Christian, Creation or Evolution, Uncategorized

Created or Evolved?

 

beach clouds dawn dusk

Early in my walk with the Lord I realized that we, and everything else, was created by God. The question of the old earth/new earth puzzled me, though. I knew that God created us fully made, all at once, but what about all this “evidence” of the universe being billions of years old.

I found the answer in the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. He created fish and bread, ex nihilo—out of nothing. And what’s more he created these things with the appearance of age! The fish looked as if it had spent time growing up, being caught, and prepared as food. The bread had the same characteristics—Jesus created the grain and other ingredients in the bread, in and instant. The bread looked as if it were the result of the whole process of growing wheat, harvesting, grinding, adding yeast, perhaps other things, and water. And it looked, felt and tasted as if it had been baked!  If Jesus, who is God, can do that—he can create a whole universe, or millions and millions of universes, ex nihilo—with the appearance of age.

focus photography of sprinkled bread

But if a person doesn’t understand, yet, that Jesus is God, how can that person be persuaded that God created everything?

I spent months studying the arguments on both sides of the evolution/creation debate. At last it came down to one question for me to ask a person who believes we got here by a long process of evolution, “How could sexual reproduction evolve?”

Impossible, I knew. I knew that sexual reproduction could not have evolved.  How could male and female evolve for millions of years, somehow reproducing when the evolution of their body parts was not complete.

I was satisfied. I had my question to ask. I waited eagerly for an evolutionist to reveal himself to me. At last, one day there was a car parked in front of our farm store with a Christian fish on one side of the rear bumper, and a Darwin fish with legs on the other side of the bumper.

A couple was in the store.

“Which one of you is the Christian and which one is the evolutionist?” I asked.

They laughed.

“Okay,” I said. “I have a question for you. How could sexual reproduction evolve?”

Without a second’s hesitation they both said, “We don’t know. It just did.”

Wow. I was disappointed, to say the least. I had expected more intellectual honesty.

If you haven’t thought the issue through yet, think on these things:

  • How could the eye evolve?
  • Hearing?
  • Learn what irreducible complexity means
  • There is no such thing as a “simple cell”—a single cell magnified to the size of the city of Los Angeles, would look just as complex as that city.

If you are a Christian and you don’t believe in a young earth and a six-day creation you don’t believe that death is a punishment for sin. (Because you believe that death existed before the Fall). If that is so, why did Jesus have to die to save us?

Truth eats darwin

Uncategorized

Country Post Office

Two very fun things happened the other day when I went up to the new farm property in Bangor.

The first has to do with the post office there. This is the view from the entry to the PO. It is in a modular building.

IMG_1811

I had gone there to get myself a Post Office Box. When I got there I found a note on the door that said the office was closed for lunch. It would be open again at 1:30, about a 45 minute wait. So I got a snack at the Bangor Grocery Store across the street—about a 500 square foot store with a nice young man named Nikita behind the desk. As I waited in the post office parking lot, I noticed that all the people who came to check their mail (about 5 vehicles, I think) were driving pick up truck like rigs. The last one was the one with the cattle trailer in the picture above. There were beef cattle in the back, and a lady driving the truck. You can just see my Subaru under the tree on the other side of that rig. I felt quite at home; at least, I was driving a four wheel drive vehicle and it wasn’t really clean!

When I got into the counter in the Post Office, I met Marjorie. She is about my age with long grey hair in a pony tail—definitely a 60’s survivor. She was a little suspicious of me at first, I think. But when I got closer she probably noticed that I had a Leatherman on my belt, so I must be all right. We started to fill out the information for my PO box rental but she sent me back to the car to get my vehicle registration as part of my ID to get the box.

When I got back inside another lady was talking to Majorie. I found out her name is Nona. She was talking to Majorie about a 1400 pound sack of oats someone had left with her (I think Nona might run the local feed store.) Anyway she had to get rid of the sack because there were rat droppings around it. She said the feed is perfectly clean so she wondered if Marjorie’s husband would like to have it for his horses. As they discussed this, the lady who was driving the truck with the cattle trailer came in. She was younger than me, dressed like a ranch owner and exuded confidence. All four of us starting talking about cattle, horses, and dairy cows. The rancher had just sold a bunch so she didn’t need the oats for finishing the cattle, Marjorie wasn’t sure if her husband would want it for the horses, but I took Nona’s number in case Todd might like it for the dairy cows. This was a great meeting of four ladies in a country post office! I loved it! I would never have been part of such a conversation in most of the post offices I have been in.

Then I went back to my car and found that I had a text on my phone. That text was my high for the day! Here’s the back story. Just about a year ago I gave away my horses. Tim and I had moved off the farm, my mom was sick in a nursing home, and I could no longer spend time with the horses. I had given up riding when Mom took her turn for the worse a year earlier. She needed 24 hour companionship. I couldn’t give her that and ride. So the horses had been idle for more than a year. I had been struggling for more than two years about what to do about the horses, especially Santo. Santo was my dream horse. I had waited 25 years for him, but that is a different story. After much agony I had decided to give the horses to someone who would love them and use them. The young lady, Karah, who had been taking care of them for me found what seemed to be the perfect family for the horses. So last year about the 1st of May I took Santo and Jack to Lynda and Jeremy. This was one of the hardest things I have had to do with my horses, but I was content. The Lord seemed to be in it.

Then a month or so later, Lynda got pregnant. She and Jeremy decided, wisely, that it was not a good time to have horses. I was so confused. I didn’t know what to do. Then Jeremy said that he would find homes for them, if I wanted him to. He did that. Jack is in a wonderful home where his new owner is helping him to become the horse he was created to be. Santo, however, got killed in a horse trailer accident on the way to his new home.

Again, I was crushed, and broken hearted.

When I gave the horses to Lynda and Jeremy I gave them all the tack I had for them, too. Santo’s saddle had been hand made for him and me. I asked Lynda to keep the saddle for me if she ever had to give up Santo. When she told me about his death, I was too shaken to even think about the saddle. Later when I asked the Lord if I should ask her about the saddle, He said, “no”. I actually asked him several times over the last few months if I should ask Lynda about the saddle. Each time the answer was the same.

Now I am living with some friends in California, helping them to move their farm to a new location where horseback riding would not only be possible, but fantastic! There are lots of horses around the new farm. Todd keeps saying that the Lord has horses in my future. So I asked Him again if I should ask Lynda again if she still had Santo’s saddle. This time the Lord said, “yes”. I sent her a text telling her I was on a new adventure in California and may have the opportunity to have horses again. Did she know what happened to Santo’s saddle?
Her text back to me is what I read when I got back to my car. It said “So exciting! Yes we do! We have everything of Santos to give back to you😀”

Wow! I wrote this back to her: “Thank you so much. I will come get it. I think the soonest I will be there is next month. We are in the process of selling Grace Harbor Farms the dairy to Tim’s son. I am staying with some precious friends, Todd and Sherry, I have known for 40 years who are moving their farm from the Sacramento area to the hills not far from Oroville where the big dam crisis was a few weeks ago. The new farm will eventually be a place where people come for prayer for healing for wholeness for Jesus. I am so excited to be part of it. Tim has been commuting back and forth and will continue to do that until GHF sells. Right now the farm has cows goats and chickens. We will be adding riding horses and draft horses too, we hope. Todd has a lot of experience with draft horses. I am so glad to hear that you have Santo’s stuff. I still grieve for him. It will be comforting to be back in his saddle some day!! I just can’t express the joy that gives my heart. Blessings to you and your precious family. I will be in Whatcom county in May. My grandchildren have a concert on the 21st, I think.”

I am blessed, beyound measure.

Oh, and I did get the Post Office Box. It is number 11. Country town. I love it!

I am blessed, beyond measure.

Santo Last Ride

This was my last ride with Santo.

Uncategorized

What’s Next

 

After my mom left her body behind and went to be with the Lord last year, I asked him, “Couldn’t she have stayed longer?”

His answer to me was, “Yes, she could have stayed longer. You did a good job of caring for your mom. Thank you. But if she had stayed longer taking care of her would have interfered with what I have for you next.”

Tomorrow morning, Lord willing, I will turn out of the driveway at Grace Harbor Farms and start my drive to Northern California. I don’t know how long I will serve the Lord there.

This mission trip to California is the “next.” I didn’t know that until Tim and I visited Todd and Sherry a few weeks ago. I have Tim’s blessing to go. I don’t know if he will ever join me there. He has told me to go while he stays connected with Grace Harbor Farms until he is no longer needed here. He knows I will be a help to Todd and Sherry as they transition from one small farm to another, under the direction of Holy Spirit, to establish a stronghold for Him. I have caught the vision the Lord has given to Todd and Sherry. I am excited to be part of it.

So, I am off on the next adventure. If you are praying for me, my request is simple—may His will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Before I got out of bed this morning, I thought of all the times in my life when I acted suddenly, without a clear, thoughtful plan beforehand. Some examples:
• Moving in with Granddad and Grandma Terry at age 17
• Leaving college after just a few weeks
• Getting Married at 18
• Going to Virginia
• Going to Alaska
• Quitting Regent College before I finished my degree
• Inviting Mom to live with us
• Opening Bed and Breakfast
• Marrying Tim
• Starting the goat milk soap business (which has evolved into Grace Harbor Farms)
• Now, going to California

I continue the legacy of the “all of a sudden Terrys”. This was a term that my mother’s family used through the years they were in China. My mom did these kinds of things, so did her mom, and I suspect so did her mother. They all lived “out of the box”.Thank you, Lord, for putting the spirit of adventure in me. I am not afraid to step out into the unknown. I love challenges.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Proverbs 37:4

What is the desire of my heart?
• To love and serve the Lord will all my strength, will, heart, and spirit

How did the Lord shape my heart to love and serve him? What do I love to do?
• I love to study the Word.
• I love sharing the gospel and the word
• I love having a beautiful view
• I love wood stoves, candles and quiet
• I love growing food
• I love hospitality
• I love to cook
• I love to worship, Israeli style—dancing before the Lord
• I love horses, dogs, chickens and goats
• I love getting up early, and going to bed tired

All of these things can be realized where I am going next.

I walk by faith, not by sight.

 

Uncategorized

California, Here I Come

banister-oak-farms

Future Home of Banister Oak Farms

I grew up in the Bay Area, over the hill from Berkeley. I moved to Washington State in 1966 to live with my grandparents. I have lived in Washington State for 51 years–minus three years in Virginia when my husband was in the Army there, and back and forth to Alaska commercial fishing.

Until a couple of months ago I could not have imagined moving back to California. Now I can’t imagine NOT moving back.

Tim and I spent most of last week with our friends, Todd and Sherry in Northern California. We had been anticipating this trip for months, planned it twice and cancelled it twice. The Lord’s timing is always perfect, though.

 

We have been talking to Todd and Sherry for a couple of years about the business and ministry they are establishing in the hills in Bangor, not far actually, from the Oroville Dam. We had two goals for our visit with them. The first was to pray with them over the property and the plans for it.  The second was to seek the Lord on whether or not He wants Tim and me to be part of what Todd and Sherry are doing.

 

The irony of having our trip cancelled twice was that the week we actually went was the week that people all over the world were praying for Oroville. The massive evacuation because of the possibility of the dam failure was just four days before we got there.

 

The property that Todd and Sherry bought was dedicated to the Lord years ago. When I set foot on the ground I could feel a special stillness of peace I have never experienced anywhere before. When we met the former owners we heard some of their stories about the property. They bought it to establish a place for ministry and worship. The stories were wonderful, delightful, and affirming that the Lord has a plan for this property. It is a place where people will come for prayer, for healing, for wholeness, for Jesus.  But they, the former owners, knew that they were not going to be the people to maintain the ministry there. They were starting a work for someone else to take forward. They sold the property five times. Each sale failed until Todd and Sherry bought it.

 

The Lord has given Todd and Sherry a business plan and a ministry mission.. Todd and Sherry have written and illustrated, via PowerPoint, the outline of the mission/business. It is called Banister Oak Farms. They printed copies of the plan into a beautiful booklet. Sherry’s dad is a retired investment banker. He told Todd and Sherry he has never seen such a well presented business plan in his whole career.

 

Todd’s vision is to have a successful business—farming, that supports the ministry. The business part—the farm–will milk cows and goats, raise chickens for eggs, and grow food. Todd and Sherry are already doing  the first two parts of that business where they live now. They are milking eight cows and four goats and distributing the milk themselves. The are raising about 300 chickens. The business is doing very well. It was fun for us to see it because it is so similar to the way Tim and I started Grace Harbor Farms 20 years ago.

 

The food growing part of the  business will start under the direction of Todd’s cousin, James. James is a grower. He started out growing marijuana in the sixties—got in trouble, went to jail, got out, started doing things right and now he grows orchids, currently 93 varieties. He has wowed the orchid world with his flowers. He is already building the soil for the food gardens at Todd and Sherry’s new place.

 

The Lord has shown Todd and Sherry what the ministry will be. We have been talking to them about it for years. We share their passion.

 

Todd and Sherry will be working for the next few months to get the new property ready for the cows, the chickens, and themselves. Their plans are beautiful, and so is the property. Todd has been collecting equipment for years for this project—heavy equipment like excavators and a saw mill, along with hundreds of tools, and commercial appliances. He, like his dad was, is also a skilled, creative craftsman/designer.

 

I think you may be anticipating what the answer is to our second reason for going to visit Todd and Sherry–asking the Lord whether we should get involved with this project.

 

We believe this is what the Lord wants us to do next. We don’t know exactly what it is going to look like, but we know that we are going to go to California and help Todd and Sherry get started.

 

The first thing we will do is move out of the condo.  We will move our stuff back to Grace Harbor Farms. I will go to California. Tim will go back and forth from Custer to California. Since we decided not to sell Grace Harbor International (GHI, the skin care and MSM cream business) to David, I  have been taking care of the website and working to get GHI refocused. Julie, my gifted manager,  will continue to run the daily operations of GHI. The website stuff I can do from anywhere. Tim is still the bookkeeper/accountant for Grace Harbor Farms (GHF, the dairy). His son, David is working on buying the property and the dairy business. Last time I talked to David about that, he hoped to close those deals by the end of March. But we don’t know if that will actually happen then. The Lord knows. Even after David buys the dairy business, until a new bookkeeper is hired, Tim will continue to work for GHF.

 

That’s the outline of the news. I will go to California as soon as we can get moved out of the condo.

 

We are on a short term mission. We will wait on the Lord to show us what’s next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming a Believer, Blessing, Christian, Sibling squabbles, Testing Your Faith, Uncategorized, Walking by Faith, Witnessing

Conversion

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:14

 

Conversion June-July 1976

 

My brother’s wedding invitation came to Petersburg Alaska sometime in the spring of 1976. My husband, our two daughters, aged 2 and 6, and I had been living on a boat in the harbor in Petersburg for the past year.  We had been fishing commercially in the summers for several years, but this had been our first winter in Alaska. Eric’s invitation was like a breath of fresh air. The card had a picture of Eric and his fiancé standing under a flowering tree in California. After 18 months in Alaska a flowering tree looked like a beacon of light in the darkness.

I somehow convinced my husband to let me go. I still have no explanation for why he allowed me go except that God had planned for me to be at Eric’s wedding.

I took the girls to California in June.

I was the oldest of the six children in my family. We were not raised in a Christian home even though my mother’s parents had been missionaries in China and my mother had been born and raised there. Several years before my brother’s wedding my sister Janie, two years younger than I, had become a Christian. One by one my other siblings had followed suit–all but Christy and me.  Christy  had become a Mormon. I mocked them all.

Eric’s wedding was lovely. The church even impressed me. I had been surprised to find that the people quite nice, thoughtful and intelligent. In my previous mocking of Christians I joined my husband in thinking that Christians had stopped thinking for themselves—blindly following some ancient ritual.

The week I was there, the Pastor’s son was giving a series of lectures comparing various religions. Every night my brothers and sister would take off for church to hear Ron Carlson. They always asked me if I would like to go along, but of course I was much too stubborn, and prideful, to join them. But the night before my return to Alaska, Ron Carlson would be talking about Mormonism. Again, my family asked me to go along. This time I thought, “What the heck. I might as well try to find out why everyone is so upset that Christy is a Mormon.

I don’t remember now much about Ron’s talk, but having done a lot of studying since then I can well imagine what he talked about. The thing that impressed me was the intelligence of the lecture. Ron Carlson had done his research. These were well educated people who taught and listened to this stuff.

At the end of the lecture I asked my sister, Janie, if I could meet Pastor Carlson, Ron’s dad, and tell him how much I had enjoyed his church.

I suppose my sister was more than delighted to introduce her pre-believing sister to her pastor!

I told Pastor Carlson that I had been impressed with his church and asked him if he could give me a book or something that I could take back to Alaska with me.

He invited me into his office for a private conversation.

“What do you think a Christian is, Jonni?” He asked me.

I really didn’t know the right answer. I wanted to say, “Someone who is born in America,” but I knew that wasn’t right, so I said, “Someone who can love unconditionally.”

“That’s a pretty good answer,” he said, but do you know what the Bible says a Christian is? Have you ever read the Bible?
I told him that I had tried a couple of times but it had never made sense to me.

He showed me the verses from 1 Corinthians 2 that tell us that the things of the Spirit of the Lord cannot be understood except if that same Spirit helps us.

Then he did a very wise thing. He asked me if I would be willing to pray this kind of prayer, “Spirit of God, if you have the truth, teach it to me. I want to know the truth.”

There was no danger in this prayer. If there was nothing there, nothing would happen and I would continue as before, but if the Holy Spirit was there and truth to be known, then I should know it. I agreed to pray.

We got on our knees. I prayed that prayer with him. There were no explosions of light; I didn’t feel anything different; the world went on as before; we got up from our knees.

Then he gave me a Living Bible and a bible study on the book of John. He also gave me the whole lecture series that his son had been teaching on cassette tapes.

The last thing I said to Pastor Carlson as I walked away from his office with all those materials was, “Now I have to go back to Alaska and defend myself to my husband.”  That was like a word of prophecy, but I didn’t know it.

When I got back to the boat I started going through the cassette tapes and reading the things I had brought back with me. But I had to read and listen at times when my husband was not on the boat. I had to hide the Bible and the cassettes from him because he went absolutely nuts!

So I listened in secret and I read in secret.

One by one the questions that I had, and questions that I didn’t even know I had, were answered.

The first one was “Is there a God?”

As I listened to Ron Carlson’s lectures I realized that we could not have gotten here by chance. There had to be a creator.

The second was, “Is Jesus God?”

I had never heard anyone say that before. I had heard “son of God” before but it didn’t mean anything to me.

Again, as I listened to Ron Carlson I realized that God, in order to communicate with us, could have become a man and come to earth to teach us who God is. OK. I could accept that, but the next question was a big one.

What about this “sinner” business. I wasn’t such a bad person.  How could God claim that I was a “sinner” and needed to be “saved”?

Up to this point I had been listening to the tapes in what I though was random order. I had gone through “How we know the Bible is the word of God,” and the lectures on the other major religions of the world. There was only one tape left. It was on the Occult. The date was July 4, 1976—the 200th birthday of the United States. We had been fishing in Taku inlet. We had tied up the boat in Juneau, Alaska for the holiday. My husband went up to town to celebrate. I put the girls to bed and pulled out that last tape.

I don’t remember what Ron Carlson said about the occult, but at the end of the tape he started talking about my sister, Janie. I was shocked!  This was a lecture series that he had been delivering all over the world and here he was talking about my sister!  I know it was my sister. He said, “When Janie walked into my intervarsity Bible study and Diablo Valley College . . . “ There was no question. That was my sister. Janie had been “saved” in that intervarsity Bible study. But the rest of Ron Carlson’s statement cut me to the heart.

He said, “When Janie walked into my intervarsity Bible study at Diablo Valley College she said she could feel nothing. She felt no pain, no joy, nothing.”

I knew that was true about Janie. I knew it was my fault.

I had been so wicked to Janie while we were growing up that I could almost pinpoint the day when she had shut off her feelings so I couldn’t hurt her anymore. I had beaten her, insulted her, excluded her, humiliated her and ignored her.

I fell on my face on the floor (deck) of the boat. I wept uncontrollably. “Oh, yes, Lord, I am a dirty rotten sinner. Please forgive me.” I cried and pleaded with Lord.

When I got up, I was a new person.

There is no way to explain the joy and relief that I felt. I had been radically born again!

As my tears turned to laughter I spent the next hour writing a letter to Janie.

Here is what I wrote:

 

July 4, 1976

Dearest Janie,

How can I express on plain paper with mere pen what is happening to me tonight. Janie—I prayed tonight, all my myself I spoke to God for the 1st time on my own. I thanked him for you. I thanked him for your prayers for me. I told him I loved you and I asked him to bless you.

A couple of weeks ago in Pastor Carlson’s office I opened the door for Jesus. He came to me then, but he didn’t fill me up until tonight. He’s been guiding me—teaching and gently showing the way to learn. Tonight, after several weeks of lessons, he felt I was ready to hear—learn (I’m not able to find the right word). He arranged for me to be alone on the boat and I listed to more of Ron’s tapes. I’ve been listening to them in a rather hap-hazard order. I kind of thumb through and listen to one that sounds/looks interesting. Never before have I listened to more than one in one evening. Tonight I listened to one—and then He had me hear another. He has been preparing me for it for several years, maybe all my life, I don’t know that for sure, but I do know that my learning has followed a definite pattern than cannot have been accidental.

The second tape I heard tonight was Ron’s occult one. The closing thoughts were about you. I wept as he was speaking and I realized that he was weeping, too, If you haven’t heard that tape you should. There can be no doubt in hearing it that Ron loves you—that Jesus, that God love you and me, too.

I had been holding back something—not letting myself all the way open—not telling all—and then you and Ron and Jesus showed me.

I don’t know what else to say, Janie. I hope you can read what I have said already. I’m scribbling, I know, but tonight is our last night in town before we go fishing.

Bob will be home in a few minutes—when he gets here I want to go mail this tonight before we leave.

Please speak to Pastor Carlson for me. I don’t have his address—maybe you can send it to me, and Ron’s too. Please tell both of them how grateful I am. And tell yourself that, too!

Janie, I wish I could hug you. I am so grateful for your prayers for me. I will be praying for you, now.

I’m not going to have time tonight to write this story again for Mom—so if you would, she might want to read this letter, too. She is one of the most important people in my life.  Most people’s mother’s are—but ours is special.

God bless you, Janie, and all of us,

 

 

Love,

Jonni

On the back of the envelop it said “The 1st thing I read after writing this letter was Romans 8, verses 1,2,3,4

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law could not do weak as it was through the flesh, God did, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, he condemned sin the flesh so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

 

In reading the letter I wrote to Janie, now as a much more mature Christian, I wish I had been more clear in my confession to her, but I know that she wept with joy when she received this letter. I didn’t know that she had saved that letter until after her death 9 years later. But that is another story for a later chapter.

 

EPSON MFP image

Janie