Meg and Bud Willadsen, who spent most of their lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, know that only God could have brought them to JAARS in Waxhaw, North Carolina. Only he could have provided them with such a unique chance to use their talents after retirement.
Bud worked at a variety of jobs in California, mostly in the window-covering industry, installing shutters, blinds and draperies. At one point, he started his own interior design business. This venture was a leap of faith, especially because he did this two months before marrying Meg.
Meg had graduated college with a youth ministry degree and an emphasis on music. Immediately after graduating, she obtained an internship with her church’s youth ministry. She later worked as a secretary and a youth counselor for this church until she and Bud married. Then she began scheduling Bud’s appointments for his new business.
“We learned very early,” Meg said, “that [no] job is secure. That [no job exempts you from] living on faith, [from] relying on God to supply what you need when you need it.” Even when Bud was employed under other people, he had to trust in the Lord.
Two years ago, when Bud was seeking to retire, the couple realized they no longer had strong ties to California. Their parents had passed away and they could move literally anywhere. Although they dreamed of tropical islands and exotic locations, they really wanted to move somewhere where they could serve the Lord using their gifts.
North Carolina came to mind since it’s the location of Samaritan’s Purse Ministries, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Anne Graham Lotz’s AnGel Ministries, and JAARS. They visited a few of these different places, but ruled out JAARS due to the traffic in Waxhaw.
Deciding that Samaritan’s Purse might be a better fit, they began looking for houses in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. However, they could not find a house. God had closed that door.
Meg and Bud prayed about where God wanted them and decided to look again at living in Waxhaw, relying on God to provide a place for them to live. They called one of their friends in the Waxhaw area and asked him to show them houses. They now live in one of the houses he showed them. God brought them to Waxhaw and JAARS! He knew it would be the perfect place for them, though they had originally ruled Waxhaw out.
They arrived in Waxhaw on May 13, 2020, shortly after the pandemic had spread full-force in the U.S. Meg knows that God brought them to this specific house in Waxhaw at that specific time. Had they been stuck in California, Bud would have been unable to work, and they might have lost their house there before it sold. Also, God knew that the house in Waxhaw would need to have extra rooms for the Willadsens’ son, Robert; their daughter, Katherine; and their granddaughter, Charlotte.
When JAARS opened back up for guests, Meg and Bud were able to find ways to plug in and volunteer. Meg serves part-time in the Housekeeping department, along with Katherine, and Bud volunteers in Facilities. Their son, Robert, even found a place to volunteer in the IT department and has become a JAARS Fellow. Their granddaughter, Charlotte, attends the MK Station.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt as at home as I do [at JAARS],” Meg said. God certainly provided this home for the Willadsens; he knew it was right for them. Most importantly, he provided a place where the Willadsens could continue serving him with their gifts.
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