Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

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Moose Jaw Memories

I was seven years old when I got my first train ride. It was back in 1949 and my mother and I boarded the train in early morning for the hour long ride into Moose Jaw. When we arrived in the city, the conductor held out his hand to help my mother and me down the steps from the passenger car. I looked across the many rows of tracks between us and the big railway station and wondered how we were supposed to walk across those tracks when there were other trains coming in the distance. My mother told me to just follow the other passengers; we walked along the concrete walk to a set of steps leading down to a tunnel under the tracks. When we came up the steps in the railway station, the first thing that caught my eye was a large sign giving departure and arrival times, topped by a clock and saying at the bottom “Welcome to Moose Jaw, population 27,000.”

I don’t remember the reason for our trip; it was probably to see a doctor or a dentist, though I am sure a visit to the dentist would have instilled a vivid memory. My father was partial to Doctor Fraser Muirhead, a true frontier dentist who did not believe in using any kind of pain relief and could be heard from the waiting room shouting at the unfortunate children who could not hold still for him to work on their teeth. There was a time when I was the child in his chair and he threatened to strap me in. It took me years to overcome my fear of dentists.

Moose Jaw had been a boom town in the early days, as evidenced by the impressive buildings that lined Main Street. The Canadian Pacific Railway was built in the 1870’s to connect the prairies and British Columbia to the rest of Canada. Moose Jaw became a hub for the construction and later for the maintenance of the CPR. Branch lines fanned out in all directions, including the Soo Line Railroad, owned by the CPR, that ran from Moose Jaw all the way to Chicago. A huge tent city appeared during construction, soon replaced by sturdy brick structures. Moose Jaw became the business centre for farm families from a large part of southwest Saskatchewan. There was a flour mill, meat packing plants, lumber yards, feed mills and everything else needed in the rural economy. There were also grocery and hardware wholesalers, supplying merchants in smaller communities.

Two hospitals were built in the early years, I was born in one of them in 1942, went back five years later to have my tonsils removed. The department stores were Eaton’s, Joyner’s and Army and Navy.

Joyner’s Department Store carried clothing and shoes for the whole family. Shopping there was an unforgettable experience for a youngster. There were no cash registers to be seen, just cables humming overhead in their endless run between pulleys, connecting each area of the store to a cashier on the mezzanine level. When you bought something, the clerk would write out the bill of sale, take your money, place both in a little metal box, then reach up and attach the box to one of those cables. The box would go zipping up to the cashier and soon come back with your change and the bill stamped paid.

The Army and Navy Discount Store sold most everything, clothing, hardware, housewares, paint, toys, fabrics, on three levels. There was a marvellous modern device in their shoe department that looked something like an old platform scale. You could try on a pair of shoes, step on the platform with the toes of your shoes under the working part of this machine, then look in the top and see how the bones of your toes fit inside the shoes. This was long before anyone was aware of the dangers of too much x-ray exposure.

Eaton’s was bigger yet, carried a wider range of merchandise, more up to date, including furniture and appliances. Of special interest to me was the watch maker in a little office on the landing between the main floor and the upper level. One time I went to him with a watch that had a badly scratched crystal. It only took a minute or two for him to find the right size, pop the old one out and the new one in. The best part was that he didn’t charge me anything!

A large part of the workforce hired to build the railroad were Chinese men. Many of them made Moose Jaw their home after the railroad was built. Circumstances were difficult for them for many years, they were not allowed to bring their wives over and new immigration from China was forbidden. Still, they carved out a place for themselves in the Moose Jaw business community. George Wong, owner of the Exchange Café and “Scotty” Kwan, owner of Kwan’s Music were pillars of the community in the era that I remember.

For many years there was a thriving Jewish community. Many may not have been much in the public eye, but I remember the two Cohen’s Drug Stores, in opposite corners of the city, Harvey Stein’s Globe News and Schwartz’s news stand, run by Hymie and Bennie Schwartz. Now the drug stores, the newspaper vendors and the synagogue are all gone.

We probably had dinner at the Exchange Café or one of the other Chinese restaurants downtown. When our appointments and shopping were all done, my mother and I walked into the offices of CHAB, the radio station listened to by most people for miles around. We were shown into a room with seating all around the four walls. Just about every seat was filled with people on the same mission as my mother. I think it was around four o’clock when a radio announcer stepped in with a microphone is his hand and made his way around the room. When my mother’s turn came, she spoke into the mike “This is Agnes Goodnough from the Bishopric area. Tell Walter that we will be home on the six o’clock train.” This was an invaluable public service in the days when long distance phone calls, especially from a pay phone, were horribly expensive.

I don’t remember the train ride home, I wouldn’t be surprised if I slept the whole way, tired from an early morning and hours spent walking the streets and through the stores of the city. Sixty-seven years have passed, Joyner’s. Army & Navy and Eaton’s have all closed. So have the wholesalers, the flour mill and the meat packing plants.  You can’t get there by train anymore. The population now stands at 35,000. For years now, the city has tried to re-invent itself as a tourist destination, capitalizing on its history.

My wife and I both have family in Moose Jaw, our parents are buried there. For us, it is the family connection and family history that keep drawing us to visit Moose Jaw.

 

It’s all my father’s fault

It seems that I’ve been trying to learn French all my life, always getting a little closer but never quite arriving. I can speak French, but with a wooden tongue (that’s a French expression for someone whose pronunciation is somewhat lacking). I fear that my ears may be made of the same material, for I often miss some little nuance of spoken French. And it’s all my father’s fault.

You see, my father grew up with a mother who spoke French – and he was embarrassed by it. I never knew my grandmother – my father was very close to his mother and didn’t go looking for a wife until his mother wasn’t there anymore. Grandma was Franco-American, descended from a man who grew up in the province of Lorraine and served in Napoleon’s army as a swordsman before emigrating to the USA with his family. The French language was preserved in the family for several generations, despite the American melting pot.

When my grandparents came to Canada in 1908, they settled on the south side of Old Wives Lake in southern Saskatchewan. They did their shopping in the general store in Courval, their closest town. The store was run by a French-Canadian family. Many of their neighbours had names like Tremblay, Marcil and Pelletier. Grandma was right at home among these people and my father found that embarrassing. He had been thoroughly indoctrinated in the belief that the world would be a better place if everyone spoke the same language, which of course would be English.

He even seemed to feel that it was not right for people to have complicated names that he couldn’t pronounce and I grew up being embarrassed by his stubborn mispronunciation of people’s names. I always felt that wasn’t very wise when one’s own family name was Goodnough, a name that people didn’t know how to pronounce when they saw it in print, nor how to spell if they heard it pronounced.

He did know a few French words, mostly the words for common foods. He liked to tell how the USA would never have existed if it hadn’t been for the help of General Lafayette and countless other French soldiers during the revolutionary war. But he had no interest in learning the language. His attitude was, if you want to talk to me you have to speak my language.

My mother, on the other hand, spoke only Plautdietsch until she started school. Sometime in her youth she acquired a large English dictionary and studied it assiduously. By the time I came along she was speaking English with no trace of an accent. She often told about how her father had learned English from working with English-speaking people in his younger years. There had also been French-speaking people in the part of Manitoba where he grew up and he had often expressed his regret at not learning that language. To which Mom would add: “And if he had, I would have too.”

Thus I had the moral support of my mother, if not my father, when I began making my first steps to try to learn French. I have worked at it off and on for many years. I have no problem reading French and not much in writing. But I still long to be able to speak it like a true native speaker.

To be fair to my father, his attitude was shaped by the era and the place where he grew up. He maintained a lifelong friendship with many of his French-Canadian neighbours. After he retired and moved to Moose Jaw, he would often encounter the owner of the Courval general store, also retired and living in Moose Jaw. He called him Mister Pippin. It wasn’t until I read his obituary that I realized that Mister Pippin had actually been Monsieur Pépin.

Authenticity and tradition

On Saturday we travelled to Moose Jaw to attend a workshop for writers. We’ve only lived there for short periods of time, the last one being 37 years ago, but it still feels like this is where our roots are. I wanted to visit my 91 year old cousin after the workshop, but there was a disease outbreak at the nursing home and we were not allowed in. We did get together with another cousin and his wife for a two hour visit over supper before leaving for home.

I was inspired by the things we heard at the workshop — those things then linked to other thoughts that had been floating around somewhere in the back of my mind — and I have decided to share some of those thoughts in a few short posts over the next few days.

The first speaker was the librarian from Briercrest College who told us that college aged students are looking for authenticity in Christian fiction. They connect with realistic characters who struggle to live out their Christian values in the face of true to life temptations and pressures. The plot needs to be compelling, a reflection of real life. This does not mean that evil should be glamourized or made overly explicit, but it needs to reflect what young people are facing in their own lives.

Non-Christian characters need to be believable, not caricatures. They also struggle with temptations and with longings to do what is right. Their problem is that too often they make the wrong choices.

Characters need to have a real past and an unknown future. This does not mean that the writers need to tell the past of their characters, but they need to develop in their own mind a clear picture of how the character came to be who she is and where she is. This will lead to making this character act in a way that is consistent throughout the book, rather than appearing to be someone with a multiple personality disorder.

Christian fiction should honour God and gently point people to God, but it should not be preachy. There should be some mystery and ambivalence left at the end, to allow the reader to think through the issues that have been raised. Think about that for a moment. Jesus explained some of His parables but in most of them He made one main point and left us with many questions. Consider the discussions that we get into about the prodigal son and his jealous brother. Jesus didn’t resolve that question for us.

Another point made by this speaker is that young people today are longing to feel part of something bigger than themselves. Tradition appeals to them. I wondered if there might be a conflict between this thought and the  musical portion of the workshop. Do young people today find what they long for in the seeker-friendly contemporary worship music that is featured in many churches?

Dreams and happiness

Let me ask you a question — if you achieve the thing you are dreaming of, will you be happy?

Tom Sukanen was one of the pioneers of this part of Saskatchewan. He came from Finland as a young man with immense strength and talent — and a dream of one day going back to Finland as a wealthy man with a family. In the early years he was a friend to all around them. He helped build their homes, showed them how to work their land, repaired their machinery. He built a steam-powered threshing machine and threshed his neighbour’s grain. He built a sewing machine and let the women of the community use it to sew clothes for their families. He made his own violin and played it to lighten the long winter evenings.

Through tragic circumstances he lost his family. That part of his dream was shattered, he withdrew from the people around him and focussed all his time and might on the other part of his dream. He built a small seagoing ship that he would float up the river to Hudson Bay and return to Finland to a hero’s welcome. He built every part of the ship himself, including the boiler to provide steam power, the propeller, gears and chains. He knew his business, he had charts of the river system, he knew the seas – it would have worked.

Unfortunately, the drought of the 1930’s intervened. Tom Sukanen almost starved to death, refusing government relief and all offers of help from his neighbours. Some neighbours thought he was crazy, vandals got away with parts of his work. He died a broken man in 1943 at the age of 65.

sukanenshipToday the ship has been restored and is located in a museum south of Moose Jaw. Tom Sukanen is buried beside it. The question remains for us to ponder — would he have been happy if he had managed to return to Finland and received accolades for his accomplishment?

Or did he experience true happiness when he was helping his neighbours, then turn his back on it to follow his dream?

We all need a dream, and we should follow our dream. But if it is a selfish dream, know that we will not find happiness at the end. Let us rather dream of helping others find happiness. Then genuine happiness will sneak up and surprise us.

Paradise

MJfountnThis is Crescent Park in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Not really paradise, just a pretty nice spot to find smack dab in the downtown of a city on the arid prairies.

The first home of mankind was in a true earthly paradise, the Garden of Eden. As a consequence of their sin, Adam and Eve were driven from the garden, and ever since there has been a gnawing desire in the heart of each of their descendants to find their way back to that garden.

The paradise envisioned by many cultures was an enclosed garden, with trees, flowers, birds and animals, in which one could find peace and rest from all the evils of this life. The Jewish rabbis of antiquity wrote of such a garden and pictured Abraham at the gate to welcome all his spiritual descendants.

This traditional understanding was the background for Jesus’ mention of Abraham’s bosom in the account of the rich man and Lazarus. Later on, the dying thief would have readily understood the meaning of Jesus’ promise “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise” to mean such a place.

But this is not heaven. Our minds want to skip over the period of time between death and the judgement. The Bible gives only sketchy glimpses of this, but clearly states that the dead will not rise again before Jesus’ return. At that time there will be a bodily resurrection followed by the judgement.

Yet it is clear that there is already a separation between the saved and the lost at the time of death. Paradise for the redeemed and a place of torment for the lost. If this is so, why is there a need for the Last Judgement? It seems from the judgement account in Matthew 25 that many of those who found themselves in the place of torment will harbour a conviction that a horrible mistake has been made, that they have been punished unjustly. And those who found themselves in Paradise will have had misgivings about whether they were worthy of such a place. It will be made plain for all to see that each one’s placement was just and their destiny will be sealed for eternity.

If Paradise is such a place of beauty and peace, what will heaven be like? “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). We just don’t know, but surely it will be a Paradise beyond our ability to fathom while we live in our earth-bound bodies. It will not be a place of sensuous pleasures, such as imagined by the Qu’ran, but neither will it be a place of sterile, utilitarian beauty. Will there be birds and animals there? We havbe no word either way, but surely there is no harm in imagining heaven in terms of the things we find beautiful and heart-warming today, since heaven will surely not be less than what we can imagine.

Here and there

Tomorrow is our  anniversary and I am taking my wife out to dinner in a restaurant that opened just one week ago.  The restaurant is in Moose Jaw, the city where our married life began 43 years ago.  One of my cousins and his wife will meet us for dinner, we plan to visit two other elderly cousins after dinner, then meet my wife’s sister at 5 o’clock at Tim Horton’s. That means a 2½ hour drive each way, but it will be a pleasant break from our normal routine.

Tim Horton’s is a Canadian institution, far and away the biggest fast food chain in the country.  There are no burgers on their menu, just paninis, wraps, bagels, muffins doughnuts, soup, and coffee of all kinds  I have a special fondness for their mocha latte.  Apparently 80% of the coffee served in Canada is served by Tim Horton’s.

I don’t make a practice of commenting on the news, but two incidents in the last couple of days have got me wondering.

In Toronto, a young man, 18 years old, got on a street car behaving bizarrely, pulled a knife and ordered everybody else off.  The police came, 20 of them, and one of them went on the streetcar and ordered the young man to surrender.  Apparently the police officer felt threatened, even though the young man was not near enough to harm him.   He shot the young man nine times and ordered another officer to tazer him.

In Montréal, a seventy-two year old man threatened meter readers with a gun, then locked himself in the house, leaving his wife locked outside.  The police came, as many as in Toronto, and the man fired one shot at them.   The police were aware there were other guns in the home.  They tried various means to communicate with the man and finally after 20 hours one policeman entered the house and fired one bullet.

The results: in Toronto a young man is dead, the family is hurt and angry, a police officer is suspended, an investigation will be held.  In Montréal an elderly man with dementia is safe and sound, the family is relieved and happy, the police are heroes.

The bullet fired in Montréal was a rubber bullet.  Hasn’t Toronto ever heard of rubber bullets?

Remeniscences

My cousin Julia was 18 years old when I was born.  I think she started teaching in a one room country school in the fall of that year, taught for two years, then married Ed Ludke.  Their first child, Doreen, was born a year later.  I knew nothing of Julia without Ed until he passed away nine years ago today.

Ed & Julia lived on a farm just a few miles from ours and we often got together.  As a young lad I was painfully shy of girls, with the exception of Doreen.  I guess we saw each other often enough in those years that I felt no need to run and hide from her.  Ed and Julia had four more children, three boys, Gordon, Leonard and Ron and another girl, Edith, the middle child of the family, born on my eighth birthday.

I suppose it was Julia’s teacher instincts that led her to encourage my early interest in reading.  Most of the little books for beginning readers that I had were gifts from her.

When I was nine, we moved a couple of hours away, but the contact with Ed and Julia continued. There were regular letters and we eagerly looked forward to the times that we could get together again.

Time went on, I grew up, got married and moved to Eastern Canada.  My parents had retired and moved into Moose Jaw.  My father died, leaving Mom a widow.  Ed and Julia also retired and moved into Moose Jaw.  As Mom grew older, Ed and Julia kept tabs on her and helped her in many ways.  They were often the ones who took Mom to the train station or airport for her annual trips to visit us, then picked her up and took her home on her return.

Mom had always had difficulty walking and the time came that she used an electric scooter outside of her home.  When Mom was almost 90, Julia phoned to say that she was concerned about Mom living alone.  Mom’s eyesight wasn’t very good anymore either, and Julia had seen her crossing the busy street at full throttle on her scooter, and sometimes cars had to stop quickly to let her pass.

My wife and I began to talk about returning to Saskatchewan.  We came back for Mom’s 90th birthday and Julia repeated her concerns and we could see for ourselves that the time had come that we would need to take a more active part in caring for my mother.   Ed and Julia weren’t able to be as much involved with Mom anymore, as Ed had been diagnosed with cancer.

Five months after Mom’s birthday we were back living in Saskatchewan.  We settled in Saskatoon and Mom lived with us for some time, then spent her last year in a nursing home.  She was almost 99 when she died six years ago.

We saw Ed and Julia occasionally on visits to Moose Jaw.  Several times Ed was declared free of cancer, but soon they would find another spot.  He had numerous surgeries and treatments and bore it all patiently.  We felt in him a readiness for it all to be over and to go and meet his Lord.

My wife has a sister in Moose Jaw, I have several cousins, the roads are good, it’s only a five hour round trip, but that trip doesn’t happen nearly as often as we think it should.  Are we really that busy? A year ago, at the funeral of Ron, Julia’s oldest brother, Julia and I hugged each other and she said, “It seems we only see each other at times like this.”

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Edith saying she was planning a small celebration for her mother’s 89th birthday and would we like to come?  Of course we would.  It was high time to give Julia a hug again, wish her a happy birthday and let her know I still remember and care for her.  Thus, on the 9th of this month we made it to Moose Jaw, just for the opportunity to gather around, drink coffee with a group of cousins, and help Julia celebrate another birthday.

Problematic behaviours in children and adolescents – Our family’s experience

I listened with bemused interest as my daughter described racing the Moose Jaw city bus to the end of the block.  There was a bus stop in front of the second house on our block and she would wait there on the sidewalk with her trike until the bus left the stop and then pump those pedals for all she was worth to try to beat it to the end of the block.  She was creating her own fun and I didn’t have much to offer as an alternative in this setting.

What did the future hold for this little girl?  What did it hold for our family?  My wife and I were Christians and wanted to provide a supportive setting for our daughter.  Racing the bus with her trike was fairly innocent, as long as she knew enough to stop at the end of the block, and at least for now she did.  But sometimes she would disappear into a house down the street to watch TV with the children there and listen to the conversations of the adults.  We didn’t want her going there, but she needed friends somewhere.

We had found a church where we felt at home, but it was three hours away.  And it was in a rural area where I could see no hope of finding work, considering my allergies.

After months of searching and prayer, the thought came to me to move to Ontario.  I knew where there was a congregation of the same church and surely there would be jobs available.  Was this a shot in the dark?  Or the first glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel?  It was the only hint of light we had, so at the beginning of June in 1978 we crammed as much of our stuff as possible into our 1974 Toyota Corolla and I headed east.

After three days, I arrived near my intended destination, found a motel room and asked myself “What on earth am I doing here?”  I didn’t know anyone, or anything about what lay before me.

The next day, I forced myself to go out and meet someone from the congregation.  That broke the ice.  In another day or two I had a job in an auto parts factory and in another week I had rented a house.  By the end of June we were settled down in Ontario.  We spent 15 years in that congregation, I worked in the same place all that time and our little girl blossomed out into a fine young Christian lady.

I believe that Mme. Ambert hit the nail on the head when she listed the underlying causes of aggressive and antisocial behaviour in children and adolescents, but the solution will not come from government initiatives.

We didn’t see everything so clearly 35 years ago, but looking back now, I can see that this one decision answered most of the points raised by Mme. Ambert.  The congregation became our home community, we worshipped together at least once a week, the parents of our daughter’s friends were our friends.  The congregation operates a school for their children; the parents, the school board and the teachers were all on the same page as to the best interests of our children.  Parents were all on the same page when it came to media and entertainment as well.  Our children did not need such things, neither did we as parents.

None of our church community lived within walking distance.  Our daughter had other friends; we knew their parents, too.  Any negative influence they might have had was counterbalanced by the predominant influence of her friends from the congregation.  She has grown up to be someone who can relate to anyone, but who knows where her heart finds home and rest.

Home-schooling was not an option 35 years ago, at least not an option that we were aware of.  It would be today.  It appears that parents have a natural head start in teaching and training their own children; our daughter learned to read at home, before she started school.

I believe that home schooling is quite workable when parents are part of a community that shares their convictions.  Parents do not need special training or extensive knowledge of every subject.  There is a wealth of resources available to home schooling parents today and a group of parents can help each other by sharing in areas of expertise.  Studies have shown that home-schooled children fare much better academically and socially than children educated in the public schools.

However, in the setting where we found ourselves 35 years ago, home-schooling would not have been enough to supply our daughter’s need for a caring community.  I have observed some tragic situations in which well-meaning parents have raised their children according to their own convictions while remaining in a church fellowship that did not share those convictions.  The results have not been as the parents wished.

Buckley’s Mixture versus Christian Evangelism

In the mid-nineties I saw posters in Montreal’s buses and subway trains showing a bottle of Buckley’s Mixture with these words beside it: You’d have to be really sick to take that!, followed by the question: Are you sick?  (I’m translating from French here; the English version of the ad campaign may have been worded slightly differently.)

In 1919, W. K. Buckley created a remarkably effective cough syrup in his Toronto pharmacy.  It was remarkably bad-tasting, too.  Buckley decided it wouldn’t do to attempt to hide that fact from potential customers, it would work better to make that part of the sales pitch.  Buckley’s Mixture is still the most popular cough syrup in Canada.  It is alcohol-free, sugar-free and still tastes bad.  In fact their web site proclaims: A History of Bad Taste.

Compare that blatant honesty with some of the insipid attempts at Christian evangelism that I have witnessed, or even taken part in.

Forty years ago, my wife and I were attending a small evangelical church in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  A decision was made that all churches in the city would cooperate in a mass marketing campaign to bring the gospel to every home in the city.  Posters and billboards went up proclaiming I FOUND IT!  Printed in smaller letters was the answer to the obvious question of what had been found: New Life in Jesus Christ.  A newspaper supplement containing sweet-sounding testimonials was delivered to every home.  Church members were grouped into teams to deliver a New Testament to the door of every home in the city and attempt to engage people in conversation about New Life in Jesus Christ.

The whole campaign was designed to be bland and sweet-tasting to get past the antipathy of certain parts of the public for all things Christian.  The slogans and campaign materials defined New Life in Jesus Christ as broadly as possible, for the same reason.

Hardly a ripple was seen in the sea of apathy.  Instead of excitement, a yawn.  One day, my wife and I were out for a walk and the bumper sticker on a car caught my eye: I STEPPED IN IT.  I laughed.  It seemed a fitting epitaph for the whole well-intentioned campaign, all it did was lay a big flat cow-pie.

Perhaps we need to take a page out of W. K. Buckley’s book, admit right up front that Christianity is difficult to swallow, then boldly explain why we need it.  That’s what Jesus and the apostles did.

Vacation Bible School Memories

Two weeks ago it was announced in our congregation that one more Vacation Bible School teacher was needed, for the oldest class.  That sounded like something I could do, so this 70-year-old grandpa spent the past week teaching Bible lessons to a group of twelve and thirteen-year-old girls (no boys in that age group came this year).
A week ago, when I realized that I would probably be teaching only girls I requested a classroom in an area where we would be clearly visible, without a door.  In that setting we were relaxed and comfortable and spent an enjoyable week together studying and discussing God’s Word.
We began each morning with all the classes standing in rows at the front of the church and singing the familiar children’s Bible School choruses.  Wednesday morning, one of the songs jogged my mind back to an earlier time.
We were living in Moose Jaw then and were not members of any church.  We heard that the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite congregation at Bredenbury, Saskatchewan was going to hold Vacation Bible School.  My wife spent the week there so our five-year-old daughter could attend.  Friday evening, when the program was held, the children walked in singing the same song that we were singing this Wednesday morning.  Now, as I looked over the rows of children in front of me, I could see three of my daughter’s children who were attending this year’s Vacation Bible School, and my heart was filled with thankfulness for the blessings of God on our family.
We had determined back then that we would base our lives on a love for God and for His Word.  The years have gone by; it doesn’t seem like many.  But our daughter now has a husband and four young children, and they are basing their lives on that same foundation.  Our son-in-law was the leader of the committee that organized this year’s Vacation Bible School.
I received a special boost one day this week when my youngest grand-daughter, attending Vacation Bible School for the first time, walked into my classroom just after lunch, gave her Grandpa a hug and then scampered away to play.
For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:35).

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