PART FIVE – Moon River to Harvest Haven (cont.)
Through Archie and Cathie, we met Trevor Anderson and his wife, Sheila. As we visited, Trevor presented himself as humble and Christ-like while his wife was trying to turn him from having anything to do with us, treating us as people to be avoided. Both were very fearful people, professing faith but having the opposite. I could see the darkness and folly of such religious people, and it disturbed me. The day would come when I could say, “Go your way and do your thing, but know God has warned you.”
Fear is not to be pitied. It is the first vice listed to be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 21:8).
Lois Benson called us on April 23rd, 1988 to let us know there was a divorce settlement. The house had sold, and she, Trevor, and Mark were on their way to Lethbridge. Paul – who was visiting us at the time – and I drove to Stettler and helped them have a garage sale and pack and move, loading the Ford F250 sky high.
The man of darkness, the carnal man each one of us is apart from Christ, scarcely realizes the implications of his stance and opposition to his Creator. He doesn’t recognize the futility, much less the harm he does himself in what he considers to be his right to freedom of expression according to his understanding. Least of all does he recognize the Lord coming to him as a thief in order to deliver or judge.
The fire rages and
Nothing stands in its way –
The all-consuming fire of God:
Who can bear it?
A fearful and terrible storm,
The wicked are swept away,
Having stood and hollered,
Eaten and drunk,
Laughed and scoffed.
Now they are nothing.
So great and terrible is the fire
That we pity even our enemies,
Repentant that they stood against us.
But against us they stood,
Pushing away their good,
Despising their very lives,
Pulling seed out of the ground,
Poisoning their wells,
Burning their houses,
Slitting their throats,
Hating the urgent help,
Vigorously throwing out
The butter and honey and all good food,
Eagerly saving and eating
The eggshells and cardboard cartons,
The cellophane wrappers and bones.
Would a beggar refuse a banquet?
Would a dying man reject a physician?
But our enemies have done just so.
The fire rages and
Nothing stands in its way –
Only a terrible fire
Can clear away the refuse
And cleanse the contradiction
Of the wicked and their ways.
Lethbridge, late 80’s, early 90’s
Bill Syme told us of how our neighbors, Clarence and Joanna Arnoldussen, had planted 24 poplars as a borderline between their properties years before he came along. But they planted the front twelve trees well onto his (now our) property when it was yet an empty lot. Then they added a cotoneaster hedge on our side of the trees. Bill said they wouldn’t acknowledge the situation, but I wasn’t one to let it slip by, being pitifully territorial.
Across the road from us were the McClimens, Jim and Sandy. Jim was an accountant with Lafarge, and Sandy was a very good artist. I think she asked us why we moved to Moon River. I told her the Lord had brought us. She then asked me a curious question: “Are you an emissary of God?” I was surprised she asked and said I was. She responded positively to me and was working on a painting to give to me. I gave her some of my poetry, one of those being Abortion. Of all my writings, I have no idea why that one.
About two days later, Jim came to our door, returning the poetry, saying Sandy had red it, was shaken by it, and wanted nothing more to do with us. Jim wouldn’t listen to anything I would say. Had she had an abortion and God was addressing her?
It’s one thing to receive an emissary of God, but quite another to receive his message. Was I an emissary confronting her on a grave matter she felt guilty about?
The first night we spent in our home, we were awakened by the neighbors’ children: Joel Arnoldussen, Anders Neu, and Jason King (all perhaps 10 to 12 years old). They were leaning against our home, talking out loud.
I suppose Bill Syme had been absent much of the time, and with the lot not landscaped, the children felt free to roam the property as though it were public. I had to ask them to consider there was now someone living here and it was no longer open territory.
However, in the days to come, the three boys would ride their dirt bikes, day and evening, through our property and elsewhere as though they had free rein. They certainly didn’t like to be told otherwise. Whether it was because of the way I went about it (I tried to be friendly and diplomatic) or because they were highly inconsiderate and strong-willed, a conflict arose between us. Time would tell the outcome.
We were compelled to share a phone party line with the Arnoldussens and Jim and Pat King. As time passed, I realized they knew things from our confidential conversations with Archie and others and passed the word on to the neighborhood.
We had come to believe Jesus Christ wouldn’t return in a physical body, but that He would come, did come, and is coming in His Body, the Church. Therefore, He would come in all those who were members of His Body, which included us because we were believers. I could legitimately say I was the “second coming,” as could every believer fulfilled in Christ. As Paul wrote:
“For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14 MKJV).
We, the Body of Christ, are His “second coming.”
I had also had the dream of the “second coming” (the dream didn’t call it that) in which the Lord Jesus first made Himself known to me in 1972. In speaking confidentially among ourselves in such terms on the phone, people on our line eavesdropped, and the word got out that I declared myself the Second Coming of Christ, which I had. No doubt, there was concealed scorn and derision over that and other matters.
Around this time I had a vision of a great green deciduous tree, like a poplar perhaps, uprooted and suspended a few feet above the ground. I then saw a sword cut it in half, from top to bottom, through the trunk and the root cluster. This vision would soon be fulfilled.
The first time we met Joanna Arnoldussen was when she came over canvassing for some pro-life or anti-abortion group. We had a short visit, and we were left with the impression she was letting us know she was a Christian and doing her part as one faithful and obedient to God, witnessing of Him.
Because the Syme property (now ours) had not been landscaped or occupied with someone continuously present, the Arnoldussen children continued to take their liberties. For example, they had untrained dogs, which would litter their yard. I frequently would find the excrement tossed over to our side. I asked Joel, the primary offender, not to do it anymore, but it didn’t stop. I think I also mentioned it to Joanna, but she seemed to brush it off, as she did other things. It just didn’t seem to matter to them.
Joel was the community paperboy and would deliver his papers with a loud dirt bike. He would also repeatedly go up and down the street with it, as well as along the back of our property. Jason King and Anders Neu would join him. The noise was vexing. We couldn’t spend time outside without dealing with the constant roar of dirt bikes; not to mention they were tearing up the terrain in what was supposed to be a natural, pleasant environment for the entire community.
I was annoyed that the Arnoldussens wouldn’t acknowledge their encroachment with the trees and hedge, howbeit unintentional. I suppose it wasn’t the property, but the perceived presumption, that bothered me. Why had they not come to talk about it when we moved in? Didn’t they realize the situation or were they hoping to avoid any changes of the boundary?
Instead of approaching them promptly and directly, I mentioned it to some neighbors and landscapers we were approaching for ideas and preparations for landscaping of our own, seeing they might be wise to take true property borders into consideration. My words returned to the Arnoldussens, who resented my not coming to them about it. It was admittedly unwise and selfish of me. As the proverb says:
“If you and your neighbor have a difference of opinion, settle it between yourselves and do not reveal any secrets” (Proverbs 25:9 GNB).
There are some things I have done that have been so strange and even inexplicable. I now shudder at some of them. In June of 1988, the Bensons came to live with us at Moon River until they found a home in Lethbridge. Mark attended high school in Fort MacLeod, while Trevor was taking engineering at the University of Lethbridge and working various jobs between semesters.
Mark and Lois worked for Archie, and I would receive reports from him of constant problems with them. I also recall several other matters that unsettled Marilyn and me, regarding their habits, attitudes, and actions.
They hadn’t joined us for long before I had Lois take the boys downstairs and severely spank them, with pants lowered. She had a very hard time doing it. I was surprised because she was reputed to be the disciplinarian of her family, “not sparing the rod.” When she would have ceased a couple of times, I said, “More.” Somehow I felt this trial or chastening was for her as much as for her sons.
When done, all three were thoroughly shocked. What were they expecting in coming here – a party? I recall as they were coming to Lethbridge, they were all very silly and acting so foolishly.
Their attitudes could have been caused by their release from the very unpleasant environment in Stettler, the divorce finally settled, and so forth, but it was apparent they were all quite frivolous at heart, despite their circumstances. I wasn’t trying to change them by punishment, but beyond us, as harsh and cruel as it appeared, a purpose was being worked out.
Many years later, when regret over this incident would come to haunt me, I received revelation and understanding.
We received report that Delores Molnar was defeated in her cancer. She died a few months later on June 14th, 1988. Just after her death, I had a mental vision (different from a picture vision – more like a visualized feeling), in which I saw her on her deathbed, screaming in terror, in great guilt, afraid of what awaited her on the other side. If this happened externally, it would have been a horrible experience for Fred and their children – Garry and Stacey – and anyone else present.
On June 16th, two days after Delores’ death, Lucy and Marlene, two of Lois’ sisters, called to reason with Lois, saying that I was a cult and that she should steer clear of me.
On the 20th, Lois and Mark were working for Archie’s Handyman Services, painting, cleaning Terry Carlson’s devastated rental houses, and doing general maintenance and repairs. As they were painting the exterior of a customer’s house, Lois’ ladder gave way, and she fell to the cement, her right hand and wrist shattering in many pieces. She was taken to emergency where Dr. Hurdle, reputedly a good doctor, said her wrist was a mess and would have to be fused, there being no way to repair it.
Lois asked the Lord about it, and He said it would be okay. She refused fusing. They waited a week for the swelling to go down and operated the best they could.
While Lois was at the hospital having the operation, as well as thereafter for a while, I had pain in my right hand. Lois refused painkillers, saying she felt no pain. They couldn’t believe her. Was I taking on her pain?
Lois recently reminded me that I advised her concerning her hand to “use it or lose it.” She used it, going back to painting while yet in a cast. Coincidentally, the lady who owned the house Lois was painting happened to have the same doctor, and one day she commented to Dr. Hurdle on this woman who was painting her house with a cast. The doctor asked who it was. She told him it was Lois Benson. Dr. Hurdle was surprised. “One tough lady,” he said.
Weeks later, when examining her hand, he couldn’t believe her good progress. He said, “I don’t know what happened, but go and fly!” To this day, Lois has been pain-free, having full use of the hand. It only remains slightly deformed.
Who says there is no God?
Lois examined herself after her fall, wondering why it happened. She says she had known she was supposed to do something, but hadn’t done it. Now she knew she could wait no longer. She called me saying, “Victor, the Lord told me I need to give you something.” That something was the money to pay off our mortgage. We had gone into debt, led of the Lord to do so (by faith), and soon after, He took care of it.
Who says there is no God?
One day I realized a vision I had, likely back in the seventies, was fulfilled. I saw, now in reality, Marilyn, well-dressed, at the kitchen sink, facing south, looking out as she washed her hands. We were in our own home, as promised.
Who says there is no God?
A hailstorm came and ruined the finish on our logs. The soft pine logs were pitted and needed sanding down and re-staining. Our insurance covered the cost. Though our mortgage was done, and we were no longer under obligation to carry insurance, we did so, thinking it would be good to be covered in such cases again in the future. It was a foolish thought. We paid insurance for years until I realized my unbelief.
Four years later, I asked God, “Why did I buy that insurance?” “You wanted something for nothing,” was the reply. I was rebuked for my sin and was sorry I had put good money in the burning barrel. Fear and greed buy insurance.
Which do you think insurance companies are there for – your welfare or their wealth-fare?
Living directly across the road, and no doubt glad to see fresh activity in their white elephant development, Kay Wheeler had taken several pictures of Bill Syme’s home construction from the very day it began, starting with the excavation.
On the back of the first pictures taken of the groundbreaking was the date July 10, 1986. This was the very day when, in Stettler, I had the vision of a mare birthing a colt, and when telling Marilyn of the vision, she received it represented new beginnings. Little did I know how time and time again, the tenth day of the seventh month would repeat itself with significant events in our lives – all new beginnings.
Why had Kay taken those pictures? It could have been for the reason I speculated, but was there more to it? Had God given her to do it for our sakes? How often do people take pictures of construction in their neighborhood (before the days of digital cameras and cell phones)? And why did she give those pictures to me, not to Bill Syme? I could tell they were on good terms with the Symes. No, those pictures were meant for us, and she gave them to me just in time, as you will see later. We still have them.
She even wrote the explanations and dates on the back. I marveled with joy. The Lord was founding this particular “new beginning,” preparing something for us of which we had no idea. And you’ll see much more.
Who says there is no God?
One day, in 1988 or early 1989, I was envying Al and Kay Wheeler’s lot location and view overlooking a valley and horse paddocks. As I was considering this, the Lord gave me a vision. I saw a forest lookout tower – an older, ramshackle one, made of wood with only a railing all around. There was a pig inside, standing on its hind legs with forelegs on the rail, screaming away. I knew I was the pig.
I confessed and repented of my envy and coveting my neighbor’s goods, and began to thank God for the great and many blessings He had bestowed on us. I almost immediately saw a new, shining tower, more like a control tower at an airport, with plate glass windows. There I was, inside, as a person, dressed in a suit, with smiling face and shining countenance, young and handsome, in peace and victory, taking in the beautiful scenery. In the former scene, it was evident I was in a precarious position, but in this second scene, I was safe and secure. So it is.
To the Lord, covetousness is very ugly, and satisfaction with Him alone very beautiful.
Who says there is no God?
The Lord once said to me, “If you believe, it will go well for you. If you don’t believe, it will not go well.”
I came to know the negative portion of those words many times in many different situations, sorry to say. But with time and repeated lessons, I have learned. I don’t know that I’ve ever learned after the first, second, or even third or fourth times in some instances. It depends on how hard the lessons are. The hotter the fires, the more established the memory and reluctance to repeat the error.
We began to realize a spiritual tyranny in Moon River oppressed the community, though some residents may not have realized it. Under this power and influence, there was a spirit of lawlessness that prevailed with both parent and child. The parents would do their selfish thing and the children theirs. The hamlet as a whole lingered in a state of social and economic limbo; it was an undesirable community with an air of desolation, oppression, and depression. An evil spirit ruled. Something had to break.
And break it did, as you’ll soon see, and how wonderfully, painfully, and fruitfully!
One day I had to confront Jason King on riding their dirt bikes on the street. The Kings’ eldest son, Jim Jr., loudly cursed me with expletives not to be mentioned. But let’s look at the situation: They were breaking traffic laws, using public streets without license; they disregarded the peace, comforts, and rights of the community; and they reacted in all vileness when I confronted them on it.
I could have called the police or taken the situation into my own hands. However, I thought it best to report to the father, Jim King, Sr. To my surprise, he instantly made it clear, with pride and indignation, he would always stand with his children, regardless of whether they were right or wrong, as if it was noble of him to do so.
Why do we have wars and injustice? Why do people not understand or even care to understand that truth and justice take precedence, without debate or question, over family, friends, money, or any other earthly thing? They take pride in solidarity with those whom they love even if they commit selfish, lawless acts. Without understanding or discretion, they become party to, and responsible for, the crimes and injustices of those they defend.
In the future, fruits would come to prove the folly of Jim King’s stance, as they always do. Crime never pays.
I also tried talking to Byron Neu about his son Anders’ attitude toward us and our property. He proudly retorted, “I don’t tell my son what to think.” Really! Here we go again with less than admirable parenting ignorance, attitude, and practice. Is that the way a parent should raise a child? Here, too, fruits would come to prove otherwise.
In each of these cases, I found the parents were as unreasonable as their children, if not more so. Indeed, I came to realize that the attitudes of children often reflect those of their parents.
This isn’t always the case, of course, but often. Isn’t this to be expected when the Lord visits the lawlessness to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Him (Exodus 20:4-6)?
It wasn’t long before this time (1988) the Lord had said to me, “You can live expensively at the bottom or inexpensively at the top.” Time and again, I would choose the bottom – and it was expensive, believe me, and oh, was it ever inexpensive at the top, whenever I stepped out believing!
For example, instead of going out and buying a new dishwasher, I saw a used Maytag in the paper. Marilyn cautioned me, saying we should just get a new one, but as often was the case, I didn’t listen. After all, it was a Maytag, wasn’t it? Don’t they last forever? I had to learn that while Maytag had an effective advertising theme of their repairman being bored, perhaps he was bored for other reasons.
Soon we had problems; the Maytag was squeaking. Ron’s Appliance Repair came out and replaced the little belts, and things went fine. However, they replaced one that I didn’t think needed it, so I returned it and continued with the old. Though it was a used part and only seven dollars, I insisted on a refund, and they reluctantly, yet graciously, took it back. Is that cheap or what? I was a miser of the first order. I shake my head at how they must have felt, biting their lips in the night.
The squeaking problems returned. I called another repair service. He came out and told us it was the pump and we needed an overhaul, the cost being what we had paid for the dishwasher. We accepted his diagnosis, paid the bill, the washer lasted a short while and began to leak. To this day, I believe it was merely a matter of the $7 belt. Ron’s Appliance Repair had done the right thing; I did the wrong, paid the hefty, punishing price for it, and regretted it ever since.
When you’re cheap, you pay dearly, not just financially, but emotionally, socially, and spiritually. I have grieved both man and God terribly, many, many times.