Image of Mt Baker, Bellingham, Bellingham Bay | 1959 Oregon’s Magazine (

“Son, this makes no sense. We cannot move to Washington State. Nebraska is already a long way from Minnesota, Chicago and the lake home in Stoughton, Wisconsin. A move to Washington State is out of the question.”

As Dad talked, the memory of another move came to mind. When we had made our previous move to Nebraska from Minnesota, Dad, who pastored a Cokato, Minnesota church, called it the will of God. We were moving to Nebraska.

As an 11-year old just nearing the end of sixth grade, I could not imagine leaving my friends and my school.  But we did. I cried all the way to Nebraska.

During our time in Nebraska I had some good times, but overall it turned out to be a very rugged place for me to live. Seventh and eighth grades, and my freshman year of high school were tough.  I was a preacher’s kid who struggled with asthma and other health issues.

During my freshman year of high school, I suffered tremendous bullying. I spent much of each school morning anxious to leave for lunch. I often cried as I walked the block back to the parsonage to have lunch with Mom and Dad.

After lunch, Dad took time to play a quick game of ping pong with me before Mom and he made pastoral calls or went back to his office. I shuddered as I walked back to school knowing I faced more bullying.  I prayed intensely for a way out.

When Dad received that unexpected letter from the Bellingham church asking him to visit as a pastoral candidate, I urged him to consider it. I remember saying to Dad something about the will of God and that we needed to pray about the church’s letter asking Dad to candidate.  A day or two later, Dad told me he and Mom had decided we needed to make the trip to Washington.  A totally unexpected adventure was about to begin.

Our family trip to candidate at the church in Washington during March of my freshman year led to seven incredible years of life-changing growth for me.  I could see Mt. Baker and Bellingham Bay from the parsonage – located on Illinois Street. From the day we arrived, I met and made amazing neighborhood friends right away, and others at church who accepted me without conditions.  But the greatest blessing to me of living in this magnificent portion of the world was to really begin to get to know Jesus in far deeper ways than I could ever have imagined.

I am so grateful to God for parents who chose to go wherever God asked them to go.