You've seen or heard about the scenario....a family Bible, perused many times, and all of a sudden ~ a letter, never seen before... appears.
I was always somewhat skeptical. Come on, how could you miss it?
Well, skeptical, no more. I found a letter. I've looked through the Bible before searching for a hint of anything about my ancestors. To no avail. And then, it just appeared.
A letter addressed to my Great-Grandmother. Dated July 10, 1896. With an elaborate logo, "The World for God."
Curiously, anxiously, excitedly and cautiously....I opened it and read:
My dear Auntie,
Your letter was received some days ago. I have delayed answering it for we have been so been so busy. Have moved and all-together it makes us all torn up. We are also in a tent. It is a new one and I am trying my best to pay for it. It is costing me $133.00 and our corps is allready much burdened. It keep be very very anxious to know how to manage but we are getting along very nicely. Our crowds are keeping up over 2000 people every week and souls are being saved. Praise God.
It was impossible Auntie to come on Decoration Day or on the 4th of July as both of them was very heavy days for the corps. I often think of you and wonder how you are. If you are alone ~ or not. I am wanting to ~ if I can ~ to get a rest after the Summer is over as it will not be off much use to rest in winter-time, but at present could not leave the corps only be sickness or death.
We are here in Frankford surrounded by very peculiar circumstances related to the work. Dear Auntie, last week I was sent for to take a meeting over the other side of Phila. and Oh! how I felt when I got off the street car and found myself only about two blocks from the Hospital where mother died. There it was standing in plain sight. I did not know it was any ways near. How I remembered that awfull Saturday when in the pouring rain I stood outside the great big doors without a friend near but Christ and they told me she was sent away. But God helped me to bear it. He only knows how and so Auntie, dear Jesus will help you. When you are lonely and sad remember Jesus is very very very near. That He is right in the room by your side. Do not worry. Jesus will grieve if you worry, but trust Him with all your heart and lean not unto thy own understanding. He is so much to be trusted.
Remember me to Uncle John. I trust that he still is comforted by the peace that passeth all understanding. Is Katie still in Bustleton? If she is, she is only a few miles from where I am stationed. If you would give her my address she could come and see me.
Well Auntie, I must close this letter as it is getting on toward time to take the open air meeting we hold there every night-but-one on the public streets. Well, hallelujah for the privilege. I am so glad that Jesus saves me now, and that I am a Salvationist ~ fighting for God.
I was amazed. Had no idea. I don't really know much of my family's spiritual heritage, strength of convictions, commitment level, service, etc.. So, this was very interesting piece of information.
It also aids with my theory ~ although I know it is God's SOVEREIGNTY that has brought me to Himself, and He CHOSE me before time eternal to be His child.... I sense that the faithful that have gone before me in my earthly family, somehow in God's mysterious ways, helped to usher me in.
My parents were not church-goers. They would drop us kids off at the church on Sunday morning sporadically. I loved God, but there was a disconnect (ritual and not relational). All those Friday afternoons (from 3:00 to 5:00) for three years in order to be confirmed were like a dull painting, cloudy and meaningless.
My grandparents on either side did not attend church, as well. (My paternal Grandmother died when my father was seven. My paternal Grandfather lived in an Old Soldier's Home in Washington, D.C. My maternal Grandfather ~ no, and my maternal Grandmother worked nights.)
Hopefully they had come to the full knowledge of Him by believing that Jesus was the Son of God who died for their sins, but it wasn't discussed. Those generations tended to be like that.
So, somewhere in my past lineage, I feel like there were those who earnestly prayed for their family's future generations, who sought to live godly lives, and now we are reaping those benefits:
Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands. ~ Deuteronomy 7:9
Capt. Eva Mace and all those gone before me with their LOVE for God, I THANK YOU and salute you...for I am eternally grateful.
May I love and obey Him as my forefathers and foremothers before me ~ for my future generations sake.