Before I leave this area of my spiritual journey, I want to mention a few more instances that took place during my time in this Eastern State.
A couple of instances involved the kids. T was nine or so years old when we, as a family, made a visit to a sister’s house. This sister lived on a farm with dairy cows. T was outside playing with the daughter of this family. Somehow they got too close to the cows. We were inside visiting when the door is thrust open and in run the girls. T has her head covered with cow poop! We were shocked at first and then we just all burst out laughing. I don’t think T appreciated this response, but we couldn’t help it. My wife and this sister very patiently, among their giggles, took T to the bathroom and began to get her all cleaned up. We still laugh about this from time to time to this day. “Hey T, do you remember when the cow pooped on your head?” Then we all start laughing again. Humor is great, especially at other’s expense.
My son G had a lot of playmates with this family, as they had several boys. Between the visits to our house and their house and then all the get-togethers of the church, there were a lot of happy play times for T and G. It was good formative years for them in a clean healthy environment.
I used to go fishing once in awhile with the men of the church. I have never cared for fishing since my dad used to drag me out of bed at 5 in the morning to go fishing with him. But I would go with the men of the church from time to time. My boys have gone fishing quite a bit in their adult years. Unfortunately I have not gone with them that many times. I took them fishing when they were younger, but once they left home, I have never been fishing but maybe a few times. Now there has to be something wrong with me, as fishing is one sport that fathers and sons are suppose to do together. I beg their forgiveness for my lack of interest. I don’t mind the sitting part and the quiet part and the part of being with the boys. I just don’t care for the bug bites and the smell of worms and all that goes with it. It is fun to feel the fish on the end of the line, but that doesn’t happen that often for me. Maybe if we had gone trout fishing together or deep sea fishing? Maybe next Spring I’ll take the boys fishing.
I did take G with me when I went fishing on the Potomac River with a brother in the church. G would have been around 8 or so at the time. This brother had a nice fishing boat without a motor. I do not remember getting that many bites that day, but the sky changed from sunshine to gray rather quickly. The wind picked up and it started to rain. It must have been raining heavy somewhere above us for we felt the current of the river become stronger, and it was all we could do to keep the boat controlled. There was a dam below us and the wind and current seemed bent on taking us right down river to the dam.
I put G down in the boat between my legs and held him with my knees while this brother and I rowed with all our strength trying to cut across the current toward the bank. We were both praying like crazy and rowing as hard as we could. We came to the bend in the river where it joined with a big creek feeding the river, and then I thought we had lost control of the boat for sure. The strength of the two currents took hold of the boat and just about flipped us over. I prayed, “Father you need to help us get to shore safely. We can’t do this by ourselves. In Jesus Name I ask for your strength to get away from this current.” As soon as I finished this short prayer, we felt another current grab the boat and shoot us toward the bank. We paddled like crazy and as soon as we were close enough Brother B jumped out of the boat and pulled us to shore. We left the boat turned upside down in the weeds. We were all soaking wet and we just wanted to get in the car. The wind had really picked up by now, and it was all we could do to lean into the wind and remain standing. We finally get to the car and make the drive slowly home in the windy downpour. When we walk into the house the wives begin to inform us that what we had just experienced had been a tornado! God had sent His angels to rescue us! We all joined hands and gave God thanks for saving us from going over the damn and from drowning in the river. I was really scared that was going to happen with my son in the boat. Thank God it didn’t.
The men of the church had camped out one night on the river bank (different river) for an all-night fishing trip. I remember that this was fun for everyone with no unfortunate incidences taking place. Just stories and a camp fire and staying out all night. It was good for the men and the boys.
In the next part I will go into my travels as a missionary. There was one incident that I need to share before we get into that though, and it is about a prayer.
I was attending a ministerial prayer meeting. We were all around the altar praying. One minister came up to me and laid his hands on my head and prayed these words over me. “Father, show him what great things he must suffer for you.” This startled me, and I opened my eyes to ask him what this was supposed to mean, but he had already moved back through the crowd of preachers and was praying for someone else. I close my eyes and go back to praying. Soon, he is back laying his hands on my head again. He says, “Father, make him willing to suffer for you.” Again, he walks away before I can stop him. So, after the service I make my way to him and ask him; “What did you mean by those prayers?” He answered that he did not know what it meant, but that he saw a ‘dark cloud’ over my head and felt that he should pray for me. This was very puzzling to me, but it would become clearer as the years went by.
To be continued on a new page titled The Mission Years