Looking back

March 3, 2018

Looking Back

By Russell George

This article wasn’t written to bring glory to myself. It was written to give glory to God. In John 15:5 Jesus said “Without me ye can do nothing.” This article is to tell you what God did in and through me.

My Greatest Asset

My greatest asset has been the help of God. Without God’s help I couldn’t have done anything. I have nothing of which to boast. When God calls us to do a work for him he goes ahead of us and prepares the way. He works in the hearts of other believers to help us and provide for our needs. He made it possible for me to go to Bible college and seminary where godly teachers taught me Bible truth and told me how to serve God.

God opened doors for me to gain experience and learn from my mistakes. When God called us to go to Argentina as missionaries he led the mission board to accept us and then he opened the doors of churches to invite us to come and present our work.

When we arrived in Argentina he had an experienced missionary couple waiting to receive us and help us take our first steps in learning how to live in a foreign country. He also gave us the ability to learn the Spanish language so we could communicate with people there.

My Greatest Three Decisions

1. When I was a young man God opened my blind eyes to see my need of accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. First of all, I had to accept the fact that I was a sinner. Romans 3:23, says “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Then came the day when I did what Romans 10:9 says we need to do. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

2. Later God began laying on my heart my need to do what Romans 12:1 says we need to do. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” For a time I argued with God saying, “But God, I don’t have anything to offer you.” Later I realized that God just wanted me, not what I had to offer. Then I said to God in prayer, “Here I am, God. I’ll do what you want me to do.”

3. The third great decision I made was to ask Margaret Snakenberg to marry me. She was the one God had prepared for me. Through the years she has been my faithful, devoted wife.

My Greatest Struggle And Victory

After arriving in Argentina we sought God’s will about where we should start our first church. He led us to a suburb of Buenos Aires, populated by humble working class people. We bought a house there and I started going door to door letting people know why we were there. I was still struggling with the language and couldn’t make myself understood. When I finally made them understand that we were there to start a church many said, “Oh but, we don’t need another church here. We already have one.” By that they meant the Catholic church.

After some months of struggling with that handicap I got discouraged. I began saying to myself, “You will never be able to talk to these people. You may as well go back to the States where you can talk to people.”

After struggling with that decision for a week or more, I gained what I think was the greatest victory of my life. I began to reflect on all God had done to bring us to Argentina. I started saying to myself, “God didn’t lead me to spend three years of my life traveling around the country raising support if he didn’t want us here.” Then I said, “God wouldn’t have enabled us to spend nine months in language school if he wasn’t going to enable me to learn the language.” At last I said, “If God didn’t want me to be here, he wouldn’t have led churches and individuals to commit themselves to support us so we could be here.” I said, “I’m going to stay and trust God to enable me to learn the language.” He helped both my wife and I to learn the language and start three churches in Argentina.

If someone were to say to me: “If it were possible for you to live your life over again, what would you want to be?” I would say, “I want to again be the husband of Margaret Snakenberg.”

In Conclusion:

A life surrendered to the will of God, as we read in Romans 12:1, will never be a wasted life. All God needs from you is for your will to be surrendered to him. He will take your life and make of it something it would never be if you were to go your own way. If you still have your life ahead of you, my prayer for you is that you will accept Christ as your Savior, and then, that you will surrender your life to him. If you do these two things, you will never live to regret it.

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My Encounter With Sepsis

November 15, 2017

My Encounter With Sepsis

By Russell George

Have you ever had sepsis? It’s doubtful. I had never heard of it until I woke up after being in a three day induced coma. After I regained enough of my mental faculties to understand, I was told that I had a serious infection called “sepsis.” After I recovered from it and returned home I did some research to find out what sepsis is. In Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, edition 2009, I found 19 inches of column space in fine print on the subject. There I learned that roughly 50% of patients with sepsis die. Between 200,000 – 400,000 deaths due to sepsis occur annually in the U.S. Since I am an 80 year old man, I count myself fortunate to still be among the living here on earth. I was very near death. Some of the doctors were very doubtful that I would come out of the coma.

I was told that on the 15th of September, 2017, I was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Poplar Bluff. I have no knowledge of having been sick. I must have passed out at home. Fortunately, a man who is an E.M.T. was here when it happened. He is raising support to come as a traveling representative for Missionary Acres. He was the one who recommended that an ambulance be called. I woke up from a 3 day induced coma on the 19th of September. I thought I was having a bad dream. In my dream it seemed as though a doctor was asking me questions. I couldn’t respond by voice. He was asking me to squeeze his hand if I could feel or see what he was doing. Then it seemed as though I fell back to sleep. What a relief that was! Then I woke up again and that pesky doctor was asking me questions again. I woke up to reality when I heard my son, Darrell say, “Dad, this is your son Darrell. If you hear me squeeze my hand.” I squeezed it. Then my sons Kevin and Calvin did the same thing. I think it was my son, Kevin, who said, “Dad you had an awful bad infection.” Little by little I came to the reality that I was in I.C.U in a hospital.

It was a frustrating experience because I couldn’t talk. I didn’t know why. I felt as weak as a kitten. I could hardly lift my hand. I could tell that there was something in my mouth and I struggled to reach up and take it out, but I couldn’t. After some time I heard a doctor say, “Russell, I’m going to remove the artificial breathing tube from your throat. If you can breath on your own for five minuets I won’t put it in again.” I continued breathing for more than five minuets so they didn’t put it in again. It was a relief to have that thing out of my mouth. I was still frustrated because I still couldn’t talk. I was told that I would have to wait some time until my voice box recovered from having the breathing tube in my throat.

I was left alone when it was time to settle for the night. I had time to think about where I was and how desperate my situation was. I thought, “It’s going to be a long road to recovery. Perhaps I will never return to normal life.” The temptation came to say, “I think I’ll just stop breathing and go to heaven.” Then the thought came to me of the sacrifice that three of my sons had made to leave everything and come to be at my side. I said to myself, “No, I owe it to them to put forth the effort to do all I can to recover.” I didn’t sleep all that night or the next night.

The next day they brought Margaret to see me. What a thrill it was to have my dear wife at my side. Still I was frustrated because I still couldn’t talk. I tried to, but I couldn’t say anything that could be understood. That afternoon I tried to tell my boys that I wanted my bed turned around. Somehow I thought that when Margaret was there that morning the bed was in a different position. I couldn’t make myself understood. They gave me something to write on to tell them what I wanted. I didn’t have the strength to write anything that could be understood. Finally a nurses aid brought me an alphabet chart and by that means I was able to spell out the words “turn bed.” They ask the nurse if it was possible to turn the bed. He told them that it wasn’t possible.

I was too weak to feed myself when they brought my meals. One of my sons had to put the food in my mouth. I had an appetite and ate all my food. They told me that I had gone for three days without eating while I was in the coma. They were pleased that I was eating. Darrell made an effort to be there early each morning to help me eat my breakfast. After a few days I finally had enough strength to feed myself. On the third day I was finally able to express myself, but with a slurred voice.

I was also told that they found that I also had a tare in my esophagus. While I was in a coma they repaired the tare by putting some clamps in it that would dissolve. I don’t know how or why I had that tare in my esophagus.

All told, I was in the hospital for 12 days. It must have been on the 22nd of September that I was dismissed from I.C.U. and put in a regular hospital room.

While I was in the hospital the doctors were concerned about the fact that I was passing blood in my urine. I had already had a problem with that. I had began treatment for that with a doctor in Cape Girardeau. I was scheduled there to have a procedure done on my prostrate to correct the problem. My boys convinced me that I better have that done while I was in the hospital where I was. It was done successfully on the 25th of September.

On the 27th of September I was sufficiently recovered to be released from the hospital. I was taken to Clark’s Mountain Nursing Center in Piedmont for rehab. There the physical Therapy people did a phenomenal job of helping me get my strength back so that I was able to walk out of there on the 23rd of October.

The fact that I’m still here on earth I attribute to three things:

1. The power of God to answer prayer

2. The skill of the doctors and the fact that they knew what to do for someone in my situation.

3. The sacrifice that three of our sons made in leaving everything to come and be at my side and plead with the doctors to do all they could to save my life.

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From the Pasture to the Pulpit

February 10, 2016

From the Pasture to the    Pulpit

By Russell George

I would like to tell you the exciting story of how God took me from the sand hills of Nebraska to the pulpit of a small church in South America.  Many times there are thoughts that fill my mind that plead to be expressed.  They are thoughts of things that should be of interest and a benefit to others.

I, being the only son of a rancher in the sand hills of Nebraska, could have gone back and taken over the ranch. It’s not that I wouldn’t have enjoyed that, but I had other interests.  I’m certain that my boyhood experiences on the ranch made some vital contributions to what ever success I may have had in life.  Being brought up on a farm or ranch teaches children to be disciplined.  I had chores to do night and morning.  I was not a matter of “do it if and when you feel like it” They were just things that had to be done: They were  things like milking the cows, gathering the eggs and feeding the pigs.  It may be that modern mechanized farming does not demand the daily discipline that was demanded when I was a boy.

I grew up in a time of transition. Old ways were giving place to the new at a rapid pace.  I never knew what it was to walk behind a walking plow but I did have the experience of cultivating corn with a team of horses and a single row cultivator.  I walked behind the binder pulled by a four horse team.  I shocked grain.  I helped pitch bundles onto a hay rack and then pitched them into a thrashing machine.  I raked hay with a team of horses and a dump rake.  I stood on a chair and talked on a telephone that was one of those wooden boxes mounted on the wall with a crank on the side.  I churned butter with a crock churn and a wooden dasher. I replaced the kerosene in the lamps that lighted our house at night. If I had been born ten years later, it´s doubtful that I would have had those experiences.

In my youth I learned to adapt to tractor farming and electrical appliances. It was an exciting day when we got our first radio. John Slone was one of the first in our neighborhood to get a radio. One Sunday afternoon John and his mother invited us to come up to their house and listen to the radio.  We all sat in their living room and listened to the radio.  No one talked.  We just listened.

In just a few weeks my dad brought home our first radio. That was before we had electricity so the radio came with a big battery pack that sat behind it.  I help install it.  We were told that it had to have an aerial. I didn´t understand what that had to do with it but I helped string up a wire outside and stick it through a hole in the wall to connect it to the radio.  Every one´s face lit up with a smile when we turned it on for the first time and it played. After the chores were done every night we hurried to the house to listen to the radio.  Some of our favorite programs were Amos and Andy and Fibber Magee and Molly.

I always feel that my teachers in school had to be a little bit lenient with me to give me a passing grade. My first 8 years of formal training were spent in a one room country school.   We never had electricity at the school.  That deprived us of most of the advantages of visual aids and sound equipment.  The school had a wind up record player and a collection of some 12 or 15 phonograph records.  In spite of such primitive conditions I managed to get enough education to be able to go on to high school and then get a college education.  It makes me wonder if all the money that is invested in modern education is really necessary.

Wheeler County High school, in the small town of Bartlett, Nebraska, is still functioning. Many changes have taken place since I was there.  I hope the students still get as good an education as I did when I was there.  I went to high school before there were school busses.  Most of the students came from the farms and ranches.  To facilitate their education the school maintained two dormitories, one for the boys and one for the girls.  On Monday morning my dad took us into town and we stayed in the dormitory   until he came after us on Friday after school.  It was my first experience at being away from home.  I was always a peewee and got picked on by the big boys but I still had a lot of friends and adjusted well.  When school was out every afternoon we were given two hours of freedom to go down town.  We made our way to the stores to by candy, gum, soda pop and chocolate malts.  One day, as we were going down town, we found that the local grocery store had thrown out a selection of straw hats.  They were in the burn barrel so we helped ourselves to one.  We all arrived on the street wearing a straw hat.  That night the dorm mother had to tell us that it wasn’t proper for boys to wear straw hats indoors.

Reminiscing about my high school experience is a story in itself. It was a time when we were making decisions about what we wanted to be.  I toyed with the idea of being a veterinarian.  On a shelf at the dormitory there were some old books about veterinary medicine.  I sometimes read them instead of reading what I was supposed to read.  The books were written for horse doctors whose recommendation for a sick horse was often a pint of whisky.  My grades weren’t good enough to qualify for the school of veterinary medicine so I settled for studying vocational agriculture.  My intentions were to be a vocational agriculture teacher.

My heart was set on going to college but my parent’s small ranch didn’t provide them with enough income to finance a college education for their children. I realized I would have to find a way to pay for it on my own.  Graduating from high school dumped me for the first time on the job market.  One day I was reading the ads in the Nebraska Farmer and I saw where a potato farmer in Western Nebraska needed a farm hand.  I wrote him a letter.  He responded and told me to come.  My parents took me to Grand Island to catch the train.  I was going out into the world on my own for the first time.  They gave me advice all the way.   I managed to stay at that job for several weeks.  It was one of the hardest experiences of my life up to then.  The man who hired me forgot to ask me how much I weighed.  I scarcely weighed twice as much as the sacks of potatoes he expected me to handle.   Just as the sun came up he got me up to load a truck with ensilage from an open pit silo.  We spent about two hours doing chores before it was time to go in for breakfast.  Then he took me to a potato cellar to run a potato cutter to prepare them for the planter.  What a struggle I had with those heavy sacks of potatoes.  I was exhausted long before it was time to quite for the day.  After about a month the man fired me because I wasn’t able to keep up with the work.  He put me on the train and I went back home.  Fortunately I arrived in time to get a job in the hay harvest at one of the ranches.  I managed to save enough to enroll in college.

My first days on the campus of the University of Nebraska made me wonder if I wasn’t out of place. It was a new environment for me.  I found myself in a big dormitory with 700 men.  I had to learn about fraternities and sororities and how to find my way around among all the huge buildings on campus.  I was a student at the Ag. College, which was located about two miles from the down town campus.  I had to learn about riding on city buses.  That was a big step for a country boy.

The two years I spent at the University of Nebr. were a struggle for me. My parents didn’t have enough to pay my way.  The first year I stayed at the dormitory but that was too expensive.  I worked during the summer, and saved up enough to go back.  The second year I had to find a room to rent.  I ate at restaurants when I could afford it.  More than once I went for nearly a week without eating while I waited to get paid.  I had jobs on campus, first in one of the libraries and then at a research laboratory.

I only spent two years at the University but it was a turning point in my life. It was there that I met some friends who introduced me to someone who changed my life.  I was a lonely country boy who needed some friends.  Two boys, in the next room in the dormitory, came and got acquainted with me.  After just a few days they invited me to go with them to a meeting at the Student Union Building.  I didn’t know what kind of a meeting it was.   I found that it was a group of Christians that met once a week on campus.  They had a different speaker every Thursday night.  At first I rejected what I heard.  What I had seen of religion didn’t impress me.  I had come to be an atheist even though I didn’t know what the word meant.  I thought “a smart boy like me can’t be deceived  with this religion bit.”  I found those meetings were a good social outlet, however, so I continued to go every Thursday night.   Some times they had week end retreats and I went to a few of them.  I wanted to get acquainted with some girls but I was too shy to approach them.  At these meetings the girls were friendly to me and it gave me opportunities to talk to them.

My second year I continued to go to those meetings. I realized I was accepting more and more of what I was hearing about the Bible.  I wanted what those young people had.  It took me a long time to realize that it was their relationship with Jesus Christ that made them the way they were.  I had heard the way of salvation a number of times but I never took it very seriously.

The real turning point in my life came one Friday night when I invited a young lady to a banquet sponsored by this   group of Christians.  I borrowed a friend’s car to go get her and take her home.  At the banquet I boasted a lot about all I had done and all I was going to do.  After I got back to my room that night I felt miserable. I knew I wasn’t near all I had made myself out to be.  I fell on my knees beside my bed and began to weep and pray.  I poured my heart out to God for the first time.  I begged for forgiveness and for God to save me.  The next morning I woke up a new man.  I didn’t know what had happened but I knew there had been a wonderful change in my life.  I have never had any doubt about it since.  For the first time in my life I knew what it was to have my sins forgiven and be a child of God.  I had gone to church a number of times before that, but from then on I wanted to go.  I began to read the Bible seriously.  I had a hunger to know more and more.

After my second year in college the University informed me that my grades weren’t good enough to go back again. That was a disappointment to me but I expected that bit of bad news.

When hay harvest time came I got a job on a ranch. After that, a man in town ask me to work for him.  He had two self propelled combines as well as a business spraying corps with an airplane.  I was always fascinated by airplanes so I was thrilled to get the job.  I helped him spray crops by mixing up the insecticide and also by holding up a flag at the end of the field.  He would fly over my head and then I would walk down 14 rows and wait for him to turn around and fly over my head again.  In the Fall I ran one of his combines.  That too was a new and thrilling experience for me.

During this time I was staying in one of the motel rooms in town. In the evenings I listened to the radio before I fell asleep.  I started listening to a missionary program  entitled “The Voice Of China And Asia.”  The Lord used that program to cause me to surrender my life to Him.  Each night I felt Him saying to me, “I want you.” I kept arguing with God and saying, “I can’t do that.”  I hadn’t made any success at college and I knew I would need more training to be able to serve the Lord.  Finally one night I said, “Alright, Lord, here is my life.  I don’t know what I can do but I’m willing.” I knew I would need to go back to college.  Among the Christians I met at the University of Nebr. there were some who made mention of a Bible college at Omaha.  It was the only one I knew anything about so I wrote to them and ask if I could come.  They sent me an application with a request for references. I needed to find someone who would give me a favorable recommendation.  I had gone some to the local Methodist church so I ask them to fill out the reference for me.  At first they declined because they wanted me to go to a Methodist school at Lincoln.  I had heard enough about what went on at that school to know that it wasn’t a good environment.  Finally they consented to fill out the recommendation.

One cold January day I loaded all my earthly belongings in my old 38 Chevy and headed for Omaha. I was thrilled with the gracious acceptance I received.  I was a college student again but in a completely different environment.  I still didn’t make the best grades but I was able to pass all my courses.  It was there that I met my wife Margaret.  She has been a tremendous asset to my life.  Since I was able to transfer some credits from the University I was able to finish my studies in three years instead of four.  We both graduated the same spring and were married that summer.

We were among the poorest but we were as happy as two turtle doves on a telephone line. We were praying about what the Lord would have us do.  We both felt the Lord was calling us into missions.  I applied to a mission board and they recommended that I get seminary training first.  I really wasn’t very excited about going to seminary but I reconsidered it and applied to a seminary in Minneapolis, Min.  I was accepted.  We loaded all our earthly goods in a U-Haul trailer and went to Minneapolis.

It was at that seminary that I became a Baptist even though I had joined a Baptist church while I was at Bible College. When I went to the Bible College I wasn’t a member of any church.  I hadn’t been baptized.  To join a church I needed to get baptized.  I considered joining the Mennonite church at the college.  I found that they baptized by sprinkling.  I thought, “Before I do that, I better study the Bible to see if that’s the way to do it.”  The more I studies the more I realized that to be baptized scripturally I would need to be immersed.  That’s why I decided to join a Baptist church that we had been attending occasionally.   My classes in seminary made me come to some basic convictions about my denominational identity.  I had just been more or less free lance up until then.  I struggled for a while with what they were teaching me but I came to realize that they had the Bible to back up what they were teaching me and I couldn’t find much in the Bible to defend my position.  I finally came to the place where I was willing to say, “If that’s what the Bible teaches, then I’m willing to believe it.”

Now I’m a long ways from the pasture but I still haven’t got to the pulpit so let me continue my story. While I was in seminary I preached as pulpit supply a number of times.  Once I was offered the pastorate of a church but I didn’t think it was a situation I could work with so I declined.  When I graduated, my father in law offered to let me come down to Iowa and work for him. We packed up our earthly goods in a   trailer and moved to Iowa.  We weren’t there long before a small church in North English Iowa ask me to be their pastor.  We spent nearly three years there.  They couldn’t give me a full salary so I continued working for my father in law and at other jobs here and there.

We continued to pray that the Lord would guide us as to where he wanted us. We still felt called to the foreign mission field.  Even back in Bible College days we felt the Lord laid Argentina on our hearts.  Every Friday was missions chapel.  They nearly always had a missionary speaker.  We noticed that there were never any missionaries that come from Argentina so we began to wonder what was being done there.  In seminary we met a missionary and his wife from Argentina.  They had a lot of influence on our going to Argentina.

How we finally got to Argentina is a too long a story to tell you now. A church in Montana ask me to come as a candidate.  We went to visit the church and they decided they didn’t want us.  We felt it was God’s way of showing us that He had something better for us.  We applied to a Baptist mission board and were accepted as missionaries for Argentina. Many thought we were rather foolish in taking our young family so far away to live.  I began traveling, visiting churches to raise support to go.  I also took jobs painting houses to support my family while I wasn’t on the road.  It was a long hard road getting enough support promised to be able to live in Argentina but God was good and after three years we had nearly enough.  In the summer of 1973 we moved to Southern Texas to study Spanish.  That was another challenge.   In the fall of 1974 we finally arrived in Argentina.  There were times when we wondered if we hadn’t made a bad mistake, especially when we couldn’t make people understand anything we tried to say.  God didn’t let us quit.  Within a year after we arrived we were in our own house and ready to start a church.  That’s the rest of the story and I don’t have time to tell it to you now.

I can’t boast of having been a great success but I do feel like I have lived successfully. I have no regrets. The lives I have seen transformed as a result of my ministry mean more to me than any earthly assets I could have accumulated. If I had it to do over again there are some things I would do different, but I wouldn’t want to miss any of the rich and rewarding experiences I have had.

God has given us six precious children. They are now standing in the gap, serving the Lord, doing what we can no longer do.  We also have two churches functioning in Argentina as a result of our efforts.  To God be the glory.

For the rest of our story we urge you to get one of our books entitled “To God Be The Glory.” It is available as a paperback book and also in e-book format from Amazon.com.  The ISBN number is 978-1-4669-6778-6.

Our E-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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Seven Months in the Wilderness

February 10, 2016

                       Seven Months In The Wilderness

                                    By Russell George

“For ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

II Corintians 8:9

            God’s grace is always sufficient, even for wilderness experiences. There were seven months in my life when I experienced an abundant measure of the grace of God.  I was not aware of it at the time.  I didn’t even know I was in the wilderness.  As I look back, after many years of Christian experience, I am amazed at the providence of God that protected and guided me during those precarious seven months.  They began after I became a child of God late in my second year as a student at the Uni. of Nebraska.  I had been exposed to the gospel for almost two years before that.  I had seen other students living a consistent Christian life.  I wasn’t ignorant of what it meant to be a follower of Christ.  I had seen it in practice in the lives of others.

New Christians need to be guided in their Christian life.  That comes by being in a good church and being counseled and encouraged by mature Christians.  I never had that.  I left the university, and nearly all Christian influence, to go back to my hometown in June of 1957.

I spent the first few weeks at home, waiting for the hay harvest to start, in hopes I could get a job on one of the local ranches.  It was during those days that I realized I needed to be in church.  There were only four churches in the entire county.  In Ericson there was a Catholic church, a Methodist church, and a Free Methodist church with a woman preacher.  In Bartlett there was a Methodist church that was served by the same pastor that served the Methodist church in Ericson.  Since I went to High School in Bartlett, I knew more people in the church in Bartlett, so I chose to go there.

During those days I was struggling with the most appropriate way of sharing my faith in Christ with my family.  I was naturally shy.  Again and again I ask myself, how can I share something so precious and intimate with loved ones who are almost certain to have a negative reaction?  At last the thought came to me; if I’m going to go to church I’ll have to use the family car.  I still didn’t have one of my own.  I decided to ask if anyone wanted to go with me if I went to church.  For several days I tried to force myself to ask that question when we were gathered at the table for a meal.  Finally Sunday morning came.  It was now or never.  Breakfast was almost over and soon everyone would get up and leave.  Finally the words were forced out of my mouth; “Would anyone like to go to church with me if I go this morning?”  I waited for an answer but, only silence!  One by one they left the table without saying a word.  I too left the table, went and changed my clothes, got the car out, and went to church.  That, to me, was one of the first manifestations of the mighty power of the grace of God.  I could easily have said, “Church really isn’t that important.”  If I had gone that route it would have changed my destiny.

After spending a month or six weeks working in the hay harvest, the rancher I was working for brought me back to Bartlett one morning.  I called home to have my father come after me.  While waiting for his arrival I visited with friends around town.  I stopped at the bank to cash the check the rancher gave me.  Bob Martin, the vice president of the bank, ask me if I was looking for a job.  Apart from working in the bank, he had an agri-business.  He had two combines and an aerial spraying business.  He had been a bomber pilot in the second world war and was well qualified to be an aerial spray pilot.  My job was to help him with the spraying business.  He rented a motel room for me where I stayed.

That was another turn of events ordered by the Lord.  I always had an interest in airplanes so I loved the job.  We often went out early in the morning to spay for grasshoppers in cornfields.  He taught me to hold up a flag every 14 rows so he could see which row to fly over.  He would fly over my head and I would walk down 14 more rows and hold up the flag again, while he went to the end of the field and turned around and came back for another pass.  I also helped mix up the insecticide and fill the belly tank on the plane.  Any spare time I had was spent washing the bugs off the windshield and the leading edges of the wings of the plane.  We operated out of farmers newly mown alfalfa fields that served as a landing strip.  I often served as “front man” for the business.  Farmers who saw the plane flying around would come and talk to me about having him spray for them.

We didn’t work on Sunday.  I went to church in the morning. Then I went home for dinner, and spent the afternoons at home.  I would go back to my motel room in the evenings.  Shortly after I started working for Bob Martin I bought my first car.  It was a 1938 Chevy.

When the spraying season was over we started operating the combines.  That too was a new and exciting experience for me.  We harvested some wheat.  Then we started on alfalfa and sweet clover seed.  After that we harvested grass seed. When the cold weather came we started on the corn.

Bartlett was a small town.  One day the latest news by the grapevine was that two Mormon missionaries had come to town to see if they could make some converts.  Someone heard that they were indignant because the Methodist pastor wouldn’t let them use the church for public meetings.  They started going door to door.

It wasn’t long before they came knocking at my motel door. I knew nothing about what the Mormon religion taught.  I had read about how they left a trail across the prairie on their way to Utah.  That left me with a lot of respect for them.  They set up their flannel graph in my room and gave me a lesson.  They ask if I had any questions.  I sure did.  I started asking questions about the Bible.  It was obvious to me that they had very little Bible knowledge.  They came one other time and gave me another lesson.  I didn’t have enough Bible knowledge to refute their teaching but something told me it wasn’t right.  I told them I wasn’t interested, but they didn’t want to take “no” for an answer.  The night I expected them to come back, I decided I was going to turn off the light and not answer the door.  Sure enough, they drove up in front and knocked on my door.  I was as still as a mouse.  I heard one of them say, “That’s strange.  His car is here but he must not be here.” Fortunately, they didn’t come back again.  Again it was the grace of God that spared me from falling into a false teaching.

I spent many of my evenings in my motel room reading my Bible and listening to Christian radio programs.  One that caught my attention was called “The Voice of China and Asia.”  The man in charge was a man by the name of Bob Hammond.  Their emphasis was on missions.  I don’t recall that they made any special appeal for Christian workers, but God used it to speak to me.  I felt God saying, “I want you.”  I argued with Him saying, “But I can’t do that.”  I hadn’t made any great success of college, and I knew I would have to go back to the classroom to be a servant of the Lord.  I kept listening to the program and God kept speaking to me.  I kept holding out.  Finally, some time in late November, I finally gave in.  I fell on my knees beside my bed.   With tears rolling down my cheeks I said, “Lord, I don’t know what I can do.  I feel so inadequate but I’m yours.  Whatever I can do, I’ll do it.”  That was one of the most important decisions in my life; a decision I have never regretted.  Several times, when speaking to youth groups, I have told them; “I can’t tell you how glad I am that I said ‘yes’ to God that night.  If I hadn’t, I would now be saying, what a fool I was.”

As I look back over those seven months, I marvel at the way the providence of God ruled and overruled.  Again and again I was at a fork in the road.  It was not within me to make the right decision.  Some times I sought God’s leading, but I’m sure there were many times when I didn’t, but the good Lord overruled and guided me.

The first of January of 1958 I packed all my earthly goods in my old 38 Chevy and went off to Omaha, Nebraska to enroll in a Bible college.  I had heard of the school through my friends at the University of Nebraska.  There I found myself in a good Christian environment.  The first evening I was there, all the students gathered in the dining hall for the evening meal.  Before the meal it was their custom to sing a chorus and someone led in prayer.  That night the chorus chosen was:

“God knows the way through the wilderness.

All I have to do is follow.

Strength for the day is mine all the way

And all that I need for tomorrow.”

 

That was a fitting climax to my seven months in the wilderness.

Comments or questions can be sent to us at the following address: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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