• South Lyon Church

By Dave Priskorn

Being raised Lutheran, Christianity to me was nothing more than rules and traditions. Say a scripted prayer before dinner, go to confirmation classes, go to church where there are more scripted responses; this was the version of God my parents bestowed upon me. Having attended a Lutheran school until 3rd grade, I could have told you more about the Bible when I was eight years old than I could today. I should feel a little ashamed of this fact, but I’m not. At that point in my life, the Bible was grades and memorization rather than a guide to experience God and His Love.

This mindless repetition continued until I was about fourteen. At this point in my life, my parents told my siblings and me that they were getting divorced. The family stopped attending church together, and though I identified as a Christian, it was no longer a part of my life. About a year later my father came out to me as gay, and this sent me further into a personal tailspin. At this age, most teen boys are working to identify who they are. I was now working to identify who I was, and what family and religion meant to me.

The search continued through my teens. One of my best friends (to this day) was really involved in a youth group. I would attend with him, but to me, this was a social event, not a spiritual growth engine. I met a lot of great people, people who would become lifelong friends and shape my religious experience, but I wasn’t there yet. These people began to challenge my beliefs and actions and ultimately opened me up to the place I needed to be to lay the groundwork for a mature faith.

When I was twenty years old, my connections led me to a job in a local coffee shop. The owner, Doug, was a leader in the youth group, and I went to high school with his son. The connection was strong enough that I walked in and was hired on the spot. I excelled working with Doug and a lot of the same people I went to youth group with. I was made a manager within a month and worked my way into a core group of people helping operate Doug’s shop. There was a huge sense of pride.

Over the months to follow (ultimately, I worked for Doug for two years) Doug and I developed a different relationship. While the shop was slow and we were working on downtime tasks, Doug would start to talk to us about the Bible. This wasn’t really a teaching exercise; this was a dialogue. I had never really had this experience. Doug cared about my thoughts, my interpretations, and listened with his whole heart. This openness laid the groundwork to open me up to feel like I had my own power to develop my own beliefs. Nothing was handed to me; I was being challenged and encouraged. Doug’s reception to my thoughts in turn opened me up to being equally open to his input. It felt more like symbiosis than almost anything I have experienced to this day.

The hours on shift turned to weeks, turned to months, turned to years. My relationship with Doug and with God flourished. I had a foundation on which I could build my own faith. This flowered into more opportunities to connect with like-minded men and create our own traditions. We held Bible studies that surrounded a bonfire and included enjoying cigars and conversation together. This then led to me choosing my own baptism as an adult. I had found my own way on my own terms.

When I went for a job with Doug I wasn’t looking for God, but God found me. I wish I could tell you that since then it has been a straight path and I’ve done nothing but grow; it hasn’t been and I haven’t. However, when I’ve been down, I’ve always gone back to that same foundation and basis that was built with Doug. Above all else, my time with Doug showed me that no matter where I am at, God will find me when I need Him. Even in a coffee shop.

Thank you, Doug.

  • South Lyon Church

At the beginning of this week, we were able to fit three adults in the back seat of our car. (Now, it was not the most comfortable fit as we discovered this past fall when our friends came up from Texas and five of us traveled to the UP together.) At the end of this week, there was only room for two people in our back seat—and it was a pretty crowded fit at that.

There was this thing in the middle of the back seat. This is not the first time one has been there, but the first time one was specifically bought to be put there and kept there. This thing taking up space in our back seat is the base of an infant carrier. This is not the first time a grandchild has had a car seat in our back seat, but it is the first time to have one permanently in our car since this grandchild lives in the same town with us.

The amazing event this week didn’t make us grandparents; that happened six and a half years ago. But the event once again brought joy and amazement to our lives. It also made us think back to the infants we brought home around three decades ago! It made us think back to the journey as a family. It’s been a journey filled with some difficult aspects and some great aspects, but none greater than welcoming a new soul into our family, be it a child or grandchild.

Our personal journey has taken us to all four time zones in the lower 48 states. Two different countries. Both sides of the continental divide, east-west, and north-south. Warm climates, cold climates, and the most perfect one here in Michigan that has the wonderfully spaced four seasons. It has been quite a journey. We have spiritual family all over the country now, many of whom we were able to witness their second birth in the waters of baptism.

On this journey, we’ve experienced a lot of changes; however, there is one thing that has not changed. The constant through all of it is our desire for God to be at the center of this journey. The constant on this journey is PRAYER: Prayers for our kids from the time they were young and fragile; as they became teens venturing out from the secure base we had tried to build for them; prayers for the ones they would marry who would become their partners in serving God and our new son and daughter; and now prayers for all our children to be the parents that will help those four wonderful grandchildren know of God’s love as they raise them to be warriors in the Kingdom of God. Prayer was and is a constant.

I know we aren’t the only ones to take the time to pray for our kids or the special children in our lives. Whether you pray for your own child, a grandchild, a niece, a nephew, or another child you have fallen in love with simply because your paths crossed on this journey-know that you are doing one of the greatest things you could do for that child. Prayer can alter the course of a child’s life.

So, when you get into a car this week and journey from one place to another, notice the back seat. Think about how many will fit there. Then say a prayer for the children in your life that they may know who God is and follow Him with their whole hearts.

Happy with my back seat,


  • South Lyon Church

By Hannah Orr

One time when we were living in Haiti, we decided to go to the beach with a group of friends.

Now, despite living on the coast of an island surrounded by water, a beach trip actually takes a bit of planning. In order to find a sandy area that isn’t covered in trash, you have to get pretty far out of the overpopulated towns, which involves knowing the right place, arranging reliable transportation, and sending someone to check the route ahead of time to make sure it’s actually passable. So with all these things checked off our list, we hopped into the back of the truck we hired and settled in, hoping to be laying on beautiful sand within an hour or two.

But things didn’t quite go as planned on our journey to the beach; while our scouts had found the roads fairly drivable the day before, overnight rain complicated things. When we got off the main road and ventured towards the beach, we got stuck in thick mud. Multiple times. At first, our driver persevered, trying to still get us down to our destination. But eventually, it became clear that it wasn’t going to be possible. After spending half the day in and out of the mud and still just too far off to walk the rest of the way to the beach, we finally decided we should cut our losses and head home. Unfortunately, due to the excessive heat and rough terrain, our truck’s engine kept continually dying. This led to more waiting, more walking, and more wasted time in the hot sun. Eventually, as we neared sunset, we finally made it back to the main road where a replacement truck was able to bring us the rest of the way home. By this point, all of us were tired, hungry, sunburnt, and grumpy.

The journey we were supposed to take that day didn’t turn out the way we’d planned, which was incredibly frustrating at the time. But when I look back on that “Beachless Beach Trip” as we’ve come to call it, it wasn’t a total waste. We forged new friendships with people we didn’t know very well and grew stronger bonds with those we did. I still got a decent tan once the burn faded. And now, whenever I’m stuck in traffic or having car trouble on the side of the road, I don’t get nearly as upset as I used to - because I know that even if it takes longer than expected, in the ease and surplus of America, I’ll always reach where I’m going eventually.

Not every journey we end up on is a fun one. Not every trip we take goes as planned. But, if we’re paying attention, there’s a lesson to learn from every path we find ourselves on.