Thursday, September 24, 2009

In Honour of Evelyn

Yesterday was a very special day ! One of those days that will be recorded in my memory, on that page dedicated to special people.

But my story didn't start yesterday.

Earlier this summer, I was at House of James buying books to take on vacation with me. As I gazed over the many books in their used books section, one title stood out to me, "In the Wake of Martyrs".

It turned out to be one of those rare books that moves you deeply and doesn't leave when you put the book down.
The author, missionary Albert Brant, recorded his life among the Ethiopians whom he and his wife Evelyn served for 35 years. Reading the fascinating story, I also saw Albert's heart. He was truly a humble man abandoned to God, - a man of prayer who spent hours on his knees. Through his eyes, I fell in love with the Ethiopian people.
It was when I finished the book that I realized it was published posthumously by Albert Brant's widow, Evelyn. She wrote a Postlude, that she ended by quoting Rev 7:9 "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands"

and then she penned the words that melted my heart...... "You will find my beloved husband among the Ethiopians."

Reluctant to just close the book and put it on my book shelf, I noticed that the book had been published in Langley, not far from where I live. I googled Evelyn's name and a site came up connecting her with a church I was familiar with. I wanted to thank her for the years she and her husband had dedicated to bringing the gospel to their beloved people. Contacting the church, I was given Evelyn's e-mail address. I was so excited to learn that she lived in Abbotsford about 1/2 hour away from me. I sent her an e-mail and received a very sweet reply.
Today, I met her for lunch and then we sat in her lovely apartment and talked all afternoon! What a joy it was to spend those hours with her. Evelyn is a beautiful woman, 89 years young, with the most interesting stories to tell.

She told me about her introduction to the computer many years ago. When they had mastered the difficult language enough to translate the scriptures, they needed to have the New Testament printed.
It was Evelyn who drew the characters for the computer software and also designed the keys to facilitate the over 200 characters that comprise the alphabet. Then she typed out the New Testament into the computer so it could be sent to the printers. I held one of those bibles in my hand yesterday. I opened it at random and asked her to read me a portion. She smiled and read John 3:16.

A trained nurse, Evelyn cared for the people's medical needs. Her first 'clinic' was outside under a sycamore tree. The people quickly learned to trust her and came from far and wide for her attention. Later a building was constructed that became their hospital. She learned to do eye surgery and delivered difficult births.

But always their focus was on the reason they were there .. to preach the good news of Jesus. The believers grew in number and maturity. At the time of Albert's death there were 50,000 believers who called him their father in the faith.

Albert and Evelyn had only one child, a son, Howie. The greatest pain of Evelyn's life is that she was so often separated from Howie. Even today, she is separated from him . He is still in Africa.. his three grown children also serving the Lord, one in Jordon, one in Germany and one in the United States.

When I first entered Evelyn's apartment yesterday afternoon , my attention was immediately drawn to a large framed picture hanging on her wall. I asked her about it, and she told me the story.
(here is a photo of the picture)

The little child in the foreground, wearing the hat, is three year old Howie. The Brants had been in Ethiopia about 6 months - the year 1946 - and one day Albert and Evelyn saw little Howie talking to a group of people around him. He was 'preaching' , telling them the story of Jonah in their language. Albert got his camera and slipped around from behind and snapped the priceless photo. "A little child shall lead them" (Is.11:6)

I asked Evelyn yesterday what , other than the fact that she missed Howie so much when they were separated, was the most difficult thing she had to deal with in Ethiopia. She thought for a long minute, and then answered that there really wasn't anything difficult. She loved the people and loved the privilege of living among them. Ethiopia was her home.

I admire Evelyn, and I am humbled by the self-less love with which she and Albert walked alongside the Ethiopian people. True love does not notice sacrifices and that is what marks Evelyn apart from the crowd. She is not aware of her life being a sacrifice, only a privilege.

I am so thankful that she was faithful to the call of God. She has served Him well and I know that her reward awaits her.

I am so pleased to call her my friend.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Honesty Pays

It all began with me stealing a Corning ware baking dish !

Well, OK, it didn't quite begin there. It began with me taking the dish 'on an accident' as my daughter used to say when she was little.

It was only after I realized I had taken it that I would have been guilty of stealing - if I had kept it !
People often think the Old Testament Law was harsh and without mercy but that is not true. God is always righteous in His judgement and He made provision for the fact that people could on occasion sin unknowingly.
The Law stated that if a man sinned unintentionally he was held responsible only after it came to his knowledge and then he had to make restitution. (Lev.4:27,28)

When our recent vacation in Tofino was ending and we were packing up , my daughter asked, "This is your dish,Mom, isn't it?" I glanced up and said yes!
It was only after we got home that I realized mine was in the cupboard and I now had two identical Corningware dishes !

I told my husband what had happened and told him I would call the resort the next day to pay for the dish.
He smiled and said, "Why don't we rather deliver it ?" I stared at him, incredulously .. "Are you serious?" It would be ever so much cheaper to pay for the dish!

He was serious and said we might as well stay one night since it was a 6 hour trip each way. I didn't think we could get accommodations on that short notice and when I checked the internet saw that the resort was indeed fully booked into October.
I browsed through their website for a few minutes looking at their different accommodation options and saw that they had a ground floor, ocean front studio for two. Perfect for one night, I thought.
I called the next morning on the chance that maybe the internet's information was not up to date, but the desk girl informed me that they were solidly booked. I was about to hang up when on impulse I asked if she would call me if they suddenly had a cancellation. She said yes she would be happy to.

I thought... if the Lord wants us to stay He can provide accommodations.

Not five minutes after I hung up, the phone rang.
It was the girl from the resort and she said they had just had a cancellation. I asked, "What suite?" thinking it would probably be the expensive three bedroom villa. But she told me it was the beach front studio for two that I had picked out the night before !
I could not believe my ears ! and of course I reserved it thinking that the Lord must have something special in mind.

He did !

Vic and I had the most amazing two days together, not the least of which was the perfect blue-sky weather and the fact that the ocean gave us the most spectacular water show we had ever seen! I could not resist posting a couple of my favorites to share with you !
Honesty DOES pay.... doing things God's way is NEVER a mistake !!! - even if you are not immediately rewarded as we were this time.
Here are a few randomly selected photos from the three cards-full that we shot while we were there. Having been to Tofino several times before , the weather conditions we experieced are rare.

Early morning shot of the emply bench overlooking the ocean.

A ballerina practicing her moves on the rocks since she and her brother were taken out of school to vacation with their parents at Tofino. (We also saw a bride and groom having their wedding pictures taken on the beach!)

The waves were high and wild, curling then unfurling as they crashed against the rocky shore sending sprays of white pearl droplets into the air! I could have sat and watched all day!

Sunset Point at Pacific Sands Beach Resort in Tofino.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Marriage Key

There is no doubt that the oldest institution in our society, marriage, is crumbling. My heart breaks over and over again as I hear of yet another divorce. I don't even need to know the family being torn apart, I know the decision of each couple giving up on their marriage will have a ripple effect that we cannot see the end of.

Many books are written to hopefully strengthen marriages, but 'Love and Respect' gives the God-key to a satisfying and fulfilling relationship between husband and wife. Dr. Emerson addresses the basic differences in how men and women `think' and the difference in their deepest need.
The back cover says..."A wife has one driving need- to feel loved. When that need is met, she is happy. A husband has one driving need - to feel respected. When that need is met he is happy."
If you `get that' you get the book.

I totally agree with the principle laid out ... and it is laid out VERY clearly ....but I found the book very repetitive - the same thing said over and over again, especially in the first part of the book. While I found that weakness irritating, the message is so good that I forgave the author and I do recommend the book for the truth that it proclaims!

`Getting' the message of this book WILL strengthen your marriage. I especially would recommend it to young people anticipating marriage - it will give them the key to build a godly marriage on a solid God-given foundation.

Fear Only Fear Itself

I admire Max Lucado's ability to use words in a way that turn a thought into mind arresting phrases and his latest book did not disappoint me.

"Fearless" is like the gentle lullaby of a mother soothing her troubled child. It is a book that you will want to keep beside your bed to re-read when Fear knocks on your door. Lucado's advice is "Just don't invite it in for dinner, and for heaven's sake don't offer it a bed for the night."

Lucado describes the pandemic of fear in our society.
"We sophisticate investment plans, create elaboratesecurity systems, and legislate stronger military, yet we depend on mood alteringdrugs more than any other generation in history. Moreover,ordinary children today are more fearful than psychiatric patients werein the 1950s."

All of us struggle with fear at some point in our life. `Fearless' addresses our fears, how they cripple us with their power to destroy. Fear brings with it a perceived loss of control, attacks our character, causes spiritual anmesia, makes safety our god. When we fear we cannot love deeply, we cannot give of ourselves nor dream.

Lucado raises the questions but repeatedly points to the answer.. Jesus.
The storm Jesus stilled wasn't just a little storm, it was a `siesmos' storm. The Greek word `siesmos' used in Matt. 8:24 indicates a HUGE kind of storm. It is interesting to note that Siesmos is the same Greek root chosen to form our word seismograph for measuring earthquakes. Though the storm was terrifying, three words from Jesus "Peace, be still" answered the disciples terror. Only JESUS is a safe place. He never leaves us, He never panics, He repeats over and over "Don't be afraid."

An acrostic gives an eight step solution to combat fear.... Pray first, Easy now, Act on it, Compile a worry list, Evaluate your worry categories, Focus on today, Unleash a worry army, Let God be enough .... follow this plan ...and you will be P E A C E F U L .

Are you worried about the economy? About your investments? About how you will hold onto your stuff?? Lucado shrinks our fears by making us look at the big picture..... "After all, it's just Monopoly money. It all goes back in the box when the game is over."

This book is an easy read but it is a book that puts fear into perspective for the one who is a child of God. Love and Trust dispel fear. We can face whatever comes our way if we just put our hand in His hand and look into His face.
(The included study guide makes the book a good choice for group discussion)

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Some words are used soo often and with such familiarity that we become somewhat cavalier regarding their meaning .
Have you thought of the word ‘sealed’ recently?

I looked it up in an online dictionary and was struck with the strength of the word.
The given definitions used word phrases such as -- Established or determined irrevocably, incapable of being retracted or revoked, closed or secured , to close tightly or surround with a barricade.
That gives ‘sealed’ a pretty solid ring of permanency and authority.

The word – sealed- is a biblical word and I love the law of first usage in scripture to give us the intended understanding of the word.

We have the word first used in the story of Cain.

Cain was a young man who would be a case in point against all the modern psychology that lays blame for a young man going wrong, at the feet of his parents and social environment.
Cain had no such excuses.
He had parents who learned parenting directly from God, there was no bad crowd to fall in with, no temptations of worldly interests or amusement places, no drugs to craze his mind.
He lived in as sterile a world as ever anyone has.
Yet as a grown man, he went wrong . Sin lurked in his heart waiting for expression and when his ‘unworthy’ offering to God was not accepted and his brother Abel’s was, he turned in rage toward his brother and killed him.

Sin must be punished. God sentenced Cain to be cursed from the earth to be a fugitive banned from the face of God.
It is interesting that Cain’s immediate response was fear of the very thing he himself was guilty of --- murder.
God responded to his fear that someone would find him with murderous intent by setting a mark (or seal) on him that would prevent anyone from killing him. We are not told what this mark said. Perhaps “under God’s protection” ? Whatever it was , it was powerful enough to ensure Cain’s life.

I was thinking of this the other day, and scriptures came to mind like 2 Co 1:22 “who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

If we belong to Jesus, we are SEALED. But what does this mean, practically speaking?

In Cain’s situation it meant that no enemy could take his life. There is another verse in Ez. 9:6 that also speaks of a seal protecting from judgement and death. In Rev. 7:3 again we are told that harm will not come to those who are sealed by God.

Holding true to the scriptural meaning given, having God’s seal means that we can walk among the enemy without fear. Satan cannot touch us, harm cannot overtake us -- we are safe ! This is no ordinary seal placed upon us … it is the seal of God. Need we fear it will not recognized or respected? I think not.

We can walk through our days without fear of what the enemy may do. He can only lurk on the sidelines trying to taunt or confuse us with his lies…but we , marked by the seal of God, have the freedom to simply ignore him.

Next time you are afraid … think on this … You are sealed by the God of the Universe!! You are safe!