Salutations and Elucidations to you! See!
Got it right, this time.
How are you doin this mornin, Folks? Got a good rest last night, I hope? Have a good weekend?
I am into my third cup of good strong Columbian coffee this mornin already. Fixin to get my fourth before too long. Actually, this is a blend of dark-roasted Columbian, a bit of Kenya coffee, and some double-roasted French. Decided I was going to kick-start the day and the week.
You tea-totalers can get your cup while the rest of us coffee drinkers wait.
It dawned on me yesterday that I was getting a bit ahead of myself time-wise in this story, so let me back up to 1980. What brought on the first part of today's discussion was a conversation I had with our oldest son, Chris (Christian) over the weekend. He had spent a few years with Dad and Mom at Saint Paul Island, along with his sister, Melodie, but the events that caused his going to Saint Paul in the first place were somewhat gone from his memory.
No wonder, really!
If you happen to have read the Coffee Break series titled, 15 STEPS, that I did earlier this year, you may recall my sharing about a series of events that happened while I was ministering Barrow, Alaska where my family took the brunt of the persecution and opposition targeted against me. Actually the opposition was against the Lord, but because I was His representative, the focus was on me. The opponents and haters of the Gospel figured the easiest way to get at me was to get my children.
In one sense, they were correct. You touch my children -- any of them -- and you and I will be at war! What these persecutors didn't reckon on, however, was that they weren't going to move me, and their opposition would have nothing whatever to do with my responses to the Lord, or my actions where the Gospel was concerned. I learned well, you understand, from watching my father and mother in the face of opposition and persecution targeted towards them.
In this particular episode, folks calling themselves "Christians" had taken up arms against me because of the ministry of deliverance. Fact is, they had become pawns of the Enemy in this battle. I was receiving anonymous and muffled phone calls with death threats, I'd been shot at twice, I was receiving hate mail, and the Barrow City Manager thought to terminate our lease on the community's civic center -- which our church had only just finished refurbishing -- because he saw the potential to make money for the city coffers having Bingo games and dances on Sundays and Wednesday nights when we normally had our services.
All of this was stretching out over a period of weeks and months, and it was seemingly never-ending. Then Chris and Melodie began to be the target of these attacks. Chris was 11 or 12 years old at the time, and Melodie was a year and a half younger.
We were in the midst of our "dark cycle" -- that 66-consecutive-day period in the winter when the sun doesn't rise above the horizon. That meant that the kids went to school when it was dark, and it was dark when they came home. Pitch dark!
Waiting for them in the darkness next to the school building one afternoon were some young men on assignment from Hell. They picked Chris and Melodie out and followed them until they had come to a place where there were few if any onlookers. They then seized both of them, beat them, picked them up bodily and threw them against the side of a building, and then ran.
Chris and Melodie arrived home bruised and bloody. Although I had an idea who the perpetrators were, I couldn't prove it, and because of that, the police refused to do anything.
When it happened a second, then a third, and even a fourth time, I was in the face of the local police chief demanding some action, whether that action was posting a couple of guards on the way from the school, or whether it was doing some follow-up on the individuals I suspected -- and with good reason!
Any investigation -- if there really was one -- proved fruitless. I wasn't going to stand by any longer and watch these children get beaten up day after day after day, so I called Dad and Mom at Saint Paul Island to talk to them about alternatives. As far as they were concerned, there was only one alternative: send Chris and Melodie to Saint Paul Island.
Dad was right. First, it took the kids out of the mix where they were the targets, and secondly it put them in a place where they would have much more personal attention. Grandpa and Grandma, you know. Grandparents always seem to have, or develop, an affinity with their grandchildren that is quite different from the parents.
My folks had not had the opportunity to spend more than a few days at a time with Chris and Melodie up to this point, so this was a new experience for everyone. The children spent almost two years -- Chris later returned and spent another couple of years after he graduated from high school -- on the island.
Although Melodie certainly had some wonderful experiences -- and it proved to be a profitable time for her -- it was Chris who really bonded with his grandfather. They became best friends, and Dad taught Chris to be a first-rate small-engine mechanic. Working on the mini-bikes, motorcycles, the three- and four-wheelers gave Chris an appetite for speed!
In the photo below, you see Chris (at 17 years of age) with his pride and joy -- a custom-designed and built Yamaha competition three-wheeler. (The photo was taken in the driveway of our home in Anchorage.) Yamaha Corporation got in the act and underwrote some major expenses when they discovered what a skilled competitor Chris had become, and what a fine mechanic he -- under his grandfather's tutelage -- he had turned out to be.
The three-wheeler in the photo would turn 110
Chris's friends (some of those seen in the photo in the last Coffee Break) tried to duplicate his feat on less powerful and more conventional three-wheelers with some very unspectacular (and injurious) results.
Christian Capener (at 17) on his racing bike Like father, like son! Christian Capener (Chris' son at 7 years old)
All fun and daredevil feats aside, the things Chris learned under Dad's guidance and teaching have stood him in good stead. One of the most important things Dad taught him was to take the word "impossible" out of his vocabulary. The press to do better and to improve on everything became a driving force in his life; and although racing and motorcycles have faded from his life (but not his three sons who've taken after him!) the engineering he learned has been applied in other ways. Today Chris is part of a select group of engineers who operate some of the largest cranes in the world, and part of an even-smaller group who operate a specially-designed crane that lays pipeline on the ocean floor (Arctic Ocean) for British Petroleum.
There is no doubt that Dad's investment -- sowing seed, really -- in Chris has paid dividends. Apart from the skills and abilities Chris picked up from Dad and Mom while he was on the island, the Word of God was sown in his heart. Though he is working in a "secular" assignment from the Lord as a civil engineer, Chris has throughout the years regularly led other men he has worked with to the Lord.
I've already noted that Mom was a first-class chef, baker, and possessed a set of culinary skills that would make most 4- and 5-star chefs envious. In the same way that Dad passed on the skills, the work ethic, and the spiritual muscle he possessed to Chris, Mom passed on her skills to Melodie.
Melodie struggled a bit more than Chris being away from the rest of the family, but the things she learned from her grandmother have stood her in good stead in the years since. I've never quite understood what triggered the career shift in Melodie, but after utilizing what she had learned from Mom, then honing those chef's skills in a cooking college (guess that's what you'd call it!) and working for a couple of years as the head chef in a 4-star restaurant in Bellevue, Washington, she suddenly switched over to health care where she has spent the last 15-plus years.
Mom was one of those folks who needed to be busy all the time. She was born with creative skills and abilities and her juices really flowed when she was creating, fixing, drawing, modeling (clay), decorating, doing flower gardens and landscaping.Â That, she passed on to Melodie, in addition to her cooking skills. It has been the hallmark of Melodie's life since, and she has become something of the same kind of workaholic -- always needing to be busy.
The prophet Isaiah declares the Word of the Lord when he says, "And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children."Â (Isaiah 54:13)
That's a promise the Lord has given us concerning each of our children -- and our grandchildren. Chris and Melodie were certainly taught of the Lord during those few years at Saint Paul Island. It is a dividend we rejoice over, and yet there is much more to come!
Let's back up some 40-odd years in time for a few minutes. Romance and courtship always seemed to be part of the ongoing ministry of Alvin and Lorraine Capener. Funny thing. When you consider the very prim and proper courtship that began their marriage, you might not particularly expect romance to be a hallmark of their lives.
Alvin Capener met Lillian Lorraine Lehtosaari at what was then known as Northwest Bible Institute. He was ministering in Ilwaco, Washington at the time, and his co-worker in ministry was a fellow by the name of Magnus Udd. On the day he met Lillian Lorraine, he came home and said to him, "Well, Magnus, I met my wife today."
For a guy who was more known for his very ultra-conservative demeanor and personality, the remark was in stark contrast. Nevertheless, after a five-to-six month, mostly-by-mail courtship, Alvin Capener and Lillian Lorraine (Dad always called her by her middle name. Never figured that one out.) Lehtosaari were married. It was a marriage that would last for some 45 years -- a marriage that constantly displayed romance.
After 40-plus years of married life, Mom still plopped
herself down in Dad's lap while they did the "huggy-kissy
thing." It was a constant mark of their relationship, and they
thought nothing of it even in the presence of folks who were part of the various
churches they pastored -- and the international
guests they hosted while on
I doubt I could count all the people whose lives and marriages began under the watchful eye of Alvin and Lorraine Capener, but one marriage that made the national press stands out in particular.
Modoki Masuda was renowned as one of Japan's most famous wild-life photographers. Visiting Saint Paul Island as a part of a world-wide photo-shoot of exotic birds and animals, he wound up renting a motorcycle, and then staying in the home during his time on the island. Not only was the Gospel ministered to him, the unabashed romance between Dad and Mom had a deep and powerful effect. Modoki had begun romancing a colleague in Japan -- mostly at a distance -- during his travels.
After he left Saint Paul Island to continue his travels, he corresponded regularly with the folks and began talking to them in his letters about his prospective bride. The day came some two years later when he decided that he wanted Dad to perform his wedding at Saint Paul Island. Modoki Masuda flew his bride-to-be, her family, and his family to the island for the wedding and reception.
Had Mom known months in advance to prepare for the wedding, she couldn't have been better prepared. She had spent the spring and early summer planting wildflowers of many varieties around the church and the house, and when the wedding day came, there were literally thousands of arctic poppies, lupine and forget-me-nots in bloom. It created a stunning visual for the wedding.
The very positive attention this event gained for
God NEVER calls His people to do the possible. "Possible" is only the rational mind's way of dealing with human capabilities. God ALWAYS calls His people to do and perform the impossible. "Impossible" only exists in rational thinking. "Impossible" is ALWAYS "probable" and "accomplished" when seen through the eyes of faith.
The Blessing of the Lord be upon you.
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