PART TWO – Pentecost to Israel (cont.)
Shortly after Bob received the Spirit, he received a Word from the Lord. He prophesied that in three days, Satan would come to try him and me. Within three days, Bob was walking down Main Street in Dauphin when a car pulled over. The driver was looking for a homosexual relationship. Bob refused and the driver went his way.
Within those three days, I received a call from the Anglican priest of Dauphin, Don Varcoe, who requested we meet in his office. He was involved in the Charismatic movement, claiming to have received the Spirit of God. He met regularly with the ministers of various churches in the town and promoted the “gifts of the Spirit.” He also held Charismatic meetings in his home, aided by his wife, who did much of the speaking. A sparse few met. Marilyn and I attended once to see if there was anything there and found it quite lifeless.
Meeting with him, Don was dressed in his priestly black suit and clerical collar. He told me he had spoken to Ann Doucette, I had greatly disturbed her, and he was speaking to me for her sake. (I don’t recall if anything specific was mentioned, other than, perhaps, that I spoke to people about the faults of the church systems.)
I was somewhat taken aback by the report, not aware at the time that Ann had a problem with me or anything I said, but I stood my ground on anything I had spoken or taught, not accepting his “wise counsel.”
He immediately rose up in indignation, shouting, “Well, if you are going to destroy somebody’s life, you better be around to pick up the pieces! And that’s straight from the Lord!”
Well, that was entirely unexpected! However, with composure, I quietly replied, “No, it isn’t.”
He hollered, “Yes, it is!!”
Again, I replied, “No, it isn’t.”
“Oh, yes it is!” he loudly insisted.
I don’t recall what was said after that, except that I said I was certainly willing to help Ann if she wanted it from me.
I left, knowing we weren’t getting anywhere. I think he offered me his hand as a gesture of Christian piety or goodwill, and I shook it to prove that I had no ill will, but today I wouldn’t accept Satan’s hand to show anything. I now think to know better.
It wasn’t until later that I realized Bob’s Word from the Lord was now fulfilled for both of us.
Who says there is no God?
There was quite a difference between the way my parents raised and disciplined me, their firstborn, and Bob, the youngest. When he turned 16, Dad gave him his car. Just before we came to Dauphin, Bob rolled it on a gravel road, totaling it. He wasn’t hurt, only shaken.
When I was 17, my father wouldn’t permit me to buy a $70 record player, with my own money, so that I could listen to records and practice on my guitar (at least I had that). I wasn’t allowed to have a driver’s license until I was 19.
By the way, in our heated argument about the record player, I was so angry with Dad I was ready to hit him. Thankfully, Mom parted us just in time. I am so thankful to this day that I didn’t fall to that temptation. I don’t know that I could have ever lived it down. It would have grieved me to no end, unless the Lord gave me undeserved mercy.
Why do I mention this? I consider that perhaps my father was affected by our strife over the record player and years later wasn’t prepared to have that same conflict with Bob.
However, Bob nearly killed himself, because of having been given the car, so was my father wrong to have restricted me, or right to let Bob have his freedom?
I also consider that because of my rebellious attitude, I might have been indirectly responsible for Bob’s accident, having caused my father to swing to the other end of the pendulum in his judgments by granting Bob the car at his age, to his potential peril.
Who knows what’s good or bad until the process is finished?
Our temporary home was sold, and we could find only one other place available, the Thorndale Apartments on 2nd Avenue and 1st Street NW, about the oldest place in Dauphin. The place was ready to be razed. It was a large old house converted to four rental suites, ours being on the second floor.
Noisy? I didn’t sleep well for the sixteen months or so we were there. Our home was on the corner of a traffic-lighted intersection on the main thoroughfare through the city for all vehicles, including ambulances, police cars, fire trucks, and large freight trucks. The train was a block away, and the fire hall not much farther.
Added to our troubles, the boiler room of the building was in the control of Milt and his wife, a couple in their ‘80’s. They liked it very warm and we, being above them, got it even warmer, with no thermostat to control the heat. When they were away, they turned down their heat, which made it cold for us. As well, the radiators were noisy, especially at night.
Irv Tycholis was the owner and landlord. We tried to talk to him and he tried to help, without offending his long-term faithful tenants.
Did we have it rough? Relatively speaking, yes and no. We had a home. Were we thankful? I don’t recall that we were, at least not as we should have been.
During those days, in about February or March of 1977, I accepted a minimum wage job as a caregiver and ceramics instructor at ARC (Adult Rehabilitation Center) Industries, a workshop for mentally and physically handicapped adults.
I didn’t know the first thing about ceramics or mentally handicapped people.
I was in for some trying, tiring times. Besides our home lacking a restful environment, ARC Industries would prove to be challenging. The work, though very interesting, was demanding – physically, mentally, and spiritually. I hadn’t had a constantly-interruptive, attention-demanding, active mundane full-time occupation for years – not since The Bay in 1970. Dealing with handicapped people full time was taxing, and learning the ceramics trade from scratch, without training or direct instruction, was a bit of a learning curve, all at once.
The physical work environment had its drawbacks, too. The building had no windows in the work area, only fluorescent lighting. Though I wasn’t aware of it then, I now know that fluorescents are a health hazard; they emit mercury, EMF radiation, and are a significant energy drain as an artificial partial-spectrum light source.
Should this be an example of an acceptable work environment? How do we care for disadvantaged people, who can’t care for themselves, when we don’t pay attention to the details of life? How about a few windows, attention to diet, and clean drinking water? The clients seldom received exercise, fresh air, and sunshine, except when delivering flyers perhaps once every two weeks for an afternoon.
Nobody seemed to know any better, me included, and today most people have residential and occupational environments that are just as bad or much worse. This world is full of manmade systems and hazards everywhere. The more sophisticated we get, the more destructive. As the saying goes, “For every problem man appears to solve, he creates ten others.”
On the other hand, it must be acknowledged there was some care for these people. They were occupied, given some attention, and provided the necessities of life. Moreover, it was where the Lord had me for His purposes. It was fine with Him to have me there, and if fine for me, why would it not be so for everyone else? God reigns over all.
In seeking physical peace and quiet, we bought a tent and decided to go camping on weekends. On the first weekend of such effort, arriving at Manipogo Beach, north of Dauphin, we pitched the tent, and it rained continually. On another weekend, as we settled in, there was a drinking party nearby and no authorities to deal with the disturbance. The loud talk didn’t end till about 3 or 4 a.m. Amazing how inconsiderate people can be!
That was the last time we went tenting on weekends, and we sold our tent. Yet I see now that the Lord was working out His purposes. “There is no peace, says the Lord, unto the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21). God was dealing with me – and perhaps Marilyn, too.
Our furniture was “modest.” (I’m being modest with the word modest!) Dad had met someone on the way to the dump with an old daybed that had seen more than its days. Not sure who initiated the idea, but he dropped it off at our place! Some of the springs were broken and the stuffing had shifted. Because the legs were missing, we used 48 oz. tomato juice cans for legs.
The Dauphin General Hospital was tossing out well-used, well-stained, though presumably sanitized, mattresses that had that “hospital smell.” Dad, who was Head Housekeeper, salvaged these, which we used on the floor.
My boss, Dal Fulford, and his wife, Mae, lent us a small wooden table and four chairs. With a fridge and stove already in our suite, this was the totality of our furnishings.
My relatives were ashamed or reluctant to visit us. Ron and Barb, for example, would drive by several times a week. We had lived there for close to a year and a half, and while they would wave and smile as they drove by, not once did they stop in. Of course, the primary cause of our division was a spiritual one.
Uncle Fred and Aunt Josie Hafichuk came once to give me some shirts, semi-casual slacks, and suit pants Uncle Fred could no longer wear, because he had lost weight and they were out of fashion. While I didn’t care about fashion, I was smaller than he was after he lost his weight, so we gave the care package to charity.
Aunt Josie gave Marilyn a gold necklace. When she put it on, she discovered why Josie gave it to her; the clasp scratched her neck.
People had thoughts of help, it seemed, but didn’t know what to do with them. It was strange, in a way; while they saw our poverty and were prepared to give us their discards, they weren’t willing to give us anything they could use themselves, or that cost them to give us.
Mark Archer soon went his way, and Ann Doucette did even worse. As mentioned, Ann spoke to Don Varcoe, and he surely influenced her against us. She inexplicably turned against us and began finding all manner of fault. Being adopted by Ron and Barb and living with them, there was undoubtedly a negative influence from them toward us.
Ann also knew Elsbeth, a young girl about her age, whose parents were Anglican, and whose priest Don Varcoe was. Elsbeth was also quite opposed to us.
The story of our lives was continuing on course – people would come, they would go, often contemning us, and we would be alone, again and again.
Terry and Pam Szmon lived near Ethelbert, 36 miles north of Dauphin. Terry is my uncle, though two years younger than I. Bob and I were in their area for Bob’s Ukrainian dancing, so we decided to pay them a visit. Terry was away, but Pam was home. As we visited, she informed us that their newborn baby was having health problems. I said, “The Lord heals. We can pray for the baby, and God can heal.”
I was in for a shock. Instantly, Pam was up on her feet, beside herself. She broke out in loud shouting protest, something about them praying for the baby themselves, and then promptly kicked us out of her home.
What happened? All I did was suggest we pray for her infant – no pushing, no preaching, no nothing. What could possibly be wrong with that?
I assumed there had been bad talk and false notions about us. People were afraid, though they tried to conceal it in general dealings with us. This was the third time I was expelled from a home for identification with the Lord.
Bob was an ethnic Ukrainian dancer, and rather good at it. One evening he and his company were performing, so he invited us. There, in him, I saw a spirit of pride.
Days later, I met him on the street. If anything, I could have said, “Bob, we have nothing to be proud of in ourselves. Our greatest abilities and achievements are nothing to God. It’s not about us; those are things of the flesh. It’s all about Him – He alone is righteous. He hates and resists pride, but gives grace to the humble.”
Instead, I was harsh with him and spoke in a more personal, angry, and (dare I say it?) destructive way. I said something like, “What do you have to be proud of? Who do you think you are? You (meaning all of us, but speaking of him here) are dirt. God doesn’t need you. It’s a high privilege that He chooses you, not because you have something going for you. You have nothing; you are nothing. Why think of yourself and show off as though you are something special?”
I was brutal. Bob said nothing, but I, the eternal obtuse one, realized at some point that he was offended, though he never spoke of it. I have ever regretted that day of insensitivity and brutish expression towards him. As true as my words were, there was no understanding, wisdom, patience, gentleness, mercy, or compassion – no love. I was bereft of all goodness.
My God, I shudder at things I’ve done and how I’ve devastated people! My only solace is the knowledge that He purposes and rules over all things; furthermore, He restores, even resurrects from the dead. Shamefully, I have created a lot of work for Him.
One day around this time, the Catholic Charismatics asked me to prepare a talk. The next meeting was held at Yars Lazowchuk’s home, and I gave a study on the Word of God. I wanted to establish with them the fact that one could and must rely on the Bible as a prime authoritative source of truth to determine the validity of so many, if not all, things. It was a long study, with many references to read. I must confess I overdid it.
My teaching didn’t sit well with Mrs. Tokar, who was visibly disagreeable. She was Catholic through and through, and wasn’t at all open to the Scriptures, but she would sing, praise, and speak in tongues. At one point, she tossed her Bible aside in contempt.
However, they all heard plenty that night, believing it or not. They being Catholic Charismatics, I doubt very much that they had ever been exposed to such teaching on Scripture.
Yars Lazowchuk was Greek Orthodox. In his home, he had a private Greek Orthodox shrine, with pictures, statues, and candles. One evening, we were gathered in his living room for the prayer meeting. As he lay on the floor near his fireplace, he requested prayer for healing because he was having problems with his back.
I immediately received that I couldn’t pray for him and said so. Olga Gerard, being influential with the people, dismissed what I said and led others to pray for him near the fireplace. Suddenly, another participant, Ms. Ryz, withdrew from the prayer, saying, “The Lord just told me not to pray for him!”
Olga didn’t believe her, either, and prepared to lay hands on Yars. On the mantle above was a burning candle. As she was kneeling and bent over with a portion of her lower back bared between her blouse and slacks, wax dripped from the candle onto her bare flesh. She jumped, sheepishly giggled, and said, “I guess you’re right! I just got some hot wax on my back!” That ended the prayer for Yars, leaving him wondering about things.
One evening with the Catholic Charismatics, a remarkable thing happened. My parents, Olga, Yars, Millie the nun, Mrs. Tokar, a few other women, and Marilyn and I were there, about 15 in all. One lady complained that her husband was opposed to her coming to the Charismatic meetings. The group thought it was right for her to come, regardless of her husband’s disapproval.
Knowing these meetings were not of God (we were there to confront darkness), I spoke up and said, “Where in the Bible does it say, ‘Go to church or to a meeting’? On the other hand, there is the command that wives obey their husbands.” I gave them these words:
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24 MKJV).
I then said, “Therefore, if your husband says, ‘Stay home; don’t go to church,’ you ought to obey your husband, no matter how wrong in that matter you may think he is.’”
“No Way!!!” was the sudden unified, perfectly timed roar of almost, if not every, woman in the room. Two words, not premeditated, not orchestrated, and shouted in unison with gusto!
Who says there are no devils?
This outburst was totally unexpected, and I was flabbergasted and overwhelmed. Being young (and I would say, weak) in the Spirit, I was also hurt by the unified demonstrative sudden rage against me. While I didn’t react or withdraw my assertion, I was discomfited by their rejection. I can’t say that my parents cried out with them, but they did stand with them as the “conversation” continued from there; at least they didn’t stand with me, which is the same:
“The one who is not with Me is against Me, and the one who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matthew 12:30 MKJV).
(Let it be known that if God was leading a woman contrary to her husband’s counsel or wishes, I wouldn’t advise her to obey her husband.)
Olga was among those who shouted, “No way!” though not so much in anger, it seemed, as in disagreement. She had been gently cautioning me, saying it wasn’t up to us to criticize, but to love. She then inadvertently opened her Bible to Isaiah 58:1:
“Cry aloud, do not spare, lift up your voice like a ram’s horn, and show My people their rebellion, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1 MKJV).
She withdrew her criticism, saying, “The Lord just showed me you’re right and that this is your duty.”
Upon reflection, I realized something. What were the chances of nearly every one of those people, without prior notice or rehearsal, suddenly, in perfect unison, angrily crying out those words?
It certainly wasn’t God inspiring them. Neither could it have been of their own doing. I knew there was a spirit of rebellion ruling in their midst. I had stirred the wrath of the enemy. I also knew I had a confirmation of something I had already known to be true – if the enemy doesn’t like what I’m doing, it follows that what I do is surely good and true.
We left and didn’t return. Olga met me on the street, weeks later, and declared that I had been hurt, suggesting we should come back. I couldn’t deny having been hurt and said, “I have been hurt many times, but that isn’t the point; I can’t see returning.” I don’t believe I told her those meetings weren’t of God, though that is what I believed.
Had not God manifested Himself on my behalf in several ways in their midst, however? Should I not have continued in patience and endurance to speak for their good? But I wasn’t ready to do the Lord’s work then. There would be many more years of learning, discipline, and preparation.
Once while invited by my parents to their home for dinner, Uncle Don and Aunt Helen Hafichuk breezed in to greet everyone. I had been wondering about them and Uncle Fred and Aunt Josie Hafichuk, who had been attending Catholic Charismatic meetings together in Winnipeg. They claimed to have received the Spirit, but if that was true, why were they not making connection with Marilyn and me? There was no sign of kinship in Christ with us, and I didn’t have any witness of their having received the Spirit.
As they walked by the table and those who sat at it, Aunt Helen reached out and touched each person on the head. I knew what they were thinking. “If we touch them, they will be touched by the Holy Spirit, as with the laying on of hands.” While I can’t speak for the others and what they may or may not have received, I knew it wasn’t anything coming from the Spirit of God. I was also confident that Marilyn and I were sealed in safety from what, if anything, came forth from them, which they presumed to pass on.
If the Catholic Charismatic movement were of God, those receiving of His grace would believe the truth and their eyes would be opened to the blatant falsehood of Catholic doctrine and practice. Of course, the fact it is called “Catholic” is evidence enough that God is not the Author of their spiritual movement.
Furthermore, the Catholics had a course they were teaching on receiving the Spirit. People were promised they would qualify to receive the Spirit if they subjected themselves to a certain number of weeks of study.
God doesn’t come or work that way. It certainly didn’t happen that way with anyone in the Scriptures. Those in the upper room didn’t study to qualify for receiving the Spirit; they were simply chosen. They obeyed the Lord’s instructions to tarry in Jerusalem until the Spirit was given, and patiently waited upon the Lord to fulfill that which He had promised them – which He did.
If godly change was happening with the leaders, they wouldn’t permit their people to believe they had received the Spirit when, plainly, they had not. Neither would they tolerate anti-Christ false doctrine.
Is there such a thing as a spiritual leader without the anointing of the Spirit? In the Body of Christ, are leaders not leaders by virtue of that anointing?
Uncle Don was a deacon, yet he had nothing to give, which means he didn’t have the Spirit of God. Neither was he interested in receiving anything but honor from the Catholic Church. He had no interest in what we had to say or in hearing what we had experienced of the Lord.
The saints in Scripture were part of God’s program; He wasn’t merely a part of theirs. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a sovereign act of God. “Beware of men,” Jesus warned (Matthew 10:17). Those aren’t loose words. There is danger involved. Many are they who are lured to receive a spirit other than the Holy Spirit when participating in men’s presumptuous religious works. They are thus spiritually deceived and bound.
My cousin, Sandy Chute, daughter of Mel and Hazel Chute, came to visit us, bearing some fresh vegetables from their garden. It wasn’t long before the Spirit of the Lord moved me to sternly warn her that that she couldn’t take lightly the things of God, playing religious games. I then spoke words to her, which words I would speak on more than one occasion in years to come – remarkably, every seven years. The emphasis was that the Lord was finished winking, that He had been tolerating or overlooking many things, but He would no longer do so. I said He was fed up to the full of the sins of the people and would take no more.
Sandy, in her late teens, reacted with shock and wonder. “Why are you saying this?” she repeatedly asked. I could only say that those words suddenly came to me (there was no premeditation), although I did know that the Chutes, while professing faith, weren’t living by faith.