PART SIX– Harvest Haven to Surprise Visitors (cont.)
Cathie was resisting us all the way and we were at a loss about what to do. She never wanted anything to do with us, yet here we were, yoked with them in the farm, a daunting enterprise for all, even if we were united.
Now Sean was a thorn in Cathie’s side. His presence in their home grieved her, though I didn’t know how much at the time – they would never say anything. Sean was quite willing to report to me things going on in Archie’s household that they didn’t want me to know. Cathie was resentful and increasingly rebellious.
It didn’t occur to us that Sean should leave their home. We knew it wasn’t the answer because Sean wasn’t the problem. Cathie was trouble for years before he ever came along. Marilyn and I prayed constantly, “Lord, what do we do with Cathie? What can we do? What is Your will? Please do something!”
Now Sean and Marilyn were spending more time talking to each other. They attended home school meetings with others on behalf of Archie’s children, whom Marilyn presumed she or Sean or both would home-school. Marilyn had been educated as a teacher, as had Sean.
They were also taking control of the farm and even went shopping together. There was something happening and it became rather embarrassing for me; Lois expressed some concern, as well. All this while, I was getting quite saddened, and jealous. When I spoke to Marilyn about it, she insisted she and Sean needed to talk, that he needed it, and that they weren’t doing anything immoral. Their relationship, I was told, was totally platonic. Sean also insisted that he be free to talk to Marilyn.
They two seemed to come to the conviction, conscious or otherwise, that they were the driving force at the farm and that I was becoming redundant. It was quite disconcerting to me, and though I pleaded and reasoned with them, it was of no use. Except to assume what I considered a dictatorial posture, I could do nothing. Marilyn was glad to have Sean because he was very zealous to help her in everything and assume active responsibility with the farm, something that was not in me to do.
I also believed that unless people took a committed and active role operating the farm, it would fail. Marilyn and Sean were doing just that. It seems I was more concerned about my “investment” than about my wife, our marriage, or the Law of God. I felt trapped and helpless. I really didn’t know what to do. A solution to the dilemma may have been perfectly obvious to an outsider, separating Marilyn and Sean by keeping her at home or sending Sean away. Neither option seemed right or feasible.
One day, Marilyn, Sean, and I were speaking by phone. Sean was at the farm and we were at home. Sean was quite forward in his opinions of what to do with people. I said to him, “I’ve often wished to be a simple follower rather than having to bear the responsibility of a leader. You think it’s easy? You take over and see how you like it. I’ll trade shoes with you.”
“I do want to lead,” he replied. He was ready to take over anytime. What was I saying? Was I speaking idle words for which the Lord would hold me accountable? What a change of circumstances waited for us all not far down the road!
As I look back, I could have done so many things differently, but there it is.
I recall a group of women who came in to pick strawberries. One woman picked everything in her row, green ones, small ones, everything, heaping her bucket. She wanted me to give her a price break, proudly pointing out how she hadn’t wasted anything in her designated row, unlike so many others who leave good berries behind (which we pick in gleaning, anyway). “Besides,” she proudly, sincerely declared, meaning well, “I picked any weeds I saw in my row.”
I looked at her bucket and saw waste. Because many of the berries weren’t ripe, she would have to toss them, and it still cost us because they would have ripened and delighted anyone that picked them at the right time. I was a little annoyed that she should have the nerve to overload her bucket (we charged by the bucket) and ask me for a deal. I decided to charge her the going price, no more, no less.
I don’t know if she ever came back; I doubt it, but that part doesn’t matter. What has so bothered me since then was that I might have hurt her. She was genuine in her attitude, I think, though mistaken in what she did. I wish I knew who it was and that I could reverse that event. I would give her the bucket freely and give her some good, kind advice on how to pick strawberries. If that lady should read this, I wish you would contact us. I would love to do you a favor in return for what you tried earnestly to do for us.
A lady walked into the store, and seeing some parsnips with tops on them, asked what they were. I said they were parsley (I thought they were until someone corrected me). She took some home. Can anyone tell me if parsnip tops taste anything like parsley?
Another lady tasted some greens she was looking at. She said, “Lois said it was Italian parsley. It doesn’t taste like parsley.” In fact, she found out later it was cilantro. You needn’t tell me if cilantro tastes like parsley!
A Hutterite gardener walked into our store and sold us some garlic. He said it was Elephant garlic from Gergely’s Greenhouses. We believed him. We heard that Elephant garlic was in demand, with larger heads and a milder taste. He sold it to us for at least twice the price. Then one day, Mr. Gergely walked up to our farmer’s market table and saw that we were displaying garlic and advertising it as Elephant garlic. We didn’t know him until he told us who he was. “That’s not Elephant garlic. I grow the stuff and that isn’t it!”
“But the Hutterite from So-and-So Colony told us it was, and that he got it from you.”
“I never sold that colony anything!” he replied.
Are you supposed to be able to trust Hutterites because they’re so religious? We were learning – what was what and not to take anybody’s word for anything, even though they should know (we thought Hutterites naturally knew a lot about gardening). Were we irresponsible? I think so, though perhaps not intentionally. But we did and would learn, and far more than we ever dreamt.
We would find our world expanding well beyond what it was, not only in the gardening, organic farming, health and nutrition fields, but in other, more important, spiritual and attitudinal ways. Putting it perhaps more accurately, we needed a new world, but before it could come, our old world would have to go.
How confusing it was for us when we first bought the farm. We didn’t know where to go for advice for organic production, but we sure had people coming and advising us on what to do and how, though most of them knew nothing themselves. Sometimes we recognized their shortfall immediately and dismissed their advice. Other times, we took their advice (or services) and found out days, weeks, months, or even years later they were wrong.
Often, though not always, those most ready to advise and opine are ones who know the least. I’ve often wished that those who truly knew better wouldn’t be so reticent to speak up – to warn, inform, and advise. But then there need to be open hearts and hearing ears…which, by and large, there weren’t.
I often wished we had known what specifically we were to do, and had people to show us how. I wanted a master plan, with stages set out. What we didn’t realize and wouldn’t know for several years was that God had a Master Plan and was directing everything accordingly, while we had no idea. Man’s wisdom and methodology weren’t permitted here.
The greatest trial of all was the spiritual conflict. Archie and Cathie didn’t want us at the farm. They were constantly chafing at our involvement, yet we knew there was a great investment involved, much to do and to learn, and we judged that they needed all the help they could get. Were we wrong? Could be!
I’m reviewing correspondence and records as I write this book. I have before me a letter from Marilyn’s mother, Laura Klein, dated May 29, 1996 about the whereabouts and happenings of members of their family. Laura relates to Marilyn no less than three suicides in the family.
She mentioned Shirley Calder and her father who both committed suicide. She mentioned Jack Baynton, who had two boys, one of which deliberately shot himself at home in front of his father. It strikes to the heart and brings tears to my eyes. A father witnessing his own son killing himself in front of him?! As a father, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for something like that.
“Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master” (Ephesians 6:4 MSG).
We live in a godless world. People everywhere are without knowledge and perishing, whether they kill themselves outright, or die of dis-ease. Only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is there true hope.
“Destruction has overtaken My people because they have no knowledge; because you have given up knowledge, I will give you up, so that you will be no priest to Me, because you have not kept in mind the Law of your God, I will not keep your children in My memory” (Hosea 4:6 BBE).
The purpose of this book is to bring that knowledge:
“Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water! Are you penniless? Come anyway–buy and eat! Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk. Buy without money—everything’s free! Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love” (Isaiah 55:1-3 MSG).
There was a day, likely in this year of 1996, I said that one day Mark Benson would be the manager of Harvest Haven. I spoke this in the ears of several people, including Archie, who wasn’t pleased at the prospect. Did I know what I was saying? How could I? Mark was nowhere near capable of operating the farm even if he was present, and he was in Japan. Years later, I came to realize that I had spoken prophetically.
You will recall the incident when the golf ball dinted the roof of my car and the man responsible arranged to have it repaired. It was often a problem for me to find a mechanic I felt would do me justice in car service. Archie’s 1987 Ford van needed servicing with the carburetor, according to Chris, who was looking after some of the mechanics at the farm. I then recalled Harold of Harold’s Auto Service, Ltd. and thought, “He was honest with me. Why not take the van to him?” So we did.
Actually, Chris took it to him. He returned to me with a request to do some sort of proposed diagnostic checkup for $150 or so that was supposed to determine the condition of various parts of the van and possible need for servicing. The hook and bait were set. I should have known better but didn’t, and Chris was pressing me in his usual persistent way to go for it, so I acquiesced.
The alleged examination yielded an alleged need for over $3,000 in repairs. Should we have gotten a second opinion? Sure, but we didn’t know where to go, so we didn’t. I thought, “That golf ball didn’t hit me for nothing, Harold was honest with me then, so I think we will go for it.” And we did.
When we went to pick the van up, I had my doubts, as well I should have. There were no used parts submitted, and there wasn’t a mark anywhere on the engine or the drive train that anything had been touched. Not knowing much about mechanics, I thought, “Surely, there must be some evidence visible for over $3,000 worth of work!” But there was none that I could tell. And the van ran no differently. We still had to get the carburetor serviced, the van running rough as usual.
Over the years I have looked back and felt I was thoroughly swindled. Was the van serviced, and was it serviced properly? That may be; I really don’t know for sure, but I have always much doubted it, questioning the way things were or weren’t done. There has always been that nagging silent suggestion that we were taken. I’m almost certain we were.
Whether the van was fairly serviced or not, I came to realize by contemplation that it isn’t reasonable to assume that because someone apparently cooperates in something that he’s honest or will continue in honesty.
I later learned from Peter Nickel that he had also taken his vehicle for an oil change and lube job to Harold’s, and when he brought his car home, he found that nothing had been touched, though he had been charged and told all was done. The oil was dirty. He called them and they said, “There must have been a mix up in paperwork; everyone makes mistakes. Bring it back in and we’ll take care of it.” While it’s true mistakes happen, I was feeling a bit sad about the fact that my misgivings seemed to be confirmed.
I was wishing that golf ball had never hit me, or that I would have been content to drive on and not bother with it. Yet I know that all these things have a purpose and work together for good. Some day I will see the good.
I’ve been a skinflint all my life, miserably so. We have a pine coat rack and shelf in our entrance one could estimate to be worth at least $30. Seeing it at a garage sale for $10, it was well worth the price, but I dickered and finally bought it for $5.
Why not pay the $10? I knew that people often asked more than they wanted so as to leave room for bargaining, but some people do put out the price they’re after. One can only test the waters and find out, but must we pare everything down to the bare minimum at our neighbor’s cost? So as I view that shelf in our home each day, I’m reminded of how cheap I was.
I recall finding a metal shelf kit in a box at another sale. The lady was asking about half price. It had never been assembled. I dickered her down to half of the half and was pressing for more. At that point, she stood her ground, I bought it for where she held out and walked away thinking I still had a “good deal.” Hence, the proverb:
“The shopper says, ‘That’s junk–I’ll take it off your hands,’ then goes off boasting of the bargain” (Proverbs 20:14 MSG).
I’m sure that woman felt contemptuous of me, and well she should. I tried remembering her home and finding her to compensate her for the difference between what she was asking and what I paid. I think I found the home but there was nobody there. Later, I lost track of the house. So, I have a shelving fixture that has given us much good use, and it also reminds me every time I look at it that I was so selfish and miserly.
All things are relative, though. We have also held garage sales and have found many dickerers like me. In one case, I was selling an item for several dollars and a fellow I recognized from garage saling came by. I had seen him work before and he was cheap, even by my standards.
I didn’t realize, however, just how cheap. He looked at this certain item and asked, “How much will you take for this?” I don’t remember what it was, but I am guessing my asking price was anywhere from $10 to $20 and the item new was likely anywhere from $200 – $400) I thought, “I’ll bet this cheapskate is going to offer me a miserable $2 for it.”
I was wrong. When I offered it to him for less than the ticketed price, he hesitated and, in a decisive manner, seriously offered me (get ready for this), TEN CENTS! I, a cheapskate, was ashamed for HIM! And you know what? I think I may have given it to him for his price! (I honestly don’t recall. Or did I hold out for 15 cents? Or did I tell him to beat it?)
Going organic, we were tackling weeds without chemicals. Much of that weeding was not by machinery, but by hand. I spent hours, days, weeks, and months working with crews in the seven acres of strawberry fields. We had mountains of weeds, and they kept coming. At one point, I thought, “I believe we have finally struck the dragon in the heart.” How wrong I was! We had plenty to learn. Knowledge and wisdom were not nearly as abundant as the weeds.
I had written Mr. Manning on Bill C-33, a bill to add sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, supporting the Reform Party’s stance against it. He wrote, and rightly so:
The Reform Party is opposed to Bill C-33 based on the fundamental principle that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to all Canadians. We feel that individual equality has been undermined by policies that group and divide Canadians…. Breaking Canadians down into smaller and smaller groups, rather than uniting them as citizens, will inevitably lead to division, not tolerance. That is a violation of the principle of equality that all Canadians cherish….
Note that Mr. Manning’s grounds specified as his opposition to the bill, though he is Christian, may appear to be more secular than spiritual. However, he did send me a transcript of his speech in the House of Commons at the Third Reading Debate on Bill C-33 on May 9, 1996, in which he said:
As the Justice Minister saw fit to conclude his remarks by quoting from his church catechism and the life of Christ, perhaps I could close by quoting from another great authority on the life of Christ, the Apostle Paul, a man who first practiced and then worked against the bitter racial and systemic prejudices of his day.
He stated the ideal in these terms: In the kingdom of Christ there would be neither Greek nor Hebrew (neither racial distinction nor discrimination based on race or religion), neither male nor female, neither bond nor free, but all would be one (Galatians 3:28). The Christian ideal is not only the complete eradication of prejudice and discrimination, but the elimination of the very categorizations – the end of categories – upon which prejudice feeds.
“Uncle Victor,” Danny said, “I had a dream I’d like to tell you about. I saw a man driving a tractor in the field. Behind the tractor were six bottomless fertilizer bags, side by side, letting out their contents onto the ground. Behind the bags, a man was walking and beating the bags with a stick to get all the fertilizer out.
“The driver then stopped and reversed the tractor. One rear wheel went over a fertilizer bag and the man beating the bags, who was shocked, but he was able to get up out of the rut. He then left the farm. I saw another tractor in the background.”
Danny also heard words: “He shall pay for his wickedness. ”
I now write: One tractor was red, the other green, but I don’t recall which was which. I interpreted the one in the foreground to portray tyranny and the other, its absence; one representing the present, the other perhaps the future.
I often pondered that dream, wondering who the man was that was beating the bags and forced to leave the farm. I would soon have good cause to think I was that man, but I wondered if it was Archie, seeing he had six children. Was he abusing and using them? Meanwhile, Archie believed I was the man. There was no consensus or revelation among us from the Lord; however, future events would reveal the mystery of Danny’s dream.
We were suffering inexplicable problems at every turn. Irrigation wouldn’t work, though Chris tried everything. He came to me and said, “Uncle Victor, can we ask God what’s going on? I’ve tried everything and I can’t get the water going.” (It was hot and we needed irrigation, especially for the strawberries.)
We prayed. Cathie came out and said Archie hadn’t been honest with us. We headed out to the field to talk to him. He was trying to rectify a problem with the hay baler. We told him we had prayed and things were being uncovered. There were three secrets held from us:
One: Ben had some allergy problems. Instead of talking to us and asking for prayer, they went to the drugstore and bought Benadryl, which Archie well knew we didn’t approve of, knowing it was a synthetic drug that only masked symptoms and caused more complications.
Two: The children confessed that Archie had taken them to Dairy Queen for ice cream and told them not to tell me. We were at that time strictly against non-organic dairy, knowing that some of the ingredients in ice cream weren’t good. We had bought ice cream machines to make our own. The nasty part of it was that he was teaching them to practice secrecy and deception with me.
Three: Then Cathie let out the bombshell. They needed money for the farm and got a bank loan. (I don’t recall the details.) That particularly hurt us because Archie had lied to us.
We had taught them that if they were obedient to God in all things, He would provide and they wouldn’t have to borrow:
“The LORD your God will bless you, as He promised. You will make loans to many nations, but you will not have to borrow from any of them. You will rule many nations, but no nation will ever rule you” (Deuteronomy 15:6 GW).
Furthermore, they could have come to us and we would have lent it to them if there was any borrowing to be done, without interest, and if it was expense for the farm infrastructure, I would have (or should have) paid the bill. I had already paid several. But they had somewhat of a catch-22 situation, because we had taught them that if they ever needed something, they should follow the counsel of Scripture, not asking any person, but God:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6 MKJV).
While they were prepared to practice deceit, why would God hear their prayer and provide? Together, we could have sought Him for the cause of their problems, as we had done many times in the past, and were answered. In these matters, they didn’t come to us. The days of praying together to solve problems were gone. I know they weren’t solely to blame. I was anything but approachable. I was an angry, intolerant tyrant.
Marilyn was very upset with this latter matter in particular. She felt she had been betrayed. Weren’t we? But was she without compassion in their failures? Was she judging? What I didn’t know or even suspect was that we had seen nothing yet – betrayal was about to play a much bigger role in our lives.
One day, as I was working with Lois, frustrated with everything and realizing something was drastically amiss with me, I said to her: “Lois, this can’t go on. Something has to give! I’m angry, frustrated, impatient, intolerant…. God has to do something with me.” I don’t recall that she knew what to say. It wouldn’t be long before we’d see God moving to correct and cleanse.
On one occasion when I had to do some minor floor cementing with Lois, I felt a marvelous degree of non-resistance from her. Lois was obedient, cooperative, and helpful. She was letting me do the work but helping by handing me what I needed, and stood by ready to do whatever was required of her, being willing and attentive.
She wasn’t trying to control! I had not ever had that kind of experience with Marilyn in our 22 years of marriage. This didn’t occur because Lois was exceptional in these character traits. It was just that our marriage was so grating, and this experience made me acutely aware of it.
Let this be understood: I’m not talking an emotional, romantic, or marital thing here, not in the least (Lois is my mother’s sister, my aunt). It was simply a pleasant experience, a contrast to the way it has been between Marilyn and me throughout our entire marriage.
Whenever Marilyn wanted to do something, it always had to be in her way and time. The event with Lois was a bittersweet experience, pleasant in itself, but showing the vexation I had suffered all those years, instead of having an agreeable and cooperative wife.
The only time Marilyn would ever cooperate was when I was doing something that suited her, and even then, it was all according to her method and preference. That spirit of resistance and inclination to control was ever there. At times, I simply bullied my way through something, adamantly insisting, or did without, but there was never that peace and mutual cooperation with Marilyn that I experienced that one time with Lois.
Bob Gregson came for a visit to the farm. He had tried to come several times, but it turned out that he finally succeeded on July 10th, “our day.” He and I sat in his vehicle, visiting for a few hours. That night, I told him of the dream I had in 1972 of the “Second Coming of the Lord.” I wanted him to know that I had a special calling of God on my life. In 1984 and 1985, I had tried persuading him to believe me (not in me), which he didn’t. I earnestly sought for fruits of faith and found none.
One of the ways I thought one might tell if one believes or not is if they’re willing to part with mammon, honoring with offerings the one coming to them, even as Abraham honored Melchizedek and as people honor their pastors. Bob said he prayed about it and heard that he would be bringing his offerings to another man (not knowing whom). After considering, I knew he hadn’t heard from the Lord, but I left it.
I came to know that giving offerings was never proof of genuine faith either, but those who believe will bring them; those who don’t believe may or may not bring them. While offerings are a sign, they are by no means a sure sign, because many bring offerings without faith. I would have dramatic proof of that soon to come.
On Monday, July 22, 1996, Marilyn had a dream just before she awoke at 6 a.m. Sean was in a dark hallway in a house. Marilyn opened the door to the hall and turned on a light switch. Sean came to Marilyn and embraced her. She thought, “What is he doing?” She looked back over her right shoulder and saw me behind her some distance away, wearing a white t-shirt and exiting through another door, but looking at what was happening.
Cathie and Erin were doing the farmer’s market on Saturday, July 27. I had Howard Elliot of Sign Superstore make a long “Harvest Haven Market Farm” banner for our display and had assembled a system of poles, bolts, and bases so one person could erect it, in case there was no available help. I brought it to the farmer’s market that day and, when we had a break from customers, proceeded to show Cathie how to erect and dismantle it.
As I gave her instructions, she wasn’t listening, but bristling instead. “Just listen carefully to what I’m saying, Cathie; I designed it so one person can do it, but it has to be done a certain way.”
Finally, submitting, she completed it herself. “There, that wasn’t so hard after all, was it?” I said, suggesting that the only hard part was her attitude. Suddenly, she emptied her pocket of small change and the van keys and slammed them on the table.
“I quit!” (Not the words, but the idea.)
“Go ahead,” I replied, somewhat surprised, somewhat annoyed, and somewhat coming to be fed up with her constant resistance, though we were always trying to help. I called Marilyn to tell her what happened. Marilyn was also surprised. She was worried because it sounded like Cathie wasn’t just leaving the market, but leaving, period.
Marilyn was afraid she would have to take up Cathie’s responsibilities at the farm. However, she reminded me that we had been praying for a solution. We wondered if this was the answer, though not a desired one.
As it turned out, Cathie not only left the market but home and family. We had no idea where she was until she called several days later.
By the time Cathie called, Marilyn and I had decided that, after 10 more years of Cathie’s behavior since they arrived in Lethbridge in 1985, besides our previous years of conflict from 1974 to 1980, enough was enough. I told Archie we didn’t want her back. By now, it was clear her heart would never be with us. They had to decide for themselves what to do. They all decided to stay at the farm, without their wife and mother.
Cathie called me, asking to return. While I halted and would reconsider, Marilyn was adamant that God had removed Cathie in answer to our prayers of what to do, and that we would do the wrong thing entirely by permitting her to return. I agreed with Marilyn and we refused her petitions to return.
What right did we have to do such a thing? It was a free choice on everybody’s part, except for Cathie’s, and she had made the choice that precipitated our choices thereafter. Unless something changed with Cathie, we were done with her.
About two weeks after Marilyn’s dream of Sean, she had another, similar one. In this dream, she came into a house and, to her left, Sean was sitting by himself at a dining table, as if troubled, with his elbows on the table and his head in his hands. On her right, there was another table with perhaps half a dozen people around it, eating.
Marilyn wanted to go out for dinner (somehow everyone knew it, though she didn’t say anything) and Sean said, “No, that’s not the right thing to do.” Marilyn accepted what he said, he was no longer troubled, and he embraced her again. The people at the table watched.
Archie caught Danny, his youngest (about 11 years), and our son, Jonathan (4, coming 5), exploring the sexual world with each other in an outhouse. Archie became very angry, spanked Danny, and told me he didn’t think Jonathan was innocent either. I didn’t believe Jonathan to be the instigator, as Danny accused, and didn’t know what to believe about Jonathan’s part. We did speak to him and try to teach him sexual morality, but we didn’t spank him.
We soon discovered that Danny had run away. He phoned later and said he wasn’t returning unless forgiven. I thought, “What nerve! He offends, is punished for it, and now he threatens us?” However, we did forgive him, and he came back. I wondered at his peculiar reaction, hoping better things for him.
Had I not prophesied less than a year earlier that a storm was coming for us all? But we had seen nothing yet. What was happening was only the sky growing dark and the wind barely picking up.
In the late evening of August 12, 1996, Archie and his family, Lois, Marilyn, Sean, Jonathan, and I gathered in the square (the central area of the farm) to meet and to talk out problems. We were all tired, stressed, and troubled, but there was more. I asked that we pray. For some inexplicable reason, I stooped down, took up a handful of shale dust, threw it into the air, and commanded Satan and the devils troubling us to leave. I rebuked them in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Then Archie’s son Christopher opened with a bitter complaint. “Why do you get after us about everything all the time, but you never get after Sean?” He was very agitated, pouring out much criticism on me.
It was true that I just didn’t have it in me to get after Sean. He had a way with people so that they would find it difficult to criticize or chastise him for anything. He seemed like someone looking for and needing the kind of attention one may give to a child. He also seemed to exude innocence and thus command some kind of respect or empathy.
My reply was that each person needed a different treatment and that if correction was needed, it would come in due time. I said it simply wasn’t Sean’s time yet. Having unburdened himself, Chris ended his tirade.
As Chris complained, Archie remained silent. As I look back, I believe he should have had the courage and understanding to correct his son’s virulent attitude, but he didn’t. Then Archie spoke, saying he had a vision. In it, he saw me in a granary, madly shoveling grain. At the backside of the granary was a large hole, through which the grain was escaping.
I knew the vision described exactly how I was feeling and what seemed to be happening. I was silent and I think I even agreed. Still, it was as though something was out of place. I asked everyone there if they had anything from the Lord to say about the vision. Was there a second witness?
Then Lois spoke, saying she heard the words, meant for Archie, “Why do you yet find fault?” She was adamant that Archie’s vision wasn’t one to minister to, but to condemn me. The words also suggested that he had been continually doing so. Nobody had a spiritual agreement with Archie, not even Christopher, not that I could expect anything from him; he had never received the Spirit or repented. How, then, should he receive a witness?
While nothing seemed presently resolved, the meeting proved eventful. It was quite late in the evening when we finished talking. A marvelous revelation awaited us precisely 1440 days later.
Page 7 PART FIVE – Moon River to Harvest Haven (cont.) Particle – George and Gerry Croteau We had a slightly challenging time contacting George Croteau in Saskatoon. His name wasn't in the book, but his father's was. His father said George was very fussy as to who could talk to him. He had sheltered himself away, preferring not to talk to anyone. His father had tried pleading with him, to no avail. He gave us George's number, against his son's instructions to keep his number confidential, likely hoping we could help him. His father informed us George's wife, Gerry, had divorced him. The last time we saw George he had paid us a visit at our country home near Prince Albert in 1976. Gerry finally packed it in with George and we were told it was a nasty divorce. George crashed, big time – a major nervous breakdown. We found him in a cheap, unkempt apartment, watching TV, lying half naked on his bed. He meticulously tape-recorded every word we spoke, asking us to speak slowly; he declared he would analyze and classify everything said and done. He claimed he would produce a monumental, comprehensive work, even greater than the Bible. He had created a world of his own, one of delusive self-importance, an escape from his unpleasant reality. What we saw we deemed to be essentially self-pity and bitterness. George hadn't treated Gerry well at all. With her leaving, he began to mistreat himself. We tried to reason with him, but he wouldn't hear it. Yet again, we found our trip w...
Correspondence with Rick Burley Rick Burley sent us an email on May 31, 2005, responding to “The Issues of Life.” The Subject Line of his letter asked: “Are you ready?” Hello Paul, If you want to continue to send me your email blurb about your religious beliefs, then you must then be ready to meet. You obviously are passionate about something, although for the life of me, I don't know what that is…yet. So come and look me in the eye and tell me. You seem fearless in your writing and your advertising. Are you fearless in real life? Meet me. Name the place and time. I have previous commitments already set this week so suggest a week or two from now. Say, Monday morning the 13th of June or the afternoon of Tuesday the 14th? Let me know, and I’ll meet with you. If you aren’t up to it, then take me off your email list. Simple. Clean. Obvious. With great respect, I remain, Rick Burley Paul wrote back: Hi Rick, We have no problem meeting with you face to face. However, I live in Helena, and am also quite busy, as is Victor in Canada. How about we meet at Victor's farm, in Lethbridge? The first weekend of July would work well for us, Saturday the 2nd, sometime in the early afternoon, would be optimal. How would that work for you? Let me know and I will confirm with all there and get back to you. If another time around that weekend is better, we will see what we can do. If you wish to...
Page 5 PART THREE– Israel to Bernalillo (cont.) Particle – Let Your Requests Be Made Known to God Moishe could always find a way out of personal pickles, one way or another, obvious or not. One day when he was asking for money, I confronted him, saying he needed to make his needs known to God, not to men. It was a lesson God had taught me, and one I believed was meant for every believer: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 MKJV). As I pressed home this truth, and his arguments failed, he broke into an affected, “Oy, oy, oy! My head! Oy, my head! Oy! Oy!” I found it hard to believe he was being so obviously evasive. It appeared that Jesus wasn't his Lord, but his Larder. Particle – The Shnorrer Moishe was a shnorrer (look it up in a Yiddish dictionary). He was constantly hitting anybody and everybody up for handouts. As little as we had to do with him, we witnessed this several times. He shnorred when he was asleep and shnorred when he was awake. He was forever shnorring. Was he wise in his spending and money management? Could you give him anything with confidence that he respected or appreciated it? For example, he drove a big black old Cadillac, a gas-guzzler someone gave him. I was with him one day as he d...