Johnnie and Dinah Morris of Canton snuggle in a booth Dec. 9 at Panera Bread in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

CANTON — For Dinah and Johnnie Morris, having faith means freedom from lots of things that many people are concerned or anxious about.

Married for 20 years with four children, they spent several of those years apart while Johnnie served in the Army for 14 years, first as a military police officer and later as a medic. He has been out of the service for five years and works at a local urgent care center, providing behavioral service treatment and working as a medical assistant.

“I think that just trusting in God’s providence helped me to not worry,” Dinah said.

Johnnie was deployed at times in two combat zones during his service, and one of them was Guantanamo Bay detention camp and U.S. military prison in Cuba, where he was guarding enemy combatants.

Dinah said her faith aided her when Johnnie was away, helping her to trust that he “was doing what he was called to do, basically, and that he was going to come home and that, even if he didn’t, we’d be OK.

“Which is, you know, something you have to reconcile yourself to,” she said.


As for Johnnie, his faith allowed him to be “at peace” while he was away from his family. “I knew who my Lord and Savior was and that when it was my time to (die), I was going to (die) and I was OK with that.

“So, that allowed me to focus on the mission at hand and to focus on my family (by) communicating and doing things for them when I could,” he said. His faith also allowed him to prioritize what to do and how to spend his free time, which he would use to focus on his family and God.

“Because of my faith and (how) I chose to live that way, other soldiers would see that, and they would come to me for advice. So, I became kind of like the chaplain while we were out there,” he said.

The Morris family also relied on their prayers and faith in God when they decided to move to Maine from Alaska in 2017 as Johnnie finished his years in the Army. He wanted to pursue a degree in nursing and they had family members in Massachusetts, so they ended up deciding that Maine would be a good place to raise their family while he sought his degree at one of the nursing schools in central Maine.

But they didn’t know anyone in Maine and had no experience in buying a house because they had been living on Army bases and moving frequently during his 14 years of service. Since the couple also had four children by this time, Johnnie flew to Maine to find a house for the family on his own, which is part of their “faith story,” Dinah said.

When it came time to take out a loan for a house they ran into a few problems since the bank would only give them a loan based on their projected income and the couple didn’t have a projected income at the time since they were starting over and would be finding new jobs.

“Needless to say, they wouldn’t give us a home loan even though we had a lot of money in the bank and no debt,” Dinah said. And so, they took “a leap of faith” and bought a farmhouse built in 1900 in Canton “that was good enough for us to move into without being a total fixer-upper; one that we could at least live in and that we could pay cash for,” she said.

Dinah’s family thought the couple was crazy for spending their entire nest egg on a farmhouse in an area they didn’t know much about, but by their faith and their study of the situation they “just felt like that was the right thing to do,” and they’ve been happy in their home and in the community since moving to their “small town with a big heart.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.