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PLAIN VIEW HERITAGE FARM, RURAL BRYANT, SD

& STADEMS SAGA PRESENTS:

Paul Rangen's Letter:

"Thank God Almighty, I'm home at last"

Note: In the introductory portion Paul (who was a Christian radio announcer and broadcaster) described his sudden collapse on the way to his van after leaving a store with a jug of water on the way home from church with his wife and family. He was admitted to the hospital and put in the Intensive Care Ward, then later shifted to a downstairs room. It was night, and his wife had gone home. The letter from that point is as follows:

"Most of us don't sleep very well at the hospital and I am no exception. By Wednesday I was more than ready to get home and get on with life. It was a good thing I didn't known then I would have to stay till Friday. I was unable to sleep much Wednesday night and by three in the a.m., I was becoming pretty depressed. When I see the lung doctor in Great Falls every three months we talk about what my future may hold. Lung and heart problems persist and now some of my vocal chords are not working properly and the list goes on.

As low as I felt, I just didn't know what to say or do. You don't just call people at that hour and ask them to listen. If you are like me, you pray and then feel you aren't being heard. I think most of us have been there a time or two.

[My son and wife] had brought up the radio and the station was going, but the music and the words just were not connecting...until 3:30. Instead of the usual music, there was a tremendous testimony from a songwriter and recording artist by the name of Don Moen.

I didn't get the whole story and this is a paraphrase of what he related, but it was just what I needed to lift me out of the pit.

Don told about a family travelling in their minivan and they were involved in a terrible accicdent. The four boys were thrown out of the back of the van, and by the time the father made it to the first of his injured sons, he realized that this boy was in the presence of God.

So he left that son and ministered to the other three boys who survived. Don flew to the funeral because he was either related or very close to this family.

He was having trouble finding what God would have him say and related that he had been reading Isaiah 4 and the promises God gave the survivors of the siege of Jerusalem. I don't remember much of what he said at the funeral, but what really blessed me was the song that God gave him from this portion of scripture [Isaiah 4].

He wrote these words for the family and didn't even intend to set it all to music, but that is what happened in the end.

Here are the words:

God will make a way...

where there seems to be no way...

He works in ways we cannot see...

He will make a way for me....

He will be my guide...

hold me closely to His side...

with love and strength for each new day...

He will make a way...

God will make a way...

where there seems to be no way...

He cares for you...

He understands...

He'll hold you in His loving hands...

He will make a way.

As you can imagine, my spirits were lifted and I was renewed and thankful for His love and provision.

Some of you know that we have had to change my responsibilities at the station because of my voice problems and one of my greatest fears is going on oxygen and having to slow down my work schedule.

But what God revealed through this song and testimony from Don Moen is that no matter what the future may hold, God will make a way.

We have to trust Him, follow Him and let Him lead.

I wish I could tell you that I turned over and slept the rest of the night, that didn't happen. But I did have a lot better attitude about being awake.

Thank you for your love, prayers and support. Please continue to pray for my health. I love working at the station and want to continue as long as I can. The Board and Staff are just wonderful and have really worked with my limitations and for that I am very grateful.--Love, Paul"

Note #2: The reason for my publishing this letter now is because it really ministered to me just a few days ago. I had received it in 2000, and it hadn't spoken to me out of the ordinary, perhaps, because I was not at that time feeling the downturn in my spirits that Paul suffered. But my turn came, just a bit ago. Things did not seem to be going well for me. I could think that maybe God's promises were not coming true--and might not come true for me ever. With prayer after prayer for others seemingly unanswered indefinitely, my circumstances joined with that "fact" to tell me life was without any real possibility of change for the better. I needed break-throughs, I repeatedly reminded God, but the break-throughs were not coming despite those reminders. Life was a misery, without hope or prospects at my age of 63. Then I recall going to my room (my mother's unused sewing room I was trying to convert into living and working quarters. My eye happened to light on a loose collection of papers beside my bookcase, papers that had evidently escaped my latest attempt to straighten up my "office" and living area after a hurried, somewhat emotionally trying move from my last residence (with no help from friends, by the way, though I had big pieces of glass-fronted furniture I ended up strapping to the outside of my car!).

I picked up the "stray" papers and began reading the first paper to see what it was. Maybe I was hoping it would contain something, something, that would give me the strength to go on. I was reading down the page, thinking it was written by my Aunt Estelle who had been in the hospital fighting cancer, but, half-way down, I realized it was my Cousin Paul relating his ordeal in the hospital. By this time the identification with him had begun. It seemed he was describing exactly where I was, emotionally and spiritually--that point at the end of the tether, at the wits' end, that terrible place in life where so many troubles crowd your mind you can't see any way out--where, as Paul says, you don't know what to say or do.

That is where you must have God's divine intervention (whatever form it takes), or you will surely sink out of sight!

Been there? Are you there right now?

By the time I read the song's wonderful lyrics, it had become a true-life touch from God for me too. It was what I desperately needed--and received through Paul's letter. The letter and the song's time had come, not when I received it, but six years later after dear Paul had gone to heaven. As if he were speaking to me in person, Paul ministered the blessing of hope to me--as it was hope that was dying in me. Hope in the Lord raised me up, lifted me just when I could find no hope anywhere else. Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Cousin Paul! I do hope that this letter will continue to minister hope to the hopeless, as it did to me. God is so good and merciful, and he is no respector of persons. What he did for Paul six years ago and now for me, He will do for everyone else who needs a touch from Him.--June 30, 2006, R.G.

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