Interruptions are still on track like they've been during the past few weeks, so for the present and until further notice, we will only try to get out two of these Coffee Breaks per week. At least that'll be an improvement over just one.
It was about six or seven -- maybe eight -- weeks ago that a mother and daughter came into
Finally her daughter stretched out her hands for me to see. I understood what the lady was saying when I saw the daughter's hands. They were deformed, and had been since birth. Fingers were crooked and misshapen. There were odd-looking growths on her hands and fingers such that she could not close her hand. My first thought was that she had some kind of warts, but a closer look made it clear that these growths were a whole lot more than your garden-variety warts.
Apparently, they'd found a doctor who was willing to perform a series of operations on the girl's hands (she was around 11 or 12 years old, by the way) to straighten the crooked fingers, remove some of the growths and at least bring her to the place where she would be able to use her hands. These operations were going to cost many thousands of dollars, and the lady was seeking financial assistance. Since she was not an American citizen, she was not entitled to medical assistance through Medicare or Medicaid, and the family obviously lacked any kind of insurance to pay for such a series of operations.
When I realized what they were trying to do, and what the mother was trying to raise in terms of finances to help her daughter, I couldn't help but laugh. Even if the doctor gave away the majority of his services as an act of mercy, this lady was still looking at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.
The first thing that popped into my head was the situation Peter and John encountered at the gate Beautiful (See Acts Chapter 3) with the man who had been lame from birth.
When the man asked for financial assistance
("alms"), verse 6 tells us, "Then
Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give
I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of
The lame man was healed, and folks who had known him his entire life saw him completely whole.
My response to the lady and her daughter was pretty close to Peter's. "Ma'am, I'm sorry, but we just don't have that kind of money to help you. What I do have, however, is the authority and power available through the name of Jesus; and with your permission, I will pray for your daughter."
The mother nodded her head, and I stretched out both of my hands, palms facing up.Â I said to the young girl, "Put your hands in mine."
The girl quickly responded, placing her palms face down on mine.Â I grasped her hands and said, "Father, in the name of Jesus, your Word says that by Jesus' stripes we have been healed. I declare that healing now for this young lady and command these hands to be whole."
The power of God hit both mother and daughter and they began to shake. I wasn't sure if they were going to fall down or not but they stayed standing, both weeping buckets of tears. Although we didn't see the instantaneous miracle at that moment, it was clear the Lord had done something. Mother and daughter both left the church still weeping.
This past Friday, I was in the office for a short time and the young girl returned by herself. I heard the noise of her entrance behind me and got out of my chair to see who was in the church. As I stood to my feet, the girl walked into my office, both hands outstretched. She wanted me to see what the Lord had done. She had a smile that stretched from ear to ear. Her hands were perfect. There were no marks anywhere, no growths of any kind. The fingers were straight, and her hands were long and graceful.
"I just came to say, Thank You," the girl said. I asked her what her name was and she responded, "Delia." It is the Hispanic form of Della's name. The Lord had healed the girl completely. It made me wish I'd taken "before and after" pictures. It's been awhile since I've seen that kind of creative and restorative miracle, but this one really blessed my socks off!
Delia's return to express her thanks to the Lord for her healing is reminiscent of the event recorded in Luke 17 where ten lepers came to Jesus asking for healing. He spoke the Word to them, and as they went they received their healing. Only one of them returned to Jesus, however, to give thanks for healing. Jesus responded to this man (see verse 19), "Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."
It isn't often that people return to give thanks for their healing, their deliverance, their provision or whatever the Lord has given. This young lady will not only have received the healing of her hands, but her faith in the Lord will result in her being completely whole from this day forth. What a blessing!
Well, let's see if we can wrap up this abbreviated story of my parents' missionary adventures. If'n ya haven't already, pour yourself a cup of coffee and pull up a chair.
It was in the Spring of 1984 that Della and I decided to take our parents to Hawaii on a vacation. Dad had expressed a lifelong desire to visit Hawaii. Neither Dad nor Mom had ever really taken a "vacation" vacation where they didn't have to raise funds, share the vision of ministry, or preach in some church. Della's folks had never been in Hawaii either, and we thought this would be a good opportunity for the two sets of parents to get together and just enjoy some relaxation.
Della's stepfather (her natural father had died some years before) decided he wasn't really into sight-seeing and decided to pass on the trip so we took our oldest son, Chris, instead. My mother and Della's mom had a blast in the International Marketplace in Honolulu. The ten days we spent became one of the most memorable for the entire family -- in more ways than one!
Dad and Chris were frolicking in the water at Waikiki one afternoon. Della and I were sitting back on the beach just watching them. The Holy Spirit spoke to me in that quiet moment and said, "Your father has two years to live. He has cancer, but it will not be diagnosed until six months before he dies; and the doctors will tell him that he has about six months to live."
That was astonishing to me. On the one hand, Dad (who was 68 at the time) had repeatedly confessed that he would live to be 70 years of age -- a confession that always bothered me, especially in view of our family's general history of longevity. On the other hand, I wanted to stand up and shout, "No, No, No! This just can't be, Lord!"
What I did do was to lean over and share with Della what I'd just heard in my spirit. We talked about it and concluded that we were simply being prepared by the Holy Spirit so that we could deal with the situation and be prepared to minister to the family members as the day approached.
Meanwhile, in the midst of the ongoing lawsuit by our two aforementioned vengeful men using Tanadgusix Corporation as their vehicle of convenience to pursue their hate agenda, Dad received the surprise of his life. The Saint Paul Island City Council and the elders of the community got together to declare a day of honor for him and present him with a plaque which commemorated his many years of faithful service to the islanders.
The plaque was engraved in part with the words, "To Alvin Capener, a True Elder of Saint Paul." It signified the fact that he had won the hearts of the people and earned a level of trust given to a very few people on the island. It stood in stark contrast to the legal battle that was raging behind the scenes, but for both Dad and Mom, it meant that their ministry and their representation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ had paid dividends in the lives of the people.
Della put her position with Zales Jewelers on hold for a time, and I utilized an opportunity presented by the City of Saint Paul to move to the island to take over as General Manager of KUHB on an interim basis and train some local people to run the station. The reality was that we knew Dad's time was growing short. He was beginning to experience the first signs of the cancer -- although he had no idea that was what he was fighting. Our being on the island gave us the opportunity to relieve him with the church, help Mom with the motorcycle and three-wheeler rentals and begin to prepare for Mom's eventual taking of the church leadership.
In the late fall of 1985, Dad made a trip to Oral Roberts City of Hope Medical Center after an Anchorage doctor suggested he may have some kind of tumor. The medical team's prognosis for Dad was that he had inoperable cancer. They gave him not more than six months to live.
Della and I returned to Anchorage to prepare so that Dad could spend his last months with us. Mom remained at Saint Paul for a short time until the Assemblies of God District Superintendent was able to provide some temporary replacements so she could join us in Anchorage. Dad was able to spend most of his last six months in our home. During one of his hospital stays in the interim (he was receiving regular blood transfusions), my younger brother, Howard, flew in from Denver with his fiance, and Dad performed their wedding from his hospital bed. The wedding was televised by the local CBS television station after I notified one of their reporters -- a longtime friend of ours.
Despite his physical weakness, Dad continued to preach and teach -- even in the hospital -- up until just a few weeks before his death, even leading one of the nurses that tended him to the Lord.
Ralph Miller had been an Alaskan missionary for a number of years, having ministered in North Pole (a Fairbanks suburb), and a close friend of the folks. He was now part of the Assemblies' District leadership, and he was a regular visitor of Dad's both in our home and in the hospital. Dad's imminent departure and address change affected him deeply.Â (That's all going to Heaven really amounts to, don't you think? It's nothing more than an address change!)
When Dad departed to be with the Lord on the evening of
He is my friend, This apostle of the North.Â Lover of God, lover of men, Stalwart of the Faith, Pillar of the church, Faithful servant of God, Obedient to his Master, Dedicated to his task, Committed to his call, Student of the Word, Doer of the Word, Preach, proclaimer of the Word, An extender of the hand of many, A missionary to the far reaches of the Arctic.
A man of vision, but not a visionary, Not just a dreamer of dreams, But seeing the needs of men, Seeing the potential of men, Hurting when they hurt, Rejoicing when they rejoiced, Weeping when they wept, Laughing when they laughed, Hoping against hope to free them from the bondage of sin.
Sharing God's Word, Knowing this was their answer, Then praying, at times the night through For the souls of men, Fighting the battle against the enemy, The one who devours men, standing strong on the battlefield, Never retreating, 'tho often battle scarred, Skillfully using the weapons of his warfare, Always advancing into the territory of the enemy.
Always seeing new horizons, Always grasping new opportunities, Often hazarding his own life for others. Adventurous, a blazer of new trails, An explorer of the unknown Ready to go, but also, ready to stay, A servant of God.
A man loved by most, Hated by few, Respected by all, Ready to assist, and, if needed, ready to resist. A man of wisdom, Slow to anger, yet strong, Meek, but velvet-covered steel, Gentle, but firm, Ready to listen, ready to lead, a counselor, Standing firm for what was right, Attempting to correct what was wrong, Never passes.
Ingenious, innovative, The finder of a way, An opportunist, A doer, a worker, a planner, a strategist, Never willing to give up, Knowing where there is a will, there is a way, Always a hard worker, Never a shirker, A builder of buildings, A mechanic, if needed, A mariner, An entrepreneur, But always, a soldier of the Cross.
But now he is gone, Galled home by God, The God he loved, For he too wanted to share in the companionship of my friend, He could wait no longer, He could not allow him to suffer more, His battling was sufficient, His work was over, But gone only from us, Ye he will always be here.Â His legacy remains, and strong, He was here when I came, He will be here when I'm gone.
We were contemporaries in so many ways, in the work of God.
He was a guest in our home. Already I miss him,
The one I am honored to call friend, This apostle of the North, Conqueror of
But I fret not, 'Tho I miss him, I shall see him again. And then there shall be no more parting of friends. I am delighted.
Amen! Ralph expressed not only my sentiments and those of our family, but thousands of people around the world.
Well, I thought I'd be done with this today, but it looks like I need to do one more. We'll try to get that one out on Friday.
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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