PART FOUR– Bernalillo to Moon River (cont.)
You may well ask, “If Penny’s husband wasn’t a Christian, what about Lois? How could she possibly be a Christian the way she was? What about those terrible visions of her, unlike of so many?”
It isn’t man’s righteousness, but God’s, that determines a believer. It isn’t reactions, so much as actions and lifestyle choices, that make the difference. We are all human, with our fleshly passions and infirmities, Christian or not, like it or not. The chosen lifestyle comprises the main difference between sheep and goats, between the real Christian and the merely nominal one, between the true and the false.
Many are the examples of the recorded weaknesses and infirmities of real believers, even those of great faith, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Peter, Paul, and others. Though they fell, they still chose to go on in faith. They didn’t choose to live in the incontinency of the world. Lois and her boys, despite the passions and weaknesses of their humanity, chose:
“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for [they were] looking to the reward. By faith [they] left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the [world], for [they] endured as seeing Him Who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:25-27 MKJV).
While Mr. Lazarowich made a show of religion and faith (according to his wife), taking the wide gate and broad way to destruction, remaining in the gates of formal, organized, prostituting Christianity, and while his wife rejoiced in iniquity and child abuse, Lois and her two sons obeyed God’s commandment:
“Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18 MKJV).
People with church memberships, comfortable pews, and social lives in churches are in for a shock. None will escape:
“For her sins joined together, even up to Heaven, and God has remembered her unjust deeds. Reward her as she has rewarded you, and double to her double, according to her works. In the cup which she mixed, mix double to her. As much as she has glorified herself and has lived in luxury, so much torment and sorrow give her. For she says in her heart, I sit as a queen, and I am not a widow; and I do not see mourning at all. Therefore her plagues will come in one day, death and mourning and famine. And she will be consumed with fire, for the Lord God Who judges her is strong” (Revelation 18:5-8 MKJV).
Mr. Lazarowich, if you are still alive, if you professed faith at the time of your wife’s doings, let it be known that you are blood-guilty with your wife, though she wasn’t successful in her endeavor.
Patricia Kvill, Howard’s lawyer from Edmonton, did what she had to do to win the case for her client. Lois’ lawyer, Kevin Sproule, on the other hand, took Lois’ money, but was apparently an inept opportunist and was losing the case, while charging her fees for every minute of service. He angered me. We would witness worse yet, from his own lips.
Lazarowich’s report was packed with prejudicial judgments and bald-faced lies. But the biggest liar of all was Howard. While Penny was the guest violinist and others were playing their wind instruments, who was conducting the orchestra, if not Howard? And everyone believed him. It seemed that in earthly terms, we were helpless victims. My report was filled with examples of Howard’s lies.
We had to give thanks to the Lord in all of this, even if we didn’t feel thankful. Little did we know what the final outcome would be! Men tell their lies and think to escape, but the Truth prevails in the end – always. Who can escape God’s judgment and final verdict?
I wanted something to happen with Kevin Sproule and Penny Lazarowich. It angered me that lawyers were sucking up exorbitant amounts of money while providing pitifully little for their fees. I was angry that Howard would lie and go to court, giving strangers his family’s money instead of settling amicably, privately and sensibly. He was fully set to have his way completely and, if possible, have Lois committed to a mental institution for the rest of her life – or worse (if anything could be worse), as we found out later.
“Lord, grant us justice!” I cried. “Expose the lies! What can we do?” However, by now I was learning that true justice comes sooner or later, one way or another, yet seldom, if ever, when and how expected. During this trying time, I received a Word from God:
“I will destroy your enemy from off the face of the earth – you will look and see him no more – and I will give you his goods.”
At the time, I thought the Word referred to Kevin Sproule, though I was far from sure. That wasn’t the case.
On July 10, 1986, late in the evening, at Benson’s, I saw a black mare giving birth to a colt. She was standing, and her right rear leg was raised and kicking with discomfort. When relating the vision to Marilyn, she had been receiving thoughts of new things and received that the vision represented new beginnings. How marvelously accurate would those words be! This was the first time we were alerted to the significance in our lives of the tenth day of the seventh month.
This date would turn out to be a very important one for us, perfectly beyond our doing, many times over, as you’ll see. On the Hebrew calendar, the tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement, the most solemn and important day of the sacred year of ancient Israel. It was the day of the scapegoat, the one day the High Priest entered behind the great curtain into the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant. It was a day of new beginnings for Israel, their sins forgiven for the past year.
We were despised, defamed, and defeated. I knew that Lois was about to lose her son, and who but God knew what more? Lazarowich had recommended a psychiatric assessment for her and the boys. Howard had threatened to have Lois committed to Ponoka (a mental institution in Alberta).
One can pose a thoughtful question here: “If she was truly sick, why would he threaten her with treatment?” One should think that if someone is ill, treatment comes by compassion, or at least consideration, not by hatred and vengeance.
Howard was convinced, or at least declared, that we were a cult, and insisted that a psychiatrist assess the boys.
I said, “Go for it, boys. You have nothing to fear; there’s nothing wrong with you, and they’ll tell you so.”
Howard took the three boys to a psychiatrist, Mike Dimirsky, for assessment, hoping to score a victory against Lois, demonstrating that she was somehow using unjustified psychological influence on them. They went and were interviewed privately and individually.
It wasn’t long before the session was ended. Mark had to go to the bathroom, and during those moments, he was greatly agitated while thinking about the questions being asked. He could see where the questions were leading. Returning from the bathroom, he declared that there was really no purpose in proceeding further. He even told the doctor where his questions were leading or what they were trying to establish, and preempted the procedure.
Mr. Dimirsky couldn’t argue with what Mark had to say, and promptly declared there was nothing amiss with the boys; Howard was wasting his time trying to establish there was anything mentally deficient with them. (This was basically Mark’s report to me of how things went.)
While they were gone, I had a vision of a man in a suit – short, a bit plump, bald, wearing glasses, standing there flustered and confounded (I had no idea what he looked like in real life). I think I also saw him with his pants down, according to the expression, meaning that he was caught by surprise or perplexed, perhaps even impressed. He had expected troubled boys and found instead that the young boys were not only normal, but even had the psychiatrist’s agenda analyzed.
As for Lois, she refused to go through what she saw as the ridiculous motions of psychiatric assessment.
On August 8th, 88 days after Paul was kicked out, he called us at Archie’s. (To be precise, there are 88 days between May 11, 1986 and August 8, 1986.)
Paul records: “During the time I was sent away from Canada, but hadn’t been in contact with Victor, I heard his voice speaking to me in my sleep, saying, ‘You are forgiven.’ I had been greatly agitated, in fear there was no more hope for me after being kicked out for worshiping Victor, but the Lord was causing me to look to Him, to repent of my idolatry, and to know that He hadn’t abandoned me.”
It was true – I had forgiven him, though we weren’t in touch with one another. Yet, it was the Lord Who had forgiven him.
Lois had always believed that Jason wanted to be with her. When he returned from weekends with Howard, he was weepy, but he wouldn’t say anything. She thought he was torn in the conflict and perhaps being abused somehow by Howard.
One day, I realized that Jason’s heart wasn’t with us. He didn’t want to be with his mother. He wanted out. I had a talk with him and drew it out of him. He was quite clear that he wished to be with his father. He enjoyed Howard’s flatteries and bribes and freedom from discipline.
As we stood watching Jason play in the sandbox, I had to speak to Lois, telling her to let Howard have Jason. I said, “Jason isn’t one of us.”
This was perhaps the last thing she wanted to hear. However, when she regained composure, she revealed to me she had received from the Lord days before in prayer, “Give Howard what he wants.”
On August 20, 1986, sorrowing, yet knowing what she had to do in obedience to God, Lois surrendered Jason to Howard. Jason was obviously happy. There were 40 days between July 10th, when I had the vision of the promise of new beginnings, and this day when she submitted her will to the Lord.
One would think that Howard would be happy, but he wasn’t. He saw the surrender as the strategic sacrifice of a pawn in a chess game. Perhaps he saw it that way because suddenly, unexpectedly it seemed that the entire custody battle had imploded; it was over. Howard had no more power over Lois.
Lois also consented to give Trevor and Mark a choice as to whom they chose to go with, and they chose to remain with her. Mark was thirteen, and Trevor was sixteen. Howard knew he wouldn’t prevail with them. When Lois obeyed the Lord, it was over.
Who says there is no God?
We had been staying with Archie and his family, on and off, while ministering on the road. I was told that the landlady, Roseanne, didn’t approve. The duplex, 249 Columbia Boulevard, was sold by the realtor, Andy Kent, and Archie found a much more spacious home to rent at 1720 Ashgrove, in the Lakeview area of Lethbridge.
John and Trudy Leyenaar, friends of Archie and Cathie from Calgary, some of those who had prophesied that they should go to Toronto in 1980, came to visit and help them move. I found it somewhat difficult with them. While I liked them, John seemed quite flippant about God and faith. He was seldom sober in spirit, ever joking. While humor is fine in itself, I felt like John wasn’t nearly as sincere as should be the state of a true believer. As for Trudy, she didn’t seem the least interested in spiritual matters.
I’ve spent years going to garage sales, mostly on Saturdays. I loved to hunt for bargains. Much in our home has been from these forays. I’ve collected many books of interest. I also enjoyed meeting people, not only those who held the sales, but those who frequented them.
Probably the most interesting person I would run into fairly often was Evan Gushul, a Ukrainian fellow, a violinist who helped found the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra. He was also an accomplished photographer; he was a man of many skills and interests. We often spent time conversing when we met. His thing at garage sales was mainly collecting old watches and perhaps other old tidbits. Evan was a talker; I mostly listened.
In my garage-saling, I found a picture titled “Forbidden Territory,” or something similar. In the foreground was a slim, handsome, fair-skinned man with shoulder-length blond hair seated on a white winged horse. The man was only scantily covered with a loose loincloth. He and his horse had lighted on a small planet, which had a hostile environment and was classified as out of bounds.
Out of the surface of this barren planet came forth steel cable tentacles that grasped the horse and the man, one tentacle a wing, another a leg, and so forth. There seemed no doubt that the man and horse were doomed for having ignored the ban. In the far background, standing on a cloud was a similar horse, mounted by a similar man. They were watching the entrapment, and it was evident that there was nothing they could do to save the victims. They could only keep a safe distance away.
I brought this picture to Archie’s, and we kept it for a short while, but I couldn’t shake its effect on me. I had always looked for unique pictures, and this one was unique all right, as meaningful as any I’d found, but it seemed to display or portend a reality in our midst. It was the kind of picture I wanted to keep because of the figurative expression, which was significant to me, yet I didn’t want to keep it because it was so disturbing.
Somehow, I felt that it depicted Archie. I wondered, foolishly, that if we kept it, the picture might exercise some evil power over his household. I told Archie to destroy and burn it, which he did.
At meals at Archie’s, the children and I would get into some refreshing and lively discussions about various issues, be they social, spiritual, philosophical, or otherwise. I enjoyed those, and so did the children. At some point, those disappeared, perhaps because we went away and the talks didn’t resume when we got back.
Marilyn and I wondered if the parents weren’t envious of our rapport with the kids and so discouraged such occasions. There was no question Archie nursed a resentful, rebellious attitude toward us, and Cathie didn’t want us around.
Somewhere around 1986 or 1987, I dreamt that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev fell backwards straight-bodied into a grave, and it seemed that he was finished. However, he immediately rose right back out of the grave, as though a film were going in reverse. Now he had a knife in his hand and was going to stab the U.S. in the back. Would we be seeing him on the world stage again? Or did he represent the newly-risen Soviet power? I had no idea; I only saw what I saw.
Paul came to Lethbridge on December 23, 1986. We decided to pay Lois and the boys a surprise visit in Stettler. They were very happy to see Paul, and we had a good visit, despite the pressures and unpleasantry of Lois’ divorce and the fact that Howard might chance to walk in and find us there. Jason, sympathetic with Howard, could tell him we were there against Howard’s wishes. We had a close call when Howard once came over, but he didn’t see us or know we were there.
When returning to Lethbridge, I had a vision of Paul, Marilyn, and me jumping out of a lion’s mouth about twenty feet down to the ground. The Lord was telling us that we had been in the midst of sure danger, yet were kept perfectly safe. Obviously, He was our safety.
I had another vision around this time: I saw a large cat, the size of a mountain lion, hiding in deep grass. It had the head and face of Cathie Hafichuk, Archie’s wife. Its tail was playfully twisting, as if ready to pounce on something. She was hiding and devious. That would describe her constant spirit and attitude.
Ever since Archie came to Lethbridge, he was required of the Lord to bring offerings of his earnings. As he gave, his business prospered, provided there was no besetting sin in his life. While we were away, Archie stopped giving. When we returned, they had only about $100 and had had no business for about two weeks or more, which was unusual. Meanwhile, rent, utilities, and other expenses were due to be paid.
We sought the Lord for an answer. Archie went into another room and returned, saying he had a vision. In the vision, he saw two large cucumber bins. One was his, full, and one was the Lord’s, empty. He interpreted it to mean that he was denying the Lord His due by withholding offerings. He took the entire $100 they had and gave it to me. Within minutes, the phone rang and Archie was back in business.
It was interesting to see how the Lord disciplined Archie in this matter in two different ways. One way was that all was cut off until Archie honored Him with offerings, at which time the income would be promptly restored. The other was that Archie could have all kinds of money coming in, yet wouldn’t have enough if he wasn’t bringing offerings. The books would tell a true story, yet reality left him short, no matter how much he made. We can either have empty pockets to begin with, or pockets filling, but emptying as quickly as they are filled because having holes in them.
Despite the fact that we were staying with Archie only for short stints off and on as we traveled, Jill, the landlady wasn’t in favor; she wanted us out. (Why would she care if her tenants had guests coming and going? Wasn’t that part of the privileges of having a home? It wasn’t as though we were permanently living there. And how did she even know we were there? Were Archie and Cathie talking about us?)
At the end of December, we left for Great Falls to minister to Paul. When we left, Cathie wouldn’t so much as come to the door or to the car to say farewell, so contemptuous she was of us.
It was difficult being with them. Archie made an appearance of friendliness, but it wasn’t until years later that I realized this was only appearance. He was two-faced, ever entertaining resentment and doubt, and changing back and forth in his appearance of attitude toward us.
On February 6 or 7, 1987, about 3:40 pm, in Paul’s basement suite at Leora Mahan’s in Great Falls, I was resting on Paul’s bed when I had a vision. Paul later told me that as I was having it, he walked by the open door to the living room, saw me, and thought, “He’s seeing something.”
In the vision, I saw Earth at a distance, and there was darkness all about. Far beyond Earth, I saw a star rushing toward it. The star slammed into Earth, and a third of it crumbled and disintegrated. While the other two thirds of Earth remained intact, it was badly cracked.
I knew I was that star.
It was around this time that I received a prophecy, which I thought applied to Cathie because of the vision I had of her as a cat and because of thoughts I was having of her at the time, but though it did, I’ve seen it as applicable to others, as well:
“Though you hide yourself, yea, though you bury yourself in the holes and crevices of rock, in the deepest parts of the earth, they will bring you up again, what is left of you, as when one digs a walnut out of a shell with a nut pick because it will not come out whole, and you will neither hide nor escape.
There is no safety without the Lord. There is no security from those He sends to pursue and to ferret out and to destroy. Captives remain free, while those who seek refuge continue to be captives. There is no hiding from God Who alone is a Refuge from all harm, and a Strength against all opposers.
A web, a web is formed, to apprehend those who spin it. The snare is laid for the fowler. No man can take lightly that which God does and which He subsequently requires at the hand of man. He takes the heart and all that is in it and turns it over, spilling it out of its contents to see what is in it and to make it known for all those whom evildoers have thought to deceive. The heart, the heart is deceitful above all things, but the Lord unfolds it to make an open show of it. Woe to the one who thinks to fool the Lord. Woe to the one who devises to deceive the one whom God sends in His stead.
There will be a ripping, a tearing to pieces, a vengeance not known nor expected, but one that is perfect in mission and complete in purpose and execution.
Nothing will ever hide from the face of wrath, which is stored up for the fornicator, the whoremonger, the idolater, the liar, the deceiver, and the murderer. Nothing can prevent the judgment, the pending doom of wicked doers who have treasured up wrath unto the day of wrath as fruit ripens for the season when it is to be picked. There is a day for the fruit to be gathered, whether it is plucked from the branch by hand or whether it is blown to the ground by a wind or whether it falls of old age or disease. It is gathered nevertheless. The time comes for retribution, and nothing can forestall it.
Wait and see the way of God and the Name of the Lord and His ways. You will see it and be glad. You will see Him face to face, and you will know that He is God, that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him diligently, a succourer of the faithful, and a formidable foe to His tormentors and fools.
And though the Lord is compassionate and longsuffering, He will not forever withhold Himself from His pent-up wrath to destroy the wicked who torment Him and who fly in the face of Him Who waits until the final hour, enduring the grief of those who taunt and defy and scorn Him. He will not wait forever, but He will reward every man according to the fruit of the doings in his heart, as surely as the Lord lives. So it will be.”
Paul waited on tables in restaurants for many of the years since we met. Now he decided a change was due, and took a position managing the Magic Mill, a bulk food store owned by Kim and Becky Clark in Great Falls. The pay was poor and the store was doing poorly. They wanted to sell the business, and I advised Paul to ask for more money, which led him to quit, having no other real choice.
Together, we decided Paul still needed something more challenging and suitable for him. He hit the streets with that in mind and was told at Davis Business Machines that the Helena branch (main office) was looking for an outside salesperson. Paul said he was interested, and we all drove to Helena for his interview. He got the job with Loren Davis and moved to Helena.