Monday, April 11, 2022

Employment in Edmonton

Full Circle With God

There are some Biblical accounts where God does what I'd call 'a circle of completion.'  He gives a person a dream, a starting place, or a 'state of being', then a whole bunch of activities and changes take place, and in the end the people involved find themselves returning full-circle.  Some examples I can think of are Jacob and Bethel, Joseph and his dreams, Job and his story, Joshua and Jericho.  There are some situations in Ewa's and my life where we've seen this, too.  Landing full-time employment once we'd moved from Slave Lake to Edmonton is one of those stories for us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

On The Move

Living and working in Slave Lake served two purposes for us:  

  1. Through my employment at the OSB plant there it allowed me to sponsor Ewa's immigration to Canada, and 
  2. We hoped it would serve as a springboard for me to start a more meaningful career and move us to a larger, more connected city.
While there, I tried taking a correspondence course in Accounting from the University of Athabasca, but I found learning something entirely new, by myself, while working shift work, was very challenging.  I also applied to become an air-traffic controller, and made it through a couple rounds of interviews, before ultimately falling short there as well.  I was finally successful in landing a good paying position in Edmonton at a large plant the printed milk cartons.  Around the same time we bought a small house in Edmonton and moved.

A Crazy Summer

We were so excited about this new employment and new house!  Additionally, our tax return came back for the previous year and we had some extra money so we invited Ewa's parents to visit us for the summer.  Unfortunately, events after that didn't quite go as expected.  Take a look at excerpts from my journals that summer:

May 21, 1997
I have lots of questions.
I got laid off from work today.  Hired April 29 - laid off May 21.  We moved to Edmonton banking everything on this job.  Ewa’s parents are coming in 9 days from Poland.  And I thought the weekend was bad.
On the weekend, Ewa and I realized that we would be pretty short with funds while her parents would be here for the summer (after paying for their flights).  I got paid more and put in more hours at the OSB plant in Slave Lake.  I tried to encourage myself with the song ‘God will make a way, where there seems to be no way…’  The song goes on to say  ‘... and He will do something new today…’ 
This certainly is something new.  Please understand - I don’t mean that sarcastically.  I know God has something better in store.  This route, however, kind of took me off guard.

So.... I have lots of questions.  I’m always kind of excited when I get into a situation like this because I know something has to happen.  Will I have a job a week from now?  God can do amazing things.  Who knows where I’ll be working?  I wonder how I’ll look back on this situation a year from now.

Ewa and I were talking over supper, thinking wistfully that maybe we had missed God in the opportunity with the milk-carton printing company and this move to Edmonton.  I do not believe that.  We had prayed that God would either open or shut the doors for this job opportunity, as well as this move.  God opened the doors and now here we find ourselves.  I believe that this is all part of God’s plan.  Now we just have to continue to seek Him and His direction for the next step.

May 23, 1997
God, we look to You for provision.  There is not much hope given to us by the milk-carton printing company as far as any kind of extended severance agreement or the opportunity for a choice to work somewhere else within the company.  I talked with P.K. - head human relations man in Memphis - and he at least sympathized with me and agreed that we had a raw deal here. Later I had a meeting with management here and signed the severance package we were originally given.
Saw a job in the paper last night and another on the computer in the library today.  Applied for them both.  This is all I can do besides pray.
Come and save us God...
I see lots of big bills on the horizon.  At this point, there is only money to pay into the first week of June.

June 29, 1997
Well, I have been working as a vacuum cleaner salesman for the last two and a half weeks. It has sure been a challenge.  I find that I am too concerned about what people think to do my job properly.  A salesman is supposed to sell things. Not just educate people on their product.  I am too polite.  I need to develop urgency and need in my presentation.  There are a couple of jobs as printing estimators in the paper that I am going to apply for this week.  I will continue selling vacuums until one of two things happens: 

  1. I start to sell vacuums in volume - then I won’t look for another job.
  2. I get hired at one of these jobs that I’m applying for.  
God has really been with us through this time.  The milk-carton printing company gave us an extension of severance pay to the end of June.  So as of Wednesday I am not receiving pay any more.  God knows what will happen then.  We plan to go to Canmore for 2 nights next weekend, taking Ewa's Mom and Dad with us. 

July 12, 1997
God, You are our only strength and hope.  Friday turned out to be quite a day.  We miscarried our first baby early in the morning.  I took Ewa to the hospital. She was there until 3 in the afternoon.  She had to have a DnC done.  I left the hospital at about 1 to go home, have a shower, and then I had to get insurance for the car.  That turned out to be a little surprise when I found out that we would have to pay $400 more per year for our insurance because we live in the city now.  Just what we need in the financial situation we are already in.  I don’t have any vacuum cleaner sales yet... 

Aug. 4, 1997
Lots of Old Testament stories seem very applicable to our lives this summer.  It certainly hasn’t been an easy one.  We have completely depleted our RRSP money and have had to borrow more from Mom and Dad to make it through August.  Ewa has been really struggling with her hormones and the whole situation.  We both had a different picture of how her parents would spend the summer here.  The job with the vacuum sales company doesn’t seem to be working out.  They are not completely honest in all their dealings with customers as well as with dealers.  

Aug. 14, 1997
Oh, God!!  I need Your help.  Today I gave all the vacuum cleaner sales stuff back to the office.  I am now completely unemployed.  I struggle to know what You want me to do.  Sometimes life seems really complicated.  Ewa’s Mom and Dad leave for Poland in less than 2 weeks.  God, my only hope is You.  Please show me if there is something I am doing wrong.  I can’t walk in the dark very long.  

Sept. 30, 1997

A printing press similar to the one I
worked on in Leduc
Well, I have a job now.  In fact, this is the 2nd week I’ve been working.  I’m working for a newspaper printing place in Leduc.  I’m sure learning a lot. I have been hired as a second pressman.  They are paying me $14/hour.

God's Full Circle

So where is God's circle of completion in all of this?  I had forgotten about it myself, until I read this journal entry I wrote several years later....

April 11, 2001
I was reminded of something interesting that happened before I left the newspaper printing place in Leduc.
My manager was looking to hire someone to fill my position when I left.  We were working days and he brought in a prospect, and believe it or not (my mouth sure dropped) he was showing around a fellow that had interviewed me at the milk-carton printing company

I talked to my boss later, and apparently a year after they laid us off, the whole milk-carton printing plant in Edmonton folded.  To see the hand of God on that whole situation from that perspective makes that whole rough, jobless summer a lot less of a bad memory.  This fellow had been looking for a job for a year already!  Wow!!  Thank you, God, for your direction there, even though it seemed like I was taking the only available job opportunity at the time.  

Click here for more true stories of God working in my life

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