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Into My Father’s Arms
Henry will be off again during New Year’s to be with us. But in the meantime, he must return to work. Now the children are saying, “But Daddy, I wish you can be home with us.” He explains to them again why he has to work. And they seem satisfied with his answer. So once Henry’s left, I begin to clean house. I straighten our bedroom and replace his reading books on the proper shelf. While doing this, I spot the Scofield Reference bible that we’d purchased in Phoenix, NY, before Davis was born. And for some reason. I’m drawn to open it. I don’t even know what I’m looking for. But I flip through the pages before stopping in the book of John. “In the beginning was the Word,” I read aloud, “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Although I’d never been taught to read, I’m captivated with each word. So the fact that I can’t even open a daily newspaper and put its words together doesn’t cross my mind at this moment. Chapter 1, verse three, tells me that all things were made by Him. I swallow hard because I’m being given the answer to the burning question I often had in mind as a young girl. Often when I would study my surroundings, I instinctively felt that there must be a God who created all this great stuff. So here in this Bible, in the book of John, the first chapter tells me that it’s so. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Then I finally lay the book down to return to my cleaning. But I’m so amazed by my discovery that I go back to read the same passages several times throughout the day. I keep remembering all the things I thought about as a child. Now the answers are right in front of me in God’s Word. “All things were made by Him,” I repeat. I’m so happy but choose not to speak with Henry about it for the time being. He knows I can’t read and might figure I’m hallucinating or something.

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It’s the second day after Christmas, and Henry arrived home, complaining about coming down with a cold. 303 I told him to take it easy. So here we all are, sitting around in the living room. Henry’s reading in one chair while I’m crocheting on the couch. I’m also listening to the children and watching them play. Davis says that he’ll fly his airplane tomorrow, Linda wants to paint with her watercolors, and Evangeline will make something for her doll. They’re such cute kids and good company for me while Henry works. I’m so glad that they’re here with us and quite healthy. Davis’ feet are paddling away while he rides about the room aboard his toy truck. But now that he’s noticed something loose, he says, “Daddy, I got to use your schoosclapper. I’m gonna get it, okay?” Henry just laughs. “All right, Son, you can use my screwdriver.” I smile, and the words I’ve read in the Bible’s New Testament return to mind. So I quietly retrieve the book. I’m curious to know what else is written inside and decide to go to the beginning of the Bible. I see on the first page of the book of Genesis that it tells of how God created the

world. The way that He had formed it is exciting to me. I’m reading that He set the stars in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. He also made trees, every creeping thing, birds, and all the fishes in the ocean. It’s amazing that He just commanded all those things to come into being, I think. It confirms my many thoughts when I was small. God had made everything we’re surrounded by down here. Everything we see when we look up to the heavenly skies, too. It’s thrilling to see this in writing because I never knew it for sure when I was a little girl. Those thoughts were often in my mind, but I didn’t know what it all meant. So I’m thanking God that He’s opened my eyes to read this and learn the answers to my questions. I crave to know more and guide my finger further along the page. Now I discover that He had made man. He formed him from the dust of the earth. So that’s how we all came to be! I think, I had no proper education and can’t read as other people do. So I’m so blessed to look at His word and be able to read and understand what it says. I’m sure that God is helping me by teaching me to read His word. There’s no other explanation for this. So I can only thank Him for His wonderful help to me. I now think about the time I first came to the United States. My husband’s family had taken me to church with them. And it was there that I heard the whole story of Christmas. We also went to see a play about Jesus Christ’s birth. 304 I enjoyed those programs but didn’t grasp much then and there. The messages didn’t touch my heart the way they should have. Then during Henry’s college days, we attended church from time to time. But most of the sermons weren’t strong enough for me to be able to understand. Of course, there were words spoken here and there that I recognized, but that was about all. I always wondered about God ever since I lived in the Philippines. And since Henry was raised in the Baptist faith, I didn’t want to remain in the Catholic Church without him. So I thought that by joining the church of my husband’s choosing might be better for my children. This way we could all attend together. Besides, the masses I’d been to in the past had been spoken in Latin. So since I didn’t know the language, I wasn’t being spiritually fed. I longed to know more about God. And deep within, I believed that there had to be some other way to get close to our Heavenly Father. Otherwise, why would I have sensed the strength of His presence?

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Today is Wednesday, December 28, 1955. Henry is staying home from work because that virus is making him miserable. So as I clean house, I have the urge to read the bible again. “Play here beside me, Davis, while I read the book.” And today in John, Chapter 10, I read that Jesus is speaking of the door. He’s saying that He’s the door and if anybody comes in any other way, they’d be just like the thief. And He’s speaking about being a good shepherd that lays down His life for His sheep. He says that He has other sheep who are not in the fold but that He must bring them in, that they’ll hear His voice.

I read aloud, “but ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” “I’m hungry,” whispers Davis. I stop reading to feed him lunch but hope to get back at it soon. Then tonight after supper, Henry tells me he’s not well enough to take the family to the weekly prayer meeting at church. “But if you still want to go, you can try and find a ride with somebody else. I can keep the children here with me.” 305 So I telephone a church deacon and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Snitchler. After speaking with them, they say they’re happy to pick me up. Once we’re seated at church, Pastor Ellis preaches his message from the book of John, Chapter 14. He reads to us, “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, also believe in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. And where I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not where thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (New Scofield Reference Edition). Then the moment Pastor Ellis finishes reading those verses to the people, I leap to my feet and rush to where he’s standing below the pulpit. He appears startled and says, “Yes may I help you?” I repeat what he read in that last verse and tell him, “I want to accept God--I want to accept Jesus in my heart!” So he immediately requests that a deacon take over to complete the sermon for him. Then he and his wife lead me aside to one corner. They begin asking me questions. “What in particular touched your heart?” “Well, earlier today, I was reading John, Chapter 10. But I only got as far as verse 29. I was reading about Jesus saying that He is the door, the shepherd, and so on. I didn’t get to read the whole chapter. And now tonight you read another chapter where He says that He’s the way, the truth, and the life and that no man can come to the Father but by Him. So I know I can’t come any way, other than to accept Jesus into my heart. In the past, I only became a member of my husband’s family church because I didn’t want to confuse my children. I didn’t want us to be going from one church to another. But at the time, I had not accepted Jesus. I just joined for the sake of my children. Now tonight, I want to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior!” They both express their amazement at how I was able to grasp all I had. So they bow their heads and lead me in prayer for me to ask Jesus to come into my heart. Afterwards, I tell them that I wasn’t educated the way most other people are. “I don’t know how to read. But I asked God to help me, and He’s been helping me to read His word.” I go on to say that when we first arrived here in Binghamton, we went to another church. But 306 we weren’t accepted there. Then we came to this church with everyone

so loving. “You each took us into your arms as though we’re one big family. And it was such an encouragement to us, newcomers to this community. I’m thankful for that. So many strangers here in America have been friendly. And I know that some people are not kind, but that’s to be expected. I’ve seen and experienced that, too, in my own country. But I’m grateful to God for all the people that we know that have prayed for me and my family. Their embrace of love in the Lord is so wonderful.” Now I tell Pastor Ellis that I surely want to be able to read God’s word and to know more about His plan in my life. So they finish counseling me and instruct me on what to read. “You started reading in the right place,” states Pastor Ellis, “because it’s exactly where I would have told you to begin. Then after you finish reading the book of John, you can go on to read the entire New Testament. From there, the book of Psalms is helpful, as is the book of Proverbs, too.” Now everybody in the congregation breaks into separate groups to pray. Each and everyone is praying for me and thanking God for bringing me into His fold. They’re all so happy for me and can’t give enough credit to the Lord for what He did tonight in their midst. I can’t stop thanking God, too, for letting me realize that without accepting the Lord Jesus, I wouldn’t be in the fold. Without taking Him into my life, I’d still be outside. I’m also thankful for the Holy Spirit that moved in my heart to urge me to go up and stand with the Pastor. Now I’m truly blessed to know that I’m saved and destined for heaven. I can say, too, that I finally see the pattern, which God used to raise me and bring me to the United States. It was so that I could hear His word to read and understand his plan for my life. Little did I realize that when I met my husband, way back in the Philippines, it was also part of God’s Divine course. I couldn’t see it then, but I do now. Yes, at the time, I wasn’t eager to be deeply involved with Henry, but we did eventually marry. I took this man into my life without realizing that God created him specifically for me. And though it may not seem right in some other people’s minds that I married someone of a different race, I can see why it was meant to come about. Henry was the vessel used by God to bring me to America to hear His word. And by eventually reading the good book, the Lord was able to touch my heart to let me know that I need Him as the Savior of my life. 307 I can’t thank Him enough, too, for each person who played a part in praying for me. I do know that there have been quite a few that were interceding on behalf of my salvation. The Lord has honestly been good to me. He’s blessed me thus far with a good husband and three healthy children. He’s been guiding and directing our every step. So I owe my all to the glory of God. He brought me into being. And my prayer now is for me to be able to live for Him and share His love with others as long as I walk this earth. 308

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