Monday, September 27, 2010


     The phone rang at 7:30 AM. Granddad was not expected to live more than a few hours. My heart cried out to Jesus to take him by the hand. 
     Granddad was a wonderful person, so in love with life. He was born in Ireland and came to the US as a young man. He never lost his delightful Irish brogue. After retiring he and Granny moved to 17 wooded acres which bordered a river. Deer roamed freely and birds ate from his outstretched hands! The garden vegetables and flowers thrived under his tender loving care. Winter times one could find Granddad and Granny in the most remote corners of the world as they become 'world travelers'. Now Granddad was about to go on his very last journey.
     Alone in my kitchen I cried out loud, "Jesus, don't let Granddad die alone. Please, take him by the hand." How I longed to join the family gathering to be with him during his last few hours.       
     But...I wasn't a member of the family. My heart ached. You see, Granddad did not know Jesus personally. 
     For months now I had prayed for him and with him. Surely my prayers were not in vain. Surely he would not die without acknowledging Jesus as his personal Saviour.
     Granddad and I had a special kind of friendship between us. A smile formed as I recalled my first hospital visit to him several months earlier when he was in 'just for tests'.
     Granddad lay sleeping with his hands folded across his chest. Without making a sound I slipped into the room. Granny and I smiled. I knew she was happy to see me. Suddenly, without opening his eyes, Granddad said to his wife, "Mam, do you suppose Anita will come to visit me?" Granny and I looked at each other in surprise and I said softly, "Well, I thought I might come to visit you today." His eyes opened and then closed. As they opened the second time a big smile spread across his face. His hands reached out for mine as my heart reached out to God.
     The tests were completed. Granddad had cancer and could expect to live six months. Over the years I had asked God to give me the opportunity to talk to him about Jesus. But I knew there were opportunities that I had let slip by. So the next time I went to visit him I asked God to allow me to see Granddad alone and to have him be awake and alert. My prayer was answered. 
     We visited a few minutes and then I asked if I could pray with him. He took both my hands in his and held them tightly as I prayed a short prayer of thanksgiving for such a wonderful friend as Granddad and to please relieve his pain and to reveal God's love to him. I smiled shyly at Granddad. Neither of us spoke. He simply looked intently into my eyes and an even deeper bond of love formed between us.
     Weeks went by...then months. My concern and prayers grew stronger with each visit. I always prayed with Granddad and always there was that same intent look deep into my eyes. But Granddad was getting weaker and the pain was becoming more intense. Time was running out. I knew Granddad would have to pray his own prayer, but I didn't know how to tell him.
     I shared this with a minister friend. "What am I to do next?" I asked. "I feel so inadequate." He listened and then ever so kindly said, "Anita, you've got to be aggressive. Don't worry about what others will think. Just do what you know you must do. God will take care of the rest."
     Our talk was on Saturday. My next visit would be on Monday. I was determined to have a good talk with Granddad on spiritual matters and introduce Jesus as his personal Saviour.
     Now it was Monday morning and I had just gotten the phone call saying Granddad was not expected to live through the day.
     What is time? Even though I had known he was dying, my mind couldn't comprehend the finality of death. In my scheduling I needed more time. Why today? In fact, why did he have to die at all? Why, God? Why? In my humanism I began to question God.
     Then I felt God's presence surround me. Suddenly I felt compelled to go to Granddad! What was it the minister had said on Saturday? "... be aggressive." Never mind that I'm not in the family. Never mind that it's not visiting hours. Don't worry about his family being in the room. Just go to Granddad.
     I tiptoed into the room. Family members smiled at me. I put my hand over Granddad's. I told him who I was. I didn't know if he could hear me. Death was so near. Could he see? Could he hear? Was he aware of those in his room? This was my first close contact with death. My heart ached.
     I began to pray...aggressively, out loud. " Granddad to repent and believe that Jesus is his own personal Saviour. Please, take him by the hand." 
     I looked at him again. Reality began to strike me. I had failed. It was too late to introduce him to Jesus. Too late to offer him the most wonderful gift of all, the gift of eternal life. I had tried...but I had failed.
     It was time for me to leave. Yet I lingered holding his hand. How I longed for some sign that he had prayed his own prayer, some assurance that he had asked Jesus to be his own personal Saviour. There was nothing more I could do. I must leave now. I felt so empty. I looked at Granddad one last time...
      He was looking at me! Yes! That same intent look, deep into my eyes! The same look he gave me every time I prayed with him. Perhaps I had failed but Jesus never fails.

     Granddad died at 4:30 that afternoon. While death always leaves its sting, there is reason for rejoicing. No more sickness. No more pain. And he did not die alone. For I believe Granddad reached out and put his hand into the Hand of Jesus.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sincerely Wrong

       We were in Cairo, Egypt. Jerry and I were sitting in our bus waiting for the rest of our people to join us. There are so many interesting sights to see but as we sat there, one young man captured my attention.
       He had walked back of a small building where there was an outside faucet. He was nicely dressed and had a plastic bag with him. When I first noticed him he was brushing his teeth very vigorously at the faucet. He finished his teeth and took a small bar of soap out of his bag and began scrubbing his face and neck! He had a towel hanging on a bush! Next he shampooed his hair! After rinsing it he put in some kind of treatment and brushed it to perfection. Then he rolled up his sleeves and washed his arms as high as he could without getting his shirt wet. I thought he must be clean enough now for whatever his reason was...perhaps lunch with his girl! But no, he took off his shoes and socks and washed his feet! 
       He then took his towel, laid it on the grass, and stood on the towel in his bare feet.
       I watched in awe as this young man, oblivious to the hustle and bustle of traffic and people, faced toward Mecca, knelt, bowed his head to the ground, and began his prayers. (I will never again be embarrassed to bow my head in a restaurant and thank the Lord for my food!)
       This young man was so sincere. He even cleansed his body on the outside before worshiping and petitioning Allah. But, he was so sincerely wrong!
       There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
       Jesus answered, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back to the Beginning Part 4

Part 4  1940
       Glen and Corina loaded their car and a four wheeled trailer with their meager belongings and along with their three children got a morning start to a new life in Des Moines. What did the future hold for them?
       They had only been on the road for an hour when a strong south wind came up. It tugged at the trailer, whipping it if Glen drove much over 20 miles an hour! Each slight grade had to be negotiated in second gear. They soon knew they'd never make it to Des Moines in one day.
       The small town of Marshalltown was about half way and became their goal. By late afternoon a bank of black clouds came blowing in. Lightning began streaking across the sky, followed by peels of thunder.
       Gas was getting low but Glen knew of a gas station about eight miles before they would get to Marshalltown. If only they could make it...they did. But alas...the gas station was closed! 
       Glen measured the amount of gas by sticking a ruler into the tank. The end of which barely got wet. Oh no. He began to think they'd never make it to Marshalltown. It was a hopeless situation. But Corina...was not giving up so easily.
       "Hasn't God called you to preach?" she asked. "Aren't we doing everything we can to answer that call? I've been praying every mile, and I believe He will see us through."
       "I know you have," Glen replied. "So now, I'm going to explain our anxiety to the Lord in minute detail. He already knows it, but I'll tell him anyway."
       "Dear Lord," Glen began. "We're in trouble." Now in the 30's and 40's most folks, including Glen and Corina, prayed using King James vocabulary. But on this day, Glen approached the Throne of Grace with intense, mid-western English. "We must reach Marshalltown before dark on account of this open trailer that has no lights. Our load of furniture must be under cover before the rain. If we have one flat tire, we'll never make it. If we run out of gasoline, we'll never make it either. All we're asking is that our tires hold up, out fuel holds out, and we beat the darkness and the rain to Marshalltown. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen."
       They began slowly moving on their way. "God is answering our prayers," Corina whispered as they passed the city limits.
       "Yes," Glen answered. "We've barely beat the darkness and the rain. I see a garage where maybe we can get under cover." Glen turned into the drive and blew the horn. A mechanic opened the big door just as the first drops of rain began to fall. Moments later there was a torrent of rain!
       Inside the garage, the mechanic told them they had a tire going down! He could hear it!
       "Sir," he said, "If you'll move your car to the back of the shop, I'll change it for you. I'm the night man."
       "Thank you," Glen said gratefully, as he began driving the car to the back. The motor suddenly sputtered and died! They were out of gasoline!
       Glen and Corina were in awe... "Be still and know that I am God." Psalms 146:10a

       Does God answer prayer? Well, not always this dramatically. But, yes, God always answers prayer; not always the way we want, but God does answer prayer.

       So began life for the young family in Des Moines, Iowa, in the early years of the 1940's.
                                         To be continued...

Back to the Beginning Part 3 1940

Part 3  1940
       Glen had a gift for public speaking. The pastor, at that time, recognized this and often used Glen to fill in for him. He was granted an Exhorter's License by Pastor Walls. Then the pastor was moved, by the conference, to Des Moines to pastor the church there and also a small church on the east side of town called Fairview Free Methodist Church. He asked Glen to consider moving to Des Moines and taking over the small Fairview congregation. He would have to have a job besides the church, because they couldn't afford to pay a salary to the pastor.
       Glen and Corina prayed about it and Glen applied for a chef position at a hotel in Downtown Des Moines. He was hired! The family moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 1940.
                                     To be continued...

Back to the Beginning Part 2 1939

Part 2 1939   Anita and Lorraine both contributed in this chapter.        
        Life as Glen and Corina knew it, made a complete turn around. The two biggest issues had been drinking and smoking, but now, whatever they felt was pleasing to the Lord they were willing to do. 
       For three days Glen struggled with quitting smoking after their conversion. He prayed earnestly for God to help him...and He did. Wednesday evening he suddenly knew he was delivered of smoking. Glen felt he now was truly a child of God.
       Corina soon felt, because of the other women in the church, that plainness was pleasing to the Lord. She didn't have much, but the little jewelry she had, she threw away. She began to let her hair grow, braided it and wrapped it around her head.
       The little family enjoyed going to church and Sunday School and rapidly grew spiritually.
       Family members and friends soon saw a big difference in Glen and Corina and weren't sure what was happening, but they knew they didn't like it. Tension built up but Glen and Corina were determined to live for Jesus.
       Praying together became a special time of closeness for them. They learned to give their concerns to the Lord and their faith in God grew by leaps and bounds.
       A whole new concept was introduced to them: tithing. Oh...the Lord wanted 10% of their income? How could they give that much? They had so little now and the money they no longer spent on beer and cigarettes was helping them tremendously. Could they give 10%? Well, the Bible said so. So, they began, by faith, to tithe 10% of their meager income. True to The Word, the Lord honored them as they honored Him!       
                                        To be continued...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What More Could Any Little Girl Want?

       Through most of my elementary school days it seemed that Daddy was gone away more than he was home. During those years he traveled as an evangelist.
       As I look back, I remember the warm, secure feeling I experienced when he was home for a few days, after having been gone for two or three months---a feeling all warm and cozy as I went to bed at night. After all my Daddy was home! What more could any little girl want?
       Always, on the day of his arrival home, excitement ran high. And always, after things settled down to a fairly normal pitch, he would open his big, black suitcase and take out a present for each of us. He never forgot!
       It's a natural thing to want to share all the days events with the ones we love. I used to store up in my mind all the wonderful, exciting things Molly, my best friend, and I discovered as we played. But, somehow, I never seemed to have a chance to tell Daddy all the things that are so important to a little girl of seven. I still remember the day when it all came to a head.
       Daddy had come home again. My little brother, Billy, was sitting on his lap; my older brother, Richard, and sister, Lorraine, were competing for his attention. I waited for my turn as long and as patiently as I could, but suddenly I could wait no longer. I stomped my foot and shouted, "It's my turn to talk to Daddy!"
       Everyone stopped talking and looked straight at me in complete surprise. I'm still not sure whether I or the rest of the family was more startled. There was complete silence for a few seconds, then Mother came to the rescue.
       "OK," she said. "Everyone be quiet now and let Anita talk."
       But in that very moment, all those big, important, wonderful things I had stored up in my mind to share with Daddy, suddenly became small, and I found I had nothing to say at all. Everyone was waiting to hear what I had to tell, but all I could do was stand there. Two big tears began to trickle down my cheeks. Then Daddy's long arms reached out and folded around me. I began to sob. Tears flowed freely. Then, as he held me close, I stopped crying, and that warm, secure feeling spread through me again. After all, my Daddy was home! What more could any little girl want?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to the Beginning

Today I'm going way back to the beginning… 1932.

        Corina was visiting her Aunt Pauline and Uncle Tony in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Uncle Larry was also there with his Indian Chief Motorcycle! Well, he invited Corina to go for a ride, and she, being an adventuresome teenager of 17 years, accepted his offer!
       Both Uncle Tony and Uncle Larry worked in the kitchen of the President Hotel in Waterloo. As Larry and Corina were riding Larry decided to stop off at work for some unknown reason. A young man, Glen, was working there at the time.
       "Wow, Larry, where did you find such a beauty? What is she doing with you?" Glen demanded!
       Larry grinned and quickly introduced Corina as his niece.
       It didn't take Glen long to make his move! He and Corina spent some wonderful days together before she returned to La Crosse, Wisconsin to finish her last year of high school. They corresponded that year and got together occasionally. Corina graduated in June. She got a job as a hired girl for a very wealthy, prominate family. She learned many valuable lessons that came into use in the years to come.
       Glen and Corina were so in love. Glen proposed and to his delight and surprise, Corina accepted! On Thanksgiving Day, it was decided this would be the day. Glen began calling pastors in town, but being a holiday few were home. Finally he tried Rev. Mark __, pastor of the Free Methodist Church.
       Yes, he would marry them but they’d better hurry because he was going hunting! Larry, Corina’s uncle and Glen’s co-worker, and Larry’s, friend, Marjorie, stood up with them. So they were married in the parsonage of the Waterloo, Iowa Free Methodist Church on November 30, 1933.
       Life went on, but times were tough, they made a couple of moves, wherever work could be found. Two children were born, Richard Glen in 1934 and Lorraine Roseann in 1936. Then another move was made, back to Waterloo. Their third child, Anita Gail, was born in 1938.
       One day Glen was reading the newspaper, when he suddenly laughed out loud! “Corina,” he said, “Guess who’s singing in a church? My old buddies, JK __ and Oscar __! I can’t believe it! They’ve always sung in bars! In fact, they’d throw a hat down, I’d walk up and toss in a fifty cent piece, as bait! Other folks would then, also, toss in a few coins. Later we’d go to another establishment, they’d give me my half dollar back and we’d repeat the scene! What are they doing singing in a church?” Then he read that the Free Methodist Church was having a revival and his friends were providing special music!
       “Corina, let’s go tonight! I’ve got to find out what’s going on here. The minister who married us was pastor of the Free Methodist Church!”
       That evening they made their way to the church and discovered that Glen's friends had made a life changing decision to follow Jesus! They went to church every evening during that revival, became under conviction by the Holy Spirit, and soon prayed for forgiveness of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior! Glen first and then Corina.
                                            To be continued...