PART TWO – Pentecost to Israel (cont.)
I received a degree of contempt from my school and rock band buddy, Jim Puls. He was now an electronics technician and owned Gordon’s Radio and TV, a business he and his partner bought from Gordon Shave, who had established and owned it for years.
While Jim and his wife, Eileen, were always friendly, they always had that curiosity as to what was going on with us. In short, all my friends and relations had gone on to bigger and better things, while we were languishing financially, occupationally, socially, and to many it seemed, mentally and spiritually.
On at least three occasions, over the period of a few years, I tried to speak to Jim about the Lord. He asked the same question each time: “So what should I do?” (Those very words.) I think that each time, I gave him the wrong answer.
Knowing he wasn’t prepared to believe and receive the Lord, I suggested he get into the Scriptures and read. Yet I knew that would go nowhere. I suppose that’s why it didn’t occur to me to get together with him to read and study the Bible. I also found his question evasive and disingenuous. He was humoring me.
I was surprised to find that Jim didn’t realize he asked me the identical insincere question several times.
One day, Marilyn and I visited my parents. Dad and I sat and talked. He reached from his chair to mine, embraced me, and passionately said, “Victor, Victor, when you went forward at David’s funeral, you don’t know how happy you made me! You don’t know how happy you made me!” He so wanted me to return to him and the Catholic Church.
“Dad,” I said, “I love you! I never did turn my back on you, as you thought. The Lord has taken my life. It’s not my own.”
He could only repeat himself. I cried, all choked up.
As soon as we returned to our apartment, I went to the bathroom, looked in the mirror as I washed my hands, and heard the Lord speak the most shocking words I had heard from Him until then. He said, “You have denied My Name.”
Though I entirely didn’t expect to hear from God, I knew instantly what He was talking about. I had sympathized with my earthly father and didn’t tell him the truth – I had turned my back on him and the Catholic Church, having no choice when I turned to God. By trying to comfort my earthly father, I failed to sanctify my Heavenly Father.
There have been few moments in my life as dismal as that one. I discussed it with Marilyn and then called my parents, telling them what I had heard, and even broke a couple of promises to them of some chores to be done, not seeing myself able to keep them in light of what the Lord was saying to me.
In retrospect, however, I think I could have done those things for them, because they weren’t the issue. I abruptly canceled all relations and activities with them, believing it was either that or lose my relationship to God. I wouldn’t risk that, if I could help it.
Greatly distraught, I prayed that God would forgive me. I received assurance that He had, and that we would go on from there without any suggestion of penalty. I was very sad and sorry for what I had done, yet thankful that I had not been cast off.
Living in Dauphin was hard. It was my old hometown where my former family, friends, and church were based. We were divided spiritually from everyone, yet exposed to them everyday. We were poor, belonged nowhere, shunned, and despised as fools, losers, heretics, traitors, and perhaps even worse, as heartless. Marilyn found it particularly difficult and confounding. She has spoken of Dauphin as the darkest place we ever lived.
In a vision one day, I saw a man sitting under the roof of the front deck of a simple little prairie bungalow. His legs were up on the railing, crossed at the ankles. He was sitting in a laid-back position, but looking with longing down the road from his house, waiting for something or someone to come.
Then the scene changed. In the same position, I saw a skeleton, with the clothes on, covered with cobwebs and dust. The man had perished waiting.
I thought this vision applied to Marilyn’s father, who had waited for her mother to return, which she never did. I also thought that somehow I was that man, waiting to the death for some kind of fulfillment, which never happened.
The carnal man must die; he can’t have his way.
It was either in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1976 or in Dauphin, Manitoba in 1977 that I saw a vision of Marilyn and me. I was tramping through muck and bog, struggling in a painfully slow advance. Ahead of me, about twenty feet away, hovering above the ground and facing me, was Marilyn, shining, in white clothing. She was directing me in my struggle.
At the time I had the vision, I was afraid Marilyn was going to die and the vision signified that she would be helping me from heaven. That turned out not to be so. It was in this life that she would be, and already was, helping me.
Every morning, I would wake up troubled and wanting to talk through things. Sometimes it would take hours. She would patiently listen and try to guide me through the turbulence of my thoughts, fears, and doubts. It wasn’t until years later that I would be made free of it all. In the meantime, she was there for me, having to bear the awful burden of my unbelief.
My father had heart problems. He had already had a heart attack years before, and was now admitted for open-heart surgery. I couldn’t go to visit him. It was an agonizing battle – I loved him, yet was compelled to live as though I hated him or bore a grudge against him. Relatives and friends saw my stance as cruel, especially since he was a popular, harmless sort of fellow. They sympathized with him, seeing him as a victim, which, in a way, he was.
Dad wanted me to visit him. I lived with the known scientific knowledge that he would fare better in his health if I, as a son he wanted by his side, were to visit and comfort him. Because I couldn’t satisfy his desire, he suffered, and I was all the more faulted. People didn’t understand, and we couldn’t expect them to. Logically, apparently, we were wrong. You as the reader may think so, too. I can’t blame you.
That year, Pat Dennis, the college girlfriend whom I had loved and who had dumped me, made contact by a note through Elsie Mitz in Dauphin. Pat was hoping for a renewal of our relationship, having married and divorced a policeman (Constable Bridgewater, I believe).
I replied by letter and was rather harsh with her, insulted that she would approach me, knowing I was married. It seemed she was prepared to disrespect my marital commitment.
In years to come, I realized I had been harsh, and was sorry for speaking that way to her. Likely, I was lashing out because of how she hurt me. I was so very selfish. Perhaps she could have come to know the peace of God, had I been thinking of her instead of myself. I pray that God will be, and has been, merciful to her.
For the first three months or so after starting at ARC Industries, we were living from paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet. It was at that time that Marv Isum was passing through Dauphin.
We were referred to him by Living Faith Bible College, where we had attended a summer Bible retreat the year before. Marv was an ordained Lutheran priest who had received the Spirit and was consequently excommunicated by his denomination. Cliff Stalwick, founder of Living Faith, was of the same background and experience. These men entered Charismatic circles and launched their own ministries.
Marv was passing through Dauphin with three students from the Bible school. We received them into our humble home, where they supped and spent the night with us.
While in prayer and praise, Marv prophesied some things, among them the words, “This place will be famous.” I don’t recall that he could explain what the words meant. Was he referring to Thorndale Apartments? Was it Dauphin?
He also saw a vision, in which he saw the Lord, His heart, and he saw that I was a shepherd with a shepherd’s heart under the Shepherd. One of the students, when relating to me, declared she perceived in me the veracity of Marv’s testimony.
We fellowshipped during the evening, and the next morning, we sent them on their way, giving them twenty dollars as a gift, possibly all we had; I don’t remember. I do remember that Marv seemed ungrateful, if not scornful, of the small amount. I was rather surprised. After all, we weren’t affiliated with them, and we were under no obligation to receive them into our home or to feed them, much less give them financial support.
It was also rather plain that we didn’t have much, as evidenced by our aged suite, our couch, which was visibly ready for the dump, and the tomato juice cans we used to prop it up. Perhaps he felt a little awkward receiving the money from us? I don’t really know; I only recall his reaction (it certainly wasn’t one of expressed gratitude).
We would see more of Marv, particularly concerning the issue of mammon.
Shortly after that time, the Richardsons (remember the head coverings people?) returned to Dauphin to hold tent revival meetings. We decided to go. They were assisted by their students, two of them being Sue Rogers and Tim Wegner, each of whom led some of the services. Tim, a young and rather unpretentious country boy, was quite well liked by the people.
They invited John Poepke of Michigan to come and preach. Near the end of one service, when people were coming forward for prayer, we noticed a native man, possibly in his forties, go forward. The Lord directed Marilyn and me to go forward and pray for him. As we approached, there was the distinct, unquestionable smell of alcohol.
Without his permission, as he knelt in prayer, we laid hands on him, prayed for him, and rebuked a demon of alcohol. Suddenly, the smell of alcohol was gone!
We had heard of demons identified with physical substances, as when we had gone to the Pegelow meetings at Camp Caroline the year before, and there was talk of a demon of nicotine that bound people to smoke. I had also rebuked a demon of nicotine in my brother, Bob, which immediately released him from his smoking habit. I don’t recall, however, that we had heard of a demon having an accompanying smell, or any other such physical manifestation.
Who says there is no God or devils?
The native fellow was visibly moved and sobered; he looked up and smiled. We could tell there had been an immediate change in him, though he didn’t know how. He could only walk away knowing God had heard his prayer and delivered him of his alcohol problem. There were no words exchanged between us that I recall.
However, there were words thereafter because of that event. The Richardson group believed that women should wear some kind of head covering during church services or while ministering. Sue, one of the bigger aggressive female students helping out, publicly rebuked us by way of an admonition to all, for Marilyn’s coming forth with me to pray without a head covering. They didn’t know that God had granted deliverance to an alcoholic – head covering or not.
Doesn’t this remind you of the man with the withered hand, whom Jesus healed?:
Mark 3:1-6 MKJV
(1) And He again entered into the synagogue. And a man was there who had a withered hand.
(2) And they watched Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath day, so that they might accuse Him.
(3) And He said to the man who had the withered hand, Arise! Come into the middle.
(4) And He said to them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill? But they were silent.
(5) And looking around on them with anger, being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, Stretch out your hand! And he stretched it out. And his hand was restored whole, like the other.
(6) The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
As I look back, I wish I had had the presence of mind to call the native fellow to come forward and testify, though I am certain the Richardson team would have found some way of explaining the deliverance in their favor. It might have been good to confront them anyway, but I have to rest in the fact that if the Lord had wanted us to bring these things into the open, He would have made the arrangements. He surely rules.
In one of those meetings, Mrs. Richardson stood up to prophesy before a group of 50 to 75 people. While I couldn’t discern any problem with the words (they seemed Scripturally sound), I was receiving that the prophecy wasn’t of God. I also knew I had to say something.
While we were all standing in prayer, I prayed out loud, “Father, please show Your children if the prophecy was of You or not.” That was all I said.
Soon after, Sue again took the platform and expressed indignation that a woman of God such as Mrs. Richardson should be questioned so, and that, in public. The preacher, John Poepke, said nothing.
Immediately after the meeting, a woman from the audience, Marilyn Winters, approached me. “Are you David Hafichuk’s brother?” she asked.
“Yes, I’m Victor,” I replied.
Introducing herself, she said she had a message for me. “First of all, the Lord told me that Mrs. Richardson’s prophecy wasn’t from Him, so I want you to know that you aren’t the only one who had a problem with it. The Lord also wants me to tell you that He took your brother David because he wasn’t able to make a break with the world.”
I was very thankful to hear that. I then told her that the Lord had told me the same thing shortly after David died – well, almost the same thing. Whereas Marilyn said that David “wasn’t able” to make a break with the world, I heard the Lord say that David “wasn’t willing” to make that break. It was close enough for a confirmation for me, not that I was looking for one.
I suspected Marilyn Winters was trying to spare my feelings by slightly softening the message. However, using the words “wasn’t able” wasn’t good. It was a denial of the power and faithfulness of God. There is no excuse for anyone to not obey and please the Lord, if they wish to do so. He makes a way where there is no way; He empowers them to do His will.
Had David truly wanted to make that break, the Lord would have given him the faith, strength, courage, and occasion to do so. After all, it would have to be God Who put that desire in him to start with, or he wouldn’t have it.
“Faithful is He that calls you, Who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
“For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
Marilyn had now produced two confirmations from the Lord for me, and she wasn’t done. “Were you going to the Catholic Charismatic meetings?” she asked.
I told her we had.
She said, “Those weren’t of God. One evening when I was there, the Lord said to me, ‘They have Me on the cross and they won’t let Me down’.”
Indeed, they did “have Him on the cross” and wouldn’t “let Him down.” I understood what she was saying.
She had another confirmation. I had seen her father at the Richardson meeting at Orange Hall (though I didn’t know it was him at the time), and there I saw a guilty and troubled man trying to make up for something. I would see him acting fervent for the Lord, with tears and trembling voice. I knew it was false.
When relating this to her, Marilyn told me that, years ago, he had a calling on his life from the Lord for ministry, and he refused the Lord. She said he was never the same.
A while later, we visited with the tent meeting preacher from Michigan, John Poepke, in his trailer. After a few minutes, he eagerly asked, “How did you know the prophecy that Mrs. Richardson gave wasn’t of God? It was Scripture perfect! There was nothing in the words to indicate anything wrong. I know what was going on in that situation and who the prophecy was aimed at; I also know you had no idea of what had happened. So how did you know?”
I told him I received a witness from the Lord that the prophecy wasn’t from Him, and I had to speak up. He marveled, but I wondered why. After all, he was preaching there as a spiritual leader. Why should this be such a big thing to him? I would find out in a little while.
There was a woman in her fifties, Edna Gremadza of Sheho, Saskatchewan, following the Richardsons. She, John Poepke, and we were visiting. Edna felt she had spiritual revelation of me, telling me that I had a Catholic spirit.
I asked, “How so?”
She couldn’t and didn’t explain, but what I found interesting was that I had just been delivered of Catholic bondage at David’s funeral only months before. She didn’t know about it. I told her with full conviction that I had indeed been freed of such a spirit, and how. She still insisted she saw something.
I asked John what he thought. He said, “I don’t have a witness to it. I don’t agree with her.”
We would see Edna’s closing days, and it wouldn’t be pleasant.
This was a vision of a different kind. While several of us were joining John Poepke, holding hands in a prayer circle, a teen native girl stood a few feet away. I invited her to join us. She looked at me and then she looked up, her countenance lighting up with joy. I saw the Holy Spirit descend “like a dove” upon her.
Days later, in tears, she publicly testified of her love for God. Some of the more religious people were somewhat perplexed because, as she sobbed, she repeatedly said, “I love the Lord so damn much!”
While the words might seem offensive, she didn’t mean them so – it was common and innocent language in her circles. The Lord knew her heart. I often wonder what became of her.
In the next week or so, besides hearing him preach, we got to visit with John, thus getting to know him a little better. His wife was back in Michigan, quite ill. The illness was life threatening, possibly cancer.
John fervently declared, privately and publicly, that Satan wanted his wife, but he wasn’t going to let him have her. The Lord gave me a witness that she was going to die, but I couldn’t say anything to him. I knew he wouldn’t receive it. Instead, I expected he would fault me for “casting doubt.” He didn’t believe in the sovereignty of God so much as in the power of man’s faith.
We invited John over for supper just before he left for Michigan. I believe he brought his son, “John Boy,” with him. He was about 12 years old. We gave John two things. The first – I had written him a letter to take with him. I expected he would need it in trying times to come.
People today think I write long letters when they see four, seven, or fifteen pages. The letter to John was about thirty, handwritten. The primary message was that God ruled supreme over all of His creation, and everything was entirely in His control. I chided him for thinking that he could control anything, and urged him to trust God and forget trying to manipulate Him, as though He was some kind of putty that could be shaped at will (not those words, but the idea).
The second thing we gave John was my entire two-week paycheck. By the Lord, we knew he needed it and were guided to give it to him; it was all we had. He was thankful and, I think, humbled. We were glad to give it.
Recall I said that we were living from paycheck to paycheck, and we were…. How can one skip an entire paycheck though living from paycheck to paycheck? It happened. After that, we had more than we needed, and money began to collect in savings.
Unlike Marv Isum, John was thankful, and I don’t believe it was only because of the amount.
Many times I felt very badly about my parents, thinking about how they were sorrowing over me. One day, the Lord said to me, “You think too highly of yourself.” What? I thought I was feeling badly for them, wondering if I wasn’t wrong in putting them through pain and sorrow because of the division between us.
As I thought on the Lord’s words, I realized the chagrin on my part was self-centered. Perhaps they weren’t as concerned about me, so much as about themselves. Was the separation between us truly my doing? Was I greater than God? Who’s running the show, anyway?
That settled me considerably. I realized my thoughts had come from unbelief.
Marilyn Winters came to visit us at our suite some days after having met her. We shared with her some of the truths that the Lord had taught us. We shared with her that any believer that was going to walk with God would have to come out of all formal church systems; that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was the new birth, an experience in the Lord or crisis stage of development after conversion or repentance; and that God was reconciling all things unto Himself – that all mankind would eventually be saved. All these teachings were quite contrary to orthodox Christendom, as a whole.
In sharing these uncommonly known truths with Marilyn Winters, she became troubled. She said, “I know what you’re saying is true, yet I’m resisting! Why?” We couldn’t determine why at the time, but we would find out the following year, when it seemed too late. And what a sad development it was to me!
Ernie and Helen Urbanovitch came to the Richardson tent meetings. Ernie was a Ukrainian egg painter. He would buy greenware eggs from ARC Industries, paint them, and bring them back to be baked in our kiln.
Ernie and Helen were quite troubled about their young autistic daughter, who was five or six years old; they hoped for a miraculous healing. Helen asked me to come to their home and pray for her. Marilyn and I visited them, hoping the Lord would do something for them.
When we approached the girl, she immediately began to avoid us for no apparent reason. It wasn’t because the parents had given her any explanation that would cause her to fear. The only possibility I can think of would be if she was uncomfortable with strangers, but Ernie and Helen didn’t indicate this was the case.
One could argue we might have been threatening to her, because we wanted to lay hands on her to pray for her, but I don’t believe this was the case. In trying to sit down with her, she immediately fled and began shouting out a string of the vilest curse words. We were surprised. We had never heard such dirty language come forth from a little girl’s mouth, nor have we since.
Ernie and Helen were quite embarrassed, and Ernie sheepishly began to change his mind. Helen seemed to hope we could still do something, but she acquiesced to Ernie’s withdrawal.
Why should the child speak so vilely just because she was mentally and physically handicapped? It occurred to us that she was possessed by an unclean spirit, and while there was no apparent reason for her to flee from us, this would explain it, seeing we had the Spirit of God. The demon didn’t want to be expelled.
I think I tried speaking against the spirit, but the parents’ unbelief made it impossible to free their daughter. We understood from the testimony of Scripture, and from the ways of the Lord, that as parents, they had to have faith on behalf of their daughter, and Ernie and Helen didn’t have it. We left, feeling badly, suspecting that if they had believed, something very good could have transpired.