50 Stories to Celebrate 50 Years!

Ted's Story

When asked to share a story about how God is reaching people at Westminster Woods, the first thought that came to mind was, "Well geez, which one?!" I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Westminster Woods has had a profound impact on thousands of kid’s lives, one of them being my own. But they asked me to share only one story, so here goes:

I had just graduated my senior year in high school and I was confident that I was a Christian. My faith had never been challenged, and when I told people I was a Christian they thought that it was wonderful. I can recall praying for my high school soccer team before every game, and I remember thinking that that is what brought my faith to life.

When I went to Westminster Woods my senior year, I remember just being thankful that I had a week off my job in the produce section at my grocery store. All I wanted was to relax, rest, and hang out with some friends. What I did not expect is what actually happened.

The foundations of my life were shook. What I once believed as absolute truth, I began to question. I started to doubt whether or not I was really a Christian. I started to wonder what it would feel and look like to live as my counselor was challenging me to. I thank God often now for my relationship with that counselor, though at the time, it was uncomfortable to feel so challenged in my way of living and in my faith.

I was beginning to realize that following God wasn’t always going to feel good. I started to understand that being a Christian was not about the mountaintop experience I was having at camp, the kind of experience I had had at camp the last five years I had attended. Towards the end of camp I became cognizant that God wanted to meet me where I was, and take me to where I needed to go. As all of these emotions and thoughts came to a boil, it happened.

God broke me. At least that’s what I thought at the time. He showed me this world would never be sufficient. He made it seem so simple with the words he breathed into my heart. I couldn’t tell you what the words were, but I could tell you what they meant. It may sound odd, but He wanted me to

know that serving Him wouldn’t be easy. He wanted me to know that it was going to be hard and that at times it would hurt. But then He explained how it would be worth it. That night, my soul, my innermost being, felt Heaven.

At Westminster Woods, my soul felt its first taste of Heaven.

When I went home, I went right back to what I was doing. But it felt different. My life would never be the same. The seeds planted in my life at Westminster Woods were reaped elsewhere, but that doesn’t bother The Woods. It is content to sow and sow and sow and sow, and sometimes it sees those seeds grow and bear fruit, and sometimes it doesn’t. But like in Galatians, The Woods, comprised of Brian and Diane, the staff, and countless efforts and supports of those who believe in the efforts of its ministry, does not grow weary of doing good. They trust the Lord that the harvest that the harvest will come and that these kids’ lives will be secured by God.

It has happened to me, and it will happen again. Praise God for WMW and its ministry and foremost His presence and work in that place.

Ted Dower