By Matthew Gorman,
Dalton and Dianne Lodoen first felt God’s call to attend last summer’s CSC Family on Mission trip to Vancouver during a chance encounter with a friend.
“We hadn’t seen Kim De Kluyver in a few years,” Dalton remembers. “Dianne ran into Kim, they invited us, and we started attending the Family on Mission training sessions.”
The trip to Vancouver consisted of time spent ministering to that city’s less fortunate population. As part of their ministry they went to Oppenheimer Park where they handed out ice cream and lunch, served at Union Gospel Mission, renovated a local church, and spent a day at Jericho Beach.
Even though the family of six had to sleep on the church floor for the duration of the time, the mission trip left a mark on the kids. “Our kids had never experienced anything like that before,” Dianne says. “They were very impacted.”
The Lodoens have been attending CSC since the mid 1990s and were married in the West Campus building. These days, Dalton, working for a financial firm, and Dianne, who works at a chiropractic office, live in Airdrie with their children Reese (21), Everett (19), Sophia (17) and Isabella (16) and attend the Airdrie Campus of CSC.
In their early days with CSC both Dalton and Dianne participated in mission trips to Tijuana, Mexico, but hadn’t returned to the mission field until last summer. Though the family had no prior plans to serve, God provided a way before they even knew about the trip. As a firefighter, Dalton isn’t always guaranteed first choice of vacation time amongst his coworkers. But God made a way, surprising the family with first choice even before they had heard about the trip.
Dalton recalls choosing a particular block of time thinking, “We’ll figure out later what we’re going to do with it.” It turned out that the time they had chosen was exactly when the trip to Vancouver was happening. “It’s one of those things, when God lines everything up. It’s almost like you can’t say ‘no.’”
On the trip, the Lodoens were impacted by the plight of the people living in poverty in Vancouver. There were some chances for deeper connection with the community too. All the fathers in the group were given the opportunity to preach, and after Dalton’s turn he had a long talk with one of the attendees.
“He came and found me and we talked and talked. He was a very interesting gentleman. He looked sort of like David Suzuki! We talked about who he was, what he believed in and where I was going with my faith.”
In addition to the effect of serving and ministering to the poor, the Lodoens were deeply moved by the sense of community they found with the other families on the trip.
“The big impact that it had on our family when we were all together was being a family on mission and serving God with other families,” Dianne says.
The family found a great deal of peace and comfort in the closeness to God and other believers. “Our kids made the comment, ‘This is what church should be like,’” Dalton says.
The impact was so significant that the family made a deeper commitment to God when Dalton and the children were all baptized while on the trip. During their day on Jericho Beach, Pastor Wayne asked if anyone was interested in being baptized.
“It was something I thought about for a bit,” says Dalton, “and I was the first one to say, ‘I’ll do it.’”
And one by one his children followed. There in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, the family took an important step in their walk with Christ. Despite Dianne nearly dropping Dalton, it was an experience of deeper commitment and communion with God.
The lasting sense of community isn’t the only thing that has stuck with the Lodoens. Their walk with Christ deepened, and their youngest son, Everett, has grown in his relationship with God, getting up at 6:30 am every day to have his devotions.
“I believe that mission trip truly changed the trajectory for all of us in our walk with God and it remains impactful in all of my kids lives, as well as mine and Dalton’s, as we continue to grow in our faith” Dianne shares.
With God’s hand guiding them to be a family on mission, the Lodoens were able to make the steps and decisions necessary toward becoming more fully devoted followers of their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.