We pull into the parking lot of CCEF:
It had been an emotionally exhausting day.
We’d left home early that morning. Flew into Philadelphia, Been accosted by some crazy guy in the terminal. Drove through the heart of the city (pre-gps/smart phone), and now, finally sat in the parking lot of the school….
As I recall, it was almost closing time. We talked to the receptionist and said Jeff ? knew we might be stopping. He had been the supervising teacher I’d interacted with through the correspondence classes. As we talk with Jeff, when he learned we were planning to find a hotel room, he invites us to follow him home, we were welcome spend the night @ his place.
Next morning we were back @ CCEF talking with Earl Cook. His area of expertise was children’s counseling. I can still remember sitting in his office. Earl had a deep voice, and infectious sense of humor.
Earl leaned back in his chair, hands behind his head and asked me to tell him our story.
“What had brought us there?”
I recounted everything I’ve told you over the past few posts, including writing the letters I’d sent ahead to the dozen or so pastors who lived in the area, putting out feelers for a job, etc. None of those inquiries had generated any leads, which brought us up to the present.
Sitting in his office, trying to figure out what to do next.
Earl looked at us and said,“I have a thought.” There’s a church located in Northern New Jersey, about 2 and 1/2 hours north of here that regularly sends several of their staff for classes. It isn’t your typical church.” (I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that, but would find out soon enough).
He continued, “You and your wife strike me as a couple of free spirit types. You’d fit right in with them. If you want, I would be glad to make a couple of phone calls. If they say OK, you could run up for the day, and spend the night… What do we have to loose? You have a week..” 😉
Few minutes later, we were on the road again. Heading north to West Milford New Jersey.
When we pulled onto the property of Gilgal Bible Chapel, there were kids running everywhere. Here’s a picture of me just after we pulled into the church parking lot:
Notice the map 🙂
We were given a tour of the grounds….
Yes, it was a local church. In addition, they had apartments for missionaries on furlough. Were currently housing a couple of families from Viet Nam. They also ran a large day camp for kids in the summer.
View of the gymnasium when you first pull onto the property.
There was a mechanics shop, man made lake…10 acres of “Water shed” property. (Water from this area, would eventually winds up in large reservoirs for Newark I was told.
Here’s a picture of the main house:
The smell of pine trees, was in the air. We were to find out later, black bear also lived in the area, not exactly how I envisioned New Jersey when I was sitting back in Iowa.
It was beautiful!
We had been given permission to spend the night in one of the guest rooms, and as it turned out, the next day was the 4th of July. Someone (I can’t remember who any more) suggested if we wanted, we were welcome to come to a church picnic.
The 4th of July, 1985 we went to the home of Gay and Pat Brandeal. Pat was a general contractor, and Gay a teacher. There were 25 to 30 people at the picnic.
I remember visiting with Dorothy, Dorothy Gunther… As she and I sat in our lawn chairs, she asked about us. I told her we were on a mini vacation, thinking about moving East to attend CCEF, if the details could be worked out.
She looked at me, “Well, my son Mark has a construction business. If you do decide to move, you could work for him. I know he would hire you…”
That night after the picnic, wife and I were sitting in the guest room. I picked up a bible and reread the account of what happened after the nation of Israel had wandered around in the Wilderness for 40 years. (Remember in my last post, 10 of the 12 spies had said, they didn’t think they should go into the land that the God of Abraham had said he wanted to take them into. They were afraid.
They spent the next 40 years wandering in circles until all the adults of that generation had died off.
All except for the two who had been willing to go in…Joshua and Caleb
So now, 40 years later, the nation of Israel crosses the Jordan River and enters “the Promised Land.”
(You can read it yourself in the book of Joshua chapter 4).
Joshua chapter 4 verse19 “On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21
As I read the account, the name Gilgal jumped off the page.
At this point, I remember feeling overwhelmed with emotion. The name Gilgal had never registered before that day.
There I was sitting in the guest room of a church called Gilgal Bible Chapel , with a possible job offer…
to be continued…