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Monday, May 16, 2011

Amish alfalfa harvest 5/11/11
Amish Alfalfa Harvest

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"John Parkinson's Story"
"We Finally Got Ya"

"For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

We attended a Gideon's Banquet on Thursday last week. The Gideons are best known for Bible distribution all over the world. Most of all of you have seen the Billes in hotels and hospitals. The speaker, Richard Malone, attended the same Bible College that Brooksyne and I attended, although some 20 years earlier. Interestingly he was one of the original members of the Couriers, a gospel group that has been around for over 50 years and continues to minister in song.

Richard, a retired schoolteacher, is now active in the Gideons and shared a number of remarkable testimonies concerning God's Word. I have been to several Gideon banquets through the years and am always blessed by these testimonies concerning the power of God's Word to make an impact on life.

When we lived in New England we attended a state Gideon Convention and heard a remarkable testimony regarding the power of God's Word and the amazing results of a faithful, persistent witness. This message is a little long but it's a great story and we believe it will bless you.

Gideon NT WW2 inscription John Parkinson joined the Marines right out of school during World War II and was given a small Gideon New Testament and Psalms upon his induction. In fact I have a similar Gideon New Testament that my uncle received. It had this inscription in the front: “To the Armed Forces: "As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength, and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul. Very sincerely yours, Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

At that time Parkinson had no interest in spiritual things at the time the Bible was given to him but he still carried the Testament in his pocket. A short time after enlisting he met a fellow Marine by the name of Charlie Kline, who bore witness to Christ and persistently tried to persuade John to become a follower of Christ, but John just as persistently refused.

The war was over by the time John got to Okinawa and upon the completion of his first term of service he returned home to his farm in upstate New York. But he determined that there was nothing to keep him there so he re-enlisted.  This time he was traveling through the Mediterranean when lo and behold he met up with Charlie Kline again, who was still witnessing for Christ. And John was still rejecting.

While at sea the Korean War broke out and his unit was deployed to Korea; a part of the famed Inchon landing. They marched inland and just when it appeared the war was nearly over the Chinese entered the war and John described the horrendous battles that followed in November 1950.

One night he and Charlie were two of only 6 men left from the original 96 men in his unit and things looked hopeless. Again Charlie witnessed to John but he again refused, angrily shoving Charlie away.

But later that same night in desperation John cried out to God. He pulled out his Gideon Testament and "randomly" turned to the 23rd Psalm where he read the phrase "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." This was remarkable as he looked out on the valley filled with death, since he had no Christian training or Bible knowledge at all.

John did make it out and immediately found a chaplain who led him to the Lord. He inquired about Charlie Kline, but several thought they had seen him removed on a stretcher and he was assumed dead. John returned to upstate New York and this time the farm looked pretty good! He married and began to farm.

Now, "for the rest of the story":

Years later he joined the Gideons and began to share his testimony. In 1985 he was at a Gideon's convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While being introduced he noticed a commotion in the back of the room. A man stood up and shouted "We finally got ya!"  It was none other than Charlie Kline!

What a reunion that was! As it turned out Charlie had gotten separated from the rest of the unit that dark night in 1950 and lost his direction. He walked right into the Chinese camp and had to spend three nights in a culvert in sub freezing temperatures to avoid detection. He eventually made it out, but of course he had no idea what happened to John. At least not until 35 years later!

"The word of God is living and active!"

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, through the prophet Isaiah's words, we are reminded that Your Word does not return void but accomplishes that which You desire.  It is a lamp unto our feet and a light for our path. Your Word is divinely inspired and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that we are thoroughly equipped for every good work. We're grateful for the guidance we receive daily through faithfully reading and applying Scripture to our lives.  Amen.
See Psalm 119:105, II Timothy 3:16 & 17

Note: Due to a heavy schedule Friday, 5/13 we were unable to post a message.

Congratulations to all who finished reading the New Testament in the last 40 days! If you finished the project and would like to share a brief testimony that we can share with our readers let us know. We will merely use your first name and geographical location and share several as a means of encouraging others. Use this form to submit your NT reading testimony.

Gideons 5/12/11
I took this photo at the banquet the other night. Jesse Peters (left), has served with the Gideons for 50 years. He is standing beside Sandy and Richard Malone, who both shared at the meeting.

Dale Breindel and Sally Novosat 5/14/11Saturday afternoon Dale Briendel and Sally Novosat, some long time friends who attended our church in Saint Marys PA stopped by for a visit. They were in our area for a Sight and Sound Theater show as well as a ride on the Strasbug Railroad. Although we moved on from that area 18 years ago we're still in contact with many of our friends from Northern Pennsylvania.

Amish farm after alfalfa harvest 5/11/11
We visited some friends on their farm.
They were harvesting alfalfa when we arrived. Here's the closely mown field following the harvest, with only a few round bales remaining for delivery to the barn. We enjoyed our visit, although they were very busy with milking and the harvest.  We were blessed with some fresh home grown vegetables, including Asparagus!

Amish alfalfa harvest 5/11/11
Along the way we passed this farm that had smaller square bales. Alfalfa is a vibrant dark green with a distinct odor I find pleasant. Though it is used as animal feed it reminds me of the rich healthy greens of leaf lettuce and other green vegetables growing in a garden.

Amish children playing 5/11/11
The children playing on a hand cart, for a bit of pleasure! Within minutes of taking this photo they reversed roles and the younger brother provided the "horse" power while his sister was the passenger.

35th anniversary photo
We sat on the front porch rocking chairs in front of the old stone farmhouse and had our 35th anniversary photo taken.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"How Firm A Foundation"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

"Word Of God Speak"  Video   MercyMe

"The Pencil Parable"  Video   I found this in search of music today. Interesting video presentation!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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