ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: 40 YEARS BELOW ZERO, Part 20
April 8, 2016
It’s always a source of immense joy and pleasure when you see your children doing their part in expanding the Kingdom of God. Talking to our daughter, Melodie, a short time ago (she is in healthcare and takes care of developmentally disabled or challenged folks) she was sharing her experiences with a middle-aged woman who was in deep depression, fighting continually with demonic spirits and poor health. Melodie was able to talk to her about the Lord and ask her if she’d ever had a relationship. The lady admitted that she grew up with at least a cursory knowledge of the Lord and had at one time “been very religious.”
Melodie then began to pray over her, rebuking the evil spirits and commanding them to depart. The woman’s countenance changed almost immediately. Within a matter of minutes, she was able to lead her back to a confession of Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
I don’t remember whether it took place the next day or a couple days later, but the woman suffered a massive stroke and passed away. Melodie was quite emotional as she expressed her joy at knowing that she’d been placed into this woman’s life at the right moment so that she would not pass into eternity without having made Jesus Christ her Lord and Savior.
We left off last week talking about my mother’s penchant for entertaining folks – she loved to “put on the Ritz” – the door of opportunity, and the influence it gave her with the women on Saint Paul Island for whom “high society” was nothing more than something you read about in books.
Mom, having grown up with a very wealthy step-mother who did her best to educate her in etiquette and very proper appearances, was in her element. It was made to order for her. The apostle Paul, in letters to Timothy and Titus, makes reference to a bishop being "a lover of hospitality" or "given to hospitality."
The apostle Peter, in his letters, instructs believers to "use hospitality one to another." (see I Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8, and I Peter 4:9) I personally can't think of any person who better exhibited this trait than my mother. She "used hospitality" to minister the Gospel in ways she must have invented at the direction of the Holy Spirit.
One thing about it: when women begin to get excited about something, their husbands always want to check things out. No matter how retiring a guy might be, if his wife gets wound up about something, and her excitement lasts more than a few minutes, a few days or a few weeks, he's going to get curious. Aleut (the pronunciation, incidentally, is: al'leh.oot) men are just like everyone else in this respect.
Ludy's husband decides to check things out -- but not the way you'd think. It seems that Ludy and her husband had a daughter who lived in Seattle (it may have been Anchorage, but memory says Seattle).
Guess I missed telling you something important, and this is the place to stick it in. I've already told you in a previous Coffee Break that Dad had passed his tests and received his General Class Ham license while in Point Hope. He was assigned the call letters, KL7-EGE. One of the things he'd done was to rebuild an ancient linear amplifier capable of putting out a kilowatt of power. He linked that to a Swan 500.
The Coast Guard station had abandoned a three hundred-foot tower in favor of a newer, more durable 600-foot tower. The old tower was lowered to the ground with some assistance, and the Coast Guard commander gave it to Dad to do with whatever he wanted. He disassembled most of the tower, but kept a 60-foot portion to put up a 40-meter quad antenna, along with some directional inverted dipoles at other commonly used frequencies. (You Ham radio aficionados know what I'm talking about.)
This gave him some wonderful and very reliable radio communications which allowed him to link up with people world-wide. It also gave him just about the only means of reliable communications on the island with the outside world.
I've said all that to say this: Ludy's husband (we'll refer to him as "Prokoff") wanted to make contact with their daughter, and apparently there was some family emergency involved. He came by the house one morning to ask Dad if it was possible to get a message through to their daughter. Dad dropped what he was doing and immediately went to the radio. Within minutes, he had established a link with a Ham radio operator in Seattle who linked up with the phone system and made the call to the daughter. Prokoff was able to resolve some critical issues in a matter of minutes.
After the phone patch was disconnected, Prokoff hung around for a few minutes to talk. He obviously had a spiritual burden he was carrying that he had not been able to deal with and chose that moment to unload on Dad. Dad quietly listened, then asked if they could pray together. It was a made-to-order opportunity. Before the morning ended Prokoff had accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.
For a long time, communications with the outside world was strictly limited to postal mail. Telephones were a non-existent thing on Saint Paul Island, except for intra-island governmental communications. HF radio communications and teletype had been established on the island by the U.S. Army during the Second World War, so it was possible to get a message off the island in emergency situations.
The problem was that this was not a practical or easily accessible means for most folks on the island. With Ludy and Prokoff's situation being handled as expeditiously as it had, Dad's Ham radio suddenly became the "in thing." People who had been banned by the Orthodox priest from coming to worship services at the Assembly of God church could legitimately come to the Capener home in order to make contact with family members who lived on the mainland, or if they needed to order something from Sears or Safeway or whoever.
That, in turn, provided both Dad and Mom with the opportunity to invite the folks who came over to stay for coffee and a piece of Mom's apple pie, or some Constant Comment tea and cake around the dining table while the folks shared the Gospel with them.
You've all seen it before, I'm sure. Whenever the Enemy seeks to prevent people from seeing or hearing the truth and puts roadblocks in their way, the Lord had a unique way of opening other avenues.
Think back to the 1960's for a minute. Remember the fight that raged in the courts over prayer in school, and the ridiculous effort Madalyn Murray O'Hair went to in order to argue that prayer in school was a violation of her parental rights as an atheist? So what happened?
Eventually, a heavily weighted liberal Supreme Court overturned centuries of accepted practice and constitutionally guaranteed liberties and banned prayer in public school. In 1968 when the Apollo astronauts made their first trip to the Moon, while more than two billion people around the globe watched and listened, Neil Armstrong read from the Scriptures, and prayed a simple prayer -- the same kind of prayer that the courts said school children couldn't participate in.
God always gets the last word! The more Satan seeks to prevent people from hearing the truth, the greater number of new avenues of opportunity God provides to and for hungry people. Satan thought he could stop several thousand children from hearing someone pray, so God opened a way for billions to hear. It matters not what Satan does, everything he does to block the Gospel, everything he does to block prayer, everything he does to prevent God's people from worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ will only backfire on him and result in all the more people hearing and receiving the truth.
And what happens to those people who allow themselves to become the tool of Satan, and agree with his lies? In Madalyn Murray O'Hair's case, she vanished without a trace for years, and eventually the police found what they believed were her bones in a shallow grave in the Texas desert, having been murdered. The son she was so anxious to "protect" from the Gospel grew up, came to know Jesus Christ personally, and became a minister of that same Gospel.
Back to Saint Paul Island. Remember how I told you in Wednesday's post how the lay reader in the Russian Orthodox Church was a falling down drunk? There were times when he would show up for church services so inebriated he had to hang on the lectern while he read the Scriptures to keep from falling down.
The day came when he showed up at the Capener home (he wouldn't dare come to any of the church services, of course) because he needed emergency medical assistance, and Dad could contact the hospital in Anchorage by Ham radio. On this particular day, radio communications were spotty and it took several efforts to finally get through. Meanwhile the reader (we'll call him "John" for the sake of this story) sat next to Dad's desk and listened to the sharing of the Gospel.
He later acknowledged that it was the first time in his life he'd actually heard the plan of salvation and understood that Jesus Christ died for his sins; that he could have a personal relationship with the Lord instead of a religious one filled with dead form and ritual. "John" did not receive his complete deliverance from alcohol that day, but he was set on a path that eventually led to his total deliverance from the snares of addiction and drunkenness.
The Orthodox priest was furious when he heard that his lay reader had gotten "saved." As far as he was concerned, it was a personal slap in the face. It mattered not that John continued to attend services at the Orthodox Church. It mattered not that he continued in his role as lay reader. It was the change in his life, his countenance, his home and everything about him that bothered the priest.
You recall how the Pharisees and Sadducees were angry over Jesus healing folks on the Sabbath? (See, for example, Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 2:24-28; Luke 13:10-17) Remember how upset they were when Jesus forgave a man's sins before healing him? (Matthew 9:2-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26) They were angry because results were taking place through Jesus' ministry -- results they had not been able to achieve through their religion and traditions.
Jesus' teaching and preaching didn't fit their understanding of what should be able to happen, and it made them afraid -- fearful that they were following a dead religion -- and they couldn't have that! No. Huh Uh! No way!
In John 5:16-17, we see how the religious leaders decided they couldn't have Jesus doing all these things in their midst and demonstrating how dead their religion and traditions really were, so they decided they would kill him. Whether there was an overt effort on the part of the Russian Orthodox priest to kill Dad and Mom is questionable, but he certainly did his part to drive them off the island.
In his anger over seeing the transformation of people in the community -- people who had been lifelong members of his church -- the priest decided if he couldn't keep folks from going over to use Dad's Ham radio for communication with the outside world, he'd try something new. He decided to gather together some of the young boys -- teenagers, actually -- in much the same way the shaman had attempted at Point Hope, and use them for his ends.
A rock-throwing effort began. In the middle of the night, Dad and Mom were awakened to hear the rat-a-tat-tat of rocks pelting the roof of the house. Dad got up and went to the door just in time to see a rock thrown towards him. He ducked in time and the rock bounced harmlessly off the side of the house. When he hollered at the boys who were throwing the rocks, they dropped the rocks in their hands and scattered. Not before he recognized a couple of them, however.
The next morning, he went to the parents of the boys he recognized to report the incident and advise them to keep a handle on their sons. A couple of days went by. Dad and Mom were sitting at the dinner table when another barrage of rocks came, this time breaking windows in the kitchen and one of the bedrooms.
This time, Dad sprinted to the door and chased one of the boys down, grabbing him by the collar of his coat. The boy was one Dad had seen the first time. He marched the boy over to his parents' house and let them know that he would not tolerate this. When he released his grip on the boy's coat, the boy said to Dad, "I'm sorry, Reverend. Father Michael told me to do it."
He'd suspected it because of the priest's non-stop opposition to them and their presence on Saint Paul Island, and the threats he'd leveled against the people for any involvement with them. Now the time had come to pay a visit to the priest.
Swift denial followed his confrontation. "The boys are lying," the priest said. "I never told them to do any such thing."
Funny thing, though. The rock bombardment stopped. For a few weeks, anyway. Then it started again. It would be a single barrage and the boys would run away. Sometimes it would be one or two boys throwing just a few rocks, and other times it would be as many as six to eight boys.
One afternoon, Dad stepped out the back door in time to see the priest's son cock his arm and let loose with a rock right toward his office window. Crash! Bye Bye window. This time Dad took out after the priest's son. The boy was pretty fleet of foot, but Dad was no mean runner. He caught up with him and instead of taking him to his house, he took him to the City Office where an Alaska State Trooper happened to be.
This is where the story takes an unfortunate turn – and this is where we will pick up next week.
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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