Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Faith Story

It has been forever since I've wrote a blog over here. I thought this would be a good one to share. A couple weeks ago Krista and I spoke in the Faith Stories class at Faith Church where we attend. Below is draft we spoke from, though it doesn't have absolutely everything we said, I think will get the idea.

Adam’s Life Up to Krista

My story isn’t one of drugs or alcohol or other stereotypical stories of living for the wrong things for which I’m grateful. It’s still a story though of redemption and God’s plan, because I am still a sinner and need Jesus. I grew up in central Indiana in Mooresville & Shelbyville. I’m the oldest of five siblings. I love to fish, hunt, play board games, collect things, read, write, watch TV and movies, and watch and play sports. Krista and I have been attending Faith Church for over 8 years. Now that you know the quick overview, let’s get on to the details.

I first gave my life to Christ on November 4, 1987. You see, I know that because I grew up in a Baptist church, and that date is important it seems in that denomination. I still remember it. I was learning verses for AWANA and after memorizing more and more of them, I asked my mom to tell me how to be a Christian and follow Jesus. Because of that experience, I am really supportive of the AWANA program and very grateful that my kids now have a chance to be a part of it. Now as a 4-year old, I think it is easy enough for me to understand Heaven & Hell, that I am a sinner, and that Jesus who was perfect came to save me. Sounds like a winning situation to me! As the years went on though, I came to realize it meant more than simply going to heaven.

I was homeschooled my whole life. When going into the 9th grade, my parents asked if I’d like to attend the local public school instead, but because the coach on my homeschool basketball team had asked me to come back I declined. Turns out the coach didn’t come back himself, but more on basketball later. Anyways through high school, thanks to my parents upbringing, my good friend Ryan’s influence, and the Lord I did pretty well. I stayed out of trouble, learned what it meant to work hard, to win, and through some experiences what it meant to truly not only trust Christ as my savior, but to know him as my friend. There were three events during my Junior & Senior years that brought these lessons around.

The summer of 1999 was a very tough summer on my family. As I mentioned earlier, I like to hunt and fish, which I got from my dad. He and my Uncle Greg always hung out together, bow hunting, fishing, cooking out, whatever it may be and as a young man I loved my Uncle Greg. He was a big man and strong man and I wanted to be like him. I remember him joking with me, when he was in his early 40s, how he was sad he could only bench 325 lbs. When I looked at him quizzically, he then said, yeah only can do it 9 times now. Well, in the summer of 1999 Uncle Greg died of liver failure in his apartment in Iowa, I remember crying with my dad and brother while we sat in the grass of a company we were mowing on Smith Valley Road in Greenwood. Uncle Greg died May or so, a few months later my mom was expecting to deliver my little sister Lydia. However, God had other plans, and Lydia’s life was cut short at birth when the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. That was a really tough summer for my family and for a 16 year old boy, but God used it to teach me that it doesn’t matter if you are a huge and strong man who can lift just about anything or a small baby just trying to take her first breath that life is a precious thing. He also showed me, through the way our local church cared for my family, that he is with me no matter what.

The next year though really drove his love home into my life. I had the opportunity to go on a short-term mission trip to Ukraine. A team of about 10 or so people, from across a few churches in Shelbyville, visited a small village in Ukraine where we put on a vacation bible school. The thing I learned from this trip is that Christians have a hope that others just don’t have. Seeing this post-Soviet world, I could immediately tell who had Jesus in their life, because of their smiles, their joy, and their knowledge that there is more to this life than just trying to get water at their local well with a bucket. That trip to Ukraine solidified my resolve to live my life for Christ, whether I was a plumber, preacher, or as it turns out a Human Resources Specialist.

After graduating high school, the college decision was coming, where looking back I again see God working in my life. As I mentioned earlier, I played basketball for a homeschool team called the Golden Eagles in high school and was a decent player. Well, when a coach from a very small Bible college in Iowa called Vennard called me and wanted me to play for him, after he had heard about me playing at a tournament in Frankfort, I prayed about it and decided to do so. I could’ve likely gone and been on the team at an Anderson or Cedarville (I’d been talking to them as well), but I wouldn’t have played and at Vennard I knew I’d get PT right away. That was the best I ever made in my life, as that is where I met my beautiful and gracious wife Krista.

During college is where my faith really became my own. It is then that I had to wrestle with why I believed what I believed, understand what the scripture said about it, and decide if I was going to live the way the Lord wanted me to live. I grew up a lot then, as do most people, and came to love the support in my daily walk that I got from both my professors and my friends who really were my “church” while I was at school. Once it was all said and done, I graduated with a B.A. in Business Management and also Bible. Now, I’ll let Krista tell her part of the story up until we get married and start our life together.

Krista’s Life Up Until Adam

I am also a firstborn. I have one brother named Michael and he and his wife Rachel live in Missouri. My parents are pastors at a Nazarene Church in Florida. Adam and I have been married for 10 years and we have 3 beautiful girls that keep us busy. Kaylee is 6, Elanor is 4, and Charlotte will be 2 in November. My own interests include: Reading, scrapbooking, sewing, blogging, photography, playing board games, watching movies, binge watching shows on netflix, geocaching, visiting with friends and family, and traveling.

Like Adam, I grew up in a Christian family. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 2 years old. Up until I was 5, my dad was in the military and after that it seemed that moving was in my parent’s blood. We moved all over, never really having roots until we moved to Georgia. While we lived in Georgia, we moved multiple times to different communities, but for the most part stayed within one body of believers at an Evangelical Methodist Church, quickly making Georgia my first real home. While living there, an older couple adopted my brother and me as their grandkids and has continued to be adoptive grandparents to us our whole lives.  It was here that I started to understand the importance of having a church body to love and support you.

Moving became a part of life. Something that happened often and couldn’t be helped. The moving itself was fun. Going to new places. Meeting new people. But how it has affected me has not been fun. It’s affected how I view relationships and how much I let people in. I know how to share and still be guarded and I also know when to just break ties. Moving taught me that even though people have good intentions, they won’t keep in touch. So, to find a place that I truly considered home was a very big deal.

When I was in high school, I made some poor decisions that led me to a place where I felt trapped by Satan’s justifying and deceiving schemes. It was in that moment when I felt extremely stuck with no way out that I sought God for guidance and deliverance. He not only heard my cry, but answered it in a tangible way. That summer, my parents decided to send me to a Salvation Army camp where my aunt and uncle lived, to work and to reconnect with God without distractions. During this time, God prepared my heart and mind for another move that would be taking my family from my home in Georgia. He also started preparing me for my college decision as during my time working at camp, a camp team from Vennard came to share about their school and to be camp counselors.  (I had known about Vennard my whole life as both my parents and grandparents went there. However, it was not on my radar of college options since it was in “middle of nowhere” Iowa. ) When I returned home from working at camp, my parents started to seriously consider a youth pastor position with the Salvation Army in Nebraska and during my senior year of high school they accepted the position and we moved north. That next summer, I went back to camp and once again met a team from Vennard. But choosing to avoid Iowa, I went to a community college for a semester even though I really felt God leading me to Vennard.  After a full semester of wrestling God, I finally said, “ok, I will go” and headed to Vennard in January of 2003.

Vennard quickly became my second home. The faculty, staff, and students quickly became my family.  Vennard became a place where I could be myself and really question my beliefs while also seeing what the Bible really said about subjects that I had never thought about for myself before.  It’s also the place where I made my first lifelong friends and also where I met my wonderful husband Adam.

Life Together 

Krista: When I met Adam, I didn’t picture us together. In fact, I pictured him with other people. After some time, some persistence on his part, and much prayer we finally started dating. God had richly blessed me in the most unlikely way.

Adam: Once Krista and I got engaged, we had a decision to make about our churches. Krista was going to the Nazarene church and I was attending a non-denominational church. However, we wanted to find a church where we could both worship and be known as the Daultons, rather than Krista and her fiancĂ© or Adam and his fiancĂ©. I talked with my basketball coach and he suggested his church which was Liberty Evangelical Free Church in Pella, Iowa. We really connected with the youth pastor there, who ended up doing our pre-marital counseling. We also got involved in the junior high youth group, teaching some lessons, helping out where we could, Krista did her internship there. After I graduated college, I got a job at a local furniture store selling furniture and waited on Krista to finish her degree in youth ministries. In December of 2006 she finished her degree, after not really having a specific place to go, we decided that Indiana would be it since Krista’s family are nomads and mine aren’t. So we came back here to Indiana, both got jobs in Carmel, and began looking for churches.

Krista: How does a millennial look for a church in a new city? The internet of course! We googled E Free churches in Indianapolis and visited both Grace and Faith and a couple of other non-denominational churches that we had heard about. After visiting four or five churches, we knew that Faith was the place that God wanted us. I was really drawn to Jake’s music and Adam specifically remembers that Tom was preaching about Romans and called Sin what it is. We had just visited another church that was speaking from Romans as well and never used the word sin, just “mistakes” or “problems”. So we jumped right in as quickly as we could in the Faith Community.

Adam: We quickly got involved in the “20 Something’s” group, started teaching in the Wednesday night 1st &2nd grade class, and worked at our jobs. This first year in Indianapolis was a really difficult year. We both hated our jobs and not knowing anyone was also tough. God taught us then, which he is continuously teaching us, to be content where he has us. Not sure this is the way he meant for us to be content, but each day driving back and forth to work, we’d see the young guy out front of Quiznos waving their sign in the sweltering heat and we’d think, “Well, at least I don’t have that job.” Having each other, our faith in the Lord, and Faith Church specifically the 20 Something’s group was very important for us. Turns out I had played basketball against family members of several people in the group and we immediately bonded around that.

Soon after this in late 2007, while floating on the river with Javier Contreras, I mentioned I was in HR and looking for a job. Before I knew it, thanks to him, I’d an interview with DFAS and have been there ever since. We’ve also been very involved in Faith Student Ministry since 2008, where I think we were challenged in our spiritual lives as much as we were able to challenge the students. There are many trips and memories from all those kids who are now graduating college, getting married, and in turn investing in the youth group.

Krista: One of the biggest decisions where we needed God’s direction was when Village Life was being planted. As many of you know, the call went out, and we like many of you prayed about whether to go or to stay. The more we asked God the more we realized we were supposed to stay. This was a really tough decision for us as everyone that we regularly hung out with from the 20 Something’s went with Village Life. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Through prayer, God had truly given us a peace about staying. That summer we got to know Jonathan Baker a little better, since he was on Adam’s softball team and we decided to start a community group with him and his family which has been very impactful in our life.

Especially in 2012 when we saw them and other believers come along side us as we grieved the loss of our 3rd baby due to miscarriage. Over the course of the last few years, I struggled with anger and frustration towards God. I didn’t understand how my very Big God could give me such a beautiful gift, only to take it away. But during that time, He provided people from our community group as well as people in the body to not only provide meals, books, and gifts, but also to help us walk through our grief while pointing us towards Christ.

God has used our community group to fill in that space that was left by our Village Life friends. But even more than that, has given us a group to really live life with. We have seen our kids grow up together, worked through difficulties of life together, and challenged each other towards more Christ-like living. This group has probably been the place where we’ve been able to connect with other believers on the most personal and honest level.

Adam: Looking back on our lives, we’ve been able to see God has had a plan in our lives, a plan that involves community with his children. This is something I love to think about and makes me realize we’re right where we are supposed to be and encourages me to continue to trust God when making decisions. If I’d never played home school basketball Coach Olson would not have heard about me, which meant I would not have gone to Vennard, never met Krista, never gone to Liberty E Free, never looked up Faith Church in Indianapolis, never met Javier and got my job and thus hopefully had a witness in that building, never had our three beautiful girls and try to input in them a love for Christ, and never have been able to live in this community of believers, which makes us even more grateful that Jesus gave up himself, even to death on the cross, for us even though we aren't perfect and are flawed people.