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Farmer for Souls

“I want to be a farmer!” I told my mother. She stared at me, then, in her motherly wisdom, she said, “My daughter, first graduate physical therapy school, and then you can do whatever you want.” I was 25 years old, just graduated from a university, and was expected to go to physical therapy school. But I was beginning to have doubts. Yet, I still entered, finished and received my doctorate in physical therapy, and began studying for my license exam. Everyone was congratulating me and asking me when I would get a job. But I was personally declining spiritually, physically and mentally. I slowly ceased to read my bible and pray.
Two weeks before my license exam, I decided to go away to a private sanitarium in West Virginia, owned by a Korean Adventist woman in the mountains, to focus on studying for my license exam. Only God knew what I was getting myself into.

These health centers are mainly for patients with some sort of sickness or condition, and though I was young and healthy, so to speak, the Korean lady still treated me as if I were one of her patients. She put me on an exercise program, and a strict sleeping and eating schedule (no snacking, a vegan diet and only fruit for dinner). It was a struggle. As a result, however, my mind was clearer and I was happier. I continued to study for my physical therapy boards in peace.

Well, not in complete peace. What I did not expect were the bible studies morning and night. All the while I was receiving bible studies, my questions about my life increased and the peace decreased. What next? What happens after I pass this license exam? Do I really want this career? What about my student loans? What about my towering debt? What about marriage? I was internally plagued with worry after worry and growing more anxious about my life. And above all, was I doing God’s will? Then God answered all my questions.

The first question He answered was on my fourth day at the sanitarium. I was reminded of the all too familiar verse: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) God revealed to me that I was not doing this. I was seeking first a physical therapy license, a job, a career, my own pleasures, a guy, and on and on… everything else except the kingdom of God. I was raised in an Adventist family, and learned all these truths but never really acted upon it.  But truly, God is ever so patient and faithful. And He was definitely very long-bearing with me. I went down on my knees and earnestly prayed for His will in my life. Then I put away my laptop and all of my study books. In faith, holding on to that promise from His word, I only read my bible, prayed, and rested in Him. My $600 license exam was just about a week away, but I desired to put Him first, best and last in all that I did. I miraculously passed that exam, with great peace in my heart.

Another question God answered was when I asked Him for direction in my life. He sent me a still, small memory. It was the memory of a small bakery. I remembered in the summer before entering physical therapy school, my parents and I visited some friends in the countryside of Tennessee. They took us to their favorite bakery. As we entered the property, I remember that I thought it was abandoned. However, when I entered the quaint store, I remember being delighted with all of the bread and spread samples they provided, and being impressed with the cookies and muffins. That was when I first met the owner, Heike. We had a short conversation, and she asked me if I wanted to work there. At the time I thought it was a very odd question- why would she offer me, a complete stranger, a job? It didn’t make any sense. But I really liked their healthy vegan products and saved their number on my cell phone to order when I went back home to Maryland.
Now it was three years later, and God reminded me of this little humble bakery in the countryside. I forgot the name of the bakery by then, but I remembered that I saved their number in my cell phone. I found their number and I called it. My heart was pounding and it skipped a beat when a woman picked up. It was Heike! I recognized her German accent. In a rush, I told her that this may sound crazy, but that I was seeking God’s will in my life and that she had offered me a job there three years ago. Did she remember me? Did she still have a job opening? She said she would think about it and call me back. Long story short, everything started to fall into place. Right after I had passed my license exam (praise the Lord), Heike called back and said that they had a job for me. It was everything that I wanted: the position of an assistant baker, room and board all provided. Immediately, I bought a plane ticket to Tennessee. I left my phone, credit card, and car behind. I put my whole trust in God. And He provided every step of the way! I had no plan to reach the bakery from the airport, no phone to contact the bakery, had only a little cash, but I had no worries. I knew that God was going to provide for me, so I only waited eagerly for His providence. He sent me a shuttle bus, and miraculously, a retired Seventh-Day Adventist pastor was the driver. The pastor safely drove me to the bakery after he ended his work driving the bus and he let me use his phone to call my parents and the bakery. He later even came to the church I am now attending and gave a sermon on Sabbath.

So there I was, working in a foreign land with a job completely apart from what society expected from me, and I was at peace. It reminded me of the story of Abraham. "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." Hebrews 11:8. And as Ellen G. White so rightly stated about this patriarch, “the happiest place on earth for him was the place where God would have him to be.”

Currently, God has continued to guide me. After baking and sharing the health message in Tennessee for nearly a year, I returned back to my family and friends in Florida. Do you remember the worries I mentioned in the beginning of my testimony? Those worries of my towering student debt and finding a good job? Whether or not I am doing His will in my life? And what about marriage? God has answered all those prayer requests in its due time. My student loans were all paid off within the year when I arrived back at home in FL, I was hired by an amazing physical therapy clinic close to home even though I was not working for the past two years, and as I continued to pray and seek His will for me, He has revealed it in the clearest way. As for a godly man in my life, I am confident that He is preparing that man for me as well.

Amazingly, opportunities continue to open up where I am able to return back to Tennessee and Clark’s Bakery at Stone Cave and reunite with my family in Christ. I have never driven ten hours in my life, but I have already made that trip three times back and forth, albeit on the wings of prayer (and stopping at nearly every rest area.) It was incredible how God opened up doors for me to return to help when the head baker, James, was in an accident which made him unable to work. Through that experience, I was able to witness first-hand how God is watching over and protecting this bakery’s ministry.

Every day that I was living at Stone Cave in Tennessee, I saw miracles and “God sightings.” I was completely surrounded by His nature and beauty. But the biggest miracle of all was the continual transformation of my mind and heart. I thought I would never be loosed from the cords of my past sins, but God had taken many of those desires away. He is continually refining my character to be more like Him. I’m slowly learning that whatever setting I am in, I can still be reaching others and sharing God’s love, as long as I keep connected with Him and abide in Him. Miraculously, as my character is being transformed, God started bringing people to me to share about His love and power. Praise the Lord, He had made me a farmer. A farmer for souls to His kingdom.

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