My Friend Rudy

Let’s pause for moment and pray.  Would you pray along with me the Lord’s Prayer?  I’m sure most of you know it but if not you can listen to your neighbor or read it from the wall.Rudy1

 “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, Amen”

(Matt. 6:9-13 KJV).

My friend Rudy knew this prayer well and intellectually could recite it at will.  He likely learned it a very young age as many in his generation spoke it as a daily prayer in school.  Long gone are those days.  But Rudy, especially in these last years, as he prayed, you could tell it was no longer just words memorized in his youth but that he was growing in a relationship with the Father to whom he spoke.  Rudy was on a lifelong journey to get to know his heavenly Father.

At our weekly Bible studies Rudy occasionally brought forth questions that showed that he struggled on this journey.   He wasn’t afraid to admit it nor was he unwilling to raise a question when something didn’t sit quite right with him.  And we would go down side roads through the Word looking for the answers.

But there was one question, that was really bugging him, that finally came to a head last summer.  He often heard people talking about encountering God or hearing God’s voice and as he put it, he was pretty sure he hadn’t experienced God in these ways.  This bugged him so much that one night he and Laura came over and what he said to me nearly knocked me off my chair.  “Pastor I’m not sure that I have Jesus in my heart!”

How could this be I questioned?  How is it possible that a man who has dedicated thousands of hours to Gleaners, who led our church quite often in the hymns we sang, who has prayed the Lord’s Prayer and took communion among us, how is it possible for Rudy to feel as though the Lord was not with him?

I thought to myself, “Was he just baiting me?”  Or was he facing a crisis of faith?  There was no doubt in my mind that Rudy was a man of God!  Not a perfect saint but just the real deal.  And yet here he was asking me to lead him in the sinner’s prayer.

It was like he knew his name was called up yonder and so he needed some assurance and directions before answering the call.

I of course reminded him that the Bible says, “…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13).   And we talked about how he had done that.  How he had been baptized and had gone to church for a long time now.  Certainly in the 13 plus years that I’ve known him, Rudy walked as a believer walks, again not sinlessly perfect just real.

For a trucker he had a pretty clean vocabulary.  In fact I couldn’t remember a time when I ever heard him swear.  He was genuinely interested in helping people come to faith in Christ and enjoyed his ministry with the Gracemen singing his heart out for Jesus.  His passion for Gleaners and for his church and his love for his family, especially his bride of more than 60 years showed he was committed to Christian ideals.

I can’t remember if he brought it up or I was just reminded later of what Jesus words in Matthew chapter 7, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

It seemed as though Rudy felt like he had missed something along the way and was in danger of missing heaven’s narrow gate on the journey home.   But I did remind Rudy of what the rest of what that passage says.



Yes Rudy struggled with the same things that every Christian struggles with.  The passions of the flesh, the pride of life, doing things that caused rifts in his earthly relationships but frankly I reminded him, that those very things that we call sin are exactly why Christ died on the cross for us. 

The Bible says, “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  … God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.  And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.  For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.  So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (Rom. 5:8).  

I reminded Rudy that the Bible says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9).     And I asked Rudy if he had repented of his sins and called upon the name of the Lord to be saved?  He said something to the effect of, “that’s exactly the point, he’s not sure that he has”.  And then he asked if I would help him do exactly that. 

So there in my living room, with his bride of more than 60 years by his side I led this man of God in the sinner’s prayer and I prayed and asked God to reveal to Rudy just how visibly active He has been in Rudy’s life. 

Folks sometimes we don’t recognise God’s still voice or experience the hand of providence in our lives the same way others do.   But I can say for sure that Rudy was a Christian long before he prayed that prayer in my living room.  As Jesus told us in that passage of Matthew that I read to you, you can recognize His disciples by His fruit in their lives.

Rudy3Now in our valley we harvest much fruit.  But I’ve noticed something that kind of startled me to begin with and still does bug me a bit.  When I’m out picking for my friend Graeme the fruit that goes into the bin must be without blemish and of the highest quality or he goes behind me and pulls it from the bin and chucks it on the ground.  “Those are culls”, he says. “Not fit for market.” 

But God isn’t like Graeme in that regard.  He doesn’t look for perfect specimens plucking only the finest fruit and tossing all the others aside as worthless.  ‘Cause if he did, not one of us would make that cut.  We’d all be culled. 

Like Rudy we all have fallen short of mark.  But my friend Rudy learned something that assured him he was chosen of God, holy and acceptable in God’s sight.  Rudy learned that God’s perfect Son enabled all who call upon His name to be chosen and kept by the Master as his very own.   

I suppose that’s why Rudy was as passionate about Gleaners as he was.  He recognized that together with thousands of volunteers he could be part of God’s plan to feed millions in Christ’s name.  Rudy found that God can use what man rejects for the glory of His Kingdom if only we are willing to be used. And he worked hard for Gleaners.  Much harder than a man his age ought to at times.  But he loved what he did and knew it was worthwhile.  Love and generosity, the giving of one’s time, for the glory of God and to help the needy, these are fruit of the Spirit, the real evidence of Christ within.  Even if others don’t see it.

The Bible says of Jesus, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isiah 53:3-6).

As Rudy’s health failed I think one thing that really bugged him a lot was not being able to serve the Lord as he once had.  He couldn’t sing, he couldn’t drive… in his eyes he was becoming useless to all around him. 

Rudy wanted to give God his all but he realized that the journey this side of heaven was coming to an end.  So he wrestled and fought the good fight as best he could not losing his faith but he sure was grappling with such great loss.  Looking back I can see he was grieving that loss much like we are grieving his loss today.

At times he got pretty down but then he was so blessed by how all his family came together and showed their love to him and support for he and Laura.  I remember one day, after a surprising visit by a family member, Rudy phoned me up from his hospital bed with in tears in his voice as he realized that God had done a mighty miracle for him, a real answer to prayers.  He was so excited about it that when I saw him two days later, he again cried and we prayed to his Heavenly Father and gave thanks for such a tender and timely mercy. 

It was so hard to watch my friend fade away losing over 50 pounds and unable to hardly speak.  But he and I knew this would not be the end of the story.   Jesus had already made that very clear to him through God’s Holy Word. 

Though we don’t understand the reasons God does what He does, we must accept by faith that God has a divine purpose beyond our understanding for all things.  And most of all, we must never forget that He knows the tears we have shed… for God himself put on flesh and walked amongst us. 

Jesus knows the grief in our hearts because He experienced it in ways we fail to comprehend.  He had friends and relatives who dearly enjoyed his company.  He had to look down from the cross at His mother who with tears streaming from her eyes gazed up upon her beloved Son as he was breathing His last.  Jesus knows those strong emotions, that we call grief, that often come in waves when someone we love is taken away.

We see this so clearly in the book of John 11th chapter.

There we find that a friend of Jesus, named Lazarus, had died and had been in the tomb four days by the time Jesus arrived. When Jesus found two disciples, the sisters of Lazarus, overwhelmed with grief and his reaction was not a stoic disconnected high priest. 

He tenderly reminded one of the sisters, “Your brother will rise again.”  And Martha “answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? 

“Yes, Lord,” she told him…” (John 11:23-25).

Martha understood that death is not the end.  And so she called her sister Mary and they walked to tomb of Lazarus with Jesus at their side.  The mourners were wailing and the sisters continued weeping, as they grieved the loss of their brother. 

As they got closer to the tomb, John 11:35 records the shortest verse in the Bible, just two words, “Jesus wept”

Did you know it’s only the shortest verse in our English translations?  In the original language there is no punctuation, the thought of that short sentence began with, “When Jesus saw Mary weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”    John was telling us that Jesus felt their pain, he knows what it means for us to lose a loved one.  For when:  “Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” John 11:33-36 (NIV).   They saw a man hurting just as they were.    

Jesus is the God of compassion.  His tears were genuine expressions of the sorrow he felt.  He entered into their sorrow and began to carry their burden.

And Jesus is moved by your sorrow today, He loves you even as He loved them! And He wants you to know His compassion for you.  He is walking with you through this deep loss you’re facing, and if you’ll let Him he’ll carry you when grief threatens to overwhelm you. 

Grief and loss are unavoidable in this life but understand this, Jesus has overcome this life and His Word declares Rudy has too. 


In the same book of the Bible, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going. (John 14:2-3).

Rudy knew the way, and now so do you.  I know it is Rudy’s desire to see every one of his family and friends reuniting at our Father’s house. And the way is clear.

The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Roman 10:9-10).

Rudy fought the fight of faith, battling with all the doubts and questions that each of us face, hurting deeply at times but through Jesus he won the victory!  This trucker truly found his way to his Father’s house and now what once grieved him has been swallowed up by inexpressible joy and peace. 

Small Churches G.t.G.t.God too! Acts 18:7-17

Ah it’s that time of year again.  Time for us to reflect on what God has done through the ministries of Grace.  A time of thanksgiving and a time for prayerful planning for the coming year.  What is it that God would have us do in 2015?


One of the blessings of being a small church is that everyone has a role to play.  Unlike the mega church where only a small percentage are actually involved in ministry within the church, a small church welcomes you to join in and be a part of what Christ is doing and pretty well doesn’t take no for an answer.  Experience is optional…on the job training is unavoidable. 

Trusting in the Lord…absolute necessity!   But everyone is needed to fulfill what it is that God has wired them to do if the small church is going to remain a viable contributor to the greater community.

I confess, sometimes I’ve looked at our small church with eyes that see only that we cannot do what larger churches can…mostly because we don’t have the resources.  Pragmatically this is true but who said we are required to do what they do? 

The problem with this sort of thinking is that it is absolutely unbiblical and that’s only the start.  We can do as much as God would have us do so long as our focus remains on Him.  So it is unbiblical to say that because we are small in number we cannot do as God would have us do. 

Unless of course you want to talk about the twelve spies who Moses sent to check out the Promised Land.  The key word there is Promised Land.  Seems they also suffered from being overwhelmed by the task at times.  They saw the immense size of the people and ten of the spies concluded the job was too big for them!

Numbers chapter 13 records the details of their exploratory trip ending with these historic words.


 “We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). {And everyone knows how big those guys are!  They stood over 7 feet tall some say as large as 9 feet.  So to say their problem was Giant! Is only stating the truth.  And those spies came and reported what they felt, }  We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:33).  

Scared by the size of the task and the opposition they may face they came back and told everyone who would listen that Israel was too small to do what God was calling them to do. 

And I confess that I too have looked at our vision and purpose through those same sort of eyes at times and felt overwhelmed. 

Determined to fix this problem I looked at the things that big churches can do and thought we should do the same things.  Kids clubs, Alpha, multiple small groups, outreach campaigns, soup kitchens, conferences, movie nights, anything the big guys did I thought we should try to do…clearly on a smaller scale. 

I call that sort of thinking, ‘fake it to you make it’ approach to growth!  But maybe I’m coming across with the attitude that small church is somehow wrong or broken. 

Jesus Christ said, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome her” (Mt. 16:18). 



There is something incredibly important about that statement.  First, it’s His church.  Just like it was God’s Promised Land that those spies checked out.  God gave it to them.   Second, “Jesus promised to build it!”  And it sure seems that He has built an awful lot of small churches to me.  All over the world!

Grace is His church!  Jesus will build His church in the heart of Penticton with or without us.

In fact the Bible clearly says, “unless the Lord builds the house the labourers build in vain” (Psalm 127:1).


The truth is sometimes “numerical growth strategies” are done for vanity reasons.  And as we’ve seen in this city from several “quick growing churches” …what rose fast comes down even faster at times bringing much hurt and mistrust rather than glory to God.  

In my time alone in Penticton I’ve seen well more than 700 potential saints scattered when fast growing churches imploded.  Many of those people have never darken the doors of a church since. And if we thought it was hard before to help people to come to know and follow Jesus, you just try with some of those remnants… It’s heart breaking to say in the least. 

But as I’ve mentioned several times before,  having large numbers in church on Sunday is not an indication of growth potential nor even a healthy church.   And it is simply not the norm for Christ’s church.   Over 85% of Christ’s church is distributed as small churches throughout the world.   Churches from 3-350 people!  If you can believe the stats out there, over one Billion people choose to worship in small churches!  The majority of those churches are under 100 people strong, some say as high as 80% of them.  And it’s been that way from the very beginning of Christendom.

Apparently what I was trying so hard at times to fix is something that maybe wasn’t and isn’t broken?  Small Church is here to stay now and until the end of the age!  PTL!

{By the way the only thing I have against the big church is when they insist that small church is something to be fixed.   Otherwise it’s great being a part of a healthy big Church!   I’ve been there too!   The large scale professional style worship was awe inspiring! The many small groups that formed it were mostly wonderful.  Made you almost feel like you were a part of a small church… }


Perhaps it is time to realize and accept that Grace is as Christ planned and built it to be.  A small church in the heart of Penticton reaching out to our community and throughout the whole world in Jesus name and to give the glory to God.  We are growing in love with Jesus and for one another… Fulfilling the vision of being

“… a place where, the abandoned, the neglected, and the marginalized find “He who sticks closer than a brother” and know the love of God is truly welcoming them into God’s Kingdom”

Continuing  to do what our purpose states:

“We exist to help people know and follow Jesus Christ.”

Now that’s real church growth!

The video shows that working together, using the resources we have, has built unity and strong community at Grace.  And we’ve seen God use this to plant several churches, with thousands claiming to know and follow Christ with the help of Grace sponsored missions in Kenya.  As well as  hundreds who have downloaded the 4 spiritual laws and Getting to Know Jesus from our website.   And still thousands more who have used other resources from our Websites during 2014, presumably to grow and know and follow Jesus.

In Penticton  we’ve been able to feed the poor, counsel and mourn with those in need,  mentor youth, and even bless students heading for college.  Some of our seniors even help produce food (millions of meals), and quilts that bring the warmth of Christ.   While others of Grace are living out their faith volunteering throughout the community.

Through our live services, Sunday mornings,  our shut ins and those who can’t make it to church, join us and  “feel like they are a part” (online viewer).  Hundreds of others view part or all of our youtube and other online podcasts each week.

All this to the glory of God and His Kingdom and none for our own numerical growth or personal glory.   We simply put it out there to Give the Glory to God and hope to help people to know and follow Jesus. }


All the Glory goes to Him because frankly we are like grasshoppers when it comes to what only He can do!  We are but a small part of His incredibly large whole, called “The Church”!  And that is true regardless of whether you are a part of a mega church or where two or three are gathered in His name!  

So what is the main thing that Christ would want to instill for us as we look at the year ahead?  I may be wrong…you know I have been on more than one occasion but I think the main thing is still the main thing.  GtGtGod  Give the Glory to God in all that we do and keep trusting Him to direct our paths.   

This is what Christ told the church at Ephesus as preserved in the book of Revelations: “Do not forsake your first love” (cf. 2:4).  His name is Jesus.  “And keep doing what you did when you first loved Jesus (cf. 2:4).  If you do, you will keep growing even if there are less butts in chairs on Sunday mornings. 

Jesus said, “…when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” (Jn. 12:32).   For thus saith the Lord!  “I will build my church” (Mt. 16:18).  

And He invites those who call themselves a part of Grace in the heart of Penticton, to be co-labourers with Him as the chief builder.  Just as He has done throughout the world and down through the ages as we’ll see in our Bible lesson this morning. 

God who is the head of this church is able to do exceedingly abundantly above what we are able to conceive and wants to do exactly that with us if only we would join with Him in what lays ahead.  Jesus bids us come, but grants us leave should we not choose to follow Him at this time or in this way.

 It has always been that way.  Last week we saw from our study in Acts that God took Paul down some lonely and even depressing roads at times.  When Paul saw the door close on sharing Christ in Athens, is was a difficult time for him.  So as he left that city, and went to Corinth where Paul resorted to the trade he had learned in order to make ends meet. 

He didn’t come on strong there like he had in Thessalonica and other places as we’ve seen in Acts.  According to the commentators Paul was weary of the road he was on.  The physical beatings from Philippi may have had a part in this but the outright rejection he faced in Athens seemed to have slowed down this super Apostle a bit.

He was slowed down…but not out!  Paul worked with his hands night and day shifts and still he spoke in the synagogue whenever he could. He reasoned with fellow Jews trying to persuade them that Jesus was the Christ that they were looking for as found in the Scriptures.  But even in that synagogue Paul ran into opposition that eventually caused him to take his leave.   So let’s pick up the narrative where we left off in verse Acts 18:7-17 (New International Version).

 “Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.  Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.  One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 

So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.  While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court.  “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”  Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you.  But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law–settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.”  So he had them ejected from the court.  Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever.” Acts 18:7-17 (NIV).


The Jews in that synagogue wanted to squash that little sect of a faith called “the Way” …Christianity as we know it today.  And they became like a big foot hovering over Paul with abusive behavior. 

But our God is so faithful, AMEN?  No sooner does Paul leave the synagogue full of unbelievers and he’s right back teaching people to know and follow Jesus big time.   What encouragement that must have been for this weary disciple of Christ.  And get this it was right next door!  Right next door to the synagogue!

Sometimes we can be very close to where God is at work and not even know it.  We can be doing the right things and saying the right words, which I can assure you Paul was doing in the synagogue, but even with much effort there was no growth.  The people were not ready to hear and respond to Christ through the gospel.  In fact they were getting belligerent about it. 


So Paul said, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6 (NIV).   It sounds like he was furious with them but really it was just a statement of fact as I explained last lesson.

So out one door and into the next for Paul.  And literally it was next door to the synagogue. 


This was the home of Titius a worshipper of God.  (Remember that title just means that he had not been circumcised.  Other than that he was following the ways of the Jews.  We know this because “Crispus, the synagogue ruler” could be found at his house.  And a synagogue ruler would likely not have been in the house of a gentile fellowshipping unless that man was a God fearer.  So Titius was a God fearer much like Lydia.   And this God fearer decided that Paul’s message deserved a place to be told. So the first church of Corinth was birthed in his living room right next door to the synagogue.  It was a small church but not without some influence because of those good people who entered therein. 

People like “Crispus, the synagogue ruler and his entire household” who when they heard Christ’s message from Paul “believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized” (7).   

Christ had once again built His church.  That little house church began to grow. People got saved, were baptized and grew to know and follow Jesus. 

You would think that would embolden or at least encourage the weary apostle wouldn’t you?   Yet those beatings and the rejection that came with them had left a mark.  I think that’s why Paul later teaches about the fiery darts of the enemy and the necessity of a shield of faith firmly in place (cf. Eph. 6:16). In our own strength we can only put up with so much before we shrink back. 


Jesus knew this was happening in Paul so: “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”(9-10).   It was very good news indeed!  So encouraging for Paul.  And not just the part of “no one is going to attack and harm you”.  Though I am sure that must have been a relief.    But the real encouragement for Paul must have been the fact that his Master cared enough to notice and chose to show Paul in a very tangible way just how much he cared. 

And then there were those words that every evangelist loves to hear.  “I have many people in this city” (10). 


Who has?   Who is it talking in verse 10?   Is it not the same person who said “I will build my church”?   Yes it was Jesus.  And Jesus had a job for Paul to do.  He was to “keep on speaking, do not be silent” that’s what Christ said. 

When we get weary, and trust me every Christian faces those times to some degree.  When we get weary our natural tendency is to take the path of least resistance.  Say nothing…do nothing.  

I’m sure you have been there too!  You’ve shared the gospel… been rejected… and after a while you just stop sharing the good news.  But Jesus wants us to lean on Him in those times and not withdraw or keep silent. 

Just as He told Paul, “I am with you”(10)  Jesus has told all of us the He is with us “even until the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).    And as far as I can tell we haven’t reached the end yet.  So we too can rest upon His promise. 


Does that mean that it will be smooth sailing until the sunsets? 

No just one look at what happens as Paul settles into teaching the Corinthians to follow everything that Christ commands ought to dispel that myth.


Luke tells us that Paul stayed an unusually long time for his normal pattern of missionary work.   He stayed for one and half years, teaching and preaching the good news from God’s Holy Word.  And then his boat hit some real stormy waters once again. 

The storm arose right next door!  I suspect they were getting pretty agitated as they saw more and more people coming and going through Titius’s doors.  And so the Jews unitedly attacked Paul and dragged him out to the bema seat.   That would be the designated chair that the proconsul sat upon in order to hear and decide matters of justice. 

Luke also gives us another one of those history hooks here so we know that this actually could be traced back in time.  He says, While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court” (Acts 18:12 (NIV).   The history books tell us that Gallio became proconsul on July 1, 51ad.  And he didn’t have that position long so we know it was between 51-52ad that these events took place.

So the Jews thinking that the Proconsul would side with a vocal group like theirs brought Paul before the court.

 “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.” Acts 18:13

 But before Paul could open his mouth in defense the case was summarily dismissed.  


Gallio decided that it was a matter of two different factions within the Jewish faith and therefore not a matter he needed to rule on.  And that actually set precedence. 

 Whereas in Athens the court said they would not accept what Paul had to say as something that was relevant to a known religion Gallio now basically legitimized Paul’s message and his followers under Roman law. 

This was a huge victory for the Christian sect of Judaism and an unbearable defeat for the Jews of the Corinthian Synagogue.   And as promised by Jesus, Paul was not harmed in the process.  Though someone else sure was!

See it down at the bottom of the screen?  Verse 17


Sometimes God uses a two by four to bring people to Himself.  Just look at Sosthenes the synagogue ruler.  He started a riot that dragged Paul to court expecting him to be ousted from Corinth, but after receiving a good beating, he too surrendered his life to Jesus.  How cool is that?  Not the beating!  The fact that Christ reconciled Sosthenes to Himself.  Sosthenes went from an enemy to friend and co-labourer with Paul.


The book of Corinthians finds him with Paul in Ephesus as he was writing that letter.  There we read, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,” 1 Corinthians 1:1 (NIV) He went from hatred of Paul to brother and probably Paul’s amanuensis.  Talk about true repentance, eh?

And the small church they started continued to grow, and that church went out from there and planted other small churches both in Corinth and beyond as they out grew their space.  And those too grew in the love of God…for a while that is.  The letters we call the book of Corinthians detail some of the ways they went sideways for a bit and clearly needed more correction from the Apostles teaching.   People everywhere need help to know and follow Jesus, it doesn’t come naturally.  

Growth is not simply about the number of butts in seats at church. In fact I would say that Christ is more interested in our personal inner growth than butts in seats.  Our character, our love for one another, our perseverance under trial, generosity and the fruit of the Spirit these are real measurements of church growth.  

So this year we will continue to pray for the Lord of the Harvest to send forth labourers to build His church.  And in childlike expectancy we can wait to see how this will effect Grace in the Heart of Penticton. 

As we wait God says, “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you…” (9-10) “Even ‘til the end of the age!” (Mt. 28:20).



Pastor Blake

Dianne – Saturation of Assurance

As I thought and prayed about what to say on this day many emotions overwhelmed me.  I was of course very sad…even mad for while…that Dianne was so quickly taken from  Tony and  his family.  Dianne was a fine Christian lady.  Not a perfect one but an authentic Christian woman.  One who leaves a huge hole in many hearts.

Why did it have to happen the way that it did I questioned out load to the Lord?  I suspect many of you here today joined in that question too.

I’m afraid I didn’t come up with a single good reason to give you.  I have no amazing insight for the “why question” to offer you this morning.  I firmly believe that in time you will understand but for now I can say with certainty this question poses no relief, gives no comfort, and has no hope.  From what I knew of Dianne, I know she was not worried about that question as she took her final breath.  In fact she was so saturated with assurance that she was ready to go home the moment the call came from the Lord.

So where did she get such assurance from?

Perhaps it was from reading and knowing and trusting in God’s Holy Word?  I suspect that was a major factor for sure but her assurance was deeper than simply knowing words from a book.

Several verses flooded my thoughts as I drove home from Camrose on the Monday before this family gathering.  Words that usually bring me some assurance yet in that sad and madden state of mind I found little comfort in them throughout the day.  Through the night as I wrestled with god over their meaning I began to feel that peace that rises above the uncertainties of life.

Allow me a few minutes to share with you the verses that I grappled with and the understanding I received.  Perhaps they can begin to fill the assurance voids that your heart needs in this time of turmoil and grief.

The first verse that came to mind was this one from Psalm 121:1-2 (NLT).

“I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!”

It was a beautiful day with blue sky and white glistening snow as we drove home on Monday.  When we got to Field, BC, I gazed into the town where I saw this small church sticking out like a beacon.  So I immediately turned into town and went to find it and it was then that this scripture went through my mind and I saw the picture therein before I actually took it. “I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” Psalm 121:1-2 (NLT).


Where does my help come from?

This was a Psalm of David that he wrote a little later in life.  He knew very well that help doesn’t come from stones or even beautiful scenery.   He learned that lesson as he wallowed at times in grief and despair.  He was a man that journeyed in the dark valley that you may find yourself in today but clearly David didn’t stay there for the rest of his days on earth.  Yet it was in those valleys that he became saturated in assurance.

One of those darker moments came when his infant son was as the Bible tells it, “sick unto death”.  David, the most powerful man in the kingdom, saw his son dying and dawned sack cloth and ashes and began fasting and praying that his son would live.  His heart was painfully burdened.  But when the news came that his son died something happened that caught David’s household by surprise.  David immediately got up and washed and went to eat.

“His servants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”  He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’  But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12:21-23 (NIV)

David’s time in prayer and fasting had brought him to the point of saturation of assurance.  He knew that God could have healed his son and yet when that was not the outcome David reached the point of accepting God’s sovereignty,  not understanding it mind you…but accepting it.  He grieved and yet he was assured.  He knew that he could not bring his son back from the dead but was assured that this parting was temporary.  David said, “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”(23).  Though the pain of separation was tremendous David’s assurance from God, that this was not the end, enabled him to carry on with his life and the purposes for it that laid ahead.

As I thought about that I struggled deep within with the “ya bits”.  You ever have those?  “ya buts?” Those nagging comparison questions that want to argue the obvious.   Mine, for this passage, was: “Ya but, David’s son was so young.  He hadn’t spent a lifetime with him as Tony, and the rest of you have with Dianne.  Surely it is not the same!  Your grief comes from more than 42 years of loving relationship with her, his from days.  Clearly your grief is so much more profound.  Can you possibly be over it in a day?   A week?  A month?  How long will it take?

I have an answer for that…it won’t satisfy your longing to feel normal again…the answer is:  As long as it takes.  And just when you think it is over…another wave of grief will come again and remind you, each one a little less intense than the previous.  You will never be completely over the loss of someone you love.  But you will in time accept it and live again.

Love so deep leaves holes so big,  I wouldn’t presume to tell you how long it should take to feel like getting on with life as “normal”.  Whatever that is. But know this  for David it seems shorter than it likely was.

I was also reminded of Mary and Martha’s journey.  They were friends of Jesus whose brother had gotten sick.  Theirs, like yours was a lifelong relationship shortened by sudden illness.

They sent word for Jesus to come at once to heal their dear brother for he too was “sick unto death”.  If Jesus didn’t come at once it would be too late.  The time was short indeed.  And before Jesus arrived, Lazarus died; his body was already in the tomb for four days.  The mourners had  gathered to weep and wail.  His sisters dawned the clothes of grief.  It was an emotionally distraught time.  And when Jesus got there, the Bible tells us that, he too wept.  His heart was overwhelmed for his friends, he knew their pain and the hopelessness that grief can bring.  But God had other plans in store for them for that day.

As Jesus was talking to Martha, “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:23-26 (NIV)

Martha thought Jesus meant about the same as David meant when he said I will go to him he will not return to me”.  It had been four days in the tomb already!  One day…sometime in the future…there will be a resurrection.   Perhaps on that day Martha would be with Lazarus again.  Just like on that day David will be with his son again.

Dianne knew this passage well.  She knew what would come next for Martha and Mary.  Knew that Jesus would awaken the dead man and call him out of the grave.

We as Christians know that God can and sometimes still does raise people from the dead reuniting them, at least temporarily with their loved ones.  But you and I know that will not be the case with Dianne.  She is not coming back temporarily from the grave.  I do not want to provide you with false hope for today.  And even Jesus really didn’t mean for the temporary resurrection of Lazarus to be the promise that people cling to as they read through this passage of scripture.

Jesus wasn’t so interested in the temporary but rather He wanted to saturate us with assurance.  When He called Lazarus from the dead for Mary and Martha, it was to prove once and for all that He was sovereign…even over death.  He was and still is the resurrection and the life.

Jesus proved that physically, albeit temporarily, that day with Lazarus who of course died physically once again and like the rest of us had to await the full resurrection to come.  Yet in doing so Jesus showed us the marvelous truth that David clung to with his son.  There is indeed a resurrection from the dead, a real resurrection that awaits us who belong to Christ.  It wasn’t just hallow words that we have no proof of. Lazarus really, physically, rose from the dead that day.   And we shall rise again and so shall those whom we loved and who had fallen asleep in Christ be united with us.  It will be as real as it was for Mary, Martha and Lazarus the day he walked out of the tomb.

This I believe was the saturation of assurance that Dianne held to.  She knew that the parting would be painful for all who loved her but she also knew that the pain would be temporary because of what Jesus did.  Dianne knew it wasn’t just words on a page because she knew Jesus just like Mary and Martha knew him, as a loving friend and more so as her own Savior.

Dianne had such assurance that she told her family that she didn’t want to have a sad funeral service but rather that her ashes be scattered in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Her life proved her relationship and her faith in Christ has so saturated her with assurance that she saw no need for a funeral.

Dianne knew well the words that apostle Paul wrote, “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 (NIV)

Dianne knew these words well but more than that she knew this same Jesus who would unite her with those whom she loved that had gone before her.  And she now awaits those who are temporarily separated from her as they complete what God has given them to do on earth.

That’s why Dianne didn’t want this day to be about the “grief of men with no hope”(13).  She knows that her family has this same eternal hope and knows that this same Jesus will saturate them with that assurance.

Those who have not this assurance feel finality in her death.  It is that hopeless feeling that they will never see her again.  Whereas, Tony, Chris and Joanne, Daniel and Nathan, and the rest of your family who know Jesus already have that same assurance.

So as you sit around the tables today and grieve please remember that this is truly temporary.  Though Dianne cannot come back to you, you will indeed be united again on the resurrection day.  Swap some stories of how you enjoyed your time with her.  Shed some tears, its ok, when we lose someone we love it’s bound to happen more than once.  We’ll miss them but we know that this parting is for a short time at least for those who are believers in Christ.  We have the same assurance that David, Martha and Mary, Lazarus and even Dianne shared.  So as the memories leak out, let the tears flow and know also that joy comes in the morning.

Remember too, that when your assurance reaches saturation Dianne would want you to continue to do whatever is was that brings you great joy in service Jesus.



Pastor Blake

virtual community

Is virtual Community Biblical?   A Pastoral Perspective    
Rev. Blake Wagner

1)    How God has lead this particular pastor to form virtual biblical communities.

2)    The growing need for online biblical communities

(video clip- shortened version)  

 Website Evangelism Videos  

3)    Some pragmatic implications of Grace’s live online community.

a)    Identifying the needs and seeking to meet them.

b)    Moving from concept to reality within major budget constraints.

4)    Functioning as a growing online community.

a)    Measuring usefulness both locally and online.

b)    Reaching beyond local community, seeing souls saved.

c)    Revitalizing and reenergizing the local community.

5)    Technical resources to foster live online community.

a)    Free and almost free software resources to help get you going.

i)     Bigbluebutton

ii)    Red5

iii)   Website and Bandwidth considerations.

b)    Example set up for low budget streaming.

   i)     Where to stream.

(1) for non-profits.




c) Broadcasting Equipment and Bandwidth Constraints.

(i) Computer, camera, and audio needs.

Broadcasting Equipment.   I recommend you use an i5-i7 3.0ghz or better,  quad core or better, Windows or Mac computer with a minimum of 8gb ram and 1 Terabyte hard drive.  A full-size desktop tower with expansion slots is preferred over  a notebook.  Yes you can go cheaper and slower on the CPU but the hassle isn’t worth it in the long run.

Two monitors help but one will do.  HD USB camera, 2 would be better.  IP Cameras are even better but may require more expensive software to integrate.  Old camcorders with firewire on tripods are what we use.  These take a separate interface that is also USB.  Each usb camera needs a separate USB bus card in the computer.

I should also mention, that you’ll need a separate computer for Propresenter or Powerpoint for the in house projection.  Encoding is cpu intensive so don’t bother trying to do it all on one computer.

The audio out from the in house mixer to the computer input is the source of the stream’s audio, and you want the highest possible quality there.  People will keep watching as long as they can hear clearly what is going on even if the lips are out of sync at times.

(ii) Internet Service Provider and web hosting.

You’ll need an Internet connection capable of sufficient upload bandwidth.  If you are sending a stream of 700Kbps you’ll want an internet connection of 2Mbps upload.  Use a wired Ethernet connection to the internet router rather than wireless.  And separate the in church WiFi from the wired Ethernet with a second router then move all other traffic to the second router so the stream remains solid.

d) Live Broadcasting Software

(1) Wirecast – (free and paid versions)
(2) Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder – (free)
(3) Procaster – and Mobile app.

e) CCLI Podcasting License and limitations.


10 proven ways to make your marriage last 50 – 66 years or more!

Who said marriage is dead?  Today we exuberantly celebrated the institution of marriage!

10 couples who have been a part of Grace celebrated more than 585 years worth of marriage in total.  What was their secret?  How can you do it to?  Listen to the two clips below and find out how each couple managed more than 50 years and their marriages are still going strong!

But today was double special because it was the 66th anniversary of one of those couples, Len & Lillian Rempel. The church was packed out! And what we heard was inspiring to say in the least!  Each of these couples was asked what their secret was for longevity in marriage.   With most spanning more than 60 years in marriage …the couple with the least years having had 51 years to draw on for their wisdom … what they had to say may just help save your marriage!  And it will encourage even those with the strongest marriages to keep up the good fight.

In this first clip,  Walter & Irene, 60 years, Len & Lil, 66 years, Frank & Ruby, 63 years, Ben & Helen, 60 years, and Menno & Frieda, 60 years, tell what they believe is their secret to a great and long lasting marriage.

Below is the low rez small bandwidth version. (32mb)

In this second clip,  John & Susan, 60 years, Rudy & Laura, 60 years, Barney & Sara, 53 years, Helmut & Katie, 51 years, and Bill & Betty, 52 years, tell what they believe is their secret to a great and long lasting marriage.

Below is the Rempel extended family singing the medley of old hymns they grew up on.

Below is Pastor Blake’s message entitled:  True Intimacy Must Exist for marriage to last this long!
Pastor Gail did a marvellous job in preserving a pictorial history and we’ll use her footage rather than the full video footage as the Wirecast machine hiccuped after the fifth couple began and it wasn’t noticed (sorry for those who were actually watching live). The audio was captured on our server even after the video quit so with Pastor Gail’s pictures and Pastor Blake’s Powerpoints you’ll still get a feel for the marvellous day we experienced as we celebrated the faithfulness of God and the fellowship of those whom He knit together ’til death do they part!
(low bandwidth)


Below is Councillor- Garry Litke (soon to be Mayor-Penticton City) Bringing thanks for the fine example these couples are to our community.

Enjoy and be blessed!

My Friend Bill


Pastor Peter shares about his friend Bill.
William Chester Hutton.
“Whispering Bill”
Born May 18,1958 Home to Jesus on Sept. 4, 2012
Sadly missed.

I am in the place where God shines through

For He and I are one, not two.

He wants me were I am.

I need not fret, nor will, nor plan.

If I will be relaxed and free,

He’ll carry out His plan through me.

[jwplayer align”center” mediaid=”2002″]

Friends of Missions

On Sunday Sept. 30th Friends of Missions held their annual Golf Fundraiser. Tim & Bonnie, Arty and Carol put their hearts into making this an enjoyable day for all who came.  In this video Tim explains some of the antics that went into this “golfing” adventure.


We are so thankful for the generosity of all those who gave so much to make this an effective fundraiser.  Those who gave prizes as well as those who played and paid and then paid some more.  May God bless you all!

Gail took a few hundred pictures and then made this great video as a reminder of this awesome day.

See you for next year’s FOM fundraiser!

Theodore (Ted) Walter

WALTER, THEODORE (TED) ROBERT: September 20, 1928 – June 15, 2012 Ted went to be with his Lord; he passed away peacefully on June15, 2012. Ted is survived by his wife of 61 years, Arlene, by his four children, Michael (Lynn), Philip, Tony (Dianne) and Celena (Darryn) as well as by nine grandchildren, April (Todd), Cara, Christine (Scott), Jo-Ann (Scott), Daniel (Jess), Nathan, Ross, Chad and Shane, and by ten great grandchildren, Tricia-Lynn, James, Jordan, Zach, Emily, Nick, Beth, Anna-Dawn, Andrew and Owen. Ted will be buried at Peachland cemetery on the morning of Friday, June 22nd, 2012 followed by a Celebration Service at Grace Mennonite Church at 74 Penticton Avenue, in Penticton at 12:30 PM. Arrangements in care of Everden Rust Funeral Services

My Grandpa

You May have known him as principal, pastor or teacher; sea-going cowboy, potato farmer or carpenter; baritone singer in a men’s quartet, star baseball pitcher or captain of the basketball team; devoted Missionary, MCC Volunteer or Great Grandpa; friend, Uncle or Brother; Father-in-law, Dad or Husband…
but I knew him as Grandpa.

And no matter what we all called him, I’m sure we all would describe him in somewhat the same way… he was very kind, generous and one of the most gentle men you could ever meet. As Scott Young stated, “he was the pillar of this family.” He was strong and dependable, like one of those magnificint old trees that have faithfully beared much fruit over its many years. With roots that go down deep, so that it is not easily moved or shaken. Providing cool shade and shelter for many in times of unbearable weather or in need of rest. And offering nurishment and strength to any who looked poor or hungry, or took the time to wait for its harvest. Jeremiah 17:7-8 describes my Grandpa well…It says, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

I would also describe Grandpa as patient and calm… unlesssss he was laughing at a joke…usually his own…because then you’d get to see the silly side come out & Grandpa LOVED to laugh and tell stories. My Dad told us of the time he had gotten caught skipping school AGAIN…while sneaking off to visit his beautiful girlfriend (my Mom). But Grandpa never lost his cool with him (…at least not in my mind). He calmly & quietly went outside and proceeded to remove all of the wheels off of Dad’s car & hide them!!

I imagine Grandpa was always on time for everything but never in a hurry. (Well Dad, that’s partially like you…never in a hurry)! He chose his words very carefully…to the point where you almost wanted to hurry him up & finish his sentences, but you KNEW his wisdom was worth the wait. Jo said it well, “Grandpa either spoke wit or wisdom.” My Grade 8, ex-army, Social Studies teacher didn’t have a chance of NOT becoming a pacifist that year after Grandpa’s teachings took root in me. Maybe that is why I asked Grandpa to stand up with me at 13 when I asked to be baptized. Or why most of us grandkids remember the farm as one of our favorite childhood memories.

I’ll never forget the time Grandma & Jo-Anne, Grandpa & Daniel, and Celena & I took the 3 canoes out across Gregoire Lake with plans to make it to the little island a few km out. Well,… Gregoire Lk was known for its sudden weather changes and our beautiful afternoon was soon changing into quite the storm. The wind and waves picked up and soon we could see Grandma and Grandpa’s canoes turning back. I later found out that Jo and Daniel never made it much past the beach, as Grandma and Grandpa kept paddling in circles. But because I had had some recent experience white water canoeing & considered myself somewhat of a “professional canoer,” and since Celena was crazy enough to believe that, we decided to forge on. We finally made it to the island, feeling very proud of ourselves & took our much needed break. Now I’m not sure if the weather had in fact gotten worse, or if I was just remembering all the cool stories dad use to tell us of his adventures out on this island & wanting some adventure of our own. But, either way, we decided we would camp there for the night…alone, with no shelter from the wild mosquitoes and huge black horseflys. But we had found LOTS of berries, so we would be just fine!! Right…? Well, you can imagine our disappointment when Grandpa showed up with a rented motor boat to rescue us and take us back to the farm. I couldn’t tell then, (no one could), but when I asked Grandpa a couple of weeks ago how he felt about having to rent that motor boat & pick us up, he admitted that he had been mad. I figure if him took him 25 years to tell me that, he couldn’t have been too mad.

Grandpa taught us to work hard, enjoy the outdoors, seek peace at all cost and love much. He and Grandma dedicated their lives to serving others and to ALWAYS put others needs before their own. They were an amazing team. Without Grandma’s encouragement and willingness to follow Grandpa to extreme places all around the globe, many lives would be very different today. Grandma’s gift of hospitality allowed Grandpa’s gift of “finding and befriending all those in need,” to work; and work well together. They truely exemplified the verse in Mark that says, “they are no longer two but one flesh.”

Grandpa’s faith in the LORD was not so much spoken about, that I remember, as it was lived. He doesn’t know it, but he gave me the most beautiful gift last Christmas… We had all come here to Grace Church for the Christmas Eve service; which seems to have become a family tradition for us…Christmas eve at Grace & then onto Scott & Jo’s for appy’s. Anyways, I went over and sat beside Grandpa, as I saw him sitting all alone. There was lots of special music that night and I kept thinking about those delicious appy’s waiting for me back at Jo’s. Then, someone got up with their guitar & prepared to lead us all in some old old hymns. Well you can imagine my excitement at this point. And then I heard it… It was like an angel singing in my ear. This tiny, frail, aging man beside me was effortlessly belting out with such passion and conviction, the words to “The Old Rugged Cross.” ~~~ I don’t remember if I ever got my appy’s that night, but I’ll never forget that sweet sweet voice. Mom describes her last visit with Grandpa in much the same way.

Before I knew that Grandpa’s health had started failing, I had begun a book study with a few friends and it was taking us on a journey through our past and having us record any key people and monumental events that have helped shape us up to this point. Well you can probably all guess by now who was one of the people at the top of my list. Grandpa was that constant, steady influence & rock that I now recognize God put in my life (and probably many of yours as well) to help us better understand and know who Jesus really is and how deep His love for us really goes. Because of this, my time reading scripture to Grandpa in the hospital a couple of weeks ago was without a doubt, a treasure worth far more to me than words could ever describe. Isn’t that just like God? He knew!! Here I was, reading to Grandpa, from the very same book upon which he taught me from for so many years. I guess we’ve come full circle hey Grandpa. I will miss you but I know Jesus must have been so excited to see you again!! Love you Grandpa. Xoxoxo Christine Harder

Hilda Bendig – Home at 100

Our oldest member of Grace, whose 100th birthday we celebrated just two weeks ago,  went home to be with Jesus on Tuesday this week.  Her funeral and memorial service will be at Grace MB Church Saturday, March 10th, 2012  at 11am followed by a grave side committal at Lakeview Cemetery and a luncheon at the church.  You can read about Hilda’s L.I.F.E. below from her Profile page written by SKM.   The funeral was broadcast via internet and can be viewed below.

Feb. 26th @ Grace MB Church we celebrated with Hilda and her family 100 years of God’s faithfulness and blessings on her L.I.F.E.

Hilda – A Life of Amazing Grace


     Hilda’s dining room window overlooks the Retirement Centre, and the rugged old evergreen which stands unobtrusively to the north of its driveway. She loves to watch the comings and goings of that friendly, busy place. Occasionally her brother Gordon and his wife Isabel take her there for lunch after a Sunday church service. Hilda has good reason for feeling homey about that place: “When we first came to Penticton, we lived right where the Centre is now,” she said. “We owned the three-storey lodge that was there – Ettrick Lodge. My husband John planted that old fir tree . . .When he was in the hospital; I used to bring him home quite often. I’d push the wheelchair up the elevator, to this dining room window, and say, ‘Remember, John? Remember that tree you planted there?’”

     John died in 1993. People filled the church at his funeral, to pay tribute to this good natured, hard working, God-fearing man — 300 Bibles were donated in his memory.

               * * * * *

Grace came early and stayed!

     Hilda was born to godly parents, Severt and Minnie Halvorson, in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, on Feb. 29, 1912 — a Leap Year baby! Her parents were founding members of the Baptist church there. Early in life she accepted the LORD Jesus as her Saviour and was baptized. She enjoyed fellowship with her friends at church whenever possible; but in 1929, when a handsome young stranger showed up at the services, she knew he’d be special to her. John had left his native Germany and taken up residence in Shaunavon, hoping for a peaceful life in Canada. Hilda admired him greatly, especially when she saw how diligently he applied himself to learn the English language. It soon became evident that God was bringing the two of them together. They were married in Chilliwack, BC, on December 6, 1932. The Lord gave them two lovely daughters, and over 60 happy years together. Together they served the Lord faithfully, whatever came to hand — always with joy and grace.

     In Chilliwack they operated a mixed farm, and John worked on the railroad for a few years. Then, in 1942, after purchasing Ettrick Lodge, they moved to Penticton where they lived for about 14 years. It was quite something to feed a houseful of boarders, and keep their laundry clean. When the Penticton Airport was being built, the whole crew stayed at Ettrick Lodge for the duration. “I enjoyed it,” said Hilda, “Food was rationed then, so I did a lot of canning. It was a lot of work; but I could do it then because I was young.”

     Their family joined the nearby Baptist church in Penticton, located where Kentucky Chicken stands now. It was a vibrant little church, with a large Sunday School and Youth Group. Both Hilda and John helped teach children, and both of them sang in the choir. Their daughters were active with the youth; and Hilda, with the ladies’ fellowship group.

     Later, the family moved to Trout Creek, where Hilda’s aged mother came to live with them for a while. At this time they joined a group of believers who were forming an Associated Gospel Church, which later became GRACE Mennonite Brethren Church.


Grace that shows!


     Hilda is known in the church for her quiet faithfulness. She loves the old hymns, one of her favourites being What a Friend We Have in Jesus. “Sometimes I wake up at night, and these old hymns come to mind. I enjoyed everything we did in church. I’d be lost without the church. I think that’s my best advice to young people — stay in church. I thank the Lord for blessing me in so many ways! When I think back on things … Oh!!  I can’t help but thank the Lord for what He has done. Now I realize, God has been good to me!! Another thing — John and I had a wonderful married life! I’m not saying that to boast, or anything, but when I think of things now — when I put it all together, I think, ‘Well, I’ve got so much to be thankful for.’ I think He kept me out of a lot of trouble. I really think so! It was best for the Lord to have His way. If we let God have His way, that’s best! Then you can’t go wrong.”

     Hilda, having reached her 90th year, says,

 “Just give God all the glory!”


February 2002


© 2002 SKM