On our first weekend in western New York at the local Farmer’s Market, we were browsing the wares for sale. I overheard a conversation in which one woman said to another, “You know what they say about Western New York! Once you come, you never want to leave!”
I said to Lance, “Well, I left.” And his reply was, “And how do you feel about that?”
I said, “If I had never left you wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t be married to one another. Your sister and her family wouldn’t be here since your niece would not have married my cousin.” Thus began a lot of ruminating on how my life, and the lives of others would be very different if I had never left!
How it all started
The summer I graduated from high school my mom’s sister came for a visit from Florida and invited me to live with her. God worked out all the details for me to move and live with my aunt.
She took me to Aloma church where I attended the college and career Bible study where I met Lance. That first night of Bible study I shared a prayer request that I needed a job and transportation. Lance spoke to me afterward and offered that since he was also looking for a job, we could go together to fill out applications. Of course, there are many more details to this story, but as the saying goes, “The rest is history!”
Through Aloma church I learned about New Tribes Mission (now Ethnos360) and that they worked with people groups who had not yet heard the gospel. I was convinced that was God’s place for me to serve. Lance was “Never going to be a missionary!” But obviously, God had other plans. We got married and went to Bible school where God moved Lance’s heart to pursue a career in missions.
There are many stories I could share of my life, of our lives together…how God has led and worked. If I had not left Western New York, my life would have been very different. Since that conversation at the Farmer’s Market, Lance and I have talked a lot about “being glad I left”. I can only give praise to God for leading my aunt to ask me to come to Florida and live with her, and for all the life decisions that eventuated from that move.
I am so glad I left, but I do love coming back to visit!
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