Sunday, 18 February 2018

C Columns

Publisher's Corner - Seeds of Faith Along Life's Path

By Sandy Jones

 

“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?”

The famous opening to Robert Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne” fit so well the last couple months of 2017 for me.

It all started the week before Thanksgiving. I had the privilege of helping a new friend, Sophia and her team, with the Meridian City Community Thanksgiving dinner. My part, you ask? 195 pounds of mashed potatoes! I laugh even as I write this — even after it’s all said and done that number, 195 POUNDS, still intimidates me. As they say many hands make light work, and in this case it was true.

Sophia had volunteers in before my longtime friend, and Christian Living graphic designer, Denice and I showed up. The volunteers had already peeled about two­-thirds of the potatoes and had them soaking in cold water waiting for us.

Denice and I arrived at 4 p.m. and donned our aprons. Armed with paring knives and potato peelers, we got a crash course on the where things are in the beautiful commercial kitchen at the General Council Convention Center in Meridian, and commenced on our grand project. Bless her heart; with all she had to do in other areas, Sophia later came to join us. By 8 p.m., after hours of laughter, we were done and had even found time to share a pizza. My friendships with Sophia and Denice were only made stronger, and now they each had a new friend.

This was just the beginning. At the dinner that Friday evening, I had the honor of serving guests. During the final meal I ended up visiting with a nice gentleman  as his wife was chatting with other volunteers. I got the impression they were greatfriends of some of the volunteers and had come to lend moral support. Finally the gentleman asked where I went to school, and suddenly we were best buds. While Ihave almost no musical talent, my older brother, Kevin, is extremely gifted, and it seems my new best bud was none other than Mr. Beasley, Kevin’s junior high band teacher. We shared some great laughs and even took a video and sent it to Kevin, who is now a band teacher himself and lives in Federal Way, Washington — bringing two “old friends” back together.

The following day my hubby, Steve, and I served at the Boise Rescue Mission Thanksgiving dinner in Nampa. This is such a humbling experience and is something we’ve both looked forward to doing again. Having grown up in Meridian and South Boise, and being fairly new to Canyon County, we know very few people here in Nampa, which for Miss Social Butterfly is a good thing — it allows me to focus on the job at hand and not get caught up visiting.

As our shift was coming to an end and the next crew was coming in I saw them — Pete and Sandy — lifelong friends of Dave and Jerry, my oldest brother and hiswife. As the youngest sibling I don’t ever remember a time when Pete and Sandy weren’t a part of our family’s circle of influence. Dave and Jerry have lived for many years in western Oregon and try to see Pete and Sandy whenever they can when here to visit, but I almost never see them. Sandy’s radiant smile warms everycorner of any room she enters and before leaving that day I had to run grab a selfiewith them to share with Dave and Jerry, again touching lives of more “old friends.”

This got me to thinking about connections and reminiscing. You see I’ve alwaysloved Pete and Sandy, and honestly don’t remember a time when our family didn’t know theirs. When I was a little girl we lived about a mile from Sandy’s parents’ dairy farm, where we got all of our farm fresh raw milk (lots of it, with 5 children still at home). Hilda, Sandy’s Mom, became good friends with our Mom, and I remember the two of them visiting many times. My parents didn’t go to church, but Hilda did, and Hilda was the first person to take an interest in my spiritual education, and occasionally picked me up on Sunday mornings to take me with herto the Nazarene Church in nearby Meridian, where she would tuck me in next to her on the pew in the big sanctuary.

My mind wanders as I relive this longtime memory. I start retracing the steps in my spiritual education. Again, my parents only went to church for weddings, funerals and grandchildren’s dedications; yet I’d been to church throughout my childhood, and I begin to recall the many adult friends who’ve poured Jesus into my life, not by preaching at me, but rather, offering to include me as they went to various church activities.

I have many to thank, some of whom have now gone on to receive their great reward, never knowing that the seeds they planted in a young girl’s life would someday sprout and grow into someone who gets to spread the love and joy of Jesus Christ through something as wonderful as Christian Living Magazine. I would not be who I am if it weren’t for people like Helen Rowe, who took me to Vacation Bible School with her daughter Connie when I was 7 years old. This is where I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, inviting Him to live forever in my heart. Helen passed many years ago in a tragic accident, and I will never getthe chance to thank her for making an eternal difference in my life.

Then there was my Grandma, who lived with my Aunt Jerry and Uncle Keith in Indianola, Iowa. Times were different; long distance phone calls were very expensive, as was airfair. Every three or so years Grandma would come visit for a few months. Grandma LOVED Jesus, and wanted to be sure all of her grandchildren knew Him. Being the youngest I was home more and remember Grandma pouring all she could of her knowledge of Jesus and His love into me. I still carry the leather­bound King James Bible she gave me for my 10th birthday. It’s falling apart and I’ve had to buy a Bible cover for it; knowing I should take it in for repair, I just can’t bear to let go of it, and the precious memories it holds.

And I must mention Barry Cox, the old circuit pastor, who planted the financial seed in my own 7­-year­-old life that actually paid for Christian Living Magazine as I’ve shared in this column in the past. It seems that the age of 7 was a pivotal pointin my early life, something that is not lost on me as I often listen to my own 7­-year­-old grandson pray, and find myself surprised at the depth of his understanding of God and His love.

Looking back, I grew up in a time when we still opened the school day with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer in public school. I know there were others who answered the call God placed on their hearts where I was concerned. I visited many different denominations throughout my growing up years, and know first­hand that there is no one church, that we are THE church. It’s all about Jesus. If I stay focused on Jesus and the commands He gave us, commands to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves, then perhaps He will continue to allow me to plant seeds along life’s way, knowing that it doesn’t matter if I get to see them sprout and grow, that they will in His perfect time.

Until next time – God Bless!

Christian Living Magazine

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