In every family, there are certain days more memorable than others. Our special day is October 11. In 2011, on this day, our homeless journey began with an act of unprecedented betrayal. To honor the anniversary, we are posting an excerpt from our book about this seminal event in our wilderness.

The calm before the storm

Uncompromising Faith - The Anniversary - ThistleSo far, our trials and hardships were greater than what we believed any family could handle. This was a significant overestimation. Just how far God would allow satan to test us would blow our understanding of faith right out of the box. We were about to experience the crucifixion.

October 11th dawned bright and clear; with few clouds in the sky. Nervously, we stepped out from the bedrooms, not knowing what to expect. As the morning sun rose in the sky, no one appeared. Believing Gavin was bluffing, a false sense of calm descended over us.

The cabin was chilly, so the decision was made to chop some firewood for the woodstove. In an unusual move, we all left the cabin at the same time. Milo and Patches joined us, running around the field, while Wanda and I found a spot with dead wood, and I started chopping. Meanwhile, Ida and Fanny scoured the woods for more sticks and fallen branches.

The storm breaks

Though occupied by our work, we noticed Crystal drive up to the cabin. Ida and Fanny went to see what Crystal was up to. Once inside, Crystal had locked all the doors. As Ida and Fanny approached, this Judas in women’s clothing stood there wagging her finger at them; like an angry school teacher. Our daughters returned and shared what happened. This betrayal hit us like a freight train. Gavin soon followed in his truck. He sent his wife before him, to do what he was too afraid to do himself. Gavin, for all of his strong hard words, really was a coward.

Clad only in light clothing, we sat chilled in the woods trying to comprehend what was unfolding. The police arrived and joined the debacle. Gavin called them to enforce his cruel eviction. Being out of the cabin beforehand, spared us from any legal entanglement. With words dripping with condescension and pity, the officers shared tempting offers of a “hot drink at the police station.” Their insistence that “it was obvious we had made some bad decisions” only fueled our outrage. 

The force behind the storm

Though sobbing at the painful betrayal and treachery, our resolve had not weakened. Giving credence to island gossip and rumors by being hauled away in some police car, was not going to happen on our watch. If we had to leave, we would move God’s way and not man’s. As a family, we rejected their pithy overture with force. The lead of the Lord had led to this place. We would not betray our God for these people; even if they wore a badge. Satan had made a mistake.

Facing stiff resistance, the police left us alone. Before they left, Wanda demanded that Gavin and Crystal produce our blankets and her purse; with the hard drive and Bible inside. The cool fall day and the shock of betrayal, caused us to shiver uncontrollably. With gratuitous cruelty, Crystal refused to even give us our own blankets. This will always stand out as the archetype of what Judas was; a devious betrayer devoid of love. 

Stripped and left for dead

Once the police convinced her otherwise, Crystal relented. They gave us back the blankets and Wanda’s purse. As this was happening, we saw Gavin drive away. All that remained of what we owned in the world was in the back of his truck. Bitter tears filled our eyes, as we saw our last 2 beloved birds being ripped away. These pitiless thieves stole everything that we had left; including our daughter’s ID and passports. Stripped of everything, we had nothing left.

With no shelter and few belongings, we stumbled across the open field with Milo and Patches. Although there was a road and a highway nearby, we wanted no one to follow us or to know where we were. We left behind the now locked and empty cabin. The clouds swirled about in turmoil, mirroring what was happening to us on the ground. 

Despite the tears and confusion, we were inured to hardship, so we continued to press forward. As we walked, Ida saw a vision of a giant angel planting a cross at each place we stopped. God was giving us a picture that this day marked the beginning of our crucifixion. It was to last 40 months with 82 moves.

The wilderness starts with betrayal

The wilderness is a place that begins with betrayal and ends in forgiveness. Through the years God has taught us what ‘self’ is like within every person. By showing us the complete evil of ‘self’ in others we could see this beast within ourselves. From there we repented and were healed. We have forgiven our betrayers and pray they find the peace they lack. Today we are firmly grounded in faith because of what happened. What once was the anniversary of pain and misery is a now a celebration of freedom.

Not every wilderness will be as brutal as ours but each person must recognize their own betraying ‘self’ nature before they can exit. The whole point of the wilderness is to teach us how to repent and grow in faith. If we cannot learn to lean on our Beloved in this barren place where else will we learn? We pray you find the path of faith that will please our Father.


Homer and Wanda

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Gary Fultz

    Homer, Your experiences are beyond my safe world. I struggle reading about your journey. Our unsafe world deals every day with a severely handicapped child, given us by God, for these last 37 years with 35 surgeries. God is willing to allow so much more than we think He should in our lives. Sometimes we may never understand the pieces God orchestrated until eternity.

    1. Homer Les

      I understand Gary. We each are given a destiny by God that only we can bear. We cannot bear another’s load but we can stand by each other to encourage and bless. This we try to do. Our story is only meant to illustrate that God alone is the orchestrator of the journey and He alone is the One that walks with us through it. The secret isn’t in us, it is in Him. When we understand this principle, then there is nothing He asks us to do, that we cannot accomplish.

      To be frank there are a number of people we have encountered who I feel have had a worse time than we have had. My brother-in-law, for example, has faced medical hardships (including the death of a child) in his family that have gone on for many years. I cannot even begin to imagine that pain. God alone know what is in us and what we can handle. (Gal. 6:5). But you are very right that we are able to handle a lot more than we think we can. ‘Self’ acts like a governor on our faith, perpetually keeping us at a slow pace of growth. Throw that sucker off and there is no limit to what you can do following Jesus.

      I agree we will not know why God chooses the path He does for us until we get to heaven. Where I find hope is that we can empathize with each other here, not in the circumstance, but in the One who is with us. As long as our faith becomes deeply rooted in Him it matter little what path He leads us on. Once we find this place of faith (and loss of ‘self’) we can bring the character and love of Jesus to those who are still wandering around in pain.

      You are a good man Gary and your testimony is valid, important and valuable. Never despise what God has given to chasten you. God chose your journey and it is perfect for you. As long as you are faithful as He leads (which I see the evidence of in your words) you are on the best path for you. God bless you my brother and thank you for this comment!

  2. Gary Fultz

    Thanks so much Homer. God bless you.

  3. Dawn

    Thank you for sharing your experience. May God bless you and your family.

    1. Homer Les

      Thank you Dawn. May our Father bless you dear sister!

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