My Testimony, Part 2

Word Studies
I forgot to include this subject in Part 1 of my testimony so will add it here before I continue with telling about the religious influences of my college years. As a child I suffered many many fears—fear of the dark; claustrophobia; fear of skunks, rabies, bears, wolves, thunderstorms, falling tents, tornadoes, forest fires, and many other things. I had many many nightmares of something terrible happening to all my favorite stuffed animals, or of running away during the time of trouble. I remember becoming totally hysterical during a movie at campmeeting when it included a scene of a forest fire and all the animals running in fear away from it. The teachers and assistants took me out of the class and sent me back screaming and wailing to my mother. The experience is vivid in my mind to this day. I could not handle any intensity or suspense in any movie of any kind without suffering traumatically in my mind. Even a glimpse of a scene or two like that could spark nightmares for weeks afterward. In reading the Bible I came across so very many texts that said we should “fear God.” I couldn't imagine what that could mean cuz it didn't seem like a very peaceful life if we were to go around filled with heart-gripping fear. My dear mother had bought me an Exhaustive Strong's Concordance to the Bible. This is an index to the King James' Version of the Bible which lists every verse in the Bible where a word might be found. Every word used in the Bible is arranged alphabetically with its list of verses in the order they appear in the Bible. Also, a number is assigned to each English word that links it to the Hebrew or Greek word it is translated from. In the back is a Hebrew and Greek dictionary so that the Bible student can know exactly what the text said in its original language. What an awesome tool! So one day I decided to study out this fear thing and find out what the Bible meant. I looked up every single text that used any form of the words fear or afraid. I wrote out the verses on notebook paper and then asked myself how each verse (together with its context) answered the questions who, what, when, where, how, why relative to the subject in question. Then I wrote all that down. When I finished going through every verse (it took awhile because there are hundreds!) on the subject I organized them under headings as to how they answered my questions such as what is the good kind of fear we are supposed to have and the bad kind of fear we are told not to have, and the whys and hows of overcoming them. I learned that there is a kind of fear we do not need to have because we can claim the promises of God to be with us and protect us. The kind of fear we are commanded to have is completely different. In today's English we might refer to it as respect or reverence. Then I had collected a pile of promises which I started claiming whenever I was afraid. Gradually my fears diminished until now as an adult I have overcome them all. Whenever fear threatens me, I can conquer it with the promises of God because I have learned to defend myself with the sword of the Spirit. That word study was such a blessing I proceeded to do the same with several other words. This was the most fun and rewarding type of personal worship time I ever had. As I learned to create crossreferences and compare Scripture with Scripture, gem after gem of truth opened up before me. I was so awestruck I became completely addicted to the Word.

© New Life Mission Canada


Bible Marking
Another Bible study tool my mom gave me was a set of five colored pencils. She showed me how to mark my Bible neatly with these as I read it. We applied our colors to subjects as follows: Red = promises; Orange = praises; Yellow = commands and conditions to the fulfilment of promises; Green = what God is like; Blue = prayers; Black = sin and satan. That made it really easy to find those promises when I needed them and to begin to understand the character of God. I began to really see the everlasting lovingkindness of God and not be so afraid of the judgment and the time of trouble and other such things. I learned to truly “stand on the promises” and apply them to issues in my life. Reading the Bible became a very fun activity because I could always find a new gem to mark. Later I added more colors to my collection: Pink = heaven; Purple = second coming; Spring green = prophecies of Jesus' first coming; Brown = hell fire and end of the wicked; Gray = state of the dead. Then I had a problem because my first pencils got used up and I couldn't find a matching replacement. So I went to an art store and discovered Sanford Prismacolor pencils. They cost more but there were over a hundred different shades and they were guaranteed to have the same shades available years and years down the road. So I revamped my entire Bible marking system with these pencils and added lots more subjects to the mix. I also discovered Sakura Pigma Micron pens with .25 mm and even much smaller tip so that I could write notes and cross references in super-duper fine print between the lines. Sakura also has come out with a line of gelly roll pens so I could add lots more subjects with underlining with various colors. I then made up a rather extensive and complicated list of colors and subjects for Bible marking to which I have to often refer to remember what is what! But now I can write a Bible study in minutes on almost any given subject because I can just flip through the pages looking for a certain color.

Back to my College Experience
Another class which really impacted my thinking was on the Spirit of Prophecy. First we studied exhaustively the role of prophets in Scripture, how to tell a true one from a false one, and what inspiration was. Then we compared these to the claims, lives, and ministries of various modern prophets. I so much appreciated this class as I have used the tools several times since to sift out the false from the true.

Outreach class was a required extra-curricular activity for all four years of my college course. There we were trained to share our faith by giving Bible studies, cooking schools, Revelation seminars, and all the other traditional western methods. I really wish there had been training in cross-cultural friendship evangelism. All the traditional stuff is easy, it's trying to connect with, understand, and make the gospel relative to people that don't think the way you do is the hard part. I started out in Bible study outreach. A mailing was sent out offering free Bible studies. Then we went out in teams of two to answer the response cards. We were to offer people a choice of two different Bible study series. One was Steps to Life written by Marshall Grosboll and I don't remember what the other one was. Balinda Woods Graham was my partner and we answered response cards almost the © New Life Mission Canada 2-2

whole ten weeks before we landed a Bible study contact. Apparently the people had assumed the studies were to be via correspondence and were quite taken aback to have someone knocking on their door. Finally a dear old shut-in lady accepted our offer to give her Bible studies. (What shut-in wouldn't want someone to visit them every week and read the Bible!) Sarah was a dyed-in-the-wool southern Baptist saturated with the rapture and other popular ideas. We launched into the Steps to Life series and had a good time. But we soon realized it was going in one ear and out the other. She enjoyed our visits and all but remained of the same opinion still. Nothing was getting through. Then Latha Eager who was in the cooking school outreach started visiting Sarah and cooking yummy vegetarian food for her. (If there had been a contest, Latha would have been voted best cook on campus. How we all rejoiced when the cafeteria manager left and Latha was put in charge. And how we all cried when through some unfortunate circumstances she had to return home to Australia.) Within a few weeks on her much improved diet, Sarah's mental alertness and comprehension noticeably improved. Suddenly she started to catch on! About that time we presented the Sabbath and the Mark of the Beast. And we even found someone to help us take her to church one Sabbath, wheelchair and all. She loved it. I continued visiting Sarah even after finishing the Bible study series for the entire ten years that I lived in the area. Without assistance with preparing a vegan diet her mind soon retreated to her old ideas. But God knows her heart and I trust we will visit again on the other side of the Jordan—without the wheelchair! The experience of my one-and-only Bible study contact taught me a lot. First, a Bible study series should be more simple. She just didn't have the capacity to wrap her mind around the kind of questions and answers and follow the train of thought of the series we used. As many versions and editions of Bible studies as are out there, I haven't found anything quite right. Guess I'll have to write my own! Second, people get very emotionally attached to certain popular ideas such as going to heaven as soon as you die, being raptured before the tribulation, and once-saved-always-saved. BEFORE you take away their security blanket of error and burn it with an arsenal of Bible verses, make sure you attach them by faith firmly to the promises of God. If they are not anchored to the Rock of Christ, they may get washed away in the tempest and throw out Christianity all together. Third, the health message is the right arm of the gospel. Your outreach efforts won't go very far without it.

My childhood dream was to be in a travelling choir. My first year at Hartland the only choir was the one every student was required to be in. Since it was so large, we certainly didn't travel. So I started my own singing group which performed at a few churches in the area. My efforts must have inspired the choir director, Betsy Mayer, so she started a separate smaller touring choir the next year which has been an important part of the music department ever since. We took long trips up through New England, down to Florida and lots of other places. (In the years after I graduated the touring choir started taking bigger trips across the US and Canada and other countries of the world.) The touring choir became the college's best ambassadors introducing many to Hartland for the first time, breaking down walls of prejudice and opening doors of ministry to new and old places. For such an important role the students were carefully hand-picked. And travelling such long distances together in cars and vans we bonded very closely one to another. We prayed together, laughed together, cried together, studied together, and shared everything together. © New Life Mission Canada 2-3

In addition to the message of the Word in song, we took turns introducing the songs with Bible verses, personal testimonies and illustrations. In the middle of a concert one of the fellows would preach a 10min sermon. I heard Peter Gregory's message The Face of Jesus over and over again, sinking deeper into my own mind each time. We helped with weeks of prayer and experienced a lot of character development in the trials of learning to share our faith and suffering the extremes of heat and cold, lack of food and sleep, close quarters, vehicle breakdowns, getting lost, colporteuring for gas money to get back home, and many other growing experiences. Those were the golden days of my life travelling and singing, praying, sharing, and laboring for the salvation of souls together with Poh Poh Lim Charlesworth, Connie Osborne, Maranatha Gillette Nophsker, Mackie Rucker, Sheli Martin Roberts, Chester Clark, Ray Im, Peter Gregory, and so many others.

Weeks of Prayer
We had three weeks of prayer per school year, one in each quarter. I wish I had a journal to look back on to remember who led out when to prompt my memory. I think Margaret Davis did one of the weeks my first year. She of course presented her usual message on the steps to come to Jesus. I remember sitting on the couches in the mansion lobby asking her questions. I understood her message. Who couldn't? It was so simple. But it only told me how to come to Jesus, it didn't tell me how to stay there. It told me how to come to Jesus for forgiveness of sin but it didn't tell me how to keep from falling again. It pictured in my mind the Christian life as a ladder and that falling into sin again was like falling off the ladder and having to start the climb all over again. I was pretty discouraged. (Now twenty-some years later I listened to a seminar by her daughter and sonin-law, Lorna and Daniel Dreher, which REALLY helped answer my question of how to keep from falling, and how to root besetting sin out of the life.) Ty Gibson & James Rafferty also did meetings sometime in the first two years. I remember being blessed by their messages on the gospel, justification and sanctification tho I don't remember specifics. Sometime in the 90s though their ministry changed positions in relationship to the SDA Conference organization. I remember reading through the booklet they prepared that essentially said we needed to submit our ministries completely to the control of the conference brethren, which I quite disagreed with. After that they refused to preach at the independent campmeetings or associate themselves with Hartland anymore because Hartland did not agree with that position. Church politics!! I think I heard Dennis Priebe's series several times over and was blessed by it each time. He made the tangled mess of doctrine on the matters of original sin, the nature of Christ, and such so simple. He showed the logical chain of doctrinal beliefs and how and where the two different gospels being preached in Adventism parted ways and why. He also explained some issues regarding the Spirit of Prophecy and answered questions that were being tossed around about inspiration. In the spring of 1991 Steve Lewis led out in the week of prayer. He was a powerful speaker and the Holy Spirit moved the hearts of all in an intense way. During that week I spent a lot of time in heartsearching and prayer and confession of past sins. I remember distinctly one particular sermon. He started out by asking, “Have you felt in your person the evidence of Christ's power? Have you recognized the teaching of Christ as superior to all that you have ever heard? Do you love the Great Teacher and desire to be with Him? Do you feel a desire to be changed in character and life and hope to experience this through connecting yourself with Jesus? Have you worked with Christ? But have you retained your own judgment and opinions and cultivated a disposition to criticize and accuse? Have you not yet surrendered all to Christ? Have you not yet given up your worldly ambition? Are you © New Life Mission Canada 2-4

highly regarded by the brethren in the church and have a great influence over them? This, my dear friends, is the description of Judas from the book The Desire of Ages. Are YOU a Judas?” The audience sat spell bound, moved by the Spirit to deep heart-searching. Another message he read some passages about the Lord delaying His coming, not willing that any should perish. Then he asked, “Is God waiting for YOU? Are you delaying His coming? Is He holding the door of salvation open yet a little longer hoping for you to surrender? Why not put a stop to all the evil in this world, surrender your heart and join the Last Generation preparing for the soon coming of Jesus and the end of all things?” Friday morning, April 12, 1991, there was a baptism held in which a special historic edition of baptismal vows was read. I could say “Yes, praise the Lord”in answer to each question. Along with a hundred or so others I was re-baptized by Peter Gregory and Steve Lewis into the Last Generation. I have carried the photo in my Bible ever since. “Done made my vow to the Lord, and I never will turn back. Oh I will go, I will go, to see what the end will be.” (A song we could sing in our touring choir with conviction because every member was united in the watery grave at this time.)

Intercessory Prayer
The second quarter of my first year of college I became aware that a couple of dear friends of mine were involved in something that went contrary to the rules of the college. But that didn't really worry me so much as the fact that in this case it was also contrary to God's will. They were headed down a path to sure ruin and I was really concerned. Knowing that if I were to say anything to them my motives would be completely misunderstood, and expressing my opinion would likely push them farther down the wrong road, I chose to act as if I hadn't noticed. But I did start to intercede for them in prayer. Like every time I overheard them talking about it or pursuing it I went to my knees. I agonized in prayer for them to wake up and see where they were headed and turn around. Many times I knelt so long my legs fell asleep. I had never interceded for someone like this before and the experience was such a sweet blessing to myself. Finally one day I felt inspired to type a paragraph relative to the subject in question on a piece of paper and put it anonymously in their mailboxes (which were open slots in a shelf in the mansion at the time). A couple hours later or so my friend volunteered to share a testimony at the beginning of one of our classes. She told how that quote had really spoken to her, wakened her thinking, and helped her decide to stop doing what she was doing. I floated on cloud nine for days afterward because my prayers were so dramatically answered. As I reconnected with these friends on Facebook years later, I rejoiced to see that my prayers for them and the decision they had made had blessed them with much happiness over the years.

Stay tuned for part 3!

© New Life Mission Canada