ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: 40 YEARS BELOW ZERO, Part 16
March 18, 2016
Eight times in Jesus' ministry He says, "Let him that hath ears to hear, hear......," and then again in Revelation 2 & 3, (in the seven letters) He repeats the statement after each of the letters, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith...."
God is speaking directly to His people in this hour. He is declaring His purposes. He is commanding The Blessing upon believers who will hear His Word. And He is rebuking, reproving and warning -- in great love -- that the hour of Jesus' return is imminent. Christians had better have their act together. They'd better be walking a life that has signs, wonders and the proofs of a real relationship with a real Jesus Christ following. That's what the world at large is looking for, and it is what draws them to a Savior, a Redeemer, a Healer, a Deliverer, a Protector, and a Provider Who has everything they could possibly have need of.
It's time for Christians to be showing the real goods! If someone comes along who needs healing, we'd better be able to simply speak the Word and see that person healed. If an individual needs deliverance from evil spirits (and Brother, does that ever span the gamut!), we'd better KNOW we have authority over every spirit driven and controlled by Satan and exercise it! If a person has been crippled in some way -- whether physically, emotionally, financially, or materially -- we'd better be able to deliver the answer that meets that need!
People don't need placebos. They don't need religious answers. They don't need clichés. They don't need pretense. They need results. They need the proof manifested in their situations and their lives, and if we don't deliver, we're nothing more than a bunch of religious frauds.
OOOPPPSSSS!!! Kind of got going there. Didn't mean to start preaching or prophesying from the get-go. But it's still the Truth!
You all remember Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, right? A one-two punch that hit the country like it had never been hit before. Some of you may have actually been on the Gulf Coast and experienced those winds in person. Della and I have been through several hurricanes, but were always spared the brunt of the storms. My recollection is that we never had winds at our home in Mission, Texas that were much greater than 70 MPH.
It was a different story in Point Hope, Alaska, however, in 1962 when we were building the second church building. The building was up and enclosed, and if memory serves me correctly, we were pretty much underway with church services and all in the new building. Dad was just getting all of the bills together to see how much he owed for all of the building materials and supplies for that second two-storey building.
The weather had been pretty stormy. We'd had some fierce blizzard conditions the like of nothing I'd ever seen in Nome, Barrow or Wainwright. The weather had been so bad that we were unable to get any mail planes to land. We'd been without mail for about two weeks when there was a lull in the storm; and while it didn't really clear up, a twin Beech Super 18 had been able to set down on the steel mat runway long enough to drop off several bags of mail. The pilot didn't stick around. As soon as he'd loaded up the outgoing mail and freight, he was gone!
We knew that David Frankson was going to be busy for a while sorting the mail and packages, so we didn't go to the Post Office (it was a tiny little one-room affair attached to the Frankson house) and pester David. We figured we'd give him the rest of the day to sort the mail. As it was, we got busy and didn't think about the mail until the next day. Problem was the storm had hit again, this time with a fury that would have been equivalent to Katrina hitting the Gulf Coast.
The Episcopal priest, Keith Lawton, had an anemometer on the roof of his manse. Come to think of it, if my rememberer is working right, he was/ran the official weather station for Point Hope. He watched the wind speed continue to climb past the 120 MPH limit of his anemometer, and suddenly it was gone. Keith estimated that the wind speed was in excess of 140 when the entire unit blew off the roof.
'Course I didn't know what the wind speed was when I told Dad I would go to the Post Office around noon to get the mail. I bundled up in my furs and headed into the storm. The Post Office was perhaps 500 yards from the front door of our place, but the visibility was so bad that I couldn't see it. Stepping out into the wind away from the building was akin to trying to carry, or at least push against a couple 200-pound guys who were applying their weight to keep you from moving.
I discovered that if I leaned forward nearly parallel to the ground, I could make headway. Working my way through the driving wind and snow was a workout of monumental proportions. You'll appreciate that I was more than perspiring by the time I crawled, waded through snow, and worked my way through blinding conditions to the Post Office. What's worse, there was only one letter waiting.
After stuffing the letter into my shirt pocket inside my parki ("tunniks" call them "parkas" [grin]), I skated, slid, flew, skidded on my face -- and a few other things -- back to the house. Dad was seated at his desk when I blew in the door and then forced it shut behind me. (We didn't have a kunichuk [porch with a second door -- "airlock" to you Star Trek fans] yet to shut out the weather, so getting in the house in the midst of a storm like that was akin to instant air conditioning when you didn't want or need it.)
After picking up the papers and things the wind blew all over the place, I walked over to the desk where Dad was sitting and laid the envelope down that had just come in the mail. He picked up a letter-opener and slit the envelope. Out fell the flap from another envelope with a cryptic message scrawled, "Just thought you might need this," and it was signed, "Ron." Ron Stranack, the Napavine, Washington builder who had helped financially in time past had been prompted once again by the Holy Spirit.
With that message, a cashier's check in the amount of $2,500 also fell out. Dad shook his head laughing and pointed to the set of figures he'd just come up with as the total amount left owing for supplies and building materials that had not been paid for. His figures totaled less than $25 over $2,500. Again, God had met the need as promised in His Word.
The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus."
And so He had! Dad's favorite saying -- and I'll bet I heard him say it a hundred times throughout the years -- was, "What God orders He pays for."
Never let it be said, however, that we didn't have our challenges in the midst of all that God was doing and the miracles that were taking place as communities were being transformed.
We'd had them in every community, and Point Hope was no exception. Howard -- my brother -- and I were busy cutting and trimming 2X4's and 2X6's for wall studs and framing. We'd set up a jig with a couple of saw-horses and some 2X12's so that we could speed up the cutting of spacers and studs. Dad had a Porter-Cable power saw that had seen hundreds of hours of use in Nome, Barrow, Wainwright and Point Hope construction projects.
One day while cutting spacers, the trigger switch jammed while the saw was running, and it wouldn't shut off. Howie and I had done a no-no by forcing the blade guard to stay open because it tended to get in the way when we were trying to get a large number of pieces cut quickly. He had gone away for a few minutes to carry a pile of 2X4 spacers to Dad and Luke Ikpik while I continued cutting.
When the trigger switch jammed and the saw wouldn't shut off, I held it away from myself and began swinging around so I could grab the power cord and yank it out of the extension it was plugged into. I didn't see Howie coming up behind me, and as I swung around with the saw in hand running wide open, he was looking away shouting back a response to a question from Dad. Without realizing the danger, he walked into the running saw blade as I was reaching for the extension cord.
The saw blade cut into his arm in a circular pattern, just nicking the bone, but severing the flesh and muscles about three-quarters the way around his arm just above the elbow. Under any ordinary circumstances in Point Hope, Alaska, this would have been a disaster and my brother would have lost his arm. We had no hospital, no medical clinic of any kind, and no doctor or nurse of any kind there.
The nearest hospital was in Kotzebue, more than a hundred air miles away. There were no aircraft in Point Hope. That meant we would have had to charter an air ambulance to come from Kotzebue -- provided there was one available -- or else try to get a plane in from Nome -- some three hundred miles distant. You've got the picture. Emergency medical assistance was a distant fantasy.
Dad had only recently gotten his license as a Ham operator and had set up a rig on his desk in the living room. While Mom carefully peeled away Howie's shirt and attempted to stanch the bleeding (which was abundant by any standard), Dad got on the radio and put out a distress call, hoping there might be an aircraft in the vicinity, or perhaps a ship in nearby waters with some kind of medical facilities.
The Ham radio speaker came alive instantly with a response from a U.S. Naval vessel that happened to be just over the horizon from Point Hope. Dad was able to convey the details of the emergency. In what was nothing less than a miracle of God, the vessel not only had a skilled surgeon on board, they had a medical helicopter. In moments, that helicopter was in the air headed for Point Hope. Less than 40 minutes after the accident took place, the chopper was setting down on the ground next to our church. The doctor took one look at Howie's arm, spoke a few words to the EMT's who were with him, and they took charge.
They ferried Howie out to the ship and the surgeon went to work stitching the arm back together. Four hours and 278 stitches later, his arm was back together. This was no mean surgeon! He had not only repaired the muscles and tendons; he'd successfully rejoined nerves. His prognosis was good. As far as he was concerned, everything that could go right did! Though the chance for mistake and other problems was almost mountainous, there was not one single misstep.
Though it took a bit longer for his fingers to regain all their feeling, his arm was completely restored and he had full use of his hand within a matter of weeks. It was one of those situations where -- although we grew up without any reliance or dependency on the medical community for our health needs -- the Lord orchestrated everything perfectly so that Howard had access to emergency medical assistance and a surgeon in a moment of crisis, and the Lord still received all the credit for the healing that took place.
Even the Naval surgeon who performed the operation acknowledged that none of his success would have been possible without God's intervention. From start to finish everything timed perfectly. The entire event was a series of miracles. Dad had just gotten his license for his Ham radio. The radio operator was on duty when Dad sent out the distress call.
The ship was within a short distance and able to respond instantly. It wasn't normal for the ship to have a surgeon on board -- this was a unique instance where the doctor was there for some special research project. The doctor was a specialist in this kind of surgery, and what's more, he had all of the necessary available instruments, technicians and medical assistants needed.
The next three years of ministry at Point Hope would be perhaps a bit less flamboyant or second-chapter-of-Acts-like in the displays of the miraculous while laying foundations and planting the Word in the lives of the people whose lives had been transformed, but the changes that had already occurred would be solidified.
A unity in ministry would begin to take shape between the long-established Episcopal church and the Assembly of God church that Dad and Mom had established. Dwain McKenzie (of whom I've often spoken) would be a key part in making it happen during a period of time in which he would minister while Dad and Mom were taking a break.
Next week, we'll move on to Saint Paul Island. Brother, was that ever a change! It would be the last place in Alaska that Dad and Mom would build and establish, and it would be the toughest! It would also turn out to provide them with an unusual pulpit for world-wide ministry and exposure in the television and newspaper/newsmagazine media such as they had never had.
Enjoy your time with the Lord during this weekend!
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). (For those accustomed to our previous “every Monday” schedule, we’ve had to pare down our schedule because of scheduling conflicts.) Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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