RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:
for His coming to us.
As Jesus lead us into the bosom of God,
so He does use a child to lead,
even parents to the Savior.
Just to be different this year we will herewith narrate one such incident, as told by the mother, Marie Whaley, of little Mavis and her daddy Frank.
We have the picture of Mavis and her Daddy, entitled,
"I Will Lead You, Daddy."
Mavis loved her father. I recember a piece she recited at a Father's Day program in church, "I love to hold my father's hand, it is so warm and big and strong..." and there was a happy smile on her face because her daddy was there.
But special programs were about the extent of Daddy's church-going. Many Sunday mornings he would take the children to the little church, telling them he would pick them up after Sunday School. "But," he would add, "if the fish are biting good you can stay for church too."
Then he would drive on over to the lake which was only about a mile farther. You see, Frank Whaley was not a Christian in 1930. He said he thought church was alright for women and children but was no place for a real "he man." In fact he doubted there was even a God, remarking, "If there is a God He is big enough to prove himself."
Little did he realize how soon God was going to do just that, by proving Himself through our little girl. Since God had this special mission for Mavis to perform, he miraculously preserved her life on several occasions. Once a cord got twisted around her neck and almost choked her. Another time she was accidently pushed off an inner tube in a lake by some of the older children and almost drowned as he was trapped under the tube. When I saw what had happened,I jumped in, fully dressed, and pulled her to safety.
Our children, Mavis especially, loved the Sunday School. There they had wonderful Bible teaching and came to know and love the Lord Jesus.
One beautiful Sunday in early fall we were eating our Sunday dinner. There came a lull in the conversation and no one said anything for a few minutes. Suddenly Mavis, who was sitting directly across the table from her daddy, looked up into his face with her big blue eyes and said in a clear,earnest voice, "Daddy, where are you going when you die?"
It was such a direct question and so in earnest that for a moment he didn't seemed to be able to find an answer. Finally trying to be jovial, he made some remark about it being hard to say where such a "tough old bird" would go.
She kept her eyes steadily fixed on his face as she continued as she continued confidently, "I know where you're going, Daddy, you're going to heaven."
"What makes you say that, honey?" he asked.
She answered, "Because I will take you by the hand and lead you, Daddy."
There was an awed silence and a strange feeling for a few moments, but soon everyone was seemingly back to normal again,at least outwardly.
The first day of school that fall Mavis wore new shoes to school and they rubbed a big blister. Nothing was done about it except that she was told to wear her tennis shoes for a few days until the blister healed. Soon the blister was gone, but she complained of not feeling very well and seemed to be tired and listless. She refused to eat her favorite dishes, saying that she was not hungry. But she loved school and insited on going every day. One day she was running a slight fever. We took her at once to our family doctor. After examining her he told us that the blister was causing all the trouble. There was an infection under the skin, and poison was being absorbed into the blood stream. Specialists called it septicemia, but there was no known medicine for the disease at that time,more than 30 years ago.
That night I watched Mavis's daddy as he sat by her hospital bed holding the oxygen tube to her nose to ease her breathing. As he saw her quietly slipping away, I heard him whisper softly, 'A little child shall lead them.'
After Mavis had gone, we stayed at the hospital only a short time. We said little as we got in our car to go home. We drove in silence for some time and then, as we neared home, my husband turned and looked at me for a moment. "Marie, you have been going to church all your life; do you know how a person can be saved?'
My simple answwer was, "No, I don't."
I professed to be a Christian, but the church I had been raised in did not teach that one must receive the Lord Jesus as a personal Savior.
After we arrived home and were getting out of the car my husband declared, "Well, if I am going to be a Christian, I'm going all the way and not be a halfway Christian like so many people I've seen."
It sounded strange and unnatural to hear these things coming from him.
After classmates and other had filed out following Mavis's funeral, we stood looking at our little girl as she lay in the small white casket. Her daddy sounded strange as he said, "I believe our little girl is as much alive today as she ever was. What we are looking at is only the shell. What we loved is gone, and if I am going to see her again I will have to know the same Jesus she knew."
Soon afterward we invited the pastor of the little church where the children attended Sunday School to our home for supper to find out about this Jesus.
The pastor, who had conducted Mavis's funeral, was more than glad to come. During the meal we talked of various things, but after we were through eating, my husband turned to the pastor, "Rev. A--, how can a person be saved? And do you think there is any chance for a sinner like me?"
Rev. A-- looked at him for a moment as though wondering if he had heard right. Then he said in a reassuring voice, "Let's see what the Bible has to say about it."
He reached in his pocket and took out his New Testament and opened it to Jn. 3: 16. After thoroughly explaining that verse, he turned to other familiar verses.
When the pastor had made each one very clear, my husband said rather impatiently, "When do we pray?"
Rev. A-- answered,"Right now, if you are ready. We can kneel here."
My husband was on his knees before the pastor. His prayer was that of a penitent sinner meeting a loving Savior.
It seemed hard to believe--proud Frank Wahley on his knees praying a humble prayer. I peeked through my fingers to be sure. Yes, there he was.
Joy flooded my soul that night as I, too, received the Savior.
Our two children had been out to a neighborhood Halloween party in the evening. Daddy suggested that we start a family altar in our home, so we read the 23rd Psalm and all knelt in prayer. The change that had taken place in our husband's life was so great our friends were sure it couldn't last.
Later, the Sunday School superintendent gave Frank an adult class to teach. This he loved,and often would spend nearly all night preparing the lesson. he gave his testimony in many missions as well as in various churches from time to time. In order to gain more knowledge of the Word, he attended Northwestern Bible School for several months.
It was not long before the doctor advised him to slow down in his work. We had been praying about going into full-time Christian service and as we sought the Lord's guidance, a verse spoke to Frank. It was Jn. 6: 27, "Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life..."
But where did He want us to work? One day, nearly nine months later, a letter came from the superintendent of a mission in Minneapolis telling of the need for a home for underprivileged and homeless children. Would we be willing to come and manage such a home and if so,cold we come as soon as possible?
There was no doubt in our minds. This was God's work for us. First, my husband was to try to find a suitable place for such a home.
One after afternoon we drove about 25 miles outside Minneapolis to look at a large frame house. There were 11 acres of land and a wonderful apple orchard, as well as a beautiful lake close by. It looked like an ideal place for us. We went inside and explained our needs to the owner.
My husband asked him what the price and terms were. His answer was, "Ten thousand dollars cash."
This came as a somewhat a surprise, but after thinking a moment or two, my husband turned to him and said, "We do not have the money to pay cash, but how would six months be?"
Oh," he said, "that would be the same as cash."
Then he added, "You have great faith."
"No," my husband answered, "I have a great God."
This man was not a Christian but it was a tremendous testimony to him and to many others when six months later, the $10,000 was paid in full, every penny contributed by faithful Christians.
The house was completely furnished with donated furniture. Words fail to describe the countless number of times that we stood in awe at the way God worked.
Every need was always met--and always on time.
We cared for Indian and Filipino children as well as others. The only recommendation we required of a child was that he needed a home and someone to care for him. It was not an easy task. Some of the children raning from six months to teen-age had not had training of any kind. The blessings far outnumbered the hardships, and we found that there is a real joy in doing the most menial tasks when they are done as unto the Lord.
My husband's heart condition did not improve, but grew gradually worse. He began spending more and more time in the hospital. It really got to the place where we thought it best to resign our place in the children's home and let someone else take over who would be more able to carry on the work. We moved back to Minneapolis, and on Aug. 13, 1955, the Lord called Frank home to join his little girl. Her earlier words had come true: "I WILL TAKE YOU BY THE HAND AND LEAD YOU, DADDY."
--Alfred, Bessie & Ruth Stadem
The question is better addressed with another question (the Jewish way of dealing with questions and truth, as Jesus was trained in his own time and culture). Why don't you find the gift of the Christmas season, the Gift that is the free grace of Jesus Christ, and the free salvation won by Christ for each of us, to be asked for and received personally, individually?
Then and only then, you will experience the true meaning of Christmas.
"I professed to be a Christian, but my church that I had been raised in did not teach us that one must receive the Lord Jesus as a personal Savior..."--Does that describe your church and your experience? Many churches fall into that doleful category today, with dreadful consequences spiritually for those in them. From salvation-poor preaching, from which the Gospel and even the name of Jesus is excluded, there is but a short step to apostasy and heresy and false, unBiblical religions. Lives are shipwrecked, spiritual destinies thwarted, and wandering, purposeless, ignorant souls fall into every evil the society has to offer.
Well, this letter will certainly guide you aright in helping you settle your salvation on the right basis once and for all, so that you will live a happy, productive, and spiritually rewarding life. --Ed.