What would prompt a native of The Netherlands to move to Canada, return to The Netherlands, move to the US, return to The Netherlands and finally settle back in Canada? My husband and I had always been adventurous and almost always did as we pleased. Over the years, we made some good choices and some bad choices – that’s one reason I am so passionate about leading you in making a choice-driven life. Here’s my story of how we came to settle in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
In the early eighties, we lived in Lethbridge, Canada, where both our son and daughter were born. Out on a prairie, we farmed sugar beets, 2 ½ miles from the closest neighbour, and we loved it.
When our daughter was 2 ½ years old and our son 7-8 months, we jumped on an opportunity to buy some high-quality farmland. It was something that we had always wanted to do; so, we purchased 320 acres of irrigation land at $1800/acre. It was a good deal at that moment. We had the fullest intention to be farmers in Alberta, which we would have loved.
Just a few weeks after our purchase of the land, I suddenly didn’t feel right about it anymore and struggled with the idea of owning it. So, I told my husband. We discussed it and, after some weeks of going back and forth, decided to sell the land to the highest bidder. We got back what we had paid, which was a miracle.
We had no farm and no land and so we packed up our household and returned to The Netherlands.
Several months later, we found out that value of the high-quality farmland we had sold fell from $1800 to $900/acre. Many of our friends who owned land there went broke because of the decreased value of their land and others had a real rough time farming.
Although we weren’t Christians at that time, we clearly saw that we had been protected. We recognized our decision to sell as a profound moment and for a long time, revisited the topic of our deliverance.
On May 15, 1989, we made the life-changing decision to accept the Lord as our Saviour, which was also a miraculous moment, of course!
In 1994, through our involvement in Amway, we met a pastor from Joplin, Missouri who asked us to come to States. So we seriously considered it and decided to pull up roots once more. We loved Joplin and made some great, great friends, but as time went on, we were drawn to Tulsa to attend Victory Bible School in Tulsa, headed by the late Billy Joe Daugherty.
This was absolutely the best time of our lives because we knew we were in the center of God’s will. We graduated from Victory Bible School in 1998 and took a great step of faith to return to The Netherlands build a bible school in Amsterdam.
Five years later, friends asked us to come to Columbus Ohio and help them build a church. We had asked the Lord and were planning to join this exciting new work. After all of our planning, the couple that had invited us divorced. All of our plans dissolved right in front of us; this was really a very dark time.
We then began to think about returning to Canada. From a young age, my husband had dreamed of living there. We remembered our happy years in Alberta, as beet farmers. When my son was 21 or 22, he told us that he wanted go to school in Canada and settle there. There was not much that was keeping us in The Netherlands: both our parents had died, and our daughter Josephine was living in England, with plans to settle in Australia.
So, we packed up again arriving in Seattle in September 2004, and then driving to the US/Canadian border at the Peace arch. Because we hadn’t been back to Canada for so many years, we anticipated that it would be very difficult to reinstate our residency there.
As we stopped at the custom’s booth, the officer asked us how we would like to enter Canada. We were given the option of either visitor or returning resident. This totally flabbergasted us, and we asked, “Is it still possible to enter as a resident?” We were sent into the office, where we took a place in line to wait for our turn. Suddenly another line opened. The officer insisted that we come to the head of the new line to be processed by him. He collected our paperwork, returning in a few minutes. He said, “I’m going to waive all the residency requirements!” He stamped our passports and said, “Welcome back to Canada!” Our Canadian residency was an absolute provision from the Lord.
We now live in Vancouver, in Beautiful British Colombia, with our two awesome kids. We are part of a great church, and we love our church family.
Each of our lives is choice-driven. My story demonstrates that my husband and I made some good choices and some bad ones.
Today my passion is encouraging and leading people to make quality choices and sound decisions. I like to help people take hold of the fact that they have been given the power of choice. The gift of free will is one thing that characterizes God as a Father. He gives us His guidelines for life in His Word and then allows us to make our own choices. We have the power to choose a life of blessings or curses. Our futures are completely in our hands (Deuteronomy 30:15-19).
There is power in choice. God can’t and won’t make us do anything, and the devil certainly can’t force us into anything we don’t willingly agree to. For this reason, the responsibility for the direction of our lives is in our hands.
So, come hang out with me at The Choice Drive Life. I love to help you DISCOVER THE LIFE YOU WERE BORN TO LIVE. That is an amazing thing!!