Where to start? I heard of Liberty Trust when I was 19.  Hearing of Liberty's ministry I was really excited but I didn't do anything about joining Liberty as I was starting study at Bible College and living off student allowance while flatting. Next after study finished, I had part time work and worsened health on top to boot... every available cent and dollar beyond the mere basics was spent on some supposedly miracle cure to try help my health. I held joining Liberty Trust in my mind as a long term goal.

Long story short, with life's lumps, despite it being a firm goal in my mind from the point where I'd first looked into it, it took me until I was 25 to finally join. I put in the maximum I could afford, reasoning that in life there would be times I could afford to put in less and if I ever had a family, doing so now would help. It was tough to imagine what ‘future me’ would be up to in 10 years time, but I knew I'd appreciate the effort and would maybe have a family who would also benefit by then!

I told a friend about Liberty Trust's mission and she thought it was too good to be true. My young adults group looked at it, critiqued and asked many questions too, looking for snags but found the principles worked.  I didn't feel secure in the job I had then, but at least I had finally made a start and later found out how flexible the Trust can be when need arises as it did a few times, first with a car crash, then less work and later a lemon car.

At 29 I married my best friend Corey.  My husband had joined the army fresh outta school and after that had backpacked, worked and drunk his way around the world. His upbringing was Christian, his foundations good, but he told me that growing up he'd mostly seen what he called "plastic Christianity” or the “Sunday-social club", not Christ’s body and bride in action. But seeing gospel love in action at a church that fed backpackers and also moved in the Holy Spirit had been his return point, and also what had made a family member declare he'd gone overboard on religion! When he heard about Liberty he said he wished he'd known about it earlier and that he had probably easily wasted enough money for a whole house on grog when young!

Our life together was chocka full of changes, bills and challenges which were the easier for being undertaken together. By our second anniversary we'd unexpectedly moved to a farm and Corey had been learning the ropes working for a sharemilker for 11 months. He loved his new job so much, it was the difference between night and day, such a relief! I was getting the hang of juggling motherhood of a 9 month old babe, house work and managing life with special dietary requirements - the future was promising and life was starting to hum along!

A week later [after Corey’s death in an accident], my life was never EVER going to be the same again.

My husband was a wonderful surprise from God, but I had prayed for him long before I knew or loved him. Mostly I miss his friendship, the laughter and love he brightened my days with and I think it is the same for God with those who are missing from the church, or just not talking to him for a season, whatever the reason.

I find it amazing how God provided a home for us and whatever my struggle right now I know God is faithful, he has many times proven himself a father to the fatherless, a husband to widows and true to his word. 

The flexibility and assistance of the team at Liberty Trust has meant that I am blessed with a home and have even been able to insulate, renovate, paint, re-carpet and rewire, then have a much needed holiday! 

Corey and I were given Psalm 133:1-3 early on and this beautiful unity it mentions was also the prayer of Jesus ... providing the life forever more was His mission. 

Also Philippians 4: 4-9 were significant verses to us:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.

Regards, Aileen Elizabeth Stephens (nee Pallesen)

5 September 2016