3 Homes, 20 Years Each

Posted on May 28, 2021

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By David Ettinger

Today, May 28, 2021, marks my 20-year anniversary living in Orlando, Florida. It is the third state ­in 3 entirely different parts of the country where I have lived for at least 20 years.

Of course, one thing this means is that I am getting up there in age (I’m 63)! But for me, more than anything else, this occasion is an opportunity to thank God for His years of provision in my life, guiding and directing me according to His will.

My 3 Homes
My first home was New York City, where I lived for just over 21 years. Though raised Jewish and educated in a Yeshiva (Hebrew school), I left New York bitter, disgusted with religion, and a full-fledged atheist.

I arrived in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on January 12, 1979, and lived there 22½ years. It was there in the beautiful Southwest where I met my wife (though we later divorced), began my journalism career, earned 2 college degrees, became a father, and – most crucially – gave my life to Jesus Christ.

In September of 1989, renowned Bible teacher Marv Rosenthal offered me a job in Orlando, Florida – to join his spanking-new ministry Zion’s Hope as a writer/editor. However, my son Aaron was only 6 at the time and I shared joint-custody with my ex-wife. Marv invited me to write for his magazine Zion’s Fire, and promised he would keep the job open until I was able to move.

That happened 11½ years later, in 2001, just before Aaron’s 18th birthday. On Friday, May 25, Aaron and I set off on our 3-day drive. The moment I crossed the border from New Mexico into Texas, I began crying – an unexpected wave of emotion. Aaron patted me on the back, I regained my wits, and we continued with the first leg of the drive.

We arrived in Orlando on Memorial Day, 2001. Unlike my move to New Mexico, which I wholeheartedly embraced, the move to Florida was difficult because I still had great love for New Mexico.

But it did not take long for me to get acclimated. The transition from desert and mountains to oceans and vast greenery was startling, and I embraced the beauty of my new surroundings. I also enjoyed the transition from the “secular media” to full-time Christian ministry.

Furthermore, my son immediately adopted Florida as his new home and never looked back. He is now 37, married to his wonderful wife Kati, and together they have given me my precious grandson Zac, now 4.

So there it is: 3 home states, 20-plus-year residencies in each. God has been truly gracious as He has taken me on a journey I never could have conceived on my own!

Read my testimony: “My Journey From Judaism to Christ”