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Be patient: God will work it out

Connie L. Peters with LaDell Britain
Special to The PREVIEW

As a young married couple, LaDell and Ted Britain just had their first baby boy and lived close to all of LaDell’s relatives in Delta, Colo. Ted had a good job at the newspaper. LaDell enjoyed her life. So what was bothering her?

Something wasn’t quite right with Ted. He seemed to draw close to the Lord and then back off, repeatedly.

That summer, as soon as Ted went out the door and the baby was still asleep, she’d kneel by the couch, pray and weep for her husband. She asked the Lord to fill him with the Holy Spirit. Sometimes she knew her prayers were directly from God, not her prayers at all; especially when one day He spoke to her heart — not audibly, but “louder than audibly.”

God was calling her husband into the ministry? No way. She tried to banish the thought, but she couldn’t. She had friends at Bible school who had the typical qualifications of a pastor’s wife: able to teach, lead large groups, play the piano. She did not have those abilities.

She was a shy farm girl, born in Farmington, N.M., and then her family moved to property in Delta. They attended church at every opportunity. She had a calling to serve the Lord, but what good would she be as a pastor’s wife?

How could this be? If she knew Ted was going to be a pastor, she wouldn’t have married him. She paced and walked and bawled. Always obeying the Lord was the only way they could have a life. If they didn’t obey God, her whole marriage might fall apart.

By evening she surrendered. “You know who I am. You know what talents and abilities I don’t have. I’m willing, but I’m not telling Ted. This is Your problem.”

For the next four months, she didn’t say a word to Ted, but prayed, “Lord, please help us.”

That December, at an evening church service, everyone sensed God’s presence and prayed at the altar. LaDell glanced over and saw her husband on his knees, deep in prayer.

After the service, Ted told LaDell, “We need to talk to the pastor.”

In the minister’s office, Ted spoke to the pastor, but looked straight at LaDell. “I was called to the ministry when I was twelve. But I’ve been running from it. The Lord is dealing with me.”

“You need to obey the Lord,” the pastor encouraged, “even if it’s hard. God will work it out.”

Ted was relieved when LaDell told him she had already yielded to God’s will in this.

It was late for the new semester, but the Assembly of God Bible College at Waxahachie, Texas, accepted his application. The Britains sold most of their possessions, but still lacked several thousand dollars for tuition, not to mention living expenses. Then God stepped in.

Before they were married, Ted had been in a car wreck, but received no insurance money. Now, four years later, he received a sizable check. And then, a new law came through concerning VA benefits and, having served in the Air Force, Ted was able to receive assistance for college.

It was scary for LaDell to leave all she knew. It wasn’t easy for either of them, but Pastor Ted attended college for four years. He worked freight docks at night. LaDell worked in a children’s home. They were house parents and lived in two tiny dorm rooms. They had their second child when their first was 2 years old.

After Bible school, Ted served as an assistant pastor with their pastor in Delta. After a year, he led his first church in Woodland Park.

Being in the ministry was financially difficult at times, but the Lord always provided. LaDell was homesick and lonesome from their many moves, but her church family became her family. Plus, Ted made and kept a promise that they’d visit her family in Delta a couple of times a year.

The Lord gave LaDell a deeper love and compassion for the people she served. Though she never had become completely comfortable in front of a group, she taught Sunday school and children’s church and counseled women.

In their latter years, they retired from pastoring and Ted led seminars on forgiveness. He wrote a book, “A Wounded Heart (and How to Heal It).” LaDell spent a lot of time with her family in Delta, never dreaming the Lord would call them back into full-time ministry again.

When First Assembly of God of Cortez needed a pastor, the denomination asked Ted to fill in “temporarily.” Cortez had been one of their early churches when their three boys were little and they had fond memories of the people there.

“It’s like returning home,” LaDell said.

Now, over a year later, despite health problems, they serve in the Lord’s guidance and strength, as they always have.

This story was posted on May 30, 2014.