My Wonderful Experience at GC15

Every four years the Free Methodist Church, my denomination since age two, has General Conference, where rules and policies are discussed and sometimes changed, our three bishops are elected and/or reelected. I’ve been privileged to attend only four in my life, but each one was a highlight for me. The first two I attended were in Winona Lake, Indiana in 1960 and 1974. The next one I went to was at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana in about 1996.

I seem to have unique, interesting experiences when I travel to General Conference, so here’s one. Later, I’ll write of another one!

I went with a friend, Wilma Kasten, to Anderson, Indiana. We shared a room in the university girl’s dorm. One morning we couldn’t get our door to open! We were inside our room, trying to get out so we could use the bathroom, down the hall, and then go to breakfast. The door would not open! We were trying, we were yelling for anyone going by to open the door from the other side, nothing worked! It would not open! Someone finally got ahold of maintenance and a man came with tools to open our door. It took a while before we were able to get out!!!  A few years later, someone wrote about this in the Anderson University newspaper. Most of the details were correct, except for one! The article claimed “two elderly ladies were locked inside their dorm room!” Believe me, I was not elderly! Yes, I was at the upper edge of middle age, but I was not elderly!

This year, 2015, General Conference was in Orlando, Florida at Caribe Royale Resort.  Orlando Caribe resort What a great place for General Conference! There were plenty of rooms for everyone to stay, there were plenty of meeting rooms, of several sizes, for large groups and smaller groups. The meals served, were great!IMG_1039 (1)  IMG_1040 (1)                                                   The swimming pool, for relaxation, was fabulous! Swimming pool Orlando  GC15 pool  Haleigh and friends swimming.

I went to Orlando early because I opted to go on a missions trip, General Conference was offering, during the same week but ending the day before General Conference ended! When I arrived on July 8, there were many folks already there. Some were going on mission trips and some were there for special meetings before General Conference began. So I got in on the last day and evening of General Conference, and what a privilege! I saw so many folks, both before and after the trip to Haiti, that I’m privileged to know but seldom get to see.

Okay, I’ll share my second funny story here. I was going on the trip to Haiti with my granddaughter, Haleigh. We had traveled to Florida separately and she arrived first. She had been on a teen missions trip to West Virginia and went directly to Florida from West Virginia. I flew from Michigan and my flight arrived late. When I finally got to Caribe Royale Resort after midnight, Haleigh was waiting for me! We went to the desk to get our key cards for our room. We were so excited! Our room was on the ninth floor! We opened our door and oh my! “Haleigh,” I exclaimed, “It’s a suite, not just a room! Oh, it’s so nice! This is the living room and, just look at the bathroom! So clean and nice!” Then we opened the bedroom door and switched the light on. What?!?? Oh, no! Someone was in bed, asleep!!!

The person in bed woke up and said, “Oh, Haleigh, you’ve arrived! I’ve been expecting you!” What? What about me? She didn’t know about me! Apparently she and Haleigh were assigned this suite. There were two queen size beds in the room. I insisted I sleep in the living room on the sofa. (I wonder who I was assigned to share a suite with?!)

The fact that impresses me the most, about the Free Methodist Church, is that we’re a global church! Being at General Conference was an exciting time with folks from all over the world! “The worldwide Free Methodist family includes more than 1 million members in 85 world areas. Only 7 percent of Free Methodists are in the United States!” Free-Methodist-Missionary-Summit1-e1438105689666This is a picture of missionaries that were present at General Conference. I see our three bishops in the picture too.

Mission:

To love God, love people and make disciples.

Vision:

To bring wholeness to the world through healthy biblical communities of holy people multiplying disciples, leaders, groups and churches.

This I have copied and pasted from the Free Methodist Church website. I love my church. (I don’t know how to make the print smaller, or I would!)

  • IMG_1039 Myself and Pakep from Myanmar, IMG_1041  The Myanmar representation and myself!
  • My new friend, Jamie Piper from McPherson, Kansas and the new Bishop from Haiti, Bishop Eliodor.IMG_1040
  • My good friend, Becca Doyle, missionary to Asia GC15 Becca & us slipped in beside Haleigh and me during a service!
  • A short but sweet visit with Bishop David and Yvonne Roller meant so much and was such an encouragement to me.
  • Other friends I connected with were former pastors, missionaries, bishops, and friends from all over the USA and even the world! What a great time of fellowship with fellow Christians and fellow Free Methodists!

The music at GC15 was outstanding! The worship team led by David Gaulton was so good! The muscians played guitar, drum, violin, and I forget if there were more! They were excellent! The last evening we were favored with a solo by a black man with a beautiful, beautiful voice! He sang a hymn and I would love to have a CD of it! If any readers can help me out here I would appreciate it!

General Conference 2015 was a huge success! Our three bishops, Matt Thomas, David Kendall, and David Roller were all reelected. It was such a privelege for me to be a part of this very special event.  The Holy Spirit blessed us with His Presence.

Christmas Day

Christmas – Christ Candle

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The white candle reminds us that Jesus is sinless, spotless Lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins! His birth was for His death; His death was for our birth!

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.

 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”  John 3:1-8

 

My Dad… Part II

Today Dad would have been 105 years old! He died four days before his 96th birthday! P16_253_338  In this picture, Dad was 93!

In about 1939 Dad and Mother decided to go to the Waterloo, Iowa Free Methodist Church to hear Dad’s old friends, JK French and Oscar Leper, sing. They were good singers, but Dad couldn’t imagine them singing in church! They always sang in bars! Dad and Mother were pleasantly surprised and even saw a different kind of countenance and lifestyle in their friends and decided to find out what had happened to them. JK and Oscar, along with their wives, told Dad and Mother how they had become born-again Christians and what a difference it made in their lives! After thinking and meditating for a few days, Dad prayed for forgiveness and accepted Christ into his life. Then a few days later, Mother prayed. What a life changing experience for each of them and for their marriage! What a difference in their family life! Breaking old habits were hard but with the help of the Lord and with determination it was accomplished.

Dad was a gifted speaker and was sometimes asked by Pastor Walls to fill in for him in the evening services when he had to be gone. He was given an Exhorter’s License in 1941.

When Pastor Walls was appointed to the Free Methodist Church in Des Moines he asked Dad to consider moving to Des Moines as his assistant. There was a small Free Methodist Church on the east side of the city that he was also responsible for. He asked Dad to take charge of that small church, Fairview Free Methodist Church. The folks at Fairview couldn’t afford to pay a pastor so he would need to work elsewhere at the same time.

Scan_Pic0004  The move to Des Moines was made. There isn’t room here to tell the story of their trip from Waterloo to Des Moines pulling a trailer with all their belongings. God was definitely in this move! Dad was now working two jobs, cooking in a large hotel downtown and pastoring a small church along with assisting Pastor Walls.

World War II was going on in Europe and December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. The USA was thrust into World War II. A young, Free Methodist Japanese couple escaped the exodus of the Japanese people on the west coast and came to live in our upstairs. See former post: World War II Memories-Displaced Japanese Americans.

At the beginning of 1942 Mother discovered she was pregnant again with their fourth baby. It was a difficult pregnancy, the baby was due in October. One day in August Dad came home from work finding Mother having convulsions. An ambulance was called. Mother wasn’t expected to live and the baby wouldn’t live either. Friends and relatives came to help out our young family. Grandma Aanas, Mother’s mother, came and stayed to help.  The church family was all praying for Mother and for our family. Mother’s body was full of uremic poisoning. She even lost her eyesight. She could see when a person entered the room but she couldn’t tell who it was until the person spoke.

Mother’s oldest brother, Obie and Ev, his wife, came to visit and offered to take me home to raise as one of their own, if Mother didn’t live! Dad thanked them and said he’d think and pray about it. The next day, he thanked them but said he couldn’t do it. Somehow he knew the Lord would help him make it through life with his children.

On August 25 the doctor’s told Dad the baby would be born that day but he shouldn’t expect the baby to live. They would do everything possible to save Mother.  God answered prayer. Mother lived through the delivery. The next morning as Dad walked through the hospital hall one of the doctors met him and said, with a smile, “Say, that little engine is still a puffin!” William Claude weighed 2 pounds, nine ounces! The hospital didn’t have an incubator so they put hot water bottles around the baby to keep him  warm! Mother and the baby both lived; Mother’s eyesight returned although she was left color blind. We called the baby, Billy.

More changes in Dad’s career came. He quit his job as a chef and became senior pastor of the Des Moines Free Methodist Church. A big change came in the church while Dad was the pastor. There had not been any musical instruments up to this time. In the 1946 General Conference, it was voted upon to have a piano or organ in the sanctuary!

He was very successful for not having a college degree and not having been ordained yet. But, somehow he felt he wasn’t doing what God had called him to do. He felt he should be an evangelist! That meant traveling and holding two-week evangelistic campaigns. Dad and Mother began to pray about this and decided God must be calling him to be an evangelist. A house was purchased and the family moved out of the parsonage.

Scan_Pic0107  Richard and Lorraine, in back. Dad, Anita, Mother holding Billy.

Requests came from all over the country for Dad to hold revivals. Many evangelists of that day required a promised certain amount of pay at the end of the revival…but not Dad. Whatever money came in, he accepted. Most of the time it wasn’t quite enough to cover expenses at home and his traveling expenses!

The coal bill for the house in Des Moines was a problem. A move to Covington, Oklahoma was suggested, where he had held a revival. The temperature was almost always warm, the people were always warm. There would be no coal bill!

So in 1946, the house in Des Moines was sold and a house in Covington was purchased. Dad moved the family to Covington, Oklahoma.

To be continued…

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                                                                                                  Candle of peace. Candle of Love.

God sent His Son to earth to save us because God loves us.

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

Third Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent is Joy. We light the pink candle of Joy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”   Luke 2:7-12

The angels sang a message of joy.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”    Luke 2:13-15

 

Second Sunday of Advent

Today is the second Sunday of Advent. The Candle of love, peace, preparation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Get ready. Help us to be ready to welcome you, O God!

 

 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.
 Every valley shall be filled in,
    every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
    the rough ways smooth.
 And all people will see God’s salvation.’”  Luke 3:4-6

 

First Sunday of Advent

Today begins Advent. Awaiting the birth of the Savour. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  This is the candle of Hope or expectation. We have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promise made to us. Our Hope comes from God.

And again, Esaias saith,  “There shall be a root of Jesse, and He that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in Him shall the Gentiles trust.”  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:12-13