I had to do a painting job for Olga Gaydos in Foremost. Staying in a
motel, I found the clerk, the daughter of the managers, dressed entirely
in black. When I asked her about it, she said she was a witch, which
surprised me somewhat.
She also claimed that witches could place curses on people. I didn’t
feel led to speak to her about the Lord (perhaps I should have), but
I also didn’t feel the least bit threatened by her, knowing that
the Lord’s people are kept from any secret curses, and the enemy
can have no power over us except the Lord permit it.
It has often concerned me that I didn’t help people come to the
Light of life when occasions such as this one arose. It seemed like it
wasn’t the time or place, or I wasn’t the person for it.
Particle – Treat Your Customers Right
In one of these years, Marilyn and I went shopping at Hill’s Pantry
for bulk and organic foods. One day I bought a bag of chocolate-coated
peanuts. They were stale, so I returned them.
A young man “served” me. When I presented the goods to him,
he looked at me like I was an idiot. Perhaps it was small of me to complain,
but I thought they should know, and I also thought I had either a replacement
or refund coming for something I didn’t bargain for.
He took my bag to the back and returned minutes later with a new bag.
I thanked him and left. As we were driving away, I tried the peanuts.
One was good, one was stale; one good, and one stale. It was slightly
confusing, but soon I concluded that he had mixed fresh stock with old.
I was offended, but I decided we weren’t going back again, whether
for satisfaction on this particular matter, or for business in general.
What would be the fate of Hill’s Pantry? Years later, we would
Particle – Our Home Up For Sale
We should have seen it coming. Willises, the owners of our rented duplex,
soon followed through on their original intention to sell. (Why else
had they asked me to paint the suite?) Realtors came to hold open house,
promising they would see to it that we were compensated if we had to
move before the legal time.
One of those realtors was Brian Bickerton, with whom we became friends
while visiting at open houses he was holding. Brian and his brother,
Keith, had been developers; they’d suffered bankruptcy when the
recession came. Now they were real estate salesmen working for others.
Brian started to line up handyman work for me. In the likelihood we
would soon need a home, he also suggested we purchase rather than rent,
and began to try and fit us into a home. Brian was a salesman, and a
very good one.
Particle – House Is Sold
Real estate agent Irv Schweitzer sold the house to Jerome and Jenny
Shouting, Blackfoot natives. He called on Jerome to develop the basement
on a government grant and asked if I would be available to work on it,
as well. They wanted Marilyn and me to accommodate the construction while
we were still living there, so that it would be done before Shoutings
moved in, seeing it needed to be completed for them to qualify for the
This was an unfair request from Schweitzer, seeing that we would be
putting up with the noise and inconvenience, but wouldn’t enjoy
the benefits upon completion. However, we let it happen.
When it came to get paid, I went to Irv’s office. When he saw
the bill, which was very reasonable as far as I was concerned, he exploded.
He screamed, cursed, slammed, and stomped, as though I had just deliberately
poked him in the eye with a hot iron. His secretary sat by, cold and
speechless. I perceived it to be a stage performance, said very little,
if anything, collected the check, and headed straight for the bank, in
case he changed his mind. The check was good. I take it Irv was making
money on the grant.
Particle – The Shoutings
Jerome and I had some talks about the Lord. Jenny seemed to believe,
while Jerome didn’t, but neither of them really wanted to share.
Some might say it was the natural shyness that some natives have with
whites, but I have seen that when the Lord truly touches people, no matter
who they are, they are open and free to talk, indeed, eager to do so.
I sensed that with their mindsets and lifestyles, they were headed for
disaster. Though I tried to make arrangements, they didn’t want
to get together or listen to anything.
Particle – “You Won’t
Be Needing a Home”
Brian Bickerton showed us a couple of homes, but for some
reason, things seemed awkward. One day, he showed us a pleasant
home at Bridge Villa. We had money for the deposit, and the payments
were well within our means. We needed only to say, “Yes,” but
then the Lord spoke to me, saying, “You won’t need a home.
be fleeing to the U.S.”
I was surprised at those words, but I knew Who was speaking, and I had
no problem believing Him. Marilyn struggled a bit, but seemed to know
I was right.
I told Brian. While he wasn’t a believer, he seemed to accept,
though he did resist a little at first. Salesmen can be hard to read.
Particle – Forbidden Feeding on the Fruits
A plane’s takeoff uses much more fuel for the speed and distance,
than when it is cruising at maximum altitude.
I had only gotten going in the ARC
Industries ceramics department, training the students, learning the trade, organizing the
establishing contacts, customers, and suppliers, and developing
the business in its
various aspects; just as I started getting to the point of reaping
the benefits, the Lord called us out to go to Israel.
When we returned to Canada from Israel, and I started the moving and
hauling business, it was the same thing. The learning process was the
difficult part, and just when business got running smoothly and promised
greater returns with greater ease, we had to move on.
Now it was happening with the handyman business.
For years, again and again, we would break the ground, prepare the soil,
sow the seed, nurture the plants, and just when the fruit was about to
come, we would have to leave it all behind. Yet, somehow we knew the
Lord had us on a learning program, and always had something better waiting
for us each step of the way.
Particle – There’s
Lots to Be Thankful For
Marilyn had her IRS problem again (Initial Reluctance Syndrome), as
when the Lord gave notice we would be going to Israel. Now, just when
we were in a position to have our own home for the first time and when
we were getting financially comfortable, there we were again, giving
it all up. She was temporarily distraught.
On September 18th, 1983, the Lord gave me a song for her.
HERE to listen to “There’s Lots to Be Thankful For,” or
to read the lyrics.)
Particle – Our Flight Vehicle
Yielding to God’s will, Marilyn made a request. “If we have
to be on the road, I want a bigger trailer. The one we have is just too
small.” I asked the Lord to lead us, and then I had a vision. It
was the back-end of a larger trailer and two parallel single-line strokes
(“whisks,” I call them) indicating our flight in that trailer
to the States.
Meanwhile, by August, we moved out of the house and back into the 13-foot
Casa Rolla, staying at the KOA Campground on the #3 Highway west of Lethbridge.
We had been at Meadowlark for the length of a gestation period – nine
Rob Gregg, a house builder, advertised his 24-foot Holiday trailer,
and we went to see it at his place. He hadn’t cleaned it up, and
we weren’t impressed, except that it had an open floor space. We
hadn’t seen any other trailer that we liked, and it didn’t
strike me that this was the one I saw in my vision.
Days later, just after the Labor Day weekend, Rob came tearing into
the KOA with the trailer and asked us if we wanted to buy it. We thought, “He
has brought it right to our door. Maybe this is the one, after all. Why
We asked the Lord, received assurance, and took it.
Particle – An Impact on a Soul
While staying at the KOA, we met Les and Muriel Dillabough. They had
two sons, Patty and Keith. Keith was about 12 or so. We took advantage
of every opportunity to share with him the things of God. He seemed sheepish
about it, but apparently something was getting through to him, though
we didn’t know it then.
Particle – Loving You
My soul is compelled, as are the souls of others, as God chooses, to
love, desire, and serve God, no matter what. We falter, we fail, we don’t
always know what God thinks or feels about us, but we press on because
there is no choice. It’s an irresistible and unconscious force
in spite of everything.
God gave me the first stanza of a song on September 24th, 1983:
Loving You, loving You,
Loving You is all I can do.
Even when I’m sad or glad,
Whether You think I’m good or bad,
Loving You is all I can do.
More stanzas would come the following year for this song.
Particle – “You Will
Go With Alacrity”
There was a prophecy containing more than what I record here. The Lord
said, “You will go with alacrity.” I assumed it was to the
U.S., but it became apparent it would be for a time in the future of
a ministry, speaking forth that which I would be given to speak.
Particle – Last Verse to “Walk
This verse came in October of 1983, just before we fled to the U.S.
It was added to the song, “Walk by Faith.”
The most important part of this wonderful story,
The part you must know if you’re to enter into glory,
Is if you start and finish, you’ll never
If you put your trust in the Lord.
(Click HERE to listen to “Walk by Faith” in
completion, or to read the lyrics.)
Particle – Strangers from Cheyenne Needing
I was wondering what I was going to do for income if we were going to
the States. Perhaps I might keep my truck and tools and work as I traveled,
though that would be illegal in the U.S. As I was wondering, a couple
from Cheyenne, Wyoming came into the park. He saw my handyman truck and
hired me to wire the brakes in his trailer. It only took about an hour.
“How much do I owe you?” he asked.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to charge anything, but I also got my jacket
dirty crawling underneath, so I said, “Pay me whatever you think
it is worth to you.”
He paid me $7.00!
I thought, “From now on, I either charge or don’t charge.
Leaving it up to the customer isn’t a good idea.” But the
event led me to surmise that I could indeed support us in this way.
However, I should have done the job for nothing. I might have been well
paid, as you shall see. I didn’t give, and I was sorry I didn’t
receive when the time came. I got their names but not solidly, which
I would have done, had I given freely and won their gratitude and friendship.
Instead, I was left with some gravel in my mouth and wasn’t interested
in them anymore.
Developments would very soon unfold in a most remarkable way to once
again demonstrate the sovereignty and chastening love of a Greater Power
ruling from above.
Particle – Ever a Calculating Money Monger
We had to exchange money, a considerable sum to us. Do we exchange it
in Canada or the U.S.? Where were the rates more favorable? The Lord
was getting angry with me for covetousness and pettiness. I simply wasn’t
trusting and looking to Him.
When He has His purpose set, one can do what he wishes to the contrary,
and it won’t work. He will foil it perfectly, every time. As one
preacher jokingly put it, “If you fix the fix God fixes to fix
you, He’ll fix another fix to fix you.” One can’t escape
God’s chastening hand.
I decided to exchange the money in the U.S. from Canadian to American.
Particle – Turned Back at the Border
Somehow I hadn’t yet learned that the Lord wasn’t going
to let me go anywhere without burning all bridges behind us, though it
had happened so many times. At the border, 65 miles from Lethbridge,
the official asked us some questions. “How long will you be in
the U.S., and what is the purpose of your visit?”
What could I say? That I was fleeing? I told him we were going for the
winter, though I wasn’t sure where.
Looking at my ten-year-old truck, he wondered if we could afford it.
I had Canadian traveler’s checks to persuade him on that point.
However, he asked to see the back of the truck. There he saw tools, paint
cans, and of particular note to him, a ladder (with which I planned to
service the top of our trailer), and concluded that I was going to work
in the States, for which I had no permit.
I knew that while I was willing to take on work unofficially if it came,
my intention wasn’t necessarily to work; I didn’t know what
we would be doing, work or otherwise. He suspected I would be working
and told me that he couldn’t permit us entry, but if we returned
without the equipment, he would reconsider.
Particle – Mercy to a Miserable Miser
Do we drive all the way back to Lethbridge? “That’s a hundred
and forty miles round-trip for nothing, and I only get 13 miles to the
gallon!” I thought. (I measured every little thing in financial
As we turned back and drove by the Canadian border weigh station nearby,
Marilyn spotted the truck of Bob Utley, a drywaller we had met at the
KOA, and for whom I had previously done work.
“Why don’t we see if he might not take the stuff to our
former neighbor, Sandy Ponech, and ask her to store it for us until we
get back?” Marilyn suggested.
We dropped into the station, Bob was there, had room in his pickup,
consented to this, and we returned to the border.
However, before we returned all the way, we stopped by the roadside
to take the Able Handyman Services decal off the truck cap. I thought, “Though
he didn’t ask me, I should do it to show him that I mean business.”
Sure enough; when we pulled into the crossing, another officer met us,
knew our case, checked our truck, and took particular note that we had
even removed the sign. He didn’t even check our 24-foot trailer
(I thought he might check it to see if we simply transferred the forbidden
goods). He gave us the go-ahead along with a blessing! (How often does
that come from a customs official?) We were now in the U.S.
Who says there is no God?
I did the money exchange in Shelby, Montana. It turned out that if we
had simply gone to our bank and done it, we would have been much better
off. For what we lost, it would have been well worth going back to Lethbridge
and exchanging the money. But after what we had just gone through at
the border, crossing back again was out of the question; I suspected
they wouldn’t believe us.
We lost a considerable amount, not to mention the frustration and humiliation
of going from bank to bank in Shelby, finding all exchange rates to be
much less favorable. The more I calculated and strategized, the worse
I fared. Money matters plagued me terribly.
Particle – An Appointment with another Lesson
We traveled through Montana, not knowing what direction to take or how
far to go. We passed into Wyoming. About fifty miles out of Cheyenne,
we started to hear a knock in one of the wheels. As we approached the
city, it got worse. We knew we had to deal with it. We pulled into a
Conoco station we could see east of us from the highway.
They took the wheels off and found that the right front hub needed to
be replaced. It was too far gone to be machined. To have to replace a
hub was bad enough, but not having a hub available means no truck! They
and I phoned several suppliers, and nobody had one.
While we waited for about three days, the owner decided to check a used
one he had. Who knows? Maybe it is the hub for our truck. It
hub for our truck.
He had me where he wanted me. We were strangers, he knew I needed it
badly and that I couldn’t get one anywhere else, and he charged
me perhaps one and a half to two times what it was worth. I paid it,
thankful that there was one to be had, and that in spite of how uncommon
they were, there was one right there in the first service station provided
and waiting for us, and it was the only one available.
Now, what were the chances of our wheel breaking down in Cheyenne, Wyoming,
of dropping in on the only place that had an uncommon hub, and of it
happening in the city of those people we had met at the KOA in Lethbridge
only days before – people who may well have been able to favorably
represent us to the Conoco dealer?
Who says there is no God?
And what was He saying to us?
I have no doubt that if we had befriended the Cheyenne, Wyoming people,
freely giving them help with wiring their trailer brakes, we would have
had their names. We could have called them, and they might have gone
to the trouble of helping us. With local help, we wouldn’t have
been treated as strangers of whom one might take advantage.
Still, the owner of the station did allow us to park our trailer behind
the garage free of charge and to be there for a night or two until the
job was done.
There’s another possible lesson, and perhaps a more likely one.
Had I conducted myself with that couple and their wiring as I ought to
have, there would have been no problem with the wheel to begin with.
As far as I’m concerned, the wheel was made to malfunction to teach
me a lesson.
The lesson? Here it is:
“Be generous, and someday you will be rewarded. Share what you
have with seven or eight others, because you never know when disaster
may strike” (Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 CEV).
And how about?:
“Do not be forgetful of hospitality, for by this some have entertained
angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2 MKJV).
Were those people angels, with whom I was not hospitable?
The Bible says something I haven’t heeded:
“Generosity will be rewarded: Give a cup of water, and you will
receive a cup of water in return” (Proverbs 11:25 CEV).
On the other hand, see how the Lord still faithfully and generously
provides, even while He chastens and teaches? God is merciful, patient,
Particle – Bernalillo KOA
We finally arrived in an award-winning KOA campground in Bernalillo,
a few miles north of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The place was near Sandia
Mountain, which, we found out at the local library, had a legend of twin
warriors, a legend that would prove highly significant for us.
The KOA was clean, scenic, pleasant, and quiet. I saw my first roadrunner,
of cartoon fame. Dan and Debbie Money, a young couple managing the business,
received us cordially. We decided we would stop there for a while. It
turned out we stayed there the whole winter.
Particle – A Heart Attack
A couple in their 60’s pulled in to the KOA. The next day or so,
we heard a medical emergency crew come in, urgently directed to their
motor home. After the medics had been there for a little time, an evangelical
woman we had met came to our trailer, told us what was going on, and
asked us to pray with her to save the man’s life. He had suffered
a major heart attack.
Immediately, I received that there was no praying for him – he
would die. We weren’t free to pray for him. She was offended when
I told her. She believed that she would pray for him, and he would be
made well. I told her he would die. For the next three or four hours,
they tried to save the man, to no avail.
We later heard some of the gory details. He had a heart attack, had
vomited and messed himself from the bowel. The scene was quite unpleasant.
When they succeeded in resuscitating him, he tried to force himself up,
as if to say, “I can take care of myself.” They tried hard
to calm him, telling him to lie still and relax, but he stubbornly refused.
Then he died.
I had met the man the day before. He hadn’t been friendly, perhaps
because he was unhealthy; I don’t know. The day after they took
him away, I met the wife in the laundry room and suddenly had a Word
for her. I said, “The Lord took your husband,
being very displeased with him. He has been a stubborn, selfish man all
life, not willing
to listen to anyone. That is why he was taken.”
There may have been a little more, but that is all I recall. She said
nothing and wasn’t shaken. While she didn’t show any gratitude,
she also didn’t try to defend, justify, or absolve him in any way.
On the contrary, it seemed that she was relieved.
I knew she needed to hear what was spoken, and I was thankful to give
her that word of comfort. I call it a word of comfort and not unpleasantry,
because I had the impression she might be needlessly blaming herself
somehow for his death.
Particle – A Messenger of God?
There was one man there with whom we had more to do than anyone else
in the many months of our stay. He was in his high sixties, I believe,
had a game leg, was a professional photographer, teacher, and chef, and
he had a variety of other skills and experiences behind him. He seemed
rather familiar with the locale and said he owned some land locally,
though I think he was originally from another part of the U.S.
His name was Addis Whitehead - they called him “Addy” or “Whitey.” He
took us to a couple of restaurants and a Pueblo Indian festival and dance.
We spent several hours together.
His name is Anglo-Saxon, meaning “son of Adam.” Another
book claims the inherent meaning is “worthy of trust” and
the spiritual connotation is “God’s helper.”
Well, he certainly helped us, and I hope we were able to help him. Marilyn
invited him over for a specially-prepared Ukrainian dinner with all the
traditional dishes – perogies, cabbage rolls, khutia (pearled wheat
cooked with honey and poppy seed, usually served only at Christmas),
and nalesnekeh (pancake/cottage cheese rolls).
Though we didn’t celebrate Christmas, it was around
that time that we invited him for dinner, reciprocating his kindness
to us. However,
I felt that my ways of being money-conscious saddened him, though
he was very patient and tolerant with me.