PART FIVE – Moon River to Harvest Haven (cont.)
I saw an extension ladder at a garage sale. It was used and priced as a new one. I wanted it for a fair used price. The lady holding the sale was Pat Holt. She professed faith in Christ and was a member of the Victory Christian Church. Her husband had either died or left her, and she claimed she was in financial straits. She wasn’t open to anything I had to say, especially if I told her what I had heard from the Lord concerning Victory Church.
I ended up buying the ladder for a price I believe she thought was too little. I thought perhaps I should give her more, simply because she told me she was poor, though she was the former wife of a doctor. However, I couldn’t bring myself to pay more. Whether I was too cheap or was prevented, I don’t know; likely the former.
Each of us has our peculiar weaknesses and faults. Mark Benson’s is reasoning everything out, utterly contrary to wisdom or walking by revelation. My problem, and that of others in relation to him, is that he’s persuasive in argument and unless we’re on our guard, we soon fall prey.
On one occasion, we held a garage sale at Archie’s place at 1720 Ashgrove, where we were selling many books, mostly educational texts. I decided to clear them out at fire sale prices, 12 for a dollar. New, some of them would have cost 20 or even 30 dollars each. I bundled them, determining that if I was going to sell them so cheaply, people would have to take them as bundled.
No matter how good a deal, there’s always someone not satisfied, demanding the last particle of advantage. One woman came along looking for books and insisted she buy 12 for a dollar but be allowed to break up the bundles. I countered that the bundles were determined because of the excellent price.
“If you want to sell your books, you’ll break them up,” she impudently returned. I was taken aback by her selfishness and chutzpah. I thought that, technically, perhaps it wouldn’t make a difference if I broke them up, but I didn’t feel I should cave to her spirit. Was I right? Was this the “Christian” way for me to react?
I consulted with Mark for a moment, and he reasoned that at least we would sell them if she had her way. I succumbed. The woman took what she wanted, brusquely slapped the money in my hand and walked off with her books and my peace.
If I had the opportunity again, I would not be “Christian.” I would tell her what I saw of her and ask her to leave. Because of her attitude, I was very sorry I gave in to her, and I was angry with Mark for not perceiving a greater picture. It was a test for him but doubly so for me. If he was crass, not recognizing greater issues, what was I for heeding his opinion?
There would be several other incidents with Mark where I would be tried and found wanting. This one was a classic example. I was slowly learning Mark was a man-pleaser extraordinaire, and this fault would prove costly in future.
I have said, “Wealth is a responsibility – not just a blessing or privilege.” As our wealth increased, I was more and more challenged as to what to do with it. I found it to be a responsibility indeed, one I had no ability to bear or fulfill, as I would learn.
What, under God, is a believer to do with his wealth? Some would say, “Give it all to the poor.” George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilization, for example, was a fanatical advocate of being poor to the point of deliberately wearing ragged or old clothing. He saw this not as a requirement on himself only, but on all that call on the Name of the Lord.
He failed to recognize God doesn’t require it by law of every believer to be poor. What the Lord does require is responsible and holy stewardship of possessions, which ever belong to the Giver and Maker of wealth.
While Jesus called on the rich young ruler to sell all his wealth and give it away, He didn’t require so of Zaccheus, Nicodemus, or Joseph of Arimathea. Yet, I expect those men were faithful before God with their possessions, if they continued in the faith.
And what of Paul’s counsel to Timothy concerning wealthy men? He didn’t suggest they give it all away. This is what he said:
“Command those who are rich in the things of this life not to be proud, but to place their hope, not in such an uncertain thing as riches, but in God, Who generously gives us everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share with others. In this way they will store up for themselves a treasure, which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19 GNB).
On the other hand, there are those rich ones who treasure their wealth above God and argue, “It’s not money but the love of money that’s evil.” These words are most true, but why are those who covet mammon most often found to be speaking them?
The fearful day would come when I would be exposed and severely chastened by the Lord for my covetousness and much more besides, but the results would be very beneficial.
Throughout most of my life, I’ve been tormented with the fear that if I didn’t do what I was supposed to do, God would “get me” for it. I believe this was caused by my Catholic upbringing. I recall many times when I was misbehaving, my mother would threaten me: “God will get you for that! Wait and see! You won’t get away with anything. You reap what you sow!”
Yes, my childhood conditioning set me in the track of thinking that way, but I’ve also learned there’s a more important factor. Fear of God’s punishment comes from not obeying and doing what one knows is right. If one does what’s right in their conscience, there won’t be the fear of punishment:
“For if we do evil on purpose after we have had the knowledge of what is true, there is no more offering for sins, but only a great fear of being judged, and of the fire of wrath which will be the destruction of the haters of God” (Hebrews 10:26-27 BBE).
From our home at Moon River Estates, I would take a walk out of the community and down the road, past green pastures with hundreds of heads of beef cattle. Content cattle on luscious pastures can be one of the most comforting and idyllic of scenes. I was thankful.
The time would soon come when all that would change, drastically; the cattle would be taken off pasture and crowded into pens. Not only would the owners be abusing their cattle, they would also be threatening our community with a polluting industrial feedlot – a far cry from contented cattle grazing on green pastures.
Keith Dillabough came to visit. He had been to Briarcrest Bible College and was hoping to be a missionary to China. I was surprised when he told us they had “Mass” in their church services. I thought it was an evangelical Bible school. “What’s with the pagan altar worship?” I wondered.
I asked him to help me hand-weed the lawn while we talked, “if you don’t mind.” He did mind; he had an impossible time of it – it was almost like having to bury himself. To him, it was like cutting one’s lawn with scissors. I understood, yet found it interesting who was able and willing to weed and who wasn’t. Keith had bigger and nobler things in mind.
This apparently useless, tedious, ridiculous activity weeded out the shortsighted and high-minded. Some Scriptures mention such circumstances…and people:
“Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s ‘weakness.’ Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of ‘the brightest and the best’ among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’?” (1 Corinthians 1:25-28 MSG)
“Indeed, who despises the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10 HNV)
Keith being without work, we offered him a labor job with Archie and Lois in Archie’s handyman services. Keith tried it for a few days, wasn’t interested, and suddenly left, without notice or explanation.
This was one of the few cases in those days when I wasn’t going to let him go without some severe words, contrary to “Christian” conduct. I was tired of turning the other cheek. I wrote him a scathing letter, though a true one, with substance; however, I still question whether I should have done that. It seems I was venting for my own sake, more than instructing or informing for his, as true as the words were.
In 1989, the Soviet Iron Curtain began to come down, evident to the world. On November 10, with the East Germans’ announcement of removing travel restrictions, the Berlin Wall was dismantled.
Coincidentally, this was the same day of our Moon River conflagration and the fulfillment of two visions, one on July 10, 1986 of the birth of a colt, God’s announcement to us of new beginnings, and the other I had in October 1987 of the man of faith being railed on by a group of rulers in murderous hatred.
In 1991, the Soviet Union was officially finished. Would there be a reversal of developments? Yes, we had been informed there would be.
Once when Archie’s son, Christopher Hafichuk, was visiting us at Moon River, I had a prophecy for him. This could have been anytime between 1988 and 1991. The main part of it was:
“If you don’t repent and look to the Lord, forsaking your anger and bitterness, cruelty will be your master and it will you serve. ”
I had seen bitterness and fretting in Chris and even an occasional lashing out.
In spite of Marilyn’s dieting, her abdomen was growing larger, though she wasn’t so ill anymore. I tried to tell Marilyn she was pregnant. “It’s menopause,” she countered. “Besides, the doctor said we could never have children.”
“Do women get so big in menopause?” I asked.
We didn’t avail ourselves of doctors if we could help it, but we called Birthright Lethbridge, thinking we could at least start with a pregnancy test. Birthright is an association that encourages women to keep their babies instead of aborting them.
Was it menopause, pregnancy, cancer, or what? Would we have mixed feelings when we found out!
Our appointment was slated for July 10th, 1991. Marilyn had a pregnancy test and… she was with child. She didn’t want to hear it, feeling trapped with nowhere to run. She cried a lot at first, but I persuaded her this was a gift from God, a miraculous one, and she therefore should not only accept it, but be very thankful. I was excited – of course, I wasn’t the pregnant one. At this point we had no idea when the child was due.
We now sought a doctor for the birth. We would have preferred a home birth with a midwife, someone private who was experienced to help us, but we weren’t aware that avenue was available. If we got a medical doctor, I wanted a female one. I had the conviction Marilyn’s privacy towards males was important.
Dr. Ireland’s name came up. In talking to her, she emphasized we could experience problems having a child at Marilyn’s age – forty-one. She presented the option of terminating the pregnancy, in case the baby was mongoloid (having Down syndrome).
It disturbed me that leaders and trusted persons in our society could speak of murder in such casual terms. Of course, they didn’t see abortion as murder, but what is terminating the life of an infant human being? Housecleaning? Taking the trash out? Fetusectomy? Nothing more than a complex bowel movement? An enema?
For some reason, Dr. Ireland wasn’t able or willing to serve us, but referred us to Dr. Hardin, not because she was a good doctor, but because she was the only other female doctor available in our area; Dr. Hardin specialized in childbirth.
We assured Dr. Ireland we weren’t concerned about a handicapped child, and in any case, we were going all the way with the pregnancy. We had to consider, however, what if we did have a child with Down syndrome? I had worked with such at Arc Industries in Dauphin 12 years earlier. I was vaguely familiar with both the difficulties and sorrows parents experienced with these affectionate, yet handicapped, persons.
The thought was quite unsettling. I wanted a normal child, but if the Lord willed otherwise, so be it. I suspected such a child could be a real work-over of the heart for good, which, notwithstanding the inherent responsibility, would be infinitely preferable to living with murder on my conscience.
Given Marilyn’s age, they wanted to know whether we were prepared to abort if there was something wrong. They wanted to take no chances. We had to tell them firmly we would follow through without any debate and with as little intervention as possible. We asked for as natural a birth as possible, whatever that meant.
Was it a boy or a girl? Was it healthy or not? We turned down ultrasound, not believing it was good for the baby’s health (still don’t). (Here are some good links on the subject.)
Doctors are ordinary people, but by virtue of their education and responsibility with life-and-death matters, they ought to be people of whom much is expected. Dr. Evelyn Hardin wasn’t an independent thinker. I don’t know how she got her license. She displayed little ability to intelligently, competently assess the situation.
For example, when we found out Marilyn was pregnant, we knew she needed to eat more, so I took her off her dieting. I was now concerned Marilyn had been dieting during pregnancy. As she gained weight, Hardin became concerned, advising Marilyn to cut back. Marilyn was no more than 20 pounds over the norm; we saw no problem with it and disregarded what we considered to be the doctor’s textbook approach without judgment.
Another example was when we dropped in periodically for examination. One day we were rushing to be on time and were upset with each other about something. Into Hardin’s office Marilyn walks and immediately has her blood pressure taken. Of course, it was high and Hardin was ready to take medical measures.
Fortunately, we had just red Dr. Robert Mendelsohn’s Confessions of a Medical Heretic, where we found him advising that whenever blood pressure is taken, it should be taken at least twice, after the person is allowed to settle down. There are many variables to take into consideration. I see the difference whenever I take my blood pressure at Save-On’s pharmacy department. My second and third readings are significantly lower than the first, every time. Why would not a medical doctor care to know such simple, yet important matters?
I suggested we take the blood pressure again in a few minutes, Marilyn settled down, and her pressure was normal.
On July 14th, we met with Archie’s family and the Bensons at Cam Peat’s acreage Archie was renting southeast of Lethbridge. Everyone was excited, although I felt somewhat tempered in my joy because things weren’t going well with Archie and his family or with the Bensons for that matter. There were constant conflicts.
However, they were still excited. Everyone had gifts to give. Everyone gave gifts for a little girl, but Danny, Archie’s youngest, bought a squeaky rubber hammer. I thought, “Why would he buy a boy’s toy when we expect a girl?” We had even chosen a name for her – “Alaythia,” a Greek-derived name, meaning “Truth.”
Just before the baby was born, we had concerns about the pregnancy and delivery. I saw, in a vision, the baby coming out suddenly, almost like a cork popping out of a champagne bottle, with no complications.
The world has always had its threatening situations, but now seemed like an undesirable time to bring a child into it, given the evil days. As I expressed this concern to the Lord, He said, “The child is destined for the crown, not the sword.” We had nothing to fear.
The Arnoldussens had a temperamental bitch that would bark, growl, and snap at me and others if we got anywhere close to their yard. One day, as Marilyn was in a part of our yard next to theirs, the dog came violently at her. I was nearby and ran to ward it off. It didn’t touch Marilyn, but it was close.
It was annoying that we should be harassed by neighbors’ dogs in our own yard. When we complained to Joanna, she brushed it off as though we were being ridiculous, blowing things out of proportion, or lying.
A few days later, the milkman came to deliver at Arnoldussens, and the dog attacked him. Only then did they get rid of it. We heard no apology from them. Ah, Reform people, and the daughter of a Reform pastor, no less.
What is the greatest satisfaction one can have on earth? I have learned it.
It doesn’t come by travel, sightseeing, recreation, or entertainment. It doesn’t come by power, financial fortune, social status, drugs, food, drink, or fame, no matter how much one may have of these. It doesn’t come by health or by being loved. It doesn’t come by friends or by family – a wife, husband, or child. It doesn’t come from a church or religion. Knowledge or volume of accomplishment doesn’t satisfy. What, then, provides the greatest satisfaction?
It is to fulfill one’s duty and calling on their life. It is to perform to the best of one’s ability that for which they were born. The apostle Paul said, in Peterson’s words, “This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believing all the way” (2 Timothy 4:7 MSG).
It doesn’t matter how great or small the calling may appear to be, whether it is an apostle, caregiver, janitor, business executive, schoolteacher, bureaucrat, mother, or housewife.
Solomon said these things:
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no work, nor plan, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave where you go” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 MKJV).
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God, and keep His commandments. For this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 MKJV).
All else, he said, was vanity.
This same satisfaction works even in short-term obligations, whether annual ones, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, or by the minute. What you do, do well, and it will be well with you – a great truth.
We saw Paul for the last time in a while on August 18th, 1991, when he left for home after a visit. He called on the 21st. Something Paul said provoked me to tell him that seeing he could only think of women and marriage, he may as well go to it. I said, “Go fornicate! If that’s what you want, don’t be a hypocrite; be what you really are. Better to be cold than lukewarm. Go do your thing.” That was the second time for me to kick him out. I was fed up with constantly trying to correct him in his fetish about women.
In 1991, Jimmy Swaggart was found out – a fulfillment of what I had prophesied to Dave Neufeld in 1987. It was announced that men like Oral Roberts and others were ministering to and praying for him. I wrote Jimmy, telling him that Oral Roberts and whoever else praying for him did no good and that he wasn’t delivered of his demons.
But who was I that he should listen to me? I didn’t expect him to respond… and he didn’t.
From the beginning, we determined not to use chemicals on our lawn. We didn’t want children playing on our lawn with pollutants; we didn’t want birds, insects, and microorganisms poisoned; and we certainly had no desire to support the tyrannical, destructive chemical industry. This meant we would let our lawn go to weed, or if we were to eliminate weeds, with our limited knowledge, it would be on our hands and knees.
What a job! We had a half-acre of lawn, and I recall a time when only a tiny portion of the lawn was so full of dandelions I would spend six hours just getting the “bloomers” by the root. There were the “tinies,” the “budders,” the “bloomers,” and the dreaded “fuzzers,” which were ready to produce more because we had missed them at earlier stages.
We needed all the help we could get, so Archie and his family, Lois and her boys, Paul, and on rare occasions, other individuals would come in their spare time. The Hafichuks, the Bensons, and Paul Cohen spent many long hours helping us.
I tried hiring one of the Van Liere kids, but all they could do was scorn the notion of weeding by hand. How the chemical industry has taken over the world in its perspectives and philosophies, affecting our environment, health, and wellbeing! Of course, we could have let the weeds go, but we wanted the conventional manicured, grassy lawn.
Were there benefits? Yes! We got some exercise, fresh air, sunshine, and instead of wasting our time sitting around a table or on a sofa or watching TV, we visited and talked, dealing with issues in our lives while weeding. We had a clean conscience, a healthy environment around the home, and enjoyed the satisfaction of not supporting heinously-destructive mercenaries.
Not to mention that so often has the Lord spoken to me on the lawn or given me revelations, and I found it a suitable time to pray and meditate. I discovered a new meaning to “being on my knees.”
The Hafichuks and the Bensons would often come out to our place on Sundays, their day off. However, we would only sit around and have the most boring times. I got tired of it and thought, “We aren’t accomplishing anything physically or spiritually; it’s always dead, so why not head out on the lawn leisurely and weed while we either talk or remain silent?”
Thereafter, it was assumed that whenever they came out, they would be weeding unless other things came up. Cathie didn’t like it, feeling Archie worked hard all other six days and needed a rest. I understood, but felt that either they stayed home on Sundays or weeded when they came out. Right or wrong, I could no longer tolerate nothingness or uncomfortable silence; there was no peace or rest in it.
Jake Van Liere’s boys, Quinn, John, and Ben, would come by mocking. We didn’t rebuke them or complain, but remained silent or tried to reason with them, time and again. They continued their assault. This was only further proof bullies won’t go away if ignored or if their victims don’t stand up to them.
One day they came to our home for no other reason, it seemed, than to have a bit of fun. “Idle hands are the devil’s playground”? Marilyn answered the door, and she became angry with them (I don’t know what was said or done). I came out, angry this time as well, and chased them away, telling them they were no longer allowed on our property. That event, however, wouldn’t be the end of it.
One day, I was utterly overwhelmed with the weeds getting away on me. Because Marilyn was pregnant, she could no longer join me on the lawn, and others were busy with their duties. I was near surrendering to using 2,4-D broadleaf herbicide or just letting the weeds go. Then the Lord spoke to me and said: “These things are accomplished from above.” I thanked the Lord for His Word.
Archie unexpectedly dropped by in the afternoon and helped me for about an hour on one small patch. He left and, as I resumed, I looked out on the lawn, and there wasn’t as much as I was sure there had been just hours before. Was the Lord blessing me by Archie?
Within a day or two, by myself, with only a few hours each day, I was caught up, with the weeds under control. From that day forward, those words would return to me on many occasions when I felt desperate or overwhelmed, not only in weeding, but in greater matters.
You’ll recall that Claudio Chiste represented MH Consulting in the Spencer trial and Donald Moffat was the bombastic adversary who promised a countersuit, presuming or pretending I was a crooked consultant. What were the chances of the lawyers for both the defendant and plaintiff in my case being taken out of law practice some short years later?
In 1991 we heard Claudio Chiste had gone bankrupt. I recall he had spoken of real estate and leverage. I guess he over-leveraged himself. He retreated to a cabin in the Crowsnest Pass.
I wanted to help him, so I called his wife, who was understandably skeptical and protective, seeing we had never met. My efforts didn’t go anywhere – Claudio wasn’t interested. The words about the firestorm in “I See a Boy” had been prophetic.
Donald Moffat had offended the law somehow and found himself out of practice. His offense wasn’t mere incompetence or oversight, but I don’t know exactly what its nature was.