we look forward to all He has in store!  But let us NEVER FORGET everything He has done for us!

Dustin and I in Baltimore last winter
The only picture we have so far of our "soon to be"!

Deu 4:9  Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; 

Psa 78:7  That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:


Writing from Northwest Indiana:

I have to admit, change can be a hard thing to get used to at times.  It’s hard to believe sometimes that we have not been in this part of the country, the part I grew up in, since last June…just a few days short of ten months.  Our lives have genuinely changed since we have last been at Fairhaven.  Looking back, I can recollect exactly when we first started noticing all of the change…

For my entire senior year of college, I still felt like I was in college.  Yes, I knew soon after graduating I would be married, and moving almost 700 miles away to the foreign state of Pennsylvania; but I never realized how much would be different–and at that, a GOOD different.  Even up until the point I was waiting at the altar for the door to open so I could catch a glimpse of my beautiful bride, everything still felt the same.  Nothing was changing yet.  Just another event in the life of Dustin Speckhals.  We said our vows, walked out of the auditorium, shook hands, cut the cake, took a few pictures…still the same.  The change hit me, though, at an interesting time.

After our pictures were done at the wedding, we walked back to the dining room where the reception was, and I told Andrea that I was going to carry her through the crowd (yes, I admit it was a show!).  So I picked her up, carried her through the cheering and jubilant wedding crowd, and into the limo that was going to take us to Chicago.  We got into the vehicle, the driver shut the door, and the change came.  The driver pulled away, and off we went.  It was finally here!  Life was completely different after that.  All of the family I loved, some of the best friends a man could ask for, the best college teachers and mentors–they all faded into the distance.  Soon the steeple of Fairhaven faded away too, and our new life began.

Even after we came back from our honeymoon to pack our stuff up for the move in a few days, so much seemed different.  It was just like God was moving us right along to our new life together!  It never seemed quite like home during those packing day.  At least for me, it was easy to move.

Now, ten months later, we return for a visit, and ironically, not much has changed!  Sure my parents live here now, there a few new people, new family, and a new status (we have a “real life” now–no more college!), but so much hasn’t changed!  It seems like home again…not our home, but a place where we love to be, and believe it or not, were people love to see us!  The best part of all is that some of the things that are different from when we were here are great changes!  After all of that,  though…here are some things I have noticed that are different or the same:


  • College students still sit in the same places in the auditorium
  • All of the verses of the songs are still sung…maybe a little bit slower tempo than our church too.
  • Same ol’ dating couples–minus a few of us who got married
  • Tom Almanza is still himself
  • Lindsey still wonders why there is no band or PE during candy sale
  • NW Indiana still looks as dilapidated as before


  • A great new mother-in-law
  • Two new houses for us to visit (Leslie and Murdock side)
  • I can hold my sweetheart’s hand walking down the path
  • A few folks that were struggling spiritually when we left are making HUGE steps for God!
  • The kids are getting taller, including by little brother and sister

It is great to be back to all of the memories and people, and we look forward to the rest of our short stay here.