I remember well my attempt to have my own dairy instead of working for my Dad. I was 22 years old, and was pretty sure I knew more about how to succeed as a dairy farmer than any living person. I borrowed $40,000 from Farm Home Administration, and bought 40 registered Guernseys from Idaho. I leased a farm that was set up for dairying, but I needed to do a ton of work to get the place fixed up, cleaned up, and ready for a grade A dairy operation. I hired a cattle trucker to transport the cows from Idaho to my new dairy in Trout Lake, Washington. Evidently the load of cows that the trucker had hauled before mine were infected with a virus, and my cows picked it up during the 18 hour ride to my dairy. Two weeks after they were unloaded at my place the first cow died, and another one died about every other day after that first one. Finally when half of my cows had died the Vet figured out what the problem was, and we inoculated the remaining cows and stopped the steady decline of my dairy herd. By this time I had spent several thousand dollars on veterinarian services along with the $40,000 I had borrowed, and with only 20 cows left I couldn’t produce enough milk to make the payment on the loan and I went deeper in debt every day I continued to operate in an attempt to succeed as a dairy farmer. Finally I gave up and sold the remaining cows to my Dad, and went back to milking for him. I got another job along with milking, and by working that job for two years along with a deal that I was able to make with the Farm Home Administration I was able to get totally out of debt.
When the cows started dying I pleaded with God to help me, and keep the cows healthy. I prayed over and over again for hours and hours begging God to please help me. For the two years that I worked like a dog on the dairy and also on the construction job drilling and blowing up rock at quarries for asphalt plants, I asked over and over again, Why? why had this happened to me? What had I done to deserve this?
During this time right after the 10th cow had died I went into a rage, and started picking up bales of hay and throwing them as far as I could, I kept this up until I collapsed in total exhaustion, and then I started crying. After a bit of time laying there in the hay I asked myself, “So, what are you going to do now? Get angry, get frustrated, lash out at people, go down the self-pity trail, are you going to let this horrible situation dictate to you how you feel and how you act, are you going to fall apart? After some time of reflecting on this conversation with myself, I responded with, “No, I am going to face this challenge with courage and resolution. I don’t know why You are doing this to me Lord, but I trust You totally, and I love You even if You decide to kill them all.” That conversation with myself, and God was a significant defining moment in my life.