I was steeped in evangelical theology and was being challenged in our new church with its Pentecostal theology.
August 8, 1981 I see clearly, Lord, I am surrendered– but too defeated or weak or lazy or just plain unbelieving to believe and trust You for victory in so many areas: canker sores, stuffed nose from hay fever, spotting, sleeplessness–all physical maladies. I believe You are breaking me, humbling me, by these miserable curses and so my prayers won’t change Your mind, so I try to surrender and suffer silently, passively. Yet, it seems like I am believing a lie, Lord!
A few days later I read:Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge!Teach Me Lord, speak to me! Where am I missing it?
There was a huge conflict going on! This is not uncommon when the Spirit is leading someone into new spiritual territory.
The evangelical belief questioned any focus on the Holy Spirit. Yes, He was God, third person of the Trinity, but Jesus was to be the focus. Evangelicals believed that Jesus healed when He was on earth, but that He only occasionally healed since the resurrection. They would pray but the prayers were rooted in a firm belief that if God chose not to heal someone, it was His will that Christians suffer and that He taught his followers big and important lessons in suffering. Whereas the Pentecostals believed firmly that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 and what He did when He was on earth, He will do today through those who believe in His power. Pentecostals pray and believe for healing.
Our theology has progressed to: It is God’s will to heal. God is good and God is love and He does not afflict with illness.
In Japan we had acutely realized our need for more teaching, more enlightenment, more growth in Christ.
When we returned from Japan we continued attending the EFree church. Yet, soon after we returned, we became very interested when a couple in the church began talking about the Holy Spirit. The subject was not taken up by the leadership as a topic to be pursued, but our interest was keen. We chose to change churches to pursue our quest for a deeper relationship with Jesus. Life Center church became our home church for many years.
Through new friends, we met Dick Munn and he prayed over us for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. When he was praying for Dan, he said his hands got very very hot and Dan began speaking in tongues fluently. I, on the other hand, while experiencing the same man’s prayers on the same night needed to pursued the Lord on and off for months to receive my prayer language!
Many days when the boys went down for their naps, I would kneel by our bed and I would seek God on the matter. One day I heard very clearly: “You don’t want to let go of control of your tongue. You are not willing to trust Me in this.” The conviction came, and I realized He was right! I agreed with Him and turned fully to Him, and began giving Him full access to renewing my mind and releasing my language. And finally after more seeking and praying tongues came. Thank You, Jesus.
At Life Center we joined the class that one of the elders, Bruce McKaig, was teaching about HEALING. This fed our hungry spirits and we began putting the teachings to use in our home, taking advantage of most illnesses to practice our new faith. We still went to the doctor. We combined faith and medicine.
God had arrested our attention in Japan that we were blocked in spiritual power. The couple who was seeking Holy Spirit fullness piqued our interest so that we pursued the Holy Spirit in a church that believed in His real power to heal and deliver. The prayer in the Munn’s home brought us to the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the healing class expanded personal power and increased our faith in our knowledge of the Spirit’s power.
We were also reading books likeThey Speak with Other Tonguesby John Sherrill, which is Episcopal priest’s Dennis Bennett’s story of the experience he had in 1960 of his personal Pentecost. I also read Prison to Praise, by Merlin Carothers. When everything seemed to be against him, he was advised by a Christian to stop complaining about his problems and start praising God FOR each problem! It changed his life and sharing this principle became his world-wide ministry, and it continues today after his death. When he was baptized in the Spirit, he was filled with overwhelming love for everyone he saw. The book can be accessed online as a pdf.
I had a positive pregnancy test yesterday. Thank You, Lord. Everyone is shaking their heads but I KNOW You are going to provide BOUNTIFULLY. Your character is above reproach. I trust You. In fact I am thrilled to be embarking on this new adventure with You. More good and wonderful things have happened in my pregnant months than in any other times in my life. I know Lord that Your attitude about babies is so tender and warm. Thank You for pouring out your grace and faith on me for this time. I love You.
I am looking for scriptures about retaining our OB/GYN or getting another one.
Regarding this pregnancy, I say to You, Jesus: Heb 2:12-13 I will proclaim Thy name, Jesus, to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise. I will put my trust in Him. Behold, I and the children God has given me.
Note: Our first son was born when I was 33, and our fourth son when I was 39 years old.
Oh, I love Your Word! And I love reading in my journals that I went directly to the Bible to get my footing and my faith. God led us to put our family planning in His hands and ignored our weak efforts to exert some control. It was so God and so RIGHT!
Leaving the story of the third pregnancy, going back a few months to my slender green journal, this was the normal Christian life: my daily experiences taken to Jesus.
Feb 21 1981Possibility of Stephen going to hospital, sick with bronchitis, cough, diarrhea.
From my devotional, Springs in the Valley: The things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel. Phil 1:12 We cannot learn much of the life of trust without passing through hard places. When they come let us not say as Jacob did, “All these things are against me.” Gen 42:36 Let us rather climb our hills of difficulty and say, “these are faith’s opportunities.”
For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. Phil 1:29
Do all things without grumbling or disputing. Phil 2: 12
Rejoice. Phil 2:18
We saw Stephen through this illness at home and saw the hand of the Lord move as he accepted the bottle of mineral water time and time again. Praise You Jesus.
Feb 23, 1981Dearest Lord, I would love to write and write all of my thoughts and blessings, all of Your encouragements to me, all of my victories, all of the times I see You move in my little world. It brings me to great emotion to think how real You are to me as I stay in close communion with You moment by moment. But, no time– there’s the house work and making tonight’s dinner while babies are sleeping and before that Bible reading and some prayers.
Feb 24Silence can be so welcomed when it is mixed about in the day with the children’s squeals and squabbles. I would miss them too much to want a silent house.
March 12 What a wonderful blessing:Ruth 2:12 May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.
March 13 Dearest Lord, today I begin Samuel. What a thrill to read steadily like this, day after day.
When I came to the Lord, I gave everything to Jesus and pursued our relationship with a consistency not my own.
The desire to please Him and to know Him camewith the bundle of salvation and the depth of my continued commitment has been steady. I believe it helped that I had traveled, had owned a fur coat, a sports car, art work, and had had a career. I had satisfied my worldly curiousities. I think it helped that I had been raised in a good home, in the Catholic faith, and had that as a spiritual foundation, even though I had walked away from it and into the world’s thinking for 8 years. I believe that from a child I had a special faith in God and a relationship with Him.
By the time I was 29 years old and became born again, I had had enough of the world and its ways and my primary life interest was a spiritual journey with Jesus.
My journals to this day, 40 years later, are about me pouring out my heart to God and seeking his consolation and His leading, and then reading the Bible and listening for the Holy Spirit to speak to me. I have been an avid note-taker during sermons, and when watching teaching DVD’s, and I underline in every book I read. In later years when I understood more about the prophetic, when someone would say they had a word for me, I would write it down. A few years ago I felt that the Spirit told me I was a scribe: I write what I hear about Jesus and His life and the Christian life. I write down prophetic words that others give me.
This steadfastness is fueled by continuous surrender to Jesus and also because I married a man with the same passion for Jesus. We have had an exciting life of faith and my God stories would fill a book, which has recently become my goal –to write a book.
In the first 7 years I was a Christian, I was being mentored by reading books by George Mueller, Oswald Chambers, Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Hannah W. Smith, and especially the Bible. These men and women and many others’ books I read were serious-about-God, sort of old-fashioned books. Their lives were examples of total yeildedness and their purpose was bringing glory to God however He would ask. I was very submissive, always analyzing myself and striving, always striving, for close personal relationship with Jesus with the fruit of Godly attributes.
All of this does not mean in any way that I have been without faults. It means that I have seen my faults, sometimes right away, sometimes eventually, and been sorry, maybe cried, and repented, always trying to stay close to God. I am a melancholy temperament who wants to please the Lord. Like Billy Graham’s daughter, Gigi Tchividijan said on p 142 of her book, Thank You Lord forMy Home: “I have always been a good repenter. Perhaps God made me this way because He knew that I would have much for which to say, ‘I am sorry.'”
We have been very careful with our money. We have been givers more than spenders. And that put me in a position of humility–always asking for God for what we needed. Always walking by faith that He would provide.
Jan 3, 1981 Thank You that Stephen has been waking up at 6:00 sharp 3 or 4 days in a row—this means that I can have quiet time before he wakes up! Thank You for the clothes and the book JoAnn brought me, Father; You are faithful!
Jan 6 Father, it seems so silly—and certainly unimpressive—that I should need faith in such petty matters—such as the boys napping and not waking each other, a joyful attitude for this very plain day, energy to meet the physical demands of the day, patience to put off making apple butter and cookies—the things my flesh wants to accomplish—so that I can focus on playing with the boys today. But these are the mountains in my day, and so I turn to You: Jesus said, “Have faith in God.”
Thank you for the 50 minutes I had for shopping on Saturday—and alone! Thank You for the money from Mumbo to buy sleepers and a bumper pad on Sunday. Thank You for my willing heart to offer and to stay in the nursery Sunday, and for the warning and preparation from You in my heart that morning. Thank You for $11 in my purse today so I didn’t have to write a check at the doctor’s. Thank You that we could share a meal with Nancy and Mike.
Later: After a hard afternoon with the boys—I don’t even want to go to Japan to be missionaries. How did I ever think I could manage that when living here is so difficult so often…
*The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life -Hannah Whitall Smith
*The Autobiography of George Mueller
*My Utmost for His Highest (devotional) -Oswald Chambers
In 1945, After Dan’s dad finished his military service in WWII, he returned to Reno and pursued his education on the GI bill, earning his Master’s degree in metallurgy.
He also purchased a several acres of land located north of theUniversity of Nevada campus, and he and Beth built their house on the top of a prominent mountain. Over the years Darrell’s brother, his sister, his mother, his mother-in-law, and later his son, Aug, built houses on the land. And that’s where Dan wanted to build our home.This is a God storybecause even though Dan’s parents did not know Jesus, He knew them and I believe He led them to purchase this land.
Dan’s grandmother, Mumbo, fell and broke her hip a few months after we returned from Japan and went to live with her daughter Beth in Chicago for a year. The family agreed that we could move into her house, a stone’s throw away from the house Dan was building. One year and three months later, Mumbo’s return coincided with our move into the solar house.
From a letter to my mom & dad: The house is really becoming an exciting project! I’m so proud of Dan’s design. Every view of it has interesting lines and angles. It would be nice to settle down there, but we’ll see. We walk by faith and that part of the plan has not been revealed to us. I’ve been going over everyday now with the boys. I crochet and watch them while they dig and climb the dirt piles, throw cans, etc.
Spoiler: Thirty-eight years later it isn’t the solar house we live in, but it is Mumbo’s house on the other side of the mountain.
Over the years Dan’s dad sold the remainder of the land, and the sheep herder he bought it from sold the rest of the large parcel of grazing land. Although the neighborhood is full, it still has the feel of being set apart from the city. It’s a great place to be.
During this season we took the boys to Tahoe for a weekend, staying in a motel and playing on the beach. We also drove 525 miles to my parents’ for a summer visit. We enjoyed my sisters and their families, spent time at the beach and barbecuing together at our family’s cabin in the woods. We went back again for Christmas, and my mom and dad made the trek to Reno at least once that year.
My journal shows that I was praying for friends for the boys and within a week our good friends Danny and Lynn asked if I could watch their kids on a regular basis. Our kids loved their kids, Summer and Zachary, so it was fun for all. After a few months I experienced a pregnancy symptom glitch and the doctor insisted I be on complete bed rest until it subsided! Bummer.
Dan had taken a loan to build the house, so he quit his job with Dale and paid himself from that account and spent long days with hammer and saw. This new health issue required that I stop babysitting, and that he take the boys with him to the construction site at least part of each day.
It was during this time that Charles and Diana were married. Dan moved our small TV (black & white) into the bedroom so I could watch the historic event. I was enthralled with the pomp and glamour of their fairy tale wedding. In many photos they appear to be gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, but perhaps this one is more indicative of what lay ahead for them.
Returning to Reno from Japan (by way of visiting my parents and sisters in Oxnard) we stayed with Dan’s Auntie Yvonne and we were thankful for her gracious hospitality. We had once again stored our belongings in Gramma Fern’s garage across the road and we were soon able to transfer everything to a cute town house on Manchester Street in Sparks. Timmy and I settled in while Dan went back to work for his friend Dale’s construction company.
This time, returning from overseas, we had 8 weeks of prep time until baby’s arrival, with a due date of the 4th of July. Like Timmy, Stephen was born three days past due date. My good friend, Dana, gave us a very nice baby shower. My mom and dad came to visit and to meet their new grandson.
Timmy was elated with “deeda” his name for Stephen. I had liked the name (Stephen not deeda!) when I was reading Acts in Tokyo. Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people(6:8), had the face of an angel (6:15), being full of the Holy Spirit (7:54), and at his stoning death– after He called on God for himself–cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” (7:60) He was a true hero of the faith. Stephen means loyal, and Daniel means God is my strength.
Of course there was no such thing as a cell phone, or we could have taken a family selfie!
My journal Aug 15, 1980:
My three goals and my focus in each: 1) Bible study for personal faith and to know God-2) Prayer for thanksgiving, intercession, and personal needs- 3) Exhortation gift to serve others, serve God, be useful to Him
Sept 15, 1980 So seldom I write in this book lately, not really wanting a legacy of my thoughts, I guess, certainly with less time to pen with two babies to tend. But still daily seeking Him.
Sept 19, 1980 Father, Dan is so often my example of Christ. Uncomplaining. So loving, so forbearing toward me. Giving beyond human possibilities. You are glorified in his life, in his smile, in his consistency. It can only be You. Of himself, he previously failed as a marriage partner. But with the life of Christ Jesus, by Your Spirit, I see Christ. Please help me Father to be filled with Jesus’ love for him and the boys. I would be honored for Christ to live in me the way He does in Dan.
Dan recalls that while we were in Japan at Yoshimi’s home, set to leave the next day, he “could not picture tomorrow.” Dan thinks in pictures and his habit each evening is always to picture the day ahead. He concluded that he was dealing with spiritual oppression because of the Japanese custom of idol worship which his friend practiced. Each day a bowl of rice was placed in a small cupboard called a butsudan in order to honor the family ancestors. Adding to this revelation, after departing Shikoku, we had an experience at our next missionary stop in Nagoya in which Timmy became very ill with a high fever. We were frantic, crying out to the Lord, immersing Timmy in cool water but feeling completely helpless. We felt we had no access to God’s power. The enemy proved to be a formidable force against us in a land that gave him access to their hearts.
Jack Hayford, we found out later, said prophetically of Japan (this is by Dan’s recollection so I am not quoting it): Jack saw curtains around Japan, like a wall or a barrier, keeping Christian influence out of the country. Then he saw it come down all at once, falling to the ground, and then the country was able to be influenced by Christians. We look forward to the day when the missionaries will reap from the years of sowing into their friendships with the Japanese people.
These two instances, Dan’s surprising experience of having no hope for the next day and our impotence in affecting Timmy’s illness with our prayers–showed Dan that we were not ready for the mission field. Dan was just three years old in the Lord, and we recognized that we had a lot to learn about living victoriously in a foreign country.
So, with no money to pursue further training at that time, Dan turned to following one of his life dreams and began drawing plans for a solar house that he wanted to build on a piece of property he shared with his brother. He counseled with our new pastor, we prayed, and Dan felt he got the go ahead from God to proceed.
That building project became our next endeavor. And then…..
On the afternoon of our third anniversary, I had a positive pregnancy test! Timmy had just turned two years old and Stevie had just turned one year old. I would tell our friends that Dan was building a house and I was making a baby.
Timmy wore glasses for a year to correct a lazy eye. And it worked!
Of course our trip to Japan would not have been complete if it had not included a reunion with Yoshimi san.He had married and had one son, Hironori, the same age as Timmy –and his wife, Mihoko, was pregnant with their second child! We were all amazed at the similarities in our lives. His mother lived with them in the generational family home on the island of Shikoku.
We had taken a train from Tokyo to Osaka, a ferry to Shikoku. There were delays and we found ourselves arriving very late. A hot meal was waiting for us, and we ate it sitting on the floor with our legs under a traditional low table covered with a heavy a quilt and a heater underneath. The wooden house was unheated, drafty, and chilly, even though it was springtime. We welcomed the warmth. Timmy had slept on the journey and was wide awake and ready to become acquainted with our hosts and sample the interesting foods.
We were loaned appropriate Japanese shoes as well as a light vest for me and a Japanese jacket for Dan. Timmy was given a traditional baby jacket (as well as one for our new baby, due in one month).
We felt very welcomed as we toured the fish hatchery and admired the trees that Yoshimi was carefully growing that would be used in the religious shrines.
Traditional Japanese homes have three Shinto shrines: one by the entrance of the home for the children, one for the water source–at the well or the spigot, and one in the kitchen. They also have a Buddhist shrine where they honor and worship their ancestors. They believe that if they take care of their ancestors their ancestors will take care of them. Yoshimi confessed: spiritually we are very confused people.
Our apartment in Tokyo was perfect and I was drop-dead surprised and joyously overwhelmed by the open-hearted caring we received from the missionaries.
We felt safe and comfortable on the four-acre campus of CAJ. When Dan was at meetings, I was content being at home with Timmy or giving him stroller rides around the campus, as we admired the cherry blossoms and observed the Japanese school children across the street.
Timmy turned one-year old and one of the missionaries made him a cake with a candle perched on top. He also learned to walk!–but Dan still transported him around town and country in the baby carrier.
To meet the 7 missionary couples of the E-Free church, we traveled by car, by regular trains, and for one long journey we took the Shinkansen, the famous bullet train. And then we always returned to the familiarity and privacy of our cozy home base.
Each missionary gave us their personal insights into missionary life as we traversed the countryside to meet them, eat at their tables, and stay overnight in their guest rooms. Many of my anxieties were alleviated: Eileen knew she would not be able to go without conveniences of hot water, washing machine, heat, telephone, car, and was happy to be in Japan rather than in a crude hut cooking over an open fire (which her husband would have preferred!). She said they had moved 13 times in 11 years of marriage (which I would later be able to identify with). Monica talked about being a new Christian, who sometimes got mad at God when things didn’t go her way. She showed me how to make a delicious Japanese soup so I could replicate it in our apartment. They had come to Japan when her daughter was one year old. John believed MK’s (missionary kids) have better self-esteem than most children because they are highly regarded by the people their parents are serving. Joyce emphasized that the mission schools are often better schools because of smaller classes and that CAJ was a deluxe school with lots of extras. I was very impressed that the missionary children all traveled by train, unescorted by an adult, to school each day. One 7 year old girl, Missy, happily made two train changes to get to school, and that was not uncommon. This knowledge became a guiding principle for me–that our children needed to be raised for independence and self-confidence so that they would be ready for the experiences of the mission field. This was a God thing, as I would have tended to coddle and even indulge our sons, and instead they were all prepared for independent living by their late teens. (I also note that Dan was raised to be independent and capable and hard-working, so this early realization helped us be of the same mind in raising our sons.)
SPOILER: We pursued the missionary experience for ten years, wove our every decision around our vision for going to Japan, prepared ourselves by living a missionary lifestyle–which meant no frills, praying rather than running to the doctor, praying and sending support to people on the mission field. And then God had us lay it down. He did not explain the WHY. We knew that Father knew best, but it was a very difficult experience for us, especially for me. That’s another story for another time.