Greetings to all of God’s people
To begin, let me extend my heartfelt greetings to all of you that have chosen to spend some of your valuable time to read this testimonial. I will endeavor to reward you with a personal story that I hope gives you insight and understanding in to the wonderful and mysterious ways God has worked in my life, and perhaps in yours.
Testimonials are not an easy thing to relate being both extremely personal and revealing which is an unnatural act for most people including myself. My story is by no means that unusual, however what has happened since I walked in to St. Andrews most certainly is and I firmly believe that none of this is by chance.
The story begins in a small town in Northern BC. I had lived a largely successful life having a good career at a local industry, my own house which I had built myself in a peaceful valley known for its visual beauty and outdoors lifestyle. My wife and I had six beautiful children, we lived a good middle class living free of wants. It was a peaceful time of growth and prosperity.
In late 2009, the company that owned the industry I worked at made a fateful announcement that the mill was no longer viable and would be permanently shut down within a matter of months. The area was remote with few employers so it was clear to me with the size of my family and the fact that my wife really could not contribute enough economically for us to survive it was time to go.
This was especially concerning for our children being well established in a fine Christian school and the fact that we had family and long time friends there. Any of you reading this also knows leaving immediately trying to sell a house in that environment is nearly impossible unless you can afford to accept fire sale prices. There was only one solution in that I had to leave town alone and find employment elsewhere, and sooner rather than later.
God took care of me in my hour of need and I found employment in the oilfields north of Alberta. The odds of landing a staff job there are extremely low and the skill and experience requirements for that very high. I was also blessed in the fact that after some time it became a fly in and fly out job, which meant I did not have to live in nearby Ft. MacMurray which we really could not afford.
I discussed various places with my wife to live in the south of BC as our children were older and would need post secondary education soon. The idea was to locate in southern BC and provide housing and support for them while they attended University or College with the added bonus of a larger and diverse job market after graduation. She agreed to this strategy however she wanted our oldest daughter to graduate first before moving. I remained in Alberta to support our family being briefly joined by our oldest son who came up to enjoy the prosperity there for a time before leaving again.
This is where the story really begins. My wife announced she wished a separation in the fall of 2011. As is with so many of us that have been forced economically to look north to provide for our families, another man had come in to the picture and we are abandoned except for the money we can provide. This came as a complete surprise to me as I knew my wife was not happy with the situation at all but I didn’t know how unhappy. In the space of two years I had lost my long time job, my wife and family, and also my father that had passed away in 2008. My old life was completely gone.
I won’t elaborate further on my former wife as I find it best to let God judge this, as my own judgment would be flawed. I will say one final thing, my God defends me and defends me well. I have a complete trust with God recognizing my own flawed and incorrect judgments of the past and rely on God to judge for me. I am most certainly not perfect and I find that often I really don’t have all the facts anyway.
I can’t remember much of the next few years. I was abandoned without my family, my friends, and had no real home in Alberta. Each and every day the pain would find me and then worse, the anger. I experienced wide ranging emotions at any one time, all of them – shame, guilt, rage, hopelessness, longing, depression. What I did not know at the time is that I was being changed from within, reforged in to something completely different from what I once was for a purpose of which I still do not know.
The turning point came as all good things do, in a whisper. I believe the evil things that happen to a person in life are immediate; the perceived intent is to shock and destroy with a direct and forceful impact. It could be the sudden death of a close family member; the diagnosis of a small pain as terminal cancer; the sudden job loss threatening the well being of an entire family.
The good things, the turning of the tide, often start with the smallest things and are usually unnoticed. Think of the birth of a small baby boy in a small village of no importance located in a poor desert province within the mightiest empire the world had ever known.
While nothing can compare to the birth of Christ the point was to illustrate how the smallest event can translate in to great and wonderful things. In my case it was a phone call from my oldest son who had relocated to Kamloops in search of his own future. He was lonely for a member of his family and suggested that I join him there. It was time to come home to the mountains.
In August of 2014 I moved to Kamloops, in a small apartment here on the North Shore. This really would be a non event but to me it was the first home I had on my own since 2010. I had been renting rooms in various houses and condos to keep costs low all that time. I remember the warm feeling I had living there finally finding a place that I considered safe and welcoming. When you are broken, battered, lonely, and abandoned the smallest kindnesses take on new meaning. As an example, my first friend was a local chipmunk that I would breakfast with on my small veranda by feeding him with peanuts while I had eggs. I miss that chipmunk to this day!
It was also time to find the local church to attend every second Sunday. I had attended church regularly in the various places I lived in Alberta. It was the one lasting thing from my old life that had not changed; that had not rejected me; that had remained a rock in a hostile world.
The choice of a church is an important one for me and should be for anyone. The word of God is welcome to me in any place but the right church with the right people is where I needed to be. I found mine the first step I took in to St. Andrews.
I walked in unsure of what I would find there but not intimidated. I was not there for any purpose but to worship my God, to confess my wrongs and to send my thanks to the one person left I could confide in and would not throw me aside, Jesus Christ. When I left that morning I knew I had found what I sought.
I was greeted by the congregation and made to feel welcome. What impressed me was the sincerity of that welcome as I would have known if it had not been. What I saw and felt in the people around me was nothing short of something that I had not experienced in a very long time, the radiant beauty of trust and understanding. I am a man who sees things in a very different way than most people and trust me when I tell you the Holy Spirit is alive and well at St. Andrews Church in its people.
I came back every second Sunday as my work schedule prevents me from attending every week being in northern Alberta at a camp for a week at a time. As time went on I had a daughter and son come to live with me, and even a beautiful grandson. My daughter has joined us here at St. Andrews and she is precious. I found someone very special, an angel in the choir whom I am so very happy to have in my life. She has her own story to tell someday and the odds of us finding each other in this world are nothing short of miraculous. This is not chance. What was once lost is now returned.
I am still changing every day on this journey. I have to concern myself with worldly things to provide for my family but it grows harder all the time only really caring for all the people around me especially my loved ones. There is so much more to learn.
There is something anyone who may happen to read this should know about finding God and Jesus. This may not be an easy thing to recognize your own faults and illusions about yourself and even the people around you.
Realize you may have to recognize some ugly truths about yourself; that you may have to admit you were terribly wrong about a lot of things; that you will indeed be humbled and laid bare. Realize that God’s laws do not change, they apply to us all and they need to be followed seriously. In accepting Christ you really need to believe who he is, that the events and miracles of the New Testament really did happen. I have my own reason for being convinced of this written right in the testimony of one of His disciples and a passage in Genesis the first chapter of the Bible; you need to find your own. Read and understand the events of Christ’s life with the unchanging laws of God and I’m sure you will find it.
If you can do these things then through personal experience I guarantee you will find a vision that goes far beyond this unforgiving and hostile world with its random acts of evil and unfairness. You won’t see things as others do. You will know love and acceptance and a deep appreciation of every minute of your life. You will know and love others as yourself. You will know a strength that flows forever and will never cease.
This question is for anyone who reads this and does not know Christ and the undying love for you He has or has chosen to dismiss that love. I follow a man that even hell could not defeat, who do you follow and what has been promised to you for your service?
I can only offer my own humble experience as I am sure there are millions more much worse than my own. As a man, I am limited and imperfect in my judgment and sometimes blind to my own faults. I do know that now I once again walk with purpose and my mind is clear. It’s like being 18 again and I have Dad to rely on if I stumble.
In closing this message is meant for anyone out there who is suffering, who may be alone and abandoned without hope. There are thousands of ways in this life a person can be crushed, betrayed, rejected and abandoned left to die in an uncaring world. There are many of you out there as I meet you every day in my extensive travels. You can’t hide that pain in your eyes like you may think.
Come to us at St. Andrews and we will know, but much better we will understand. Jesus will come for you as he promised all those years ago. Learn new things, grow in the love of Christ with us and rise above the very things that sought to destroy you. There is a world of friendship and care here among us. I should mention that there is over 5000 years of human experience with us at St. Andrews.
If you have children bring them too because it is so very important that they have all the love in the world and to know God and Jesus. It has been often said it takes a village to raise a child. This village is a good one.
The inverse thing about the Midnight Sun is that it's present only half of the year (sort of like some Canadians). The other half of the year it has gone south for the winter, abandoning those remaining few brave inhabitants to the deep and the dark and the cold. The very deep cold.
Imagine this: It has been dark for about three months. The only light in the sky was from the stars, northern lights, and a few days each month from the moon, but only then if the sky is clear. Otherwise it is pitch-black, all day, all the time. And it's cold. Bitterly cold, which doesn't quite say it properly. Temperatures hover in the minus forties, or minus sixties if you factor in wind-chill. It was dark and it was cold and it was deep, three months deep.
During conditions like this we didn't venture much outside of our homes. Only the necessities of having to go to work, or get food could bring us out. Consequently people were affected by "the long night" as it was so aptly named by the locals.
Some people got depressed, others got sick from being cooped up so long. They caught colds or other forms of illness. I was not exempt.
After a few days off work I needed to justify my absence with a note from a doctor. So I went to see one of the few doctors in town, who also happened to be the minister of the Lutheran church and a friend of mine. He may have actually made a house call, but today I can't remember for sure.
Anyway he diagnosed my illness as being type B influenza and prescribed medication to deal with the symptoms, saying the virus itself can't be treated directly and must run it's course, whichever way it goes. He warned me, saying it could be quite serious.
I had a high fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, intense headaches, muscle aches, pains throughout every fibre of my body. I couldn't eat any food and could barely hold down even a sip of water. I spent the days or nights between my bed and the toilet.
I was in such pain the weight of only a single sheet was too much. Sleep came in fits and spurts. I couldn't tolerate light since it sent blinding shocks through my eyes, like daggers of icicles. I was hot to the touch but drenched in sweat. My mouth had died up and my tongue felt swollen.
So the doctor prescribed more and stronger medication of all sorts but that din't make much difference, I just got worse.
After about a week of this I had enough. It felt like I was going to die and I resigned myself to do so. I stopped taking all medication entirely. I endured the pain and waited for the end.
Gradually as the medication started to wear off I became acutely conscious of my surroundings. The little smells and sounds of the house had by now taken on a presence of their own. From the confines of my bed I could perceive other people in the house, where they were and to a fair degree, what they were doing. My own pain intensified but I was able to move away from it in a way, detaching myself from it somehow with the conviction that I wasn't going to be around much longer anyway.
Then it happened. Then it happened, suddenly.
Out of the upper left-hand corner of my room, seemingly from a dimension between the molecules of air, they emerged.
Even though the room was dark, I could make them out clearly, as if they had brought their own light with them. But it wasn't a harsh light, more like a gentle glow from within.
There were four of them, all of the same kind of being. The tallest was about 7ft tall, with it's head close to the ceiling. The shortest stood about 4 or 5 ft, somewhat taller than the footboard of my bed. The other two, in-between somewhere.
They were each a different colour, a pastel of sorts. The tall one a light blueish-grey, another a light tan, the third a creamy white and the short one a light brown. Even in the low light, I could tell their skin was soft and velvety. It seemed warm to the touch. A little wrinkly, as if it was a size too large.
Briefly they stood there, at the foot of my bed, swaying gently back and forth and looking at me. Then, as if responding to some external cue, the tallest one started to sing.
It wasn't a voice I'd heard before, certainly not from a human. The tonal range easily spanned many octaves, five or six, and timbre could be adjusted at will. Slowly and quietly at first the others joined in. Sometimes in harmony, or in melody or counterpoint and each readily switching back and forth.
When the short one gave a solo it was even more astounding, since he could harmonize with himself. I surmised he must have more than one set of vocal chords to be able to do so. The other three probably had this ability also, but didn't show it as much.
About half way through this I could tell someone was coming up the stairs to check on me. I called out for them to stop, to not enter the room for fear of chasing away my heavenly visitors.
Now, I can't be sure how long these four stayed with me but I do remember the feeling of total peace that came over me, and I really welcomed that. So I just settled back and listened.
I must have fallen asleep during the time while they were still there but I don't remember doing so. After a long while I awoke refreshed and really hungry but still a little light headed.
Later when I told my wife about this and she replied: "Oh, I was wondering what that was all about, why you didn’t want me to come into the room. I could't figure out what you were saying, something about not scaring them away, which made no sense at all but I left you alone anyway."
A few days later I was back on my feet.
As a young man I was employed with Transport Canada in Air Traffic Services. It was our job to provide advisories and flight planning services to pilots. This included airports in many remote locations, especially so for our region since we were headquartered in Edmonton. We had the responsibility of staffing the majority of the Arctic airports. At that time there were more than thirty. One of them was Inuvik.
At that time, in the late 70's and being recently married with a small family, I needed a location which provided housing, so Inuvik became our new home. We got there in early September of that year.
Let me describe our first day:
Shortly before our aircraft landed the weather changed and it began to snow, not a lot but enough to accumulate on the grass and few trees. It was already dusk. We drove the twenty or so kilometres into town along a slushy, muddy, slippery road.
Along the way numerous minute biting insects had invaded our car and settled into our scalp and hairline. You can't see them, they're so tiny. They just land and start eating. And they have an anesthetic and anticoagulant in their saliva, so you can't feel them either. Their only detection is the stream of blood and plasma trailing from their feasting site.
After we got to our hotel, a musty old cinder-block building, and checked in, we went to our room for a rest. Going through the hallway we had to step over several of the locals laying about, passed-out. Once inside the room my wife wants to settle into a hot bath to ease the fatigue - well, the water came out brown.
That was our first day in our new home. We experienced culture shock.
However being young and resilient and optimistic we soon learned to adjust. We got connected to two of the local churches, Anglican and Lutheran, and became friends with many people, including the pastors.
Once accustomed to the local way of life, - the always dark winter - always light summer, extreme weather, constant deluge of insects, we became comfortable. We settled in.
One morning, at about 4 o'clock, I was awakened by a presence in the room. It wasn't just the presence of another person or an unwanted animal. This was something far more sinister. And it wasn't just in the room, it was on me. This creature I can describe only as being composed of evil. It had a physical resemblance and stature of a grizzly bear and gorilla combined. It was big and evil and nasty. It was on me and had my arms pinned - and - it was trying to get into me, dimensionally into me.
My initial reaction was one of high alert. Every sense was at maximum. I felt I had to resist this creature with all that I was and to repel it with all that I could. In my spirit I cried out for help, for a weapon of any sort. Just then, in that dimension, appeared in my hand a board with a nail in it. I swung at the creature, freeing my pinned arm. I swung again and it instantly fled.
I was so enraged with it that I called out after it, cursing it and condemning it to the Abyss, in Jesus's name. To be chained there for all of time and eternity. And the creature screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed in terror. Not just something you would see in a Stephen King movie but blood-curdling, agonizing bone-chilling terror. Finally the Abyss and creature became lost into the depths of a long dark tunnel, as if it had been sucked in by a black hole. A calm came over me and I felt at peace. I thought about the incident for a while and eventually fell back to sleep.
Three days later I was at work, casually watching an aircraft being loaded. I saw a peculiar looking crate that had been readied for transport. Being curious I asked my colleague about it and he replied:
"Haven't you heard? Three days ago the Tattoo Ladies (pagan priestesses or witches) from all over the Arctic had a gathering here in Inuvik, trying gain possession of Christians. During one of their trances a chief among them died suddenly, at about 4 in the morning. That's her in the coffin there."
Later I told this event to the pastor of the Anglican church. He said that something similar had happened to him the year previously and he was able to resist it also.
P.S. Years later I learned that was the last time these Tattoo Ladies gathered as a coven.
I was born at a very young age because when I was born I was 9 months old. Then at the age of approximately four years and 9 months my story begins. It begins in Vancouver, B.C. about 1934.
I am the second boy of four children. My parents were wonderful people and provided us with all the necessities for our life when the great depression was going on.
My Father’s prayer – farm/Trinity Western College today
One morning I woke up and noticed a wart on my knee and soon after a second wart came alongside the first one. Then the smaller warts came like a king and queen and all the small warts covered both knees.
Little boy’s fall
My mother had heard of a cure for warts. It was to rub blueing, the laundry whitener, sold in little bags (Rickitt’s). This I did but nothing happened to the warts. One day my mother drove the old model T Ford car out to Langley to visit my Grandmother and Grandfather. Of course Granddad saw my warts. He said to “Find a stone and spit on it. Then rub it on the warts and throw the stone away as far away as you can.” This I did but the warts prevailed.
Back home in Vancouver a neighbour came to visit my mother and she saw the warts and said, “The poor boy, I’ll pray for the boy tonight.”
The very next morning I looked at my knees and the king wart was gone. The following morning the queen wart was gone. In a few days they were all gone, never to return.
Was it the blueing, the spit stone, the neighbour’s prayers or all three? BUT now I knew it was the Good Lord Jesus that healed the warts, Praise the Lord.
Testimony - Protection
One day while watching TV, they had on the 100 Huntley Street a guest speaker instructing seniors how to protect themselves from muggers and any negative force. His instructions were to stand still and put your arms and hands by you sides. Don’t raise your arms up as it could be misconstrued as if you were going to strike back. Make yourself defenseless. Then pray to the Lord Jesus Christ that his blood cover you.
It was the same blood that saved the people of Israel when in Egypt, when they covered the door posts with the blood of the lamb.
Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door frame. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
About the same time, I heard a story on the radio, it was rather tragic. It took place in Kelowna, where two Rottweiler dogs broke loose from their yard and attacked a woman and baby and little boy. The woman threw herself over the baby but the boy’s arm was so mangled he lost his arm (it was amputated).
My story began about 7 or 8 months later in the spring, when the cherry blossoms were starting to bloom in Kelowna.
Spring comes a week to 10 days earlier in Kamloops which gave me time to prepare the bees.
An orchard farmer rented the bees to pollinate the billions of blossoms in the orchard.
I had a flat deck, one ton GMC truck that held 20 hives of bees and a trailer that held another 40 hives. The farmer called for the bees about the middle of April.
After we placed the bees in the orchard there were 4 hives left over. I thought maybe I could rent these 4 hives to another farmer.
As I traveled the back roads of Kelowna I saw a farmer in an orchard on a tractor but I was a couple of hundred yards past him, so I decided to walk back to talk to him. As I walked back I saw there was a German shepherd dog playing with two children on the other side of the road.
When I got about half way between the farmer and my truck, a dog that looked like a Rottweiler came charging straight for me. The thought of the woman, the baby and the little boy came to my mind. BUT the senior from 100 Huntley Street also came to mind. I glanced back to the truck but it was too far for me to reach. Therefore, I put my hands and arms to my sides. I then prayed the Blood of Jesus Christ as my covering. I think the hat on my head lifted 2 or 3 inches high as I froze. The charging dog kept coming, and then about four feet away it veered off. The Farmer called his dog back and the shepherd dog stayed on its side of the road. AMEN.
His, the Lord Jesus, blood was good thousands of years ago and is still good today. Because God is the same yesterday today and forever.
Testimony - Learning to listen
(This deals with the 5th dimension that Tony Niedersteiner mentioned several weeks ago)
My story starts when my bees were once again pollinating the orchards in the Okanagan near Kelowna. A farmer approached me and asked me if I would sell the bees to him. He said he would fly me to his farm from Kamloops to Kelowna to teach his men the art of beekeeping. The farmer was quite wealthy and the deal sounded like a good deal to me.
I said I would give him an answer when I returned for the second load of bees. I wanted to pray about this deal.
That night, I prayed to Jesus ‘should I sell the bees.’ The room was dark and quiet and the answer came “NO DEAL”. This answer was not what I expected, so I prayed again and got another answer; “It’s OK with me if it’s OK with you.” Now I was really confused, one spirit said no, the second spirit said OK.
The Bible says to test the spirits.
1 John 4:1-4
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
My sister (a wonderful Bible studying Christian woman) always spoke about this.
So I decided to ask the second spirit (the one that said OK to the deal) “Do you confess that Jesus Christ came to the earth in the flesh and is from God”
I waited for an answer and waited till I almost fell asleep, then an angry “NO!” woke me up.
Then I knew that the first answer was that of the Holy Spirit. The answer “No Deal” was the right one. Therefore I told the Kelowna farmer no and have bees still today.
Praise the Lord.
by Orrie Smith
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