Opening Day

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#418: “Opening Day”
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Jeremiah 29:11

11For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Ephesians 5:17
17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

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“The Hound of Heaven”
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“Opening Day” is episode #418 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Jim Ware, and originally aired on March 6, 1999.


The grand opening of the Timothy Center retreat facilities is full of unexpected surprises, especially when the Shepard family arrives and daughter Aubrey immediately runs away.


Ben and Ellen Shepard decide to take their daughters Aubrey and Bethany to the opening retreat at the Timothy Center. It will be about God's will, something that they seem to be struggling with now. Aubrey, age 12, complains to her friend Morgan about having to attend. They have car trouble on the way, and Ben shares his feelings of deja vu from when he hitchhiked around the country 25 years ago, and a guardian angel in the form of a stranger helped him out. Aubrey is impressed with this idea.

Disappointment awaits them at the Timothy Center, however, when they discover upon arrival that the retreat has been canceled. However, they are determined to go ahead with a retreat, since they'd already set the day aside. Connie and Bethany decide to go horseback riding, and Aubrey reluctantly tags along. Aubrey describes for Connie how different life is in Connellsville from Vermont. Her father works harder and doesn't sing to them or spend as much time with them as before. Connie asks her why she isn't happy, but Aubrey evades her question.

Aubrey stays behind to attend to the riding gear, but uses the opportunity to escape and begin hitchhiking to Odyssey. Whit stops to give her a ride. She complains of her need for space because her parents are crowding her and being intolerant in their new faith. She informs Whit she is striking out for California, Vermont, and Las Vegas. Concerned about her, Whit takes her to Whit's End for a soda. He reads her a poem about running from God that convicts her.

Meanwhile, at the Timothy Center, Ben describes to Tom Riley his busy life as an independent contractor, worship leader, Bible study host, and theology correspondence course student. Ellen home-schools and volunteers at the local soup kitchen. They express a desire to change and have more freedom for ministry, but worry because Aubrey is upset they're Christians. When Connie discovers Aubrey's absence, they search everywhere and then pause to pray. As soon as they do, she calls from Whit's End. As they discuss Aubrey's foolishness over dinner, Ben realizes that Tom was the guardian angel who gave him a lift, put him up for the night, and got him a job. It was Tom's generosity that planted the seed for him to later become a Christian. Tom invites them to live in a nearby cabin and become the carpenter and the cook at the Timothy Center.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Aubrey object to her parents becoming Christians?
  2. How did Aubrey realize that her parents weren't so bad after all?
  3. Have you ever wished that your parents were different?
  4. Ben said that Tom was like his "guardian angel." Why do you think he said that?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Aubrey Shepard Camilla Belle
Ben Shepard Jerry Houser
Bethany Shepard Sara Pilgreen
Connie Kendall Katie Leigh
Ellen Shepard Carolyn Hennesy
John Whittaker Paul Herlinger
Tom Riley Walker Edmiston

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Timothy Riley Tom Riley


  • The original name of this program was "The Hound of Heaven".
  • This show describes the new Timothy Center including the chapel, dormitories, cabins, and stable. It also introduces the Shepard family who would play a major part in later episodes. The character of Aubrey was the first of the Shepard family to be fleshed out. While in development, her character was called "Sunshine."
  • In this episode, Aubrey reveals that her middle name is "Andromeda" — though there is apparently no relation to the Andromeda Corporation introduced a couple of years later in the series.


Aubrey Shepard: Dad, don't you think this might be a cosmic sign, like bad karma or something saying "turn back, turn back old man!"?
Ben Shepard: Nice try.

Tom Riley: <phone rings> Oh, it's worse than when I'm in the bath!