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Homer  Les

Wilderness - How to Marry Jesus in 10 Years or Less

Religion & Spirituality

A true account of one family's journey from middle class suburbia into the depths of poverty then homelessness as they followed Jesus with uncompromising faith.

Book Bubbles from Wilderness - How to Marry Jesus in 10 Years or Less


In our first days of homelessness the issue of our trust in God quickly moved from theory into practice. So many people say they trust God from the comfort of their warm homes or soft pews. I am not saying that is wrong but when you are faced with being outside with no home and no food who you trust becomes patently obvious. We had to put feet to our belief. This was no easy thing to do with police and others trying to tell us we were making a mistake. No, we were not, we were just learning that trusting in God meant that we had to depend on Him for everything. Daily. Hourly. Suddenly our faith had to move from words to actions.


Our baptism into homelessness was not unlike being thrown into a vat of ice water. The chilling cruelty of betrayal was compounded by the sadistic means of how our crucifixion was carried out. Not content to lock us out in the cold our tormentors refused to give us own own blankets to ward off the chill that cold October day. This moment would forever be seared in our memories. Never before and never since have we seen the calculated cruelty of man so demonstrably obvious. With our descent into homelessness now complete, we would spend the next 40 months wandering across eastern Canada. We would go through 82 moves and more misery than most families should.


When early pioneers traversed the Oregon trail across the vast midwestern prairie they would often leave behind useless baggage that slowed them down. This is the way of the desert wilderness. You cannot take your things with you when God leads you into homelessness. Of course in any desert there are vultures circling around the carcasses of the dead looking for a free meal. Our journey was no different. As we vomited out what was left our belongings on to our front yard, the island vultures started circling lazily around. With greed in their eyes they looked for what plunder they could extract from our misery.

Wilderness - How to Marry Jesus in 10 Years or Less

Christian Books & Bibles

A true account of one family's journey from middle class suburbia into the depths of poverty then homelessness as they followed Jesus with uncompromising faith.

Book Bubbles from Wilderness - How to Marry Jesus in 10 Years or Less


As a homeless family in Canada, options for refuge from the cold are few. People that will open their homes are rare and government services provide little choice. One option available is a homeless shelter. Our only experience with one in Moncton, New Brunswick was so violent and traumatic that our family vowed never to return to a homeless shelter again. Although God taught us valuable lessons through this one experience, we were grateful we never had to repeat it. Although shelters are a convenient way to remove the destitute from sight, they do nothing to help the soul of the poor.

Sleeping in snow

When we lived under a tarp in the woods for 40 days Ida had a revelation from Jesus. He told her that some places would be better than others. After spending a month indoors sleeping on a snowbank was not one of the 'better' places we slept. The chill from the ground kept our bodies chilled no matter how hard we tried to stay warm. Eventually, all we could do was huddle together to preserve our body heat. Events like this one went a long way to convince us that God was caring for us on our faith journey. It would have been easy for us to die of hypothermia but His continual care prevented that from happening.

A Little Kindness

When you have nothing in this world, the simplest kindness from a stranger can go a long way. When we were stuck in Borden-Carleton in January 2011 our prospects looked bleak. The weather had dropped from -2C to -19C and the wind chill felt like -25C. Being outside in that cold for an extended period certainly was dangerous. God, however, would not allow us to freeze to death. In His subtle and quiet way He stirred the hearts of complete strangers to take us in for the night so we wouldn't freeze. That small act of kindness, unknown by all, saved our lives. We are forever grateful for the kindness of strangers.


There are times in our lives when words just seem to slip out. Not that we want them to but nonetheless our mouth has a way of betraying our heart. We saw a great deal of this on our homeless journey. Often, people we met would boast about how kind they were to the poor; or how they walked with God. Though not our goal, our presence triggered these expressions. We would then have to observe the God deflate their inflated impression of themselves. When this happened we soon learned how to duck and cover, for the unrestrained 'self' would soon charge. Not every encounter was as brutal as this one but they came close.

The Puzzle

Those that truly walk in uncompromising faith these days are about as rare as those who have walked on the moon. This causes no end of angst for those that limit faith to a simple mental assent. Just as Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees we were often interrogated by religious people trying to figure us out. We were a puzzle to them and often told we bamboozled their thinking. This was not our choice. We simply followed Jesus to the places He led us to. As we changing from believers into disciples our thinking also changed. Over time trying to explain ourselves to those stuck in religion became too much of a chore so we stopped.


Typically birthdays are fun affairs as we have cake and celebrate with friends. When you are homeless celebrations do not exist. They disappear under the relentless grinding weight of survival. Every ounce of energy is spent simply trying to stay alive for yet another day. My first birthday being homeless would be one I will never forget. Early on God told me there was something 'special' for me I could not imagine what the would mean for myself and my family. As the day progressed the nightmare kept building until it reached a crescendo of emotional pain that drove me into His arms. Only God can orchestrate a wilderness like this and walk with us through it.


After our 40 days of being homeless in the woods of eastern P.E.I. the transition to the capital of Charlottetown was a shock. Instead of dealing with wild animals and nature we now had to deal with people. For the next 39 months our adventures would bring us face to face with all kinds of people; some nice, others, not so much. We discovered that when we encountered a new organization it was the individual we talked with that made all the difference. Those that had been homeless or poor themselves typically gave generously while the wealthy we miserly in their kindness. These lessons taught us a great deal about the 'self' nature of man.

Dog Days

Some wonder why the homeless have pets. I have a simple answer: companionship. Being homeless means that society doesn't want you. This leads a person to become incredibly lonely. Having the unconditional love of an animal makes up, a little bit, for the nasty looks, harsh words and hatred that come at you just because you are homeless. Few understand this because they have never had to sleep on the street or fend for themselves in this way. Our puppy, Milo, would be just such a help to us and more. There was more than one time he saved our lives by frightening would be attackers or savage animals.

You're Fired

Sometimes the shock of an experience is so great that the only way to process it is to laugh. We had many such experiences in the little blue house we called home. None was as impactful as the one that hit us on a quiet January morning in 2009. When my wife's hair lit on fire it was such a sudden disaster I had little time to think, only react. Thankfully, we dealt with the issue rapidly. As a writer dealing with these intense scenes became a balance between the sheer terror facing us and the absurdity of what happened. The humor came after, and we have been chuckling ever since.

The Fishbowl

As intensely private people being cast amongst islanders was like being a steak thrown to lions. The intense focus of the rural locals had all the endearing appeal of a magnifying glass to an ant. The scrutiny was unbearable at times but thankfully the hovel we now found ourselves in became the main stage of our circus. The insanity of our situation could only be successfully approached with a large magnum of gallows humor. As the dark clouds of uncertainty began to appear on our horizon finding any source of light became critical. We wanted to engage our readers in a way that would help them understand the insanity of our position yet not be overwhelmed.

Angels Unawares

There are times when we encountered people that may, or may not, have been actual people. Angelic encounters can be rather ordinary, especially when God wants to change our course and there is no other way to do so. When this happened to us, on occasion, we would only wonder about it after the fact. The sheer ordinariness of the supernatural can be very underwhelming. As a writer we had to describe this in a way that was ordinary but yet spark interest in the reader. We do this by explaining what was going on in hindsight. This allows the reader the benefit of what we learned even though we learned it much later in the story.

The First Step

The first step in any great adventure is always the one you remember the most. For our family the first step was akin to stepping on a banana peel in the middle of an oil slick. As crazy as it was this was exactly where God wanted us to go. Trying to convey the seriousness and the absolute craziness of our journey as a writer took a great deal of thought. We wanted to capture the wild ride and joy as well as the bitter pain and trauma with balance and sensitivity. The raw power of emotion would come through but deftly crafted so as not to overwhelm the reader. This allows them to enter into the situation and relate. In this way the story becomes even more powerful.

Tough Love

Our journey was full of all sorts of quirky adventures and interesting people. Our dance teacher, Boris, was one of them. Part drill sergeant, part gentle teacher, he personified the tough love we needed. With his careful guidance we began to be prepared for the long road ahead, far beyond the dance floor. Writing this down brought a flood of good memories about our time at Arthur Murray. We wanted to convey the juxtaposition between us and our teacher in a way that would help readers understand what is necessary to prepare for the wilderness. God is loving but He is also tough and that tough love is what we need to prepare us for what lay ahead.

Where faith leads

As we journeyed across the cold winter's landscape of a desolate P.E.I. we often wondered how the path of uncompromising faith had led us to this point. As a writer it was had to experience this but even more difficult to write about. How does one illustrate the emotional impact of such event without reliving it all over again? As hard as it was we wrote down all that occurred in our 40 months of homeless wandering. The resulting impact is a visceral gut punch to the reader's staid and comfortable existence.

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