PART FIVE – Moon River to Harvest Haven (cont.)
I recall how Howard Benson remarked that when their first child was born, Howard felt neglected, if not abandoned, by Lois. Consequently, he said, he went and found other ways to occupy and fulfill himself, apart from his wife.
I recall Jim Puls confessing in the 70’s he was miserably depressed. I believe it was at a time when he and Ilene just had their first child. After many years, I realized the depression I had been feeling since Jonathan was born was due to a major portion of Marilyn’s attention transferred from me to the one who needed and deserved it so much more. I didn’t realize what was happening at the time.
Had someone explained it to me and I understood, I think I would have found it significantly easier to cope with. But then, perhaps the poems I wrote a month after his birth might not have been written and wouldn’t be serving others. (I don’t believe they only expressed my feelings about what was happening in that situation, but how our lives were in our spiritual pilgrimage.)
I often wonder why I’ve had to learn many things the hard way, re-inventing the wheel again and again. Where were the parents and grandparents, the teachers and counselors who could have helped me so much? There were none. Why didn’t God provide them?
Jonathan was just over a year old when he climbed up the stairs as I sat on the couch watching. I suddenly heard a voice say, “He is going to fall.” I looked at him and he seemed perfectly fine. In disbelief, I didn’t respond to the admonition. Jonathan suddenly fell backwards and down to the next step or two, directly on his head. I was shocked. I rushed to pick him up and comfort him, wondering what damage he might have suffered. He cried for a short time and stopped.
We never noticed any signs of damage and didn’t check him out to see if there was anything wrong. This was destined to be my most regretful event concerning Jonathan, because I disregarded the warning, and Jonathan ended up suffering much for it as years went by. Why, oh why did I let him go up those stairs by himself?
Jonathan has had an unnoticeable backward curvature in his neck, suffered many headaches, and has had many chiropractic treatments. I’ve often bewailed that event over the years for being so negligent to his hurt.
Years later, Ingrid Benson and Dena Dahl received what they describe here (written March 30, 2014):
Dena: “I don’t have the details recorded on the conversation we had about this, but what I recall is that Jonathan’s fall was something necessary and you were told it was going to happen so you could rest in what happened instead of fretting and beating yourself up over it.
I don’t know why it was a necessary event, though. I don’t think Ingrid knew either, but she can let you know if she remembers otherwise. I still feel certain it was something that needed to happen.”
Ingrid: “I remember receiving that the Lord did not speak those words in order for you to prevent the fall, but to tell you what was going to happen, showing you He was over it. It was not something you could have prevented.
I believed then (and now) that the Lord ordained those circumstances to give Jonathan an occasion to forgive, as he has blamed you for letting him fall (I am not saying he still does, I don’t know) and the subsequent sufferings he has gone through as a result.”
Laura Klein, Marilyn’s mother, touched base with us after many years. We had last been in touch with her in the late 70’s, when I called her a whore and didn’t visit her in the hospital when she had cancer.
She informed us she had received many phone calls from strangers, some pretending to be the RCMP looking for us, saying we were involved in the drug trade. My mother had also reported strange calls. I knew it was Paul’s parents, directly or through accomplices. I was thankful God kept us from contacting our families after we fled Winnipeg. I didn’t believe they would have kept our whereabouts secret. And they couldn’t tell the Cohens anything if knowing nothing.
What an amazing effect fear can have on people! Laura was so fearful of us she confessed she expected I might shoot her if she tried contacting us. I could only incredulously shake my head at such foolishness. I was also angry she should take the word of strangers, believing them without any substance whatsoever. She well knew our spiritual convictions. Why would I be shooting someone or doing drugs or peddling them? As far as I was concerned, she was a wicked woman to believe such nonsense.
Les and Laura Klein came to visit us, especially when they found out we had a newborn son. While we received them cordially, that visit and subsequent visits would turn out to be purely superficial. They weren’t the least interested in discussing substantive matters with us, though Laura attended the Cambrian Heights Baptist Church in Calgary – which demonstrates how much reality these churches and their congregations have.
Marilyn, however, began identifying with her mother in childbirth and rearing matters, and she wanted to be in touch with her, hoping to have help and advice, so I went for it.
From Laura we found out about others of our past in Baptist circles, among them were the Cunninghams of Calgary, whose church Laura still attended. John died of leukemia on December 10, 1987, his wife died on May 26, 1989, and their son, Martin, died in September 1989 at age forty-three. The whole family was gone in short order.
All things are determined in the Court above. Many people wouldn’t interpret this to be God’s judgment or ways of dealing with those professing faith in Him and presuming to lead others. I do, because He has shown me He does these things. We’ve seen it far too often to have any doubts about it. Perhaps more importantly, the Bible clearly testifies of it, repeatedly:
“You shall not fear the terror by night; nor because of the arrow that flies by day; nor for the plague that walks in darkness, of the destruction laying waste at noonday. A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes you shall look and see the reward of the wicked” (Psalms 91:5-8 MKJV).
When the Lord led us out of Baptist circles, the Cunninghams sided with Marilyn’s mother concerning our spiritual stance, and she remained with her Baptist pastors, the Cunninghams. Is there a connection here to their judgment? I’m not sure. This didn’t seem to happen to others, at least not to the same degree. But not everyone presumed to be Marilyn’s mother’s pastor. In their stance against what the Lord was doing with us, didn’t John and his wife stand against the Lord?
Our neighbors, Quinn and John Van Liere, weren’t above shouting sarcastic insults from the street, though they no longer came on our property. One evening, it went a bit farther. As Marilyn and I sat in our living room, I heard hard objects hit our roof and bounce down. When I looked outside, I saw the Arnoldussen and Van Liere children passing by on the street.
That was it. I would take no more. I immediately dashed across my neighbor’s corner property to meet the children around the corner of the block. The first one I encountered was Joella Arnoldussen, who was ever quiet and respectful, as was Nicole. I asked her, “Who was throwing stones at our house?” She immediately replied, “It was Quinn.”
It was dusk and I could see Quinn up ahead on the road to his home. I dashed silently behind him, grabbed him suddenly, and pulled him down into the ditch. From there, I started carefully, yet wildly, cuffing him as though I was going to hurt him, but took care that I didn’t. Though angry, I was in full control. He was totally shocked. Suddenly, it was no longer “that asshole,” but “Mr. Hafichuk! Please, please don’t hurt me! I’ll never do anything again, Mr. Hafichuk! I promise! I promise! Don’t hurt me, Mr. Hafichuk!”
I picked him up by his shirt collar, immediately marched him to his home, and demanded to speak to his parents. I was angry, puffing, panting, and hollering, declaring I was fed up with their conduct toward us. The whole family surely must have thought I was stark raving mad. They all stood there huddled and crowded on their step in awe.
Would Jake objectively try to determine what was going on? It hadn’t happened with the Arnoldussens – they despised us because we didn’t have their Reform virtue. It hadn’t happened with the Kings – Jim declared he would stand by his children, right or wrong, because they were his children. It hadn’t happened with the Neus – Byron insisted he would never teach his son what to think.
And it didn’t happen with the Van Lieres. Jake immediately took on some kind of ostentatious lawyer posture, interrogating me on time, place, and circumstance. I told him what happened and who witnessed and testified to it. I said that if I was to have any more trouble from them, I’d go to the police. I told them I would take no more, and left.
We didn’t have so much as a minor event from them again. They visibly made a wide berth when going past our home.
Time and again, I learned and had confirmed that scorners and bullies must be directly resisted, in no uncertain terms. Chamberlain didn’t know it, but Churchill was a pragmatist. We may not wish to defend our rights and privileges, but we have no choice. Freedom is never free and, once obtained, not perpetually free. Freedom must be earned, fought for, and defended. God bless those who know this and are prepared to pay the price. Someone always must, and often by blood.
Obviously, our situation was a simple and safe one; nevertheless, the principle was there for the learning.
On November 10th, the 3rd anniversary of the conflagration at the Moon River fire hall, Cathie Hafichuk, Archie’s wife, called requesting she and the children come on the 16th to learn from us. I refused. She had been having problems with Archie and was complaining to us about him. I didn’t feel right about teaching or guiding them independently of him.
More importantly, I had no witness of sincerity from Cathie. I never once felt she was interested in righteousness and truth. It seemed she was always along for the ride with Archie, against her own will. She would later candidly declare such to be true.
On November 13th, 1992, Paul received an offer from Sandy Hall to be branch manager of H&H Business Systems of Missoula. He moved there on January 1st. We visited him in the spring.
In April or May, Paul was transferred to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He wasn’t successful. He realized he had left Davis and taken this job not only because he wanted something new, but also because he had become embittered toward God for not being able to marry Sierra Wolfe, whom he had expected to have for a wife.
I believe I was to blame either for setting his heart on her, saying she could be the one for him, or for turning her off by my attitude in expecting her to be Paul’s wife. Paul sacrificed a decent sales income at Davis and made very little income at H&H. He soon resigned, knowing he had taken a wrong turn in the road.
I received a Word for Paul, which could have been around this time. I said to him, “Make yourself a eunuch.”
“For there are some eunuchs who were born so from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it” (Matthew 19:12 MKJV).
In November 1992, Paul had a dream, related in his words:
“I was walking in a neighborhood and came upon Victor and Marilyn’s house. There were many people there, and more seemingly arriving. The house was large and beautiful. I had some rags in my hands that I wanted to get rid of.
People were being taught there. They seemed to be accomplished artists, and Victor was teaching them about art. I had no doubt, however, that they were there for spiritual food, which they were very intent to receive. I overheard one man talking with others with evident enthusiasm and great esteem for what he had been given.
The people seemed serious, sober, animated, alive, and dedicated to a purpose. I heard Victor prophesying over individuals, and a man next to me told me about his sincere desire to stop being the kind of person he was. I understood, and was similarly moved as we held hands.
An older woman was on the other side of me, and Victor was praying for her blindness to be removed. I felt the liberating force and power that came in the words. At that point, Marilyn came over to me and was very kind. Victor then saw me and said, “It’s Paul!” glad and joyful, yet not overtly demonstrative.
He said that when God was finished with me, I would no longer be hoofed out. He had these strange words: ‘The phone is ringing,’ as though God was calling and I simply needed to answer.
Everyone began to leave and I departed with an older woman – we were caring for and helping one another.”
The world celebrates many things in many ways. It lives for good times and pleasures. Yet it has no good cause to rejoice because it excludes its Maker in its festivities, even when it celebrates in His Name. It also remains in darkness and bondage while trying to act as though all is fine.
The lonely, wandering spiritual pilgrim looks on as others celebrate, waiting for the day when he can trade in his sorrow and suffering, loneliness, uncertainty, and dissatisfaction in this world for great joy and true celebration.
Still, there is a victory, peace, and joy this world cannot comprehend, despite the external appearances. I can now gladly report there is such a celebration in this realm, even if only a taste of what is in store in the hereafter for those who have met and love Jesus Christ.
Jubilee occurs on the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month, once every fifty years. I wrote this seven years before experiencing the Jubilee. One is brought into it in the fullness of time.
Jubilee, oh Jubilee!
The day declares the captive free,
Delivered from the enemy,
Glory bestowed for all to see.
Oh, blessed Day of Jubilee!
Loss, defeat, and misery,
Death and Hell had been for me,
And tears prevented me to see
That one day there’d be Jubilee.
Oh, blessed Day of Jubilee!
The road beyond what eye can see
Is littered with corpse and tragedy,
But trust the Lord, and you will be
At journey’s end with ecstasy.
Oh, Blessed Day of Jubilee!
Moon River Estates, Jan. 1993
Our fruit trees needed pruning, so we called some businesses who wanted up to $70 an hour, which we thought was ridiculous. Roger came out and when it came time to determine the price of his services, we discussed the total amount for the work he had done. He seemed to be negotiating, almost like playing a game, perhaps just establishing his business.
At one point, sarcastically I conclude, he said, “How about $20?” This was for about two hours of work, not including travel time and costs. I thought it was preposterously low, but foolishly agreed to it (not sure what got into me), and so did he, with wordless contempt.
Thereafter, I had gravel in my mouth for being so chintzy. I tried calling him and left messages several times to make things right, but he wouldn’t return my calls. I thought, “Okay, there’s no forgiveness or patience with this boy. I’ll leave it.” And so I did.
Yes, I was very wrong, and Roger was offended. But was he right? I don’t think so. Better to have honestly expressed himself and be open to reconciliation than to condemn indefinitely.
Unforgiveness is unpleasant to the one in need of forgiveness, but deadly to the one unwilling to forgive.
In the early nineties, I believe, I had a vision of Archie, cleanly groomed and dressed, in the act of sitting himself down in a sofa chair to read a newspaper or book. He was balding, with gray hair, and wearing glasses. He was quiet, and it seemed he had withdrawn from reality and from life and was pacifying himself in his own little world. It was a sad scene, one I didn’t wish to contemplate.
It reminded me of how my mother withdrew into herself and could never be reached again. This state is caused by self-pity, bitterness, and unforgiveness.
I was expecting Archie to leave us and become this way, but now, many years later, it occurs to me I was seeing a current spiritual reality with him.
Somehow, by snail-mail correspondence, I came to be in touch with Dave Nichols of Stony Plain, Alberta. He was a member of the Bible Students, an organization that declares its origin with Charles Taze Russell, as does the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses), led by Joseph Rutherford. The Bible Students forsook Rutherford’s leadership when he succeeded Russell in 1917.
Dave gave me a book, Pyramid Passages by John and Morton Edgar. The book contains some very interesting statistics about the Great Pyramid of Giza, which wonder of the world the writers claim is referred to in Scripture:
“In that day there shall be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at its border to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness to the LORD of Hosts in the land of Egypt. For they shall cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a deliverer, and a great one, and will deliver them” (Isaiah 19:19-20 MKJV).
I don’t agree with the spirit and conduct of the Bible Students, who haven’t received the Spirit of God, and I can’t agree with all the claims and speculations about the Great Pyramid. However, I’ve no doubt it has great significance, having been built by great and learned men, likely patriarchs of the true faith. Enoch or Shem? Or was it unbelievers with superior knowledge, like Nimrod?
The knowledge and ability to build the Great Pyramid, which is perhaps about 4500 years old, is nonexistent today – so much for progress and evolution.
David, thank you for the book and for introducing me to this subject in such detail. Many have something to offer, though they differ with us in the more important Heavenly matters. All in its place and in good time.
My mother’s mother, Jessie Szmon (nee Michaluk), died on March 17th, 1993 while living in a seniors’ lodge in Gilbert Plains, Manitoba. This was a woman whom I, as a non-Christian, thought of as wise, and publicly declared so. It wasn’t until I became a believer that I discovered how reluctant she was to hear the truth. The Scriptures declare:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
Lois traveled to the funeral and visited with some of the family, but wasn’t well received by them because of her faith. Indeed, she was treated with hostility by some.
Mark was commanded to leave his mother, Lois, who trusted Mark’s support and her alimony check from Howard (conditional on Mark being with her) more than God. He balked, wondering how expenses would be met for him and his mother. But he finally obeyed.
Within days, he was called to the office at school and offered a scholarship at a university in Hokkaido, Japan. And Lois was provided for.
He gladly accepted. Visiting Japan had been a childhood dream of his. I have no idea why, and he doesn’t seem to either. We can only conclude God put it in his heart. Much has developed from it since.
Marilyn and I asked the Lord if we needed to help Mark financially. God told us Mark would have all his needs provided for.
God had given him a truck (he bought Archie’s Ford F-250, which we once owned) and a lawn business with regular customers. Deciding to go to Japan, Mark didn’t simply close his business; he sold it. He had no difficulty selling it because two men came in wanting it and Mark had them bid for it, which resulted in a decent price.
Many of Mark’s customers paid him for his services only what was required, seldom tipping. One customer was particularly fussy and frugal. When Mark notified them he was selling his business and going to Japan, many of his customers, even the frugal one, gave him generous tips. Another, a dentist, “Dr. Chuck,” offered to repair Mark’s chipped front tooth for a fraction of the normal fee.
When Mark settled in Japan, he learned Japanese from scratch and earned his Master’s degree in organic agriculture within six years. During those years, he was offered translation jobs and taught English, and he earned much more than required for his necessities, sending generous gifts and offerings home. God blessed him from His treasure house, as promised.
Who says there is no God?
Nearly 3½ years after the traumatic Moon River fire hall episode with the executive, Pat King (Jim King’s wife) stopped her car as I was going for my walk. She anxiously informed me about a new crisis facing the Moon River hamlet. Belly River Farms, a failed Hutterite colony outpost, was owned and operated by the Mandel brothers, Ed and Walter, who were ex-Hutterites. They applied to the Municipal District of Willow Creek for permission to build an industrial-sized cattle feedlot.
It would be located adjacent to the northern border of our community at the only entrance to Moon River. It would be upwind from us, with a sizeable sewage field (euphemistically termed “lagoon”). Several Moon River residents were greatly troubled because, clearly, the proposed development could have disastrous effects on the fresh air, real estate values, and perhaps general health of the community.
When Pat told me of this, the bill was already in its second reading, having been once approved. Chances of defeating it seemed slim to impossible for several reasons:
First, most of the residents of Moon River didn’t seem to care or grasp the consequences of a nearby feedlot, and many weren’t willing to involve themselves in controversy, which left only a handful to take on the feedlot owners, the community, and the municipal and provincial governments, which were in favor of the feedlot. Alberta Agriculture was supportive of agribusiness development, and Alberta Environment wasn’t concerned with an issue that wasn’t classified as an environmental concern (which it should have been).
Second, Al Wheeler was a spokesperson for those planning to build it. He had financial interests in the project. Because he was the water man of Moon River, having designed and operated the pump house for many years, few cared to risk their water benefits by displeasing him. Al was also the sort of man people were reluctant to disagree with.
Third, Moon River was a small urbanized development planted “artificially” in the midst of farming territory, as a money-making scheme by the landowner, Alan Orr. As a result, several troublesome issues had arisen over the years between the residents on the one hand, and the farmers and the M.D. on the other. Moon River had developed a “pain in the butt” identity, and its credibility and favor with the M.D. were worn quite thin.
Finally, the M.D. council was known to favor agricultural development. Several members of the board were ranchers and farmers who viewed with little sympathy, if not contempt, Moon River acreage owners, seeing them as city slickers and cry babies.
Pat informed me of the next meeting and wondered if I would be willing to support their desperate minority against the feedlot. I took the news home to Marilyn, who prayed and received, “Fight the feedlot and you will win.”
Not only was the feedlot development threatening our community, we abhorred feedlots in principle, because of the animal abuse. Cattle are meant to graze, roam, and have good pasture and fresh air. In a feedlot, they’re under great stress, crammed into muddy, manure-infested quarters. If not for excessive use of antibiotics and pesticides, disease would be rampant. And synthetic growth hormones and unnatural, toxic feeds are used to promote swift weight gain.
Consumers suffer several and varied consequences from the tainted meat, cancer among them.
Industrial farming also has a noxious effect on the environment. It pollutes the surrounding fields, surface water sources, and air, when inordinate amounts of manure are spread. And it threatens to contaminate aquifers, a prime source of drinking water for people miles around. Industrial farming has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Keep in mind that in these past years, Marilyn and I were still feeling the contempt of several people in the community as a result of the November 10, 1989 event. It had been very hard living in Moon River. We had withdrawn from all social and business affairs of the community, which pleased the powerbrokers just fine, those that the Lord left remaining.
It was rather difficult for me to surface and take on another local war; when Marilyn heard those words, I struggled with them for a time and then believed them. If they were true, from God, then I had no choice but to obey and act.