Tucson Theological Seminary
(American Institute for Biblical Studies)
                  Dawn Tucek
 
Assignment: To write a paper about my life

  

   Can We Know the Will of God?

           A Personal Testimony of God’s Grace

 

                    November 12, 2007

 

                                     

Jesus replied,  “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
"This is  the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: "Love your neighbor as
yourself."     
Matthew 22: 37-39
                                                                                                                                                            

 

 

                                                                  ******
I grew up in a non-Christian home in Berwyn, a suburb of Chicago. My parents sent me to Sunday school, and sometimes my mother came with me to church. When I was 10 years old, a story my Sunday school teacher told us convicted me of sin and my need for a Savior. I really felt that I had disappointed God, and wanted to be right with Him.  That night, I knelt at the side of my bed and asked Jesus to forgive my sin, and be my Savior. Since my parents did not have a relationship with Jesus, I had to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide me. I developed a relationship with Jesus that was very close. My mom went forward in church to be Baptized when I did, but several years later, told me she’d tried to be a Christian but could not.  I didn’t understand, but I prayed for her.

My dad had grown up in a Christian home, but had walked away when he turned 21 and said he’d never darken the door of a church again. Over the years, he pretty much kept that vow, but did come on occasion to see me in a play or some other special occasion. I noticed that he knew the words to all the hymns.  When my Dad was 88 years old, he underwent surgery for a hernia.  I asked God to speak to his spirit through the Holy Spirit while he was under the anesthesia, and tell him how much Jesus loved him and wanted to forgive him.  As my dad was waking from the anesthetic, he was singing the hymn, "Jesus Lover of My Soul".

When I was young, I had a strong desire to help orphan children, and black children who were the object of prejudice. My extended family was quite prejudiced, and I was sent to my room during a family gathering when I stood up for a black family that moved into the neighborhood, and whose house had been fire bombed.

When our church went to an orphanage one summer day to have a picnic, my mom also went. I begged her to allow me to bring two of the children, a brother and sister, home with us. We did. The orphanage allowed us to take them for a two week vacation.  I taught them to ride my two wheel bike, which the boy proceeded to steer into a tree and bent the front wheel out of shape. Surprisingly, I didn’t get angry. Because of this experience, I started thinking about having an orphanage when I grew up.

What does this have to do with knowing the will of God?

Let’s look at Psalm 37: 3-5
3 Trust in the Lord and do good.  Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. 
5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you
.

This passage does not mean that He will give you a new car, or house, or beautiful clothes, if that is your heart’s desire. This verse has a prerequisite.   When our heart’s desire is to trust in the Lord and delight in Him, then His desires become our desires, and He will then give us the desires of our heart.  When our heart tells us we would like to do something, and this desire comes from our relationship with Jesus, He honors the desires of our heart.

I believe many people make knowing God's will some kind of spiritual mystery that can only be found by much prayer and waiting on God to hit them with a new revelation.  I've heard of people who've waited upon the Lord to know if he wants them to go talk to a neighbor, or go on a mission trip, or help with a community program to feed the poor, or take the good news to those in prison or a Nursing Home.  Why should we have to seek God's will to do what he's already asked?  If your heart desires such a ministry, go for it.  I’m sure you are familiar with God’s law that Newton named the law of inertia…“An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion."  The Lord can use us best when we are moving with the desire of our heart, not sitting around waiting for a bolt from heaven to tell us what to do. Although God does use that method on occasion, it’s usually when the person is on the move. that God moves.

When David visited his brothers on the battlefield, it was David's idea for him to fight the giant, Goliath.  I believe God planted the idea.  Of course, he had already killed animals that would have attacked his sheep.  He probably spent hours practicing with his sling, aiming at trees or rocks in the pasture. He knew he had a skill, and he knew God would be his help in this situation. He knew his ability, and he trusted God to keep his aim true.

When Luke wrote his gospel, he started out by saying...

Luke 1:1 Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. 2 They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples 3 Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, 4 so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.“

Luke “decided" to write, and the Holy Spirit guided him.  If God does not approve of something we have set our hearts on, he will let us know, as he did Paul...

Acts 16:6 Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time.

With all that said, I’d like to share some of the things the Lord has not only allowed me to do, following the desires of my heart, but has blessed the doing and worked some miracles along the way.  When we got married, my husband, Chuck, and I talked about wanting a large family.  We thought six children would be a good number.  After three extremely difficult births, it didn’t look like this was a viable option. We had moved to New York where he was taking graduate courses at Columbia University and working in their Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory at Palisades Park. We made some wonderful Christian friends who also worked at the laboratory and became like family. We were there three years, during which time our oldest son, Bob, and daughter, Amy were born. 

We then moved to St Paul, Minnesota where Chuck took a teaching position at Bethel College. There, our third child, Daniel, was born. 
All three births had been very difficult.  We were sponsoring a 16 year old boy in Korea at the time, and the World Vision magazine that arrived one day had a picture of a young child in a crib that actually looked much like our second child, Amy.  That is when a seed of desire toward orphans again crept into my heart.

James 1:27 "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."

I talked to Chuck about adopting a child from Korea. I had no idea how to go about it.  A week or so later, I saw a very small article in the local paper about a family that had adopted a girl from Korea through the Holt Adoption Agency.  I called them, and  we were invited to visit them. Their daughter was adorable.  From them, we learned how to go about doing an adoption.  I wrote to Holt's Adoption Agency in Eugene, Oregon, but they wrote back and said that they did not have staff or resources to find us a child. We already had three children, and they felt they had to assign the children they had to families who had no children. They did say that they would do the paperwork if we could locate a child ourselves. That seemed rather unlikely, but only a few days later, I was talking to a friend, who’d gone through the same nursing school that I had, and I decided to tell her about my desire.  She said, “That’s really strange. I just received a newsletter from Eleanor, who is a missionary in Korea.

Eleanor had trained as a nurse in the same school we had.  It was affiliated with Wheaton College.  Although she was in the senior class when I entered, I remembered her.  Wow, the Lord was moving pretty fast.  I wrote to Eleanor, and she immediately assigned us twin girls that had come into the orphanage the day my letter arrived. They still had their umbilical cords on. They'd been left in an alley where the city police patrolled. This happened often when the parents were unable to care for a child. They knew the child would be picked up and taken to the orphanage.  I felt this was the Lord's will as He opened so many doors.  I did ask Him to close the door if this was not His will for us.  With man, the adventure we were embarking on would be impossible, but with God, nothing is impossible.

For all practical purposes, we were considered rather poor. Chuck made $300 a month teaching at a Christian College.   I worked as a nurse part time at minimum wage, $1.50/hr. including an 11pm-7am shift differential.   We had $25 in the bank, and that was only because they required a $25 balance to keep the account open. We learned it would take $1000 to do the adoption and fly the children over to the states. You would think that would have dashed our hopes and stopped us cold.  We kept praying about it. 

Besides not having the money for the adoption, our refrigerator was on its last legs.  Chuck wrote to his mom and asked if she would lend us the money to buy one. We figured it would take awhile to pay her back, but it was doable.  When her letter came with the money for the refrigerator, she had added an extra $1000 saying she thought the Lord was telling her we needed it for something. She said that the $1000 was a gift, not a loan. Hallelujah!  God was giving us the desire of our hearts.  By this time, we had 3 young children, Bob the oldest, was four, Amy in the middle was 2½, and Daniel, the youngest was 1 ½. We also had a 15 year old foster daughter.

We got the paperwork started. It turned out to be a pretty long process. While we were waiting, one of the twins, died of typhoid fever. The orphanage had over 100 babies, and only a handful of ladies to care for them. They did the best they could.  They’d prop up a bottle for each one, and then go back and change their diapers. They didn’t have time to pick them up, rock or cuddle them.  Eleanor wrote to say she had a boy, the same age, same birth date as Edie, the girl that still lived.  Did we want him?  We said, ”yes”.  I sent over a case of Similac (formula) and vitamins, and a blender that Eleanor said they really needed.  She doubted it would get through as most every good thing had been confiscated by someone along the way.  All of it did get through. The orphanage divided the milk and vitamins up among all the children.

Korean law stated that a child must weigh 7 lbs. before they’d allow the child to make the trip over to the States.  Our little ones had chicken pox, measles, and Edie also had scarlet fever while still in
Korea.  She didn’t break seven pounds until she was 7 months old. The children finally arrived in March of 1959.  Jimmy weighed 14½ lbs., Edie weighed 9½ lbs. They were 9 months old.   Our friends and family thought we were crazy. This was the first time we learned about persecution.  It came from our family,  friends and strangers... The rationality of what we did was questionable, but the blessing and leading of God was not. Our desire was to love and serve Him, and love our neighbor as ourselves. He gave us the desire of our hearts. We now had 5 children, the oldest had just turned six. I didn’t have an orphanage, I had a family.

When my mother saw the children, she could not believe their condition.  Jimmy had a bowed chest and bowed legs.   Edie was so malnourished, her tummy was huge, her head was the normal size for her age, but her arms and legs looked like skinny sticks.  Her shape actually resembled a tadpole. She had a fever when she arrived.  We all got infectious mononucleosis. The “nurse”,  took care of the family who were all too sick to get out of bed.  God, in His mercy, gave me the strength and patience to care for them.  

When the babies were 2 years old, Chuck lost his teaching job. We prayed about what we should do. Since nothing was holding us in Minnesota, I felt it would be good to move to Tempe to be near my parents and sister’s family.  Chuck agreed, so we packed up our belongings, rented our house to a missionary family and drove our old station wagon to Arizona.  On the way, we were asked to leave one restaurant because they wouldn't serve our Korean children.  Since we were on a tight budget, we would only stop for breakfast.  At another restaurant, the owner/chef came out of the kitchen to tell Chuck he had a very well behaved family.  That was really nice. 

Another time when Chuck went to pay the bill, the cashier said a trucker that had just left paid our bill.  God’s people are everywhere quietly serving Him.

I had a strong hunger for the Lord, and asked Him to fill me with His “rivers of living water”, that His Spirit would fill me and overflow so that I might be a blessing to others. That night, He woke me to pray for our Pastor, who I later learned, had just had a heart attack. He recovered.  One day as I was talking and playing with the kids, I began to speak in a strange tongue.  At the time, we were Baptist, so I wondered if this was just me or if it was the tongues from the Holy Spirit.  I had had no experience with anyone who spoke in tongues.  It seemed like a rather strange situation to begin speaking in a “tongue”.  Later, I decided to see if I could do it again, and I did.  I was not really sure if that was a tongue from the Lord, or if I was just making it up. I asked the Lord to show me if it was from Him.  At that point, it seemed the language changed. That didn’t help, I still didn’t know for sure.

During the time we were in Tempe, Eleanor sent us a picture of a Korean/American boy, 5 years old, who needed a home.  His mom had brought him to the orphanage and asked them to find him a home in America.  He was being abused by the Korean people because he looked American.  We decided to try to adopt him also.  U.S. law stated that a family could only bring over 2 children from another country.  We would need a private bill passed in Congress in order to bring this child.  Congressman John Rhodes of Arizona met with us and decided to introduce the bill.  It took a long time to go through all the red tape, but it was finally attached to another bill, and President John F. Kennedy signed it into law. 

In the meantime, while we were waiting for the bill to pass, someone wrote to the Holt adoption agency and told them that we were neglecting our children and shouldn't be allowed to adopt anymore children. The agency said that since they didn’t have the manpower to investigate, they would have to stop the paperwork on the adoption. They said they would send it to another agency though, if we found one that would take it.  I was crushed. I had no idea who would write such a letter.  I knew my mother thought we were denying our own children by sharing what we had with more children, but I knew she wouldn't write such a letter.  I did a lot of praying and soul searching.  If others thought that way, I wondered if I really was harming my children.  I went to the school that Bob and Amy now attended.  I didn't say why, but asked about the children's work and emotional health. Their teachers said they were well adjusted, and each teacher said that the child in her class was very bright and a joy to teach.  I still was uneasy.  My heart was heavy.  Eleanor had received a letter from the adoption agency concerning this also and she didn’t know what to do.  I wondered if the Lord was now closing the door. The missionaries in Korea went to prayer, and decided to go ahead and let us adopt.  Eleanor told us about a Korean agency that might do the adoption.  I wrote to them, and they agreed to help.  All this took time, and our little boy, we named him Paul, was getting older. 

Then, Chuck received a job offer in San Diego, so we moved.  While there, the ladies group from the church we were attending asked me to speak at their next meeting and tell about how the Lord led us to adopt the children.  I have to confess that I was angry with God, and confused.  Of course, my anger was directed at the wrong one.  I didn’t want to give a talk, but I finally surrendered, and decided I’d just tell the facts of the little miracles God had performed to bring our first two adopted children to us.  Paul hadn't yet arrived.  The morning after the meeting, there was a knock on my door.  It was a lady that had been at the meeting.  I did not know her, but I invited her in for a cup of coffee.  She told me how she had been convicted by my talk and had gone home and asked Jesus to be her Savior. She wanted to come over and tell me.  Wow!  Obedience is a key that unlocks doors. My heart was not in the talk, but the Holy Spirit used it in spite of me.

Ten months after learning of the letter, I found out quite by accident that it was my mother who had written it.  I can’t tell you how much that hurt.  The next time she visited, I confronted her.  All she said was, “I did it for your own good!” It was very tempting to be angry and hold a grudge, and at first, I was angry,  but that small inner voice was saying,  ”It wasn’t your mom, Satan was using her to get at you.”
I decided to forgive her, love her, and be kind to her.  After Paul arrived, my mother fell in love with him.  Praise the Lord.  

A year after moving to San Diego, Chuck decided he wanted to work with his friends from the Palisade Park laboratory. They now had a large business doing C-14 (Radiocarbon) dating. We moved back to New York. We were there 12 years this time, and they were good years.  Paul arrived in December 1963.  He was almost 8 years old. Chuck later started his own lab, in our basement.

We had reached the goal of six children, and soon all six would be in school.  It was exciting thinking about having a little time to do some of the things I’d wanted to do but never had time. That dream didn’t last long.  I was talking to a friend on the phone one day and said to her, "I think the Lord is impressing on me that I will have two more children". 

Sure enough, it wasn’t  long before I discovered I was pregnant.   I was not thrilled as my dream of having some time just for myself evaporated.  Even as a few tears ran down my cheek, I knew that I would love this baby, and that he/she would bring much joy.  We had an adorable little girl that we named Emily Grace.  She was number seven.  Before she was born, we had decided we would like another child to raise along with her.  We prayed about it and decided to adopt, so we went to the County adoption services and talked it over with them.  They agreed to allow us to adopt again.  When Emily was 21 months old, the agency called with a precious and beautiful baby boy who needed a home and would fit in just fine.  We brought Karl Scott home a few days later.  He was 11 months old, just 10 months younger than Emily.  Our family was complete, and we were so happy with our new little ones.  They have both grown up and have families of their own.  We are very proud of them.

Through the years, I held Bible studies at my home for the neighbors, had a daycare when Emily and Scott were 3 yrs. and 2 yrs. old, to help out with finances.  I taught the children how to read, recognize colors, do simple arithmetic and taught the children about Jesus.  A Jewish lady brought her daughter to our “Christian” daycare. After the girl had been there awhile, her older brother complained that his little sister was singing about Jesus. The mother told me about this and she said, I told him, “That’s okay. She can sing about Jesus all she wants. She’s getting good care.” 

Often, I would get a “nudge” to talk to someone in the grocery store, or in some other public place. When I obeyed the prompting, it turned out they were just ready and waiting for someone to talk to them.  Sometimes I even invited them home for lunch or dinner, or to stay.   Those were great experiences.  Through the years, many people have come through our door.

Chuck is musically gifted, and most of our children are also.  He was given a science fellowship to study in California for six weeks. We were still living in New York. Our older 6 children were in their teens. Scott and Emily; were 4 and 5 years old. I got the brainstorm to buy a bus and turn it into a camper and invite 4 of the kids from the church choir to travel with us across country singing and witnessing in campgrounds and churches along the way.  Again, crazy, right?

Apparently God didn’t think so as he worked everything out, and we were on the road for 2 months.  We had a 15x15 foot tent where the guys slept, and we girls slept In a 48 passenger bus. With the help of neighbors and friends, we had turned it into a camper with kitchen and bathroom. We painted the bottom of the bus black, and the top silver. The windows had small ovals above the regular windows, and we put stained glass contact paper in the ovals.  On one side, we wrote “Try God’s Way”, and on the other side, “Jesus is the Answer”. When we’d stop in the parking lot of a supermarket to pick up supplies, people would come over and talk to us. We had some really great conversations. This was in the era of the “Jesus Freaks” so we fit in pretty well.

We took the southern route through Arkansas and Arizona to California,  We picked up hitchhikers along the way and would tell them of Jesus love for them. We would make a campfire in the state parks where we stopped, and the kids would start playing their guitars and singing, and a crowd would gather. They would then tell them about Jesus.  In California, we stopped to help some people carry a piano to the second floor of a building. They were standing on the sidewalk as our bus went by, and they hailed us down.  It turned out to be the music group, 'Maranatha".  We spent the afternoon with them sharing songs.  We stopped in Orange County to visit friends, and “Love Song” was supposed to sing at their church the following night, but had to cancel.  They listened to our group and asked us to fill the empty spot, which we did.  We couldn’t hold a candle to the group, "Love Song", but the Lord blessed.  We sometimes traveled all night in order to get to the next church where we were booked to sing.

Once, in the middle of the night, some of the kids had to use the bathroom so we stopped at a motel on a lonely road.  It was pretty dark, and we didn’t know if we would find a restroom or anyone awake.  When we stopped, a car pulled up next to us.  A young couple said they were parked on the side of the road, and when we drove by, they felt “vibes” and decided to follow us.  We ‘happened’ to stop at the motel where the girl worked.  She showed them the restrooms and the couple then came on board the bus. We talked to them about Jesus. They prayed to receive Him, but it just didn’t seem like they really understood, so we continued to explain, and the night wore on.  They had been steeped in Eastern and New Age spirituality, but were not satisfied, and were still seeking.  We explained that it is impossible to "work" our way to a relationship with God.  He is perfect, and we have all sinned.  Therefore, we need a radical change in our status, and in our hearts.  Jesus did that for us when he died on the cross.  He paid the price for us to be reunited with a Holy God.  When we repent of our sin, and receive His gift of forgiveness, we are adopted into the family of God.  Eventually, they prayed, and we felt they truly understood.  We all hugged, said our farewells and parted.  We hope to see them in Heaven someday.

We drove past Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel one evening when there was a service, and stopped to attend.  We also attended the Crystal Cathedral, and either ministered. or were ministered to at many different types of churches during those two months.  We came back the northern route through Oregon, Washington, Montana, to Minnesota where we visited friends and had a picnic, then on to the Chicago area where my husband and I grew up.  From there we headed back to New York.  We had some mechanical problems along the way, which led to some very interesting encounters.

We didn’t have a spare tire for the bus, but did fine until we arrived home.  It was 1:00 am when we pulled up in front of our house, and everyone piled into the house and crashed on the floor or in bed.  In the morning when we went to gather our belongings, the bus had a flat tire.  God is so good. I guess I may have a more vivid imagination than some, but whatever desire I had, the Lord seemed to smile at, and although we were poor, the pot always held enough.

We almost always had guests, whether visitors to our church, children from the two local orphanages, kids that our children brought home who’d been kicked out of their own homes for rebelliousness, or missionaries visiting the church that needed Sunday dinner, or a place to stay. Years later when I fixed a dinner for four people using the same recipe, in the same amounts that I’d often fixed for 10-16 people, it was barely enough.  I realized then, that the Lord had increased the food to feed as many as we had to feed. 

Eventually, Bob went off to Texas to Baylor University.  Paul spent the summer after he graduated from high school in Korea working with Eleanor at the orphanage there.  When he came home, he went to John Brown University in Arkansas.  Amy also went to Baylor. The schools in New York were becoming racial battlegrounds and Edie and Jimmy were having a hard time, so we moved to a little town in Texas about 70 miles north of Austin.  Emily and Scott were in 2nd & 3rd grade. There, Daniel, Edie and Jimmy finished high school. 

When Emily and Scott were in high school, I was a substitute teacher there.  They would groan when they'd see their mother walk into the classroom.  How embarrassing!  I substituted for 3 years, and loved it.

Many times when the children were young, someone would ask, “How are you going to provide for college“?  I really didn’t know, but I believed the Lord would provide, and He did.  We had 5 kids in college at the same time. They received scholarships, grants and loans that paid their way. After two years, Amy transferred to Howard Payne in Texas.   When Paul finished a year at John Brown, he also transferred to Howard Payne.  Daniel and Edie followed.  Jim chose not to go to college. 

Bob remained at Baylor.  In his Junior year he was an exchange student in Japan. While there, he led seven students to Jesus.  Several years later some of his friends from Japan visited him in our home in Texas.  I occasionally asked Bob what a word meant that I heard his friends say in Japanese.  He asked why I wanted to know, so I told him that they sounded like words in my prayer language.  He then asked me to “say” something.  I did.  He said, “You are speaking Japanese.”  You said, “I am going to do….”  I guess that’s where I stopped.  Bob said I was speaking in the tense used only to speak to God or the Emperor.  I had the answer, finally, to the question I’d asked God so many years before.

When we lived in Texas, our multi-church ladies Bible study group held Bible studies at the jail. We would go two at a time on Tuesdays. The Sheriff’s deputy called us the "JC" gang.  One day, when it was my turn to go with another lady, he told us we would not stay back in the cell block because there was a crazy man back there.  We did go back, and sure enough, there was a fellow that was ranting that he was the son of Satan, and he and his brother were going to carry an iron cross and do such and such.  I don’t remember exactly what he was saying.  There were bars between us and the men, so there was nothing to be afraid of.  A little voice in my head kept telling me to tell the man to "be silent in the name of Jesus".  At first I argued, “not me, Lord”.  I had never done anything like that.  The thought was insistent, so I finally did say, in a normal voice,   ”Be silent in the name of Jesus!” The man fell back against the wall and down to the floor. Our jaws dropped.  We continued talking with the rest of the men who were now really ready to listen.  In awhile, the man got up and started his raving again.  Again, I said, “Be silent in the name of Jesus!”.   Down he went.  The deputy was watching all this through the peep hole in the door.  He never again called us the JC gang.  After that experience, I decided to search the scriptures to learn more about the way demons were handled by Jesus and the Apostles, because I hadn’t known what to do next.

The Sheriff eventually asked me if I’d take the men and women that were being released from jail, who had nowhere to go, and keep them until they could find a job and get on their feet.  We took them. Christians would ask me, “Aren’t you afraid they’ll steal from you or hurt you?” I guess they thought I was very naive, but I said, “Everything I have belongs to the Lord, so if they take it, they will be robbing God.  I figure He can take care of it.  I also trusted that the Sheriff would not ask me to take anyone he didn't think would be okay.  We never had anything taken, or anyone harmed.

One family that came to us from the jail consisted of a mother and her 8 year old daughter, her brother and his wife.  Her brother had pointed a rifle at the mother's husband who was beating her. She still had black and blue marks on her face. The husband went over to him and grabbed the barrel of the gun.  It went off, and he was killed.  While the investigation was ongoing, the family stayed with us. The wife was distraught, the brother filled with guilt, and the 8 year old daughter was confused.  We ministered to them through the funeral, and the two women received Jesus as their Savior.  The brother did not.  After about two weeks, they were allowed to go back to their home.  I was saddened to learn several years later, that the brother and his wife were divorced.

I worked nights in the local 75 bed hospital as night supervisor, with only one Nurses Aid to assist me and a doctor on call. We kept busy all night.  In the morning, I would get home about 7:30 am, fix breakfast, help the kids pack their lunches and send them off to school.  I would then sleep 5 or 6 hours, get up, start supper, and be there to serve snacks and help with homework or take them to music lessons when they got home from school.  Chuck did most of the homework duties.  After they were in bed, I'd take a nap for about an hour before going to work.  I did this four nights a week for a year.   I was getting weary from working nights, and a new desire began to develop in my heart.

Before we left New York, a local New York pizza parlor was closing.  I asked the owner if he would give me his pizza recipe as it was so good.  He did.  Wouldn't it be neat to have a pizza parlor in town where we could also minister to those who came to eat?  There was a small building on the main street that used to be a home.  The pharmacist next door owned it, and agreed to lease it to us.  I went to the bank, and got a loan for $1500 with Chuck's piano as collateral.  We had met a family in Austin who had a pizza parlor and went to see them to learn more. They had adopted several children, one from Korea, and one young man that used to come to our home in New York from one of the orphanages nearby.  The family had moved to Austin from New Jersey.  When we went to see them, we learned that they had closed their business, and their equipment was in storage. They said we could borrow it at no cost as that would save them the storage fees.  

We still needed a commercial meat slicer, an ice machine and a large two door refrigerator.  That's where the loan came in.  We scouted out vendors for all the food supplies we'd need, cleaned and painted the house, bought an old footed bathtub, painted it, put a false bottom in it so we could put ice on top, put it on a raised platform and used it for our salad bar.  We only had room for 6 or 7 round tables with four chairs.  Finally, we were ready to open for business.  It was June 1976.  The first day, between 11 am and 7 pm, I rolled pizza dough for 118 pizzas.  The kids put on the toppings and put the pizzas in the oven, some waited tables.  We also had ice cream, made sodas and sundaes and cones, and had meatball heroes.  Chuck had his Carbon Dating laboratory in our garage, and still worked at that.  He would come into the pizza parlor early in the morning, make the dough and set it up to rise.  Then he'd go home to work in the lab.  We opened on a Friday, and by 7 pm the electricity went out.  The wiring in the building was so old it couldn't handle everything.  We closed until Tuesday while Chuck worked on the wiring.  We all loved the pizza parlor.

It was usually pretty quiet between 2:30 and 4:30. That's when the local people would come in for coffee and sometimes ice cream, and that is when I was able to sit and visit with them and share my faith. The high school kids would come for lunch after school started, and we gave them a 7 inch pizza, a salad and drink for $1.00.  It was a popular place.  It wasn't long before we outgrew the little house and began looking for another place. By this time, Pizza Hut had found out that pizza was popular in our small town, and moved in on the edge of town. We couldn't find a place suitable and decided to end our pizza adventure.  For years after we closed, people kept asking us to open again because we had the best pizza they'd ever had.  Our son, Bob, still uses that recipe and still makes pizza for his family once a week. 

All the children were eventually married and started their own families. Chuck had given his laboratory to the Smithsonian Institute. They came to Texas to pick it up.  In 1990, the University of Arizona offered Chuck a job running their Carbon 14 laboratory. That is why we are now in Arizona again.  He is still at the University.  Amy lives in San Diego, Edie and Jim live here in Tucson.  Bob, Paul, Daniel, Emily and Scott stayed in Texas. 

Edie was divorced in 1994 and came to Tucson with her four children.  The Lord laid it on my heart to buy a 10 bed Assisted Living Home so that Edie could be the manager and make a living for her children.  I took manager training, found a Care Home to buy, wrote a business plan and applied for a Small Business Association loan which we did receive. We had the home for 6 years until Edie's children were grown.  That too, was a special time in our lives. Edie has since been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, has had 10 strokes, and will have surgery November 19, 2007, to remove a very large adrenal gland tumor. She is in God's hands, and I believe He will see her through.

A Christian neighbor once said to me, “I wish the Lord would use me the way he uses you.” I was surprised.  I thought, “just look around and be available, and He will use you”. Everywhere we look, everywhere we go, someone needs a friend, a helping hand, and many of them need Jesus.  He told us to “Go into all the world…”sometimes that might be as close as next door.

I've enjoyed Seminary immensely. I can't say I had a “call” to the ministry. The classes were offered, and at that time were being held next to the Teen Challenge Men's Center where I work. I have always had a thirst for knowledge, so I enrolled. I am not sure how the Lord will use this in my life, but I know for sure He will.  My prayer is, and has been, that God would allow me to “burn out” not “fizzle out”.  Amen?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dawn Tucek © 11/12/07

Update 12/06/08:   Edie has not had another stroke since the removal of her adrenal gland tumor.  She is still working at walking, writing and cooking,   Her speech was affected and talking is difficult for her.  She has help 4 hours a day Monday - Friday.  Her son is working and lives with her.  She has lost the sight in the left eye, and the right eye is bad.  She will be having cataract surgery soon.  We pray that will improve the sight in the right eye.  Her attitude is wonderful despite all her difficulties.  (The cataract surgery was successful and after cataract surgery, the sight in her right eye is quite good.)

After being laid off from Teen Challenge due to a lack of funding, I was seeking employment, mostly online.  I began to pray about a job as a Chaplain, especially at a hospice.  After almost three months looking, I saw an ad for a Spiritual Care Coordinator at a local hospice.  I applied and miraculously got the job.  It is just what I was waiting for.  I am able to minister to the people who are facing end of life fears and joys, as well as minister to their grieving families.  It seems my whole life has been a training ground for this position.  I love the interaction between patients, families, and staff.  It is rewarding work, it is sadness; it is joy. 

When one of God’s children realizes he needs a Savior and humbles himself to receive God's free gift, the angels rejoice, and so do I.  God orchestrates my meetings as I pray that His spirit would minister His love and salvation to their spirits, then I see revelation that He has done just that.  No one can come to the Father unless the Spirit draws him.  I believe, when the Spirit is calling, they need someone to tell them the precious story of God’s love, grace and forgiveness.   If they will believe and make His gift their own, they will see Jesus and have a home in our Father’s house that Jesus went to prepare for those who believe.  Now I know what God had in mind for me to do when I finished seminary.  He could not have chosen a better place for me.  Thank you, Father. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Dawn Tucek ©2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

Scripture  resources:


Deuteronomy 10:12 And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to
                        fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to
                        serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with
all your soul,
                   
13  and to observe the LORDS commands and decrees that I am giving
                        you today for your own good?


Psalms 40:8          I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.


Psalms 143:10
     Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good;
                       lead me into the land of uprightness.                  


Proverbs 3:5
       Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own
                      understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will
                      direct your paths..


Micah 6:8           He has showed you, O man, what is good.

                      And what does the LORD require of you?

                      To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

                        

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       © 2007-2008 Dawn Tucek

Other scripture  resources:
 

Deuteronomy 10:12-13

And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,  and to observe the LORDS commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
 

Psalms 40:8 

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
 

Psalms 143:10 

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
 

Proverbs 3:5- 6 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;   In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths..
 

Micah 6:8  

He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.