The Kingdom Journey Series shares how Christians with roots in the Restoration Movement came to embrace Kingdom Christianity.
Name: Ted H. | Age: 67 | Location: Culver, Oregon | Rest. Mov. Roots: Disciples of Christ
1.) Brother Hake, tell us a little about yourself?
I was raised in a Christian household, and my Dad was a preacher in the First Christian Church – Disciples of Christ. He continued that calling until I was a Sophomore in High School when we moved back to Oregon. At that time he left the active ministry and began work as an employment counselor – primarily for young men entering into the older Job Corps program in the late 60’s.
We moved around quite a bit when I was growing up as my Dad preached and was attending college. I was born in Lebanon, OR where we lived off and on. Other places we moved to because of his calling were Illinois, Idaho, Oklahoma and Texas. If I remember correctly we moved every 3 or 4 years until I was in high school.
2.) When did you become a follower of Jesus?
I was 11 when our church hosted a traveling evangelist. I don’t remember his name, but I remember he wore a grey suit, and was balding. What I remember even more though was that during his message I was overcome by a very real sense of guilt and condemnation because of my sins. I accepted Christ that day, and after going through the preparation for baptism class, I was baptized by my Dad fairly soon after.
3.) Can you explain your background and involvement in the Disciples of Christ?
My background was through my family. We as a family may have been involved a little more than some since my Dad was pastor – so we children were occasionally called on to help in different ways, like maybe a music solo, singing in the choir, or just helping out during different events at church.
Unfortunately for my spiritual life, in high school I became interested in worldly things and was very much backslidden for many years of my life – until around 7 years after my wife and I met and got married. I pretty much left the church and put God aside by the time I graduated from high school. Many times my childhood teaching came back to me and reminded me what I was doing was wrong, but I had rationalized it – that it didn’t do me any good to go to church with a bunch of hypocrites, and that I was better off on my own.
4.) You mentioned your wife. How did you both meet?
Not quite a year after I graduated from high school, a girl I had met in school and I started going together and were engaged to be married. Then about a year before the wedding, my Dad died from an accident. He was forty-two. His death pretty much completed my devolving into a life of turmoil.
I had started college, but wasn’t really interested in going to class and certainly wasn’t doing well. We didn’t have much, so I quit college and started working full-time to support our family – as I figured the oldest child should. Then, several months later, my fiancé called off the wedding, about 3 weeks before the date. This was 1970, about one year after Dad died. I was really feeling sorry for myself.
One day I went to every recruiter in Corvallis and Albany to talk to them about joining the service. Every one of them told me I should finish college, then join. I remember going home that night thinking, that’s just great – now no one wants me. I was really upset around then, but years later after I came back to the Lord I could see His hand was on my life during that time even when I wanted nothing to do with Him.
A little over two years later the Lord brought the girl who would become my wife into my life. I was just giving the neighbor girl (neighbor to a man I worked with at the time) a ride to her Aunt in La Grande since he knew I was headed through there to Idaho and she needed a ride that far. To make a somewhat long story short–since in some ways it was very short–we visited in the car for seven hours driving through a January snowstorm, started writing to each other, started seeing each other, and then were married that June in 1973 – 45 years ago this next month.
5.) What changed in your life that led you to return to the Lord?
My wife was raised in the Catholic Church, where we were married. We had one child in 1975 followed by our second in 1977. Then my wife had some medical problems and we weren’t able to have any more.
My wife had become saved from watching a Billy Graham Crusade. I told her I wanted nothing to do with church. I took her and our children, but wouldn’t go myself. I was becoming more convicted almost daily, knowing I needed to come back to the Lord but still resisting in my stubbornness.
Finally, when my wife was in the hospital after an operation and I was headed there as fast as I could go (I was notified she was having some serious problems), I finally began turning to God. In the only time I have felt I actually heard God speak to me audibly. He said “I still love you. You can come back to me.”
Well, praise God; I did come back to Him! My wife had by then left the Catholic Church and had been attending a Pentecostal church. I went with her there a couple of times. Needless to say it was very different from the church setting I had been raised in. I felt the people there were sincere in their faith – but I just didn’t feel comfortable there.
My wife had been invited to, and had been attending, a ladies Bible study at a local Mennonite church. She said maybe we could visit there. We did. And it is hard to explain. It certainly wasn’t as conservative as the Mennonite churches we attend now – but, it just felt like we were “home.”
I publicly recommitted my life to the Lord. My wife was re-baptized as an adult – so I guess she is the only true Anabaptist in our family. We attended there and were members for over nine years, until our developing convictions led us elsewhere.
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