RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:
"I am aware of certain prophetic words given concerning Augustana that clearly point toward a restoration. I know personally of two faithful praying saints, now passed to Glory, who prayed for Augustana for many, many years, and who never gave up hope for her restoration as a Christian training school for youth.
Mrs. Gladys Johnson, who lived hard by the Academy in Canton, was one of the saintly ladies who prayed relentlessly for AA (even after it went defunct). Though left a widow with a family to raise, she continued strong in the Lord and in support of the Academy. She had sons who all graduated from AA, and she was connected with them when one went to Africa as a missionary and visited him there while I was going to AA 1957-50, for she spoke of her trip at a Chapel service I attended. I saw her last alive, sitting in a wheelchair, at the dedication of the "Academy on Wheels Historical Sign" that was funded by AA friends and alumni. In her nineties, she was probably sightless, or nearly so, but she was exclaiming, seemingly to no one listening (as no one was standing by her at the moment), "The prophecy is fulfilled!"
She had seen this beautiful sign with its stirring message about a School On Wheels erected and dedicated, after years and years of seeming neglect of the campus and the dream that once thrived on that site seemingly dead forever. Yet, like a miracle, a beautiful retirement center had been given the restored Old Main, after it had stood derelect and empty, with birds flying through broken windows no doubt to roost there, for decades from the 1970s to the time I saw her on the lawn out front of Old Main.
Now this beautiful historical sign, which she had contributed a great deal of money to, no doubt. But were this old saint's fullest aspirations for the Academy completely fulfilled in these two events? They must have appeared miracles to her, and it is hard not to characterize them any less. For her, at that point, it was a fulfillment, as she was satisfied in her spirit that it was to cry out that way with joy--but I have to wonder if there was something more not fulfilled. I think this because my aunt, an AA graduate and a woman of prayer, also was involved with Mrs. Johnson, who was waving a sort of letter or paper, which may well have been my aunt's prophecy written down in a letter that Mrs. Johnson had kept for years and years and prayed over tearfully. I believe my aunt had a prophecy that she passed to Mrs. Gladys Johnson, when I do not know, but this is the prophecy that Mrs. Johnson believed was fulfilled at the dedication of the special commemorative sign.
Once I asked my aunt pointedly what the prophecy concerning the Academy was, but she would not share it with me. But God knows what it is, and if the prophecy is to be fulfilled, was a historical sign, and a restored Old Main retirement center, sufficient? I don't think so. There has to be something more, involving a restoration of the school in some form. Perhaps the vision passed to others, however. That is a distinct possibility. Since we the many classes of graduates have proven to be so satisfied with what we received, but not stirred up enough to revive it and pass it on in the form of a reborn Augustana Academy, God only knows what that form would be. God only knows whether the vision was passed by God to others who can be stirred by the Spirit of God to create and carry on an enterprise of education such as Augustana Academy once was. He only knows what happened to fulfil these women's prayers and the prophecy Mrs. Johnson referred to that very moment I walked up just as she was crying out, The prophecy is fulfilled!"
Can faithfulness of praying, saintly women of God, I ask, be ignored by Almighty God? Prayers are not forgotten by God. True prophecies are not forgotten by God either! Not when they are prayed and prophesied according to God's will! We shall see, someday, what is now obscured. We shall see someday not whether but exactly how the prayers of such women as Mrs. Johnson, and my beloved late Aunt Myrtle Svanoe, and the other household of praying sisters that lived close by the campus I once heard about, bore fruit--for they will bear fruit, in God's time and according to His wisdom and faithfulness. Man's neglect and unbelief do not hinder God indefinitely, for He is faithful, even when we are faithless, the Bible says--and we know that not all of us proved faithless. These women I cite were faithful to the end. They stood in the gap for the rest of us.