Thanks so much for writing and sharing the pilgrimage of your family. The issues of family as an institution of its own has many implications that I think society in general has ignored and forgotten. It is difficult for us to re-discover those applications fully in just one generation.
As for your theological question of the elect, the church historic has always agreed that God establishes His covenant people. We just have trouble figuring out how that works on an individual basis based on our modern hyper-individualistic presuppositions. Of course, no one questions God for not giving Adam and Eve a choice, nor do we question God seriously about the time and place of our own birth or death. It is sad that the church today would rather give credit to random chance and fate to our own time and place of birth than to the sovereign God of the universe.
The popular free will verses you mention should be understood in context. For example, 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Peter is not speaking of God's patience with the whole world, but specifically to His Church, the elect. Peter's letter is written to the Church, not to the general public. Accordingly, he could have written, "but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any [of us] should perish, but that all [of us] should come to repentance."
As for the myriad of "whosoever" verses, the armenian position assumes that the natural man is capable of making a decision one way or the other. At worse, he is just lacking in information. If he just had more information in order to make an intelligent and informed decision, then he would choose to accept the gospel or rightly suffer the consequences of his rejection.
However, the church historic has always affirmed the dibilitating effect of sin on all of mankind, agreeing with the scriptures that
1) every man is a sinner and deserving of the judgement thereof (For all have sinned have fall short of the Glory of God),
2) that every man is dead in his sin and in need of regeneration (Ephesians 2:1 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;),
3) that such spiritual death is not neutral but we are actually at war against God (Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.),
4) that man's problem is not a lack of knowledge but actual rebellion against God (Romans 1:18ff, "18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, ) and
5) Man must be born again, an act of regeneration by God, to be saved. (John 1:8 He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light. 9 [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Once man's will is subordinated to the work and will of God, then the "whosoever" verses take their proper place in assuring us that each and every one that God regenerates will be saved and not a one will be plucked from his hand!!
I would be glad for you to put the article on your web page with the proper acknowledgements, please.
Again, thanks for writing. I'm always glad to hear from our Aussie brothers and sisters!!
God's grace to you and your family,