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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life: A Tapestry in the Making!

Last week I shared how, in the early 70's, Ralph H. Mount introduced me to the study of the Tabernacle. But today I'd like to share how that interest was used by the Lord over 25 years later to lead our family in a new direction which has brought great blessings our way!
But here, let me introduce a little of the story of another man, named Robert Bland.
During the 1950's when Ralph Mount was building his first models of the Tabernacle, Bob Bland was in Bible school and was given an assignment to research the subject of the Tabernacle. As a result of his study and realization that the Tabernacle was a very detailed parable or picture of Christ in the Old testament, Bob began dreaming of a day when he would build a life sized or full scale model of the Tabernacle!

Bob and his wife, Bernie, eventually founded and still direct the ministry of Teen Missions International (TMI) in Merritt Island Florida. TMI sends scores of teams of teenagers to countries around the globe every summer to assist missionaries and missions organizations in a wide variety of projects. It was through TMI that Bob Bland's dream finally became a reality in 1997. After a number of years of hard work and gathering materials from all over the world, the life sized replica of the Tabernacle was finally completed. In the summer of 1998 that replica was brought to Canada and erected in Burlington, Ontario - about an hour from our home!
When I heard the news, I knew we just had to see it! So with a group of home school families we went one afternoon for a tour of the Tabernacle, and in the process we were introduced to the ministry of TMI! Andrew, our youngest son, came home with a handul of pamphlets about TMI and began praying about going on one of their teams in '99. But the door did not open until 2000 when Andrew went on his first trip with TMI to the Phillipines. TMI has been a very big part of Andrew's life since then and he has been on numerous trips as a team leader with them to Poland (twice), New Mexico, Ethiopia, Uganda, and also served for 16 months on their multinational team called "Missionaries to America". Three of his siblings have also been members on TMI teams. Mark was a leader of a team to Guatemala, Rob was on a team to Poland, and Joia was an assistant leader on a team to Dominica, West Indies. Her second summer she was the head female leader of a TMI team to Ecuador, South America. The head male leader of that same team was a young man named Philip Dooley. It didn't take those two very long to conclude that God had lead them together and they were eventually married and now live in Florida where Philip is a doctor with the U.S. Airforce. They have one little boy, Keenan, and are expecting their second child early in 2009.
Thus, an interest in the subject of the Tabernacle, which was expressed in two different ways in the lives of two different men (Ralph Mount and Robert Bland), was used by God to minister to me and thus, through a progression of events over many years, to also minister to our children -giving them a keen interest in missions and even being the means of introducing our daughter to the man who is now her husband!
Our initial visit to see TMI's life sized Tabernacle opened the door for me to have the thrilling opportunity to be a tour guide through that same replica for most of the rest of the summer of 1998. Then we were invited by Bob Bland to spend the summer of 2005 in Howe, Indiana doing the same thing. What awesome opportunities we enjoyed sharing the Word of God with thousands and making friendships with many other brothers and sisters in the Lord which we treasure to this day!
Thank you, Lord, for the ways that you weave the tapestries of our lives and use such a variety of people to touch our lives, challenge our thinking, give us vision for things that close to your heart and introduce us to other people who will become so near and dear to us!

1 comment:

Philip, Joia and Keenan said...

Dad, thanks so much for the "mention", who would have known our family's life would become so involved with TMI?? =)