In June of 1986 I was hired by Multnomah Bible College to teach Greek and Bible. This required a big move from east Texas. We packed all our furniture into a U Haul truck and with the help of Sharon’s parents, Graham and Camille, moved to Oregon.
We found the best place to live, Lake Oswego. This is a very nice part of Portland. I was making $20,000 a year and the house we rented cost $12,000 for the year. After taxes were taken out, that didn’t leave much to live on. But after a few months Sharon got a job with an insurance company and we were able to make ends meet.
July and August were sunny and clear. Great weather. Not hot like Texas. We thought we were in heaven. Everything was green and lush.
Then September came. The rains came. And came and came and came. Every day. Without fail. Rain and darkness. The joke was that if you could see Mount Hood, it would rain this afternoon. If you couldn’t see Mount Hood, it is raining right now.
Sharon was terribly effected when the weather changed. She was only sleeping a few hours a night. She was barely eating and lost a lot of weight.
I loved teaching at Multnomah. It was, along with Moody Bible Institute, one of the two best Bible colleges in America. The students in 2nd and 3rd year Greek were on par with Dallas Theological Seminary Master of Theology students, if not better. The students enjoyed my teaching. Sharon and I had students over to our house from time to time and bonded even more with those who came.
Sharon tried counseling and medication. Nothing worked. She was miserable. I was overjoyed at the ministry and distraught about Sharon’s health.
I told the Academic Dean in December that I’d fulfill my one-year contract but that it was fairly certain we’d be leaving after the year was up. He urged me to get help for Sharon. He wanted me to stay at the school. I was happy he did. But nothing we tried could overcome the effect of the dark rainy weather on Sharon.
I had started GES just before we moved to Portland. Each month while teaching I’d send out a two-page newsletter. The mailing list grew from 30 to 1,000 in the first six months. I even incorporated GES in November of 1986.
Sharon persevered through the hardest year of her life. I doubt many men or women could have endured what she did. In July of 1987 we loaded up another U Haul and Graham and Camille helped us move back to Texas. We chose the Dallas area.
$300 had been donated to GES when I went full time in July of 1987. Not 300 thousand dollars. Just 300 dollars.
My salary was once again $20,000. For the first three years or so a pattern emerged. I’d miss two or three paychecks by December. Then with big December giving I’d get caught up. Around 1990 the Board put a stop to that. Raise all the support you need so that you are paid on time. No more getting behind. That worked out too. God blessed.
Sharon and I learned a lot about each other and our marriage that year. We’d been married for eleven years when we left Portland. From that point onward our marriage was richer, more joyful, and certainly stronger.
It isn’t always easy to serve the Lord. But the grace of God is the most powerful motivator there is to keep on keeping on no matter what trials come our way.