Remembering Billy Graham

Billy Graham breathed his last earthly breath on February 21, 2018. He was 99 years old. He was a man that I, and millions of others, looked up to. He never disappointed me. God was with him.

In 1956 I was hired, as a teenager of 16, to work at the Eskimo Inn, a restaurant in Winona Lake, Indiana. I had taken the train from Des Moines, Iowa, where my family lived at the time, to work for the summer. This is a town, near Warsaw, where there were many Christian conventions and retreats held. My own denomination, Free Methodist, had it’s headquarters in Winona Lake, Indiana.

I was living, along with all the other employee girls, up in the 3rd floor of the Winona Hotel. I remember how hot it was up there, every day and night!!!

So, on this day, I was on my way to my room. As I approached the hotel I saw Billy Graham come out the door! Yes, he was staying in the same hotel I was living in! I’m assuming he had the best room in the hotel, maybe even had air conditioning! It was a very hot summer! As I approached he spoke to me! He was so gracious and polite! Somehow I managed to ask if I could take his picture! He very kindly obliged!

Billy Graham (2)                         I love his shoes!

So many well known evangelists have fallen morally. I remember reading that Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows, and George Beverly Shay had an agreement, or more of a pact between them, that they would never meet with a woman, for any reason, alone. Someone would have to be in the room with them. There is just so much to admire about Billy Graham. God blessed him.

When our children were young a special meeting with Billy Graham and his team was scheduled to be in the Silver Dome! My brother, Bill, and his family were visiting us so we all piled in the station wagon and drove to Pontiac to attend the Billy Graham crusade! That was before seat belts! There were twelve of us in our ’66 Pontiac station wagon! It was an unforgettable trip and experience!

There is so much to write about Billy Graham I hardly know what to write! Do any of you, my readers, have an experience to share about Billy Graham? Please write about it in a comment! I would love to read your experiences!

 

 

A Drink of Water

 

I answered a knock on our door. A stranger stood there, a young woman, dressed as a person trying to find her way in life, looking tired, disheveled, and frustrated. “Hi,” I said with a question mark. She had dyed her hair a couple of different shades of red or pink or both. It was tied in  sort of a ponytail but it really wasn’t long enough! I don’t know how to describe her pants. They were black, tight, mainly with holes! Her black shirt was long and rather tight.

She began talking fast. “My phone is dead. I’m trying to find my boyfriend’s house. Can I charge my phone?”

Before I even answered I thought of the electrical outlet on our porch! “Sure you can, we have an outlet right over here.” I quickly moved the old antique buggy parked, covering the outlet. “Plug it in right here.”

She explained her boyfriend lived on this same road but she didn’t know where. She needed his house number. “What’s your house number?” She was very nervous. “Could I have a drink of water?” she blurted out.

“Sure,” I answered. “Do you want ice in it?” She nodded. I went in to get her a paper cup of ice water. But when I got to the kitchen I reached for a glass and filled it with ice cubes and water. A Drink of Water close up

She gladly accepted it. I suggested she sit on our swing. She seemed to relax a little bit. I didn’t see a car so I asked how she got here. “On my bike!” she replied.  Sure enough, there sat a bike in our driveway.

I asked if she’d like to call her boyfriend on my phone. She finally reached him and he gave her his house number. It was about a half mile east of our house. As she walked to her bike she thanked me for helping her out and then said, “My boyfriend is the father of the  unborn baby I’m carrying!”

I watched as she rode her bike down our long driveway to the road. I had so many questions. How far had she ridden her bike? How far along was her pregnancy? Did she ride out here from town, a distance of about five miles? Or did she also live in the country? How did she pick our house to ask for help? Did her boyfriend already know about the baby or was she meeting him to tell him?

Jerry and I had a lot to think about and talk about that evening. We had so many unanswered questions. We were so glad I was able to help her out in even just a small way.

Then we began to get some negative thoughts. What if we were being staked out for them to return during the night? No. This couldn’t be. She was too sweet! She just needed help. I don’t even know her name! I don’t know her boy friend’s name, even though he’s a neighbor of ours!

She is a person created by God. She was mysteriously brought to our door. She and her boyfriend and the tiny baby are being added to my prayer list. God knows their names! God loves them!

 

 

God Encounter

A few nights ago, sitting in my lazy-boy chair, in the loft, my phone made a sound telling me someone had texted me. I checked it, of course, but the message was one I almost deleted. It asked a question, ‘why did your phone number show up on my phone? Who are you and what do you want?’  My name is ___________ and I live in _______, Oklahoma.

The name caught my attention. When I was a little girl, I knew an even younger girl named ______________! My family lived in _________, Oklahoma.  She had a brother a year younger than I was. I wrote back telling her this. I asked if she had a brother named _________.

She wrote back, ‘Yes, she had a brother named _______! They lived in the same town as  my family!

So I wrote back, ‘Your dad was my pastor! How did you say you got my number?’

My number had simply appeared on her phone! We decided to keep in touch!

The next night she wrote again, asking for prayer for her brother! He had injured himself and was in severe pain! His wife is taking care of him, but they needed a touch from God.

How and why did this happen? Only God knows. I’m praying for my childhood friend, _______, that God will touch him and heal his injury. I’m praying for my new texting friend, ___________.

This was a God Encounter!

What Happened Here

What happened here? Why did we leave our house at 3:00 AM to drive an hour and a half for me to board a plane and fly to Atlanta, only to discover the flight was cancelled!

Tuesday Prayer:
“Waking or sleeping, O God, I thank you that I am in your care. Holy Lord, I rest in you today, putting all my trust and hope in you and depending on the work of your Spirit to sustain me and to make Jesus real in my life. Holy Trinity, be in and around, behind and before me this day, I pray, as I worship and serve you. Amen.”

A former college classmate, Howard Snider, writes a prayer for every day and posts them on facebook. This was today’s prayer! I read it after we returned home from Flint!

Let me tell you how this all went! Boy, does this prayer fit!

I hardly slept last night at all. I finally got up at 2:15 AM and took a shower. Jerry got up at 2:50 AM. We drank coffee and at 3:10 we left to drive to Flint so I could fly to Atlanta, Georgia. My plane was scheduled to leave at 5:37 AM.

I printed my ticket out yesterday late afternoon, so I didn’t need to check in. However, because my children insisted, I needed to ask if the ticket agent could schedule a wheelchair for me at both the Chicago and Atlanta airports. The agent looked at my ticket and said, “Sorry, Mam, but this flight has been canceled!” “What? How can that be?” I asked. “I wasn’t notified! Wouldn’t they let me know?” Well, apparently not.

He said, “If you drive to Lansing, I can get you on a plane leaving from there, but you’ll have to hurry!”

Jerry had dropped me off and he was headed back home! So I called him, thank goodness he had his cell phone with him! While I was explaining to him that he needed to turn around and come back so we could drive to Lansing, the agent asked where we lived. I answered Midland.

“Oh, I can book a plane for you from MBS.” So he then issued new tickets for me from MBS, which is where I wanted to fly out of to begin with! I only chose Flint because the difference in price was so much lower on American Airlines, rather than United, which flies out of MBS. He issued the tickets for me right then, for flights on United to both Chicago and Atlanta!

So we drove an hour and a half back home. We both laid down and slept! When I got on my computer I read the prayer Howard Snider had posted for this day! I sat there and read it a second time. It spoke right to me. I read it to Jerry when he got up. He was amazed, like I was, how it fit us so perfectly for this day!

So now, here I am in Atlanta, Georgia. I had good flights.  I did have wheelchairs waiting for me, both in Chicago and Atlanta. One of my feet has been swollen ever since I was in Haiti so I really did need the wheelchairs. I would have had quite a long walk in both airports!

How thankful I am for my daily walk with the Lord. He leads me and guides me. One of my favorite verses is Nehemiah 8:10. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

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Jessica, Armon, Elmise, and Haleigh look happy I arrived!

 

My Dad…Part IV

Summer of 1948. A moving van was hired to move our belongings from Covington, Oklahoma to East Peoria, Illinois. It was a sad day for the family. So many good friends were being left behind. But for Dad and Mother, it meant being together again as a family.

The last thing Dad said to the truck driver was, “You can deliver our furniture any day but NOT Sunday.” When the family arrived in East Peoria several days later, Dad was told, the furniture had arrived and was unloaded on Sunday! The parsonage was connected to the church! East Peoria FMC and parsonage.  The furniture and boxes were stacked in the annex, the room between the parsonage and the church. This is a picture of the church and parsonage back when we lived there. A new church has since been built. I don’t know who took the picture or who the people are in this picture. There was a very high hill directly behind this property! I loved hiking up the hill! I doubt Dad ever climbed it!

Dad’s mother, Rose Williamson, died on October 5, 1948.

That fall, another person, loved by our family, died. Those were the years of the terrible epidemic of Polio. Eddie Pennington, a young boy from the Des Moines Free Methodist Church died of polio. He was the only living child of a prominent family in the church. It was a blow and tremendous loss to the family, to the church and to our family.

Dad and Mother, both,  enrolled in a Dale Carnegie course. They both enjoyed it and did well.

Dad was the pastor at East Peoria for just one year, it was a congregation pledged with problems. The family moved back to Waterloo, Iowa and Dad went back into evangelism.

He was a very much-loved evangelist. His sermons were right on target. He included stories which held folks attention and served to illustrate the point he was making. I have a few cassette tapes of his sermons. Resurrection.  Fervent in Spirit. We Have An Advocate. Witness of the Spirit. Let Your Light Shine. Rejoice Evermore. More Blessed to Give. The Roast Pig Story was a favorite of everyone. He tells of a true experience during his ‘chef’s helper’ days. My Brother Roy, plus a few more.

Scan_Pic0106 The next few years were unforgettable for the family. First we lived with Grandma Aanas, Mother’s mother, for about six months. During that time, Dad’s nephew, Roy Gray, was remodeling, a never-used building meant to be a chicken house, on his acreage, into an apartment building. Dad was the first one to rent an apartment from Roy. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is a recent picture of the apartment building, still in use today! Dad bought a lot from Roy where he built a small house for our family while we lived in the apartment! That is, he built it in between holding revival meetings! He hired some friends to work on it. Richard, also worked until he became ill with meningitis. I remember Bro. Arms and Nate Olson working, and Bro. Rasche painting the living room.

While we lived in our little house, Richard went away to a high school in with Wessington Springs Jr. College in South Dakota. It was expensive, but Dad and Mother felt it was important. A few days after Richard left someone in our church gave the money for Lorraine to also attend the school. Life at our little home in Elk Run Heights, sub burg of Waterloo, Iowa was never the same! Mother got a job as head cook at the school Billy and I attended.

It was also during those years that Dad became the cook at camp meetings! He and Mother loved cooking and they were very good Dining Hall Worker's Manual (2)at it! They cooked at the Iowa Camp Meeting and Conference and at the Wisconsin Camp in Oregon, Wisconsin. Dad even wrote a book about cooking at camps. I have a copy of it and treasure it. Illustrations were drawn by Richard! This picture, on the cover, is of the crowd of hungry folks at the Iowa camp. I recognize many of the people!

We only lived in our little house in Elk Run Heights, Waterloo, Iowa for about three years. Then the conference asked Dad to once again pastor the church in Des Moines. Dad and Mother prayed about it and decided, yes, we should move back to Des Moines where he would be at home again with the family and pastor the church they loved and the people loved them.     Scan_Pic0105

In 1956, Dad was asked to join Lyle Northrup in Winona Lake, Indiana in the Office of General Evangelism. Bro. Northrup was General Secretary of Evangelism. Dad became his assistant.

Family life was changing.  Richard was in the army in Augusta, Georgia. Lorraine was married and living in Wessington Springs, South Dakota. Anita was now attending high school at Wessington Springs Jr. College. Bill was living at home.

Life as Assistant Secretary of Evangelism was very busy. Mother also worked in the office. Dad was doing a lot of speaking and writing, promoting evangelism across the church. A Free Methodist school in Shreveport, Louisiana came to the forefront. Dad was very busy promoting the school. He made many trips down to Shreveport and was 100% behind the school and it’s directors. He even made a movie, “It Took A Miracle” about the school to be shown in the Free Methodist Churches all over North America to raise funds to help the school. It was a very prestigious school in Shreveport with a good reputation.

Dad then became Secretary of Interracial Evangelism along with being Assistant Secretary of Evangelism. He was very busy but a happy busy man.

Family life was also booming! Grandchildren were coming along and increasing the family. Richard, Lorraine and Anita each had three children, at this point. There were more added later.

Dad was a proud grandpa! When he saw pictures of his grandbabies he saw a great way to show off his grandbabies and to raise money! Who could say no to a beautiful baby asking for money for a good cause?  Dad promotes TEL '60 (2)   Dad promoting TEL with Pammy 1960 (2) Dad promoting TEL 1960 with Pammy (3) Dad promoting TEL with Pam 1960 (2) Dad promoting using Teddy 1962 (2)

A new chapter of his life came when he was asked to be Conference superintendent of the Colorado Conference. A move was made to Canyon City, Colorado.

He was also writing books. The first was a biography of  Julia Shelhamer “Julia, Giantess in Generosity.” He Book Julia  dedicated the book to Mother. “To Corina, loyal companion, without whose gentle prodding and unselfish assistance, the story of her good friend, Julia, would never have been written.” This is copyrighted, 1969, published by Light & Life Press.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s A Wonder…

It’s a wonder my kids are still alive! I’m watching the news and the latest thing is that children need to be facing backwards in their car seats! Oh, dear…we didn’t even have car seats when my children were children! Neither did we have seat belts!

We went on several trips to the west coast, from Michigan. We loved our Pontiac station wagon. We piled the kids in the back with blankets and pillows and toys. They could play and when they got sleepy they laid down and took a nap!

Then one year we bought a Ford pick-up and a Gem camper! The kids rode in the camper and Jerry and I with our youngest child rode in the truck! They loved lying on the bed and looking out the window extending over the cab!  Oh yes, we had an intercom system so we could communicate. We have such great memories of our trips!

I placed my babies on their stomachs for sleeping! They slept better that way! I put sleepers on them over their pajamas to keep them warm, but I also put baby blankets in with them. They liked the soft edges! I didn’t know any better…

That’s not the only difference in life. We also spanked and taught our children respect!

Life has changed a great deal from our early years. Some of it is better but not all. Technology has made a tremendous difference in life. Some of it is good…but not all. We must do our best to keep up and to teach our grandchildren love and belief in God; love for family; respect for people and laws; safety; to distinguish between good and evil.

Life is a challenge worth living. I’m now in the latter part of life. I have many regrets, but I have many more joys and many happy memories. God has blessed me with my life, my marriage, my children, my grandchildren, my extended family, my friends. Most of all I’ve been blessed with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Life is worth living!

Five Years Ago

Five years ago today a horrific earthquake hit the already impoverished country of Haiti. Time has flown by…haiti It greatly affected us, up here in Michigan. Two friends of ours had gone to Haiti to work. They had only been there a few hours and were killed instantly when the guest house, they were staying in, crumbled. One of our missionaries was also killed.

There were two little children, Elmise and Armon, in an orphanage, in Port-au-Prince, waiting to be released, to be adopted by our son and daughter-in-law, Rob and Jessica. It takes about two years for an adoption to become final! It also takes thousands of dollars! Our two precious grandchildren were among the first ones to be flown out of the country, after the earthquake! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I took this picture the day they arrived at home in Michigan. We were so anxiously waiting for them! The picture shows Tyler, Jessica, Elmise, Haleigh, Armon and Rob. They went from a family of four to a family of six! P1020415 Elmise  A recent picture of Elmise! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  A recent picture of Armon!

But, please, don’t get the idea that life is like a bunch of roses! No…is your life perfect? Well, neither is theirs. There are problems that come up every now and then. But they are still a beautiful family. I love each one of them, altogether and individually!

Sometimes it feels like they’ve been in the family forever! But, no, it’s been five years! How time flies, especially when you’re having fun! God is the head of their home and family and He is blessing them.