Another significant defining moment in my life was when we moved to the farm that Dad and Mom bought when Dad retired from the Navy in 1960. They had been planning on buying a farm for all of their married life when Dad retired and they had been looking at various kinds of farms in lots of different locations. They settled on a 120-acre farm that had been repossessed by the bank and had not been lived on for many years. It was the second to last place on the road, 13 miles out from the town of Myrtle Creek in Southern Oregon. The place was terribly run down and the little house had been used as a sheep barn for some time. We shoveled out the sheep manure and moved in. There was no plumbing, no water, no electricity. The first thing we did was dig a big hole and build an outhouse. My first 12 years of life were lived in Navy housing in big cities so I was a city boy, and this new chapter in my life was a huge lifestyle change, but I fully embraced it and thought that we were a modern version of Swiss Family Robison. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven.
This is where I learned to fish and hunt and where I fell in love with both. This is where I learned how to work hard and to truly enjoy being dog-tired at the end of the day. I learned that a lot of a person’s dreams can be accomplished with a little money and a lot of work. We did all of our farming with a 1948 Ford pick-up pulling horse-drawn equipment that got whatever power it needed from the steel wheels that were turning because of being pulled. That old pickup with granny gear had a lot of power. We later purchased a Ford/ Ferguson 9N tractor but we still used mostly horse-drawn equipment.
Way back in 1976 when I started as the pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church with zero experience and very little understanding of what a pastor was supposed to do, meeting in the grade school gym, it felt just like 1960 moving into a sheep barn. I was excited about the challenge and the adventure that was about to come into my life.
It is amazing how much fun an experience is when the default mind set is that God is directing and causing all things to work together for His purposes and our growth, significance, and accomplishment. God’s plans for our life almost always have the equivalent of a sheep barn and a 1948 Ford pickup. We just have to make sure we don’t let our flesh, the world, or the devil ruin it for us.