by Dale Bequette
I am writing this time about some of the steps I took after my first encounter with God in my van back in 1979. I was alone and I was neither drunk, high or stoned, I just was not a drinker, smoker of any kind and to my knowledge had never done any kind of drugs. Some people would probably think I went off the deep end or just plain crazy, but this was between me and God.
The next couple of days I shared with some of my co-workers my recent experience. They for the most part looked at me strangely, except one fellow took an interest and also gave me a book to read written by a Moses David for The Children of God. I did not know then that it was a cult; never the less, it spoke to me and it quoted a lot of scriptures from the bible. It talked about being outcast and not fitting in the world, which is very much how I felt. It also talked about communal living, which was intriguing to me. Somehow in the process I got a bible and would look up the scriptures that were quoted. I never finished the book for The Children Of God, but ended up reading the entire New Testament.
I knew of Jesus, but reading through the New Testament at this time, I really met him! I thought Jesus made so much sense. I wanted to know him more and I wanted to experience the life he demonstrated in the new testament. If the Children of God were living by faith and Jesus said it was possible, then I wanted to experience it for myself. I decided to give all my personal belongings away. I did not have a lot of stuff, but what I did have was very important to me. I had paid up all my debts, I had a few clothes, a pack sack and no money. It was also the middle of winter in Grand Prairie, Alberta. I had signed over my van to my father and told him what I was doing; he totally lost it on me. I left.
A week or so before I had given everything away, while I was still working, a fellow who stocked the vending machines in the lunch trailer on the work site asked me a very strange question. This man was considerably crippled up and he asked me for my well worn winter work boots. It took me aback and I agreed to give him my boots soon as I had intended to get new ones shortly. Now I had a dilemma; I had no money to buy new boots and I had given my word to give my old ones to this man. I found out where he lived and decided to go and tell him that I would not be able to give him the boots and why. I shared with him the faith journey I was about to embark on and to my surprise he was very supportive and encouraging. He give me his blessing, two hundred dollars and a new pair of boots like my old ones.
I had decided to hitchhike to Edmonton Alberta to let some old friends know about my journey, and I hoped to find some of the Children of God in the process. Other than that, I had no clue as to my destination. So with a new pair of winter boots, some money in my pocket and a blessing from a stranger, I started my faith journey by going to a truck stop and having breakfast. There a trucker offered me a ride part way to Edmonton and two other truckers got me the rest of the way. A stranger again helped me with the right change for the buses to get to my friend’s place.
For eight months I did my faith journey, never leaving Edmonton. Prayerfully I learned to live and to trust in the Lord. At first, I would sometimes beat myself up and say to myself, you fool, why did you do this? At times, in the early stage of the journey, I would even feel physically sick, then I would give myself a pep talk and ask myself these questions: Are you hurting anyone and am I going to trust God to look after me? In sharing my journey with whoever would listen, I met and got to know many interesting people from different walks of life. I had time to just be with others or alone with God. I did a lot of writing and in the process I learned a lot about myself and others. I did a lot of personal healing, I made friends,witnessed and participated in many amazing things.I was practically a nobody, no job, no money, no belongings except a few clothes. Often I would meet persons who would share their personal stories or would offer me a meal or a place to stay or invite me along to experience things they were passionate or concerned about. Apparently I was not a threat, gaining their trust and confidence very quickly. No regrets, I did find some of the Children of God, but found that lifestyle was not for me. At some point I decided to go back to work and find a place to live. It did not take very long to get back everything I needed; it was just better.
There is a lot more to the story,the process helped me to integrate back into a more normal pattern of living. I treasure the things I learned on that part of the journey and it continues on in stages. I am a very long way from there and it sometimes seems like a dream. Eventually I got baptized and joined a body of believers, I got married to a believer with six children between us, and now ten grandchildren. I have been richly blessed, rich in experience from a very practical grassroots way. The faith journey has not always been easy and there have been trials along the way, but when you trust God, it is always in your and everyone else’s best interest.
Things I learned on that part of my journey are as follows. I learned to pray effectively and respond to the answers. I learned to live fully in the present. I learned humility and how to receive graciously.I learned the importance of human touch. I learned how to share my feelings and insights that would spontaneously show up. I learned how to be content in many circumstances. I learned that I was not alone and that I was loved just as I am by my father in heaven and by other people that were searching just like me. I learned there is truth which gives life and freedom, but there is also consequences for not knowing the truth, which many of us are totally unaware of. I have not been the fastest learner and hopefully I will never quit learning.