I have been reflecting on the last year and It has been both a challenging and memorable year of growth. It has been a bitter sweet year.
We had an awesome Heaven on Earth conference back on the weekend of March 29-31, 2019. Those of you who went gave very positive comments on the impact it made for your life, which we celebrate.
A week after the conference, I started a new contract, after 3 years without work, for a project with the company I worked previously for. It provided a 3 day per work week blessing, which I am very grateful for.
At the beginning of May, a few weeks after the conference, I got a phone call from my sister (in my adoptive family) to tell me that our dad was not doing very well, and I should consider going to see him as soon as possible. I arranged with work to take a week off to go and see him. Just before I left, my half-sister called to tell me that her dad, my step-dad, had passed away suddenly during the night.
Some back story: I had just connected with my birth family for the first time ever in June 2018 after my half-sister found me via Facebook. Just before Christmas 2018, I went to spend a week to help them move to a new city. When we drove to the new city, we were able to take a small detour to have my birth family meet my adoptive parents for the first time ever. They had a great time connecting and getting to swap stories. This was a wonderful time for me to get to know my birth family, especially for the connection my step-father and I were able to have developed. He cried when it was time for me to go home. Other than some Skype calls, that was the last time I was able to spend any time with him. I am so grateful that I was able to meet him and get to know him a little.
On my trip to visit my adoptive dad, who for my whole life’s memory is Dad, I was shocked to see how much he had withered away. It was obvious that the time was near. During the times that he was lucid we were able to communicate and reminisce. During those times I was able to share with him about Jesus and the love God has for him. He was concerned about Mom and her being alone and that everything was prepared for her care. I was able to communicate to him that everything was taken care of and Mom would be well cared for.
On the day before I was to leave for home, Dad started indicating that he wanted prayer and began indicating to look at something he was seeing. He kept pointing and reaching for my hand to pray. He was a bit agitated, but I could not understand his words, because they were so faint and garbled. I felt confident to pray with him, praying that there was nothing to worry about. Mom was taken care of and he did not need to worry for her. God was always with her. God loved them both and had taken care of everything necessary for him through Jesus dying on the cross and His resurrection. Simply trust that Jesus has taken care of everything for him. Its ok to trust him and go to him. Allow Him to lead you home into His peace. After praying with Dad, he calmed down and went quietly to sleep. I went to get my mom to have a short visit with him before I had to leave. Mom and I had a pleasant quiet visit with him while he slept and then I took her to her room to say goodbye. On my way down the elevator, I felt strongly to go back one more time to say goodbye to dad. When I got to his room, I notice right away that something had changed. I saw no sign of life. He had stopped breathing. He had quietly passed on at the age of 92. I cancelled my flight to stay with my mom and family when they came and prepare for Dad’s funeral.
With all these bitter sweet changes happening in my life, I still had more challenges to face. A big challenge was facing that there were going to be changes with Doxa Canada Ministries. We have had 12 successful years in hosting the Doxa Canada Annual Conferences. But for the last two conferences, the number of people attending dropped significantly (prior we were averaging 155 attendees but had dropped to 50 attendees not counting volunteers) partly due to the economy but mostly to the fact that Dr. Jim Richards was no longer travelling up here in person. Even with live broadcasts of Dr. Richards during the conference, there was a small drop again in the last conference. Because of this, it is no longer feasible to do the conference the way we have been doing it because we cannot sustain the ever increasing costs.
It has been a very difficult and painful choice to make knowing how much people who were attending have been impacted by these conferences, but after months of deliberating and seeking God’s wisdom in how to move forward, it has become clear that we will NOT be putting on the Doxa Canada Conference this year.
We will complete developing the online Bible College, which is currently operational with enrolled students. The last few courses to be made available to finish up the 2nd year set of courses are close to completion. We will also continue to provide resources online as we have been.
It has been a year of changes, but in it all, God has been faithful and always with us. I have had moments of doubt, but I always find myself turning to Him and experiencing His encouragement and peace. I remember all His goodness and it gives me confidence in what lies ahead because He is trustworthy and I am willing to follow Him.
We are in the midst of reimagining how we will move forward in the year to come to provide a medium for those who have been benefitting from Doxa’s conferences to date. We will keep you posted as inspiration and ideas become clearer and firmer. Please keep us in your prayers, because it is certain at this time that He has something more for us to give in this area.
Peace and grace,
Ted van Diepen