I’d heard the whispered stories about Steve and Mary even before I met them. After settling nearby, their chronicle ricocheted around our small rural community with admiration and wonder.

You see, Steve and Mary used to be liberals. Serious liberals. New York liberals. Ardent Obama-supporting liberals. Pro-choice Hillary-voting liberals. Yet within the space of just a few years, their minds exploded beyond the narrow progressive lockstep. The result was not just a switch of political affiliation. They also uprooted their family and moved 3,000 miles away to settle in our neck of the woods, desperate for a place where their kids could grow up with like-minded neighbors.

Steve, an engineer, always had a distrust of the government system. “I had one toe in both baths,” he related. “After going through the Bush years, I voted for the Democratic presidential candidate, but I was cynical about both parties.”

Mary was more leftist. “I voted for Hillary in the 2008 New York primaries. I felt Obama was too young and inexperienced. After Bush was voted in twice, I really disliked Republicans. I couldn’t imagine myself having a serious conversation with any of them. How could they vote for Bush?”

Mary’s college years as an English major were steeped in feminist thought and literature. “It was all liberal ways of thinking,” she related. “We learned all about the inequities in the world, the voices that weren’t being heard. We talked and read about feminism, about Marxism. I became a vegetarian. Bill Clinton’s election happened when I was in grad school. It was an exciting time, lifting us out of the dark ages of the Reagan/Bush years.”

Neither Steve nor Mary was religious. Steve grew up in a strict Catholic home, but he fell away as he grew older. But Mary’s religious experience as a child was influenced by her mother’s bitterness toward church and faith. “She spoke very angrily about religion,” said Mary. “I’d been through a liberal education where the Bible was just a book; Jesus was just a man. I was skeptical about Christianity being pushed in politics. I was skeptical about religion in general.”

Oddly, it was the 2007 incident of poisoned pet food from China that started opening Mary’s eyes. “How could the FDA allow this pet food into the country?” she wondered. She started doing exhaustive research on the assumed protection the FDA was supposed to give American citizens – and what she learned began disenchanting her about government oversight.

But Mary was excited when Obama was elected. “After Obama’s election, we were so full of hope about what was happening,” she related. “My biggest issue was universal health care. My hopes had been dashed when Hillary tried to pass it, so I was fully supportive when Obama pushed the same issue.”

But as Obama’s presidency unfolded, Mary became disillusioned. “He claimed he wanted universal health care,” she recalled, “but as the whole thing unfolded, he kept coming up with excuses why universal care wouldn’t work. He used it to pit Democrats and Republicans against each other. When Obamacare passed, there was no single-payer option and it was mandated for everybody. Obama had made deals with hospitals, with the pharmaceutical industry and with the insurance companies, all the time making promises about the single-payer option and universal health care. He was flat-out lying. Obamacare was an absolute farce for everyone, including poor people. It was a huge blow. Devastating. He was not the man he represented himself to be.”

For Mary, the scales began falling from her eyes as she realized Democrats and Republicans were just the same. It was all a big game. There was no difference between the parties. As with the FDA’s lack of vigilance with the tainted dog food, she realized health care should not be left in the hands of government.

As Obama’s regime started contributing to global instability, particularly in the Middle East, Steve and Mary started thinking about moving to a less-populated area. They became more interested in preparedness. In 2010, when Steve started talking about buying a firearm, Mary didn’t freak.

Then their son was born with health issues pertaining to serious food allergies, and this couple realized three things: The media weren’t honest, the government wasn’t honest, and the medical system was corrupt. “We woke up to corruption and how intertwined it all was,” remembered Mary. “The media were supposed to be keeping the government honest, but they weren’t. All three industries are intertwined and equally corrupt.”

Faced with her baby son’s health issues, Mary started doing her own research rather than depending on what doctors told her. She abandoned vegetarianism since it was impacting not only her own health, but her breastfeeding son’s health as well. “I assumed food at the grocery store was safe because the FDA tested it,” she said. “I had total trust in government agencies keeping us safe. The pet-food scare started opening my eyes, and our baby’s food allergies opened them further.”

During this time both Mary and Steve felt something was missing from their lives and independently came to realize it was God. They felt called to homeschool their children, to take charge of their own health care, to leave the crowded, liberal East and move elsewhere. Providentially, Steve was laid off from three engineering jobs in a row in Syracuse, but landed a job he spontaneously applied for in northeast Washington. “God was opening doors,” he recalled.

This couple decided to vote with their feet. “We were oppressed by the homeschooling laws, oppressed by the gun laws, oppressed by our circle of friends who couldn’t understand why we had changed,” said Steve. “We realized we were now ‘subversive’ in our own home state. We could either stay where we were and be outcasts, or we could move to a place where our choices to be independent were supported.”

“We couldn’t be ourselves anymore,” added Mary. “In our daughter’s dance class, mothers told each other how wonderful Common Core was. Our whole world had changed, and we realized we were now different than everyone around us.”

“All the cards fell in place,” related Steve. “Our cars conked out, but a friend donated a working vehicle to us. I was offered a job with paid moving expenses. We sold our house within one day of putting it on the market. We found a place to live. It was a total and complete leap of faith.”

Which is how these folks became our neighbors a couple years ago, and started their journey toward self-sufficiency.

“God was giving us signs,” admitted Mary. “How many times did He nudge us to where we are now? We didn’t see the whole picture until we settled here, and it was then we realized the whole thing was Divine intervention.”

Added Steve: “People have preconceived notions about why we’re doing this, but all we’re really doing is developing a self-sustaining lifestyle that will be here for our kids after we’re gone. We were floating aimlessly through life with no particular goal, but now that we have kids, we don’t want them to follow in our aimless footsteps. We want them to be independent, to think for themselves, to be able to protect themselves, to be spiritually sound.”

“We’re not here in this life to have a good time,” said Mary. “In the Bible, people always worked hard. We wanted to be close to the land, to raise our own food, to be healthy. That’s where we are in this journey.”

“And listen to what God is trying to tell you!” added Steve with a grin.

Thankfully, Steve and Mary’s journey is not an isolated example. God is leading more and more people out of their progressive bondage to a land of greater promise, and we welcome them all as neighbors since God has also blessed us with their friendship.

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