STAY TRUE IN THE VALLEY

Mountain by lonel POP   Creative Commons   Flickr.com

Mountain by lonel POP   Creative Commons   Flickr.com

STAY TRUE IN THE VALLEY

            Not everybody’s glad the new missionary couple’s in town?

After a few weeks of living in Florida, my “well-being” got stuck at low tide every time I was around a local couple. They were obviously jealous we got the job and they didn’t. Sandy didn’t let it bother him as he dove into preparing Bible lessons for twelve different grades with the help of an older deaf woman. The church let him use an old house across the street from the church as his office and for Sunday School classes, nine months of the year.

Our relationship was great with the wonderful Florida Baptists!

We really liked our Florida state missionary to the deaf & blind, Don Otwell! During the summers we would work with him and his lovely wife at several deaf camps in southern Florida.  At the Florida Baptist Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, Don introduced us to a handsome, deaf man, Carter Bearden, who was known as the Billy Graham among the deaf. He graciously encouraged us with our task of winning over many deaf students to the LORD Jesus!

The Baptist ministry ran smoothly on the deaf & blind campus.

 During the week, the seasoned Lutheran minister and sweet Catholic nun at the state school were more than happy to share the a-frame chapel with Sandy and his large crowd of Baptist students. It was a happy melting pot for three, happy religions who loved hearing about Jesus.

 God’s perfect number is SEVEN!

The deaf children were a hoot. They were bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and full of fun! Somebody warned us it would take seven years before the deaf kids would trust us or any hearing person. I doubt the deaf students knew about that seven-year rule. If we were going to make slow progress in winning over the deaf kids, it didn’t matter because we planned to be there for seven times seven. Sandy and I were missionaries to the deaf & blind for only seven years, much to our disappointment. Unfortunately, after Pastor Britton retired, a new pastor came in and judged all the ministers on staff as unworthy to serve under him starting with Sandy.   

             Was racism still lurking in the far corner of the old church?

Sunday morning was our busiest day of the week. Our faithful bus driver, who wasn’t a Christian yet, volunteered to bus in the 150 deaf & blind students to the church every Sunday. After Sunday School in the Foy house, the intermediate through high school students walked across the street to the church. It was fun to see their faces light up as the service began and their black and white hands sang quietly with our hands as we signed the old and beautiful congregational hymns.

            God always has a miracle when you least expect it!

            While working part time at a jewelry store, I found a house for sale in the newspaper. We had already looked at a couple of houses but they were not what we wanted. This house was one of those piece by piece Sears order houses that had been built in town years ago. Someone had removed the second floor so it could be moved down the highway to the outskirts of town and refurbished. The down payment on the house made me cry . . . $2,000. We didn’t have $200!

            Later, that night I showed Sandy the newspaper of the little house in the woods. He read it carefully then gave me a sad look. We were both tired of apartment living and the rowdy neighbors. We needed a quiet place to call our own . . . somewhere, under the protective wings of God.

            The telephone rang and broke the silence.

            “Hello,” I said.

            “Hi, it’s me, your dad!”  

            “Oh, hi Dad. How are you doing?”

            “What’s wrong, honey?”

            “What do you mean what’s wrong? There’s nothing wrong.”

            “You sound sad, like something’s wrong.”

            I couldn’t talk because the tears were coming. Sandy had no idea what to do so he reached for the phone. I shook my head no.

            “I’m okay!” I said trying to sound better. “I’m fine!”

            “You don’t sound okay. Anyway, just to let you know, the Lord told me a few minutes ago to call you . . .  so tell me what’s going on?”

            “Oh, we’ve been looking at houses and we found one. . . but the down payment is too high.”

            “How much?”

            I cleared my throat and said, “Two thousand dollars!”

            There was a muffled sound of voices at the other end as my father covered the mouth piece of the phone.

            “Wait a minute, sweetheart, I’m talking to your mother, okay?”

            It was a minute or two before he got back on the phone. “Your mother and I agree to send you the money,” my dad said.

            “What?” I said, “you and Mom don’t have that kind of money!”

            “Yes, we do!”

            “How do you have that much money?”

            “Well, it’s like this. I got two thousand dollars behind in my tithe so I’ve been saving it up to give to the church, but tonight God told me to call you. Now, I know why. God wants us to give you, HIS missionaries, our tithe money.”

            I tried to thank my father but I was bawling and hunting for the tissue box. Sandy took the phone and found out why I was crying. He thanked my dad over and over, so I took the phone back.

            “Daddy, thank you so much! We will never forget this!”

            “You’re welcome! We’re just glad to be able to help you two! God is using us to bless His missionaries!”

            Within a week we got a check in the mail for two thousand dollars and we made the down payment on our first house.

The clouds of jealousy and racism and judgment were put away for a season. Thank you, Jesus, for blessing us with a miracle in the storm!

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How is your testing ground coming? Are you passing the tests in the valley and not just on the mountain tops? We are living in end times where man thinks evil is good & good is evil.  All true Christians go through everyday ups and downs forreasons:  to build our faith, to help God & others, to improve our attitude, to experience joy, to appreciate grace, to love more, and to earn rewards! Jesus is with us through the Holy Spirit who lives inside us. Let Him help you in every situation.