Something Money Could Not Buy…Part 2

Well, I began babysitting Ella (Five years old, adorable, very smart, and a little sassy!) and Harrison (Four years old, and very cute in his “chicken hair”, and very energetic!).  We did lots of things together, from seeing the Healthworks Museum in South Bend to nature hikes, to riding bikes, to eating in the cafeteria at Fairhaven and attending Little 665A0468Lambs class on Thursday night also at Fairhaven.  I strove to be a good disciplinarian and yet love those children and their family.  I saw the community of Ogden Dunes, Indiana, and more particularly, the house at 1 Woodland Trail as my mission field, and knew the Lord had led me there.  You see, I don’t believe in this “hit and miss” theory about jobs, meaning, pick up one here for a week, drop it, and try something else.  I believe that God wants us to be diligent and hard-working, and therefore, He has a particular job out there for ME, where He wants me to earn money to live and serve Him, but more importantly, where He wants me to be a shining example and witness of Christ’s saving power.  And that is the true reason God put me in the Deporter family’s life.  Katie Deporter allowed me to take the children to Little Lambs, a children’s class at Fairhaven Baptist Church, and to tell them Bible stories, and teach them things about the Lord.  I explained to her that what I believe is the Bible, first and foremost, for that is the only thing in the whole world which will endure FOREVER (Matthew 24:35).  And I went further to say, as is true, that Fairhaven Baptist Church also only teaches the Bible.

Well, as some of you may remember, my mother’s cancer had come back with a fury, and somewhere in February or so, she really took a turn for the worse.  It was a tough time of praying, caring for mom, spending nights in the hospital, and trying to fulfill your other duties as well, along with finding peace from God amidst the trial.  Many dear friends from church spent long nights in the hospital with my mom, and made delicious meals for us back at the house, cleaned for us, sent cards, and in so many other ways, demonstrated their true Christian friendship.  And I firmly believe in that kind of local church, brotherly love in ‘bearing of one another’s burdens’.  Well, my mother passed away on March 13, 2009, and although difficult, I saw God work in amazing ways which alone afforded me much comfort and peace.  I invited Katie Deporter to the funeral, and she was there.  Preacher gave a wonderful message where the Gospel was clearly explained.  I called Katie later that day, and asked what she thought about what the Preacher had spoken of.  We talked, and although she did not understand everything about salvation, she had been under conviction, and it would continue.  We had several talks about salvation since then, and we still do from time to time.  I pray for them often to trust in Christ as their only Saviour from sin, and thus be genuinely born again.  It was not a mistake I received that job…but the result of the infinite love and mercy of God on one family.  Since seeing firsthand that God had placed me there for a purpose, I felt great responsibility to accomplish that purpose.  And still today I continue to pray for them.

Well, once again, I was earning an income.  I continued to give what God had laid upon my heart, and began to see God’s blessing upon simple faithfulness.  Every month there was the exact amount to give, and every month there was plenty and more than enough for any other needs I had.

Now I was in earnest with the wedding plans!  Bridesmaid dresses, and flowers, the cake and punch, hairstyles and attendants!  (Wow am I glad all of that is over!…Everyday married life is far better than any frivolous ceremony! –for all of you future brides!)  But where do I begin to name the blessings from the Lord?

Before I even began to search for a wedding dress, one was offered me from Mrs. Kara Mitchell.  I tried it on, and it fit perfectly!  I did not even have to have it altered!  I paid not a cent for it, and was spared all the time and annoyances of having to try to discover a modest wedding dress in the world of today!  A friend from church made the cake for us, and while we did pay her, I am sure we got a good deal!  Other dear friends, Mrs. Gaus and Mrs. Mitchell, put together the flowers, which turned out beautifully!  Mrs. Mitchell also decorated the auditorium and helped clean up, I think.IMG_2431 Mrs. Brady, Mrs. Alvarado, and others helped decorate and set up the reception hall.  Holly Almanza, a good friend, did my little sister Lindsey and my flower girl’s hair as a wedding present, and Katie Deporter, for whom I worked, paid a friend to do my hair and the hair of two of my bridesmaids.  I must say too, I never thought of asking her to do my hair the way she did, but I LOVED it!  She did a wonderful job!  A dear friend, Victoria Campos made the bridesmaid dresses, and was available for immediate alterations!…She did an amazing job, why, the dresses were almost perfectly fitting at the first try!  She also made dresses for two of her daughters who were attendants.  Then, to top it off, she used the money I paid her to send a little girl to Fairhaven’s Summer Camp, where she would hear the Gospel –truly a blessing spoken of in Proverb 8:18 as “durable (or, “lasting”) riches”!  God is good!  So many people were asking to help, I almost ran out of things I could have them do!  two of my other friends even bought a few food items for us to take on our honeymoon!  My Dad, who is one of my heros, and one of the dearest people in the world to me, labored tediously over a brass monogram chisled out with tinsnips for the cake.  And it was beautiful!  And another good family friend offered to make peppermint patties with me for the wedding, while also offering me wonderful advice about marriage which was invaluable since I could no longer rely on my mother for that!  And I am sure there is more I have missed!


Now exactly one week before Dustin and my wedding was the wedding of Brian Boots and Sarah Swangim.  I guess you just kind of assume that your wedding day will be bright and sunny, without a cloud in the sky.  After all, no one advertises stormy weddings, or the ones where the crepe paper wilted, tore, and fell because of rain!  They never show the photos of brides dashing from the car to the auditorium amidst a thunderstorm, do they?  But that week before, it was just a thunderstorm, rainy kind of day, and it made me realize that my wedding might not be a nice day…there very well could be rain!  Well, thankfully, for Sarah and Brian’s sake, the rain did clear up some by the time of their ceremony!  But nevertheless, I tried to prepare myself for the worst!  It was true, though, that the decorations, the flowers, the dresses, and the day are not really the important thing, but just being married.  A friend said,”When the day’s over, and everything’s said and done, you end up married, and that’s what counts!”

Well, the days approached quickly, and before I knew it, it was the night before the wedding!  I was a bit stressed, and knew the next day would be full of it’s own pressures.  So I decided I needed a good, long devotional time alone with the Lord and His Word the next day.  I did not sleep well, as could hardly be expected, the night before such a momentous occasion!  But I got apart the next morning, and begged God for His help and strength.

Our Lord is so good to us, even in seemingly trivial things!  He gave me a calm spirit through the whole day, and not only that, but I was able to really enjoy the time getting hair done, joking with relatives, getting pictures with bridesmaids, and even picking bugs off my dress with the girls while taking pictures!  Then, in the ceremony, somethingIMG_2586 so comical happened as to make the day unique from any wedding in the history of Fairhaven Baptist Church, and to impress it as a precious day forever in our hearts!  Preacher forgot to say, “You may kiss the bride!”  So Dustin whispered, “Preacher, Can I kiss   her?”!!!  And he did…our first kiss ever!  What a special memory to always treasure!  And to top it all off, God gave us a BEAUTIFUL day!  It was sunny, the lake behind my house was sparkling, the sky was cloudless, and it was everything I ever wished for!  (Not that anyone with a less-than-beautiful day for their wedding is any less-blessed of God, of course, but in our case, it was one of the blessings He so graciously afforded us!)

Now, I could have kept all of my money that year for myself, and tried to buy every wedding supply for myself; I could have poured over the wedding magazines for hours, searching for the perfect idea, but I could never have dreamed up all of those details that God put together so wisely.  Everything turned out perfectly, and God showed us His hand through it, along with revealing to us the true friends we had all around.  And at the same time, He was using the money I gave to Him each month to help missionaries around the world, bless believers, and win souls to Himself.  All of the millions in the world could never buy such “riches”!

Something Money Could Not Buy…Part One

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”   Malachi 3:10

When I came back from Mexico, in the summer of 2008, it was not my choice to leave.  I loved doing mission work down there with all of my heart, and it had been like living a dream!  But God knew what He was doing, as always, and He brought me back for various reasons.  I am very thankful now that He did, in His mercy!  However, looking forward to the stewardship year of 2008-2009, back at Fairhaven Baptist Church, I determined that if I could not give my life to God in full time mission work, I wanted to give as much of my money earned in secular work back to the Lord.  You see, that is the highest return on our dollars –investing in God’s Work!  Also, I knew I would probably be married with in a year, and after that, the stewardship decisions would not really be up to me, but to my husband, so this was my last chance to “prove” God personally in this matter of giving, and therefore I wanted it to be a great Stewardship year!

Well, as I listened to message after message on giving (if you live at Fairhaven, you know August is Stewardship month!), I prayed about what God wanted me to give.  Finally the Stewardship Banquet came, and I wrote down what I believed God wanted me to give that year.  As the months passed, I began to give that amount each month.  However, shortly after making this committment to God, my hours at work dropped severely, and they were not going to increase any time soon.  Work was just very slow, and not much could be done about it except to pray.  I had money saved up from the year before though, and still lived with my parents, so I was not struggling.  Time passed, and my hours were still very low.  In November, I was engaged to Dustin Speckhals, who is now my husband.  I began to realize then, that I seriously needed more work or another job because now I had a wedding to pay for!  I started to fill out job applications and pass out resumes in earnest.  First I thought, well, I have a college degree, and I am bilingual so I should be able to get a job teaching Spanish, or translating.  But those avenues yielded no fruit.  I was really searching and praying now.  Again I thought, at least I could get an office job, but still nothing happened for all of the applications and resumes I passed out.

I remember commenting to my mom, “Well, everyone in Northwest Indiana knows that I am looking for a job, because my applications and resumes are all over the area!”  And she, as moms are so apt, continued to encourage me, with so much faith that I would find the right job.  You know, moms are perhaps the biggest fans we have!  For all of the teasing they may receive for babying us or hovering over us, you must admit that when you are discouraged, or make a big mistake, or just really make a mess of things, they never stop believing in you, and they never stop loving you!

So, I kept ‘working and praying’ about my job situation.  Now my money in the bank was running out.  I knew that if God told me to give this much, He MUST provide that much to give, and beyond that, He MUST provide for my other needs as well.  I didn’t want extra money or anything special, but He had to provide for my needs.  God’s very character demands it!   And He would –in His timing –after He finished a work of humility in me!

Finally, I came to the point where I said, I am nobody, and if I have to, I will work as a telemarketer at Americall.  (That was humbling!…Especially after graduating from college with honors, and working in missions for a year!  But then again, who am I to think I deserve this job, and that one is below me?)  So I obtained an application for Americall.  After all, this was encouraging –Americall never refuses  anyone!  But that would not work for my schedule until after the first of the year, so I went further to say, if I have to, I will fill out an application for Arby’s and work in a fastfood restaurant.  I just need a job!

After breaking down my pride little by little in that way, and once I reached an end of myself, God blessed in a miraculous way!  One day my mom called from the church office, and said, “Andrea, a lady just called the church looking for a nanny for her two children.  Here is her phone number if you want to call her. ”  I called Katie Deporter, and set up an interview for eleven o’clock the next day.  We met, and I started soon after.   I have no doubt in my mind that God Himself gave that job to me.  He placed me right there at 1 Woodland Trail, Ogden Dunes, Indiana, and before long, I would discover the reason why.

I will not forget however, as I interviewed with Katie, right in her dining room, with Ella and Harrison (her two children) there with us, we finished up the interview, and Katie said to Ella (five years old), “What do you think?”  And Ella looked down and drew her hand back, and threw out a big “Thumbs Up”!  And that was my introduction into the amazing world of Ella and Harrison!  And for those of you who have never stepped foot into that fantastic place,  I shall share some glimpses in with you, but at a later date!


Ella and I on my wedding day!…Soon to come: a picture of the one and only Harrison!