MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.195

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Nr.194 ended with: “And then, finally, shortly before leaving for Canada, we moved into our “dream house” provided by the Lord, what a joy………!” (See richardandmarina.net).

It had been about 3 years since last being in Canada and now after several months of visiting family and friends there and preaching about 30 times, we returned to Belgium. But during the summer of 2006 we went back to Canada, and this time with our whole family as there was going to be a Funk (Marina’s) family reunion. It had been many years since the last one and our granddaughters had never yet met their Canadian relatives.

The Lord was so good to us and provided for us. We flew to Calgary, in Alberta, where one of Marina’s brothers had rented two cars for us. We drove to another brother of Marina who had a farm just out of Three Hills, AB. Our granddaughters were so impressed with the outstretched landscape and the long roads. While driving on one of those, one of the girls said, “Is this road never going to end?” Imagine their surprise when a day or so later we drove from the farm to the highway, turned left and stayed on that road for about 500 km through part of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and then turned right, into Pike Lake Provincial Park where the reunion was being held. It was a wonderful weekend indeed with at least 110 family members. Marina comes from a family of eleven children.

After the reunion, we drove back to Calgary and spent some time in the Rocky Mountains. Living in Belgium means being only a day’s drive from Switzerland and Austria. We find the Alps very beautiful, while the Rocky Mountains are very majestic. We were all very impressed with God’s wonderful creation.

Then our children and grandchildren flew back to Belgium, while Marina and I took a plane to Toronto to spend some time with our oldest daughter Rosa who, because of her illness, had not been able to be at the reunion. The next three years were spent in preaching, teaching, visiting and meeting with church leaders, while Marina continued with encouraging women, through visitation, and over the phone. At the same time, we were getting more and more tired and I was starting to find it difficult to deal with some of the problems, so we began to wonder about our future. There were some 24 churches now and quite a number of workers, so, should we continue in Belgium, even though we were not able to be as active anymore as before? Was it right for our home church and others to keep supporting us financially, should that support not rather go to younger workers?

In 2008 we made a trip to Canada to see how the Lord would lead…………! (Go to Musings).

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.194

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Nr.193 ended with, “But now we had about six weeks to find another house and move, to us that seemed almost impossible, but God………………!” (See richardandmarina.net).

We were very thankful that our house was sold overnight, but we were not looking forward to driving all over the place to look for a house to rent, having to fix it up, as usually is the case, then moving, and all this in 6 weeks.

As I drove to the store one morning, I came to the street where I was to turn left, but “something” inside me said, “Turn right.” I hesitated for a moment but then turned right. Just a little down the road, again “something” said, “Turn left.” I did and after about 150 meters I saw a nice bungalow with a sign in front, “For rent.” I took the phone number, went to the store and then drove home and told Marina about this. I asked her whether she would like to go and see this house. She agreed and we drove over. I rang the doorbell and a lady opened the door. I asked her about the house which she herself was renting but was soon moving out. We looked it over and it was just right, Marina said right away, “That’s for us.” That morning we had read Ps.25 en verse 12 had touched us, “Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.”

There were several suitcases standing in the hallway and the lady told us that she was going on holidays to Spain the next day, “You caught me just in time.” We talked things over and were able to buy her curtains, her dishwasher and several other things. We went home, phoned the owners, had a meeting with them that evening and rented the house, unbelievable! The rent was a bit high, but the wonderful thing was that we did not have to do any fixing up at all, no painting, no wallpapering, no new rugs to put in, etc., etc. We could move right in without spending a cent. This was the first time that we were able to do that, all other times, we had to spend a lot of money and a lot of time fixing up a house. Now everything was just perfect, what a relief and what a provision from the Lord!

Before the moving we had to get rid of a lot of things we didn’t need and which had been collected over the years. Thank God for Robert, a dear Christian brother who helped me much of the time. I don’t know what I would have done without him. And then, finally, shortly before leaving for Canada, we moved into our “dream house” provided by the Lord, what a joy………! (Go to Musings).

 

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.193

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Nr.192 ended with, “When I told her what had happened, she was absolutely amazed………..!” (See richardandmarina.net).

“Well, she said, I have never heard of anything like that.” I had told her that we were part of an evangelical Church or community and that two couples had given us interest-free loans so that we could buy the house. Everything had been paid back by now and I offered to give her the names and addresses of these couples so she could check up to see if this was true. But she shook her head and told her secretary that he didn’t need to do that because she believed and trusted us. Maybe reading our wedding booklet had touched her heart. We had to prove that we were married, and unlike in Belgium where people have an official marriage booklet, in Canada, many people are married in a church and the minister has a license and can sign the marriage certificate. We had this certificate inside a booklet with the wedding vows and order of the service. One of Marina’s sisters who has a beautiful voice sang a song based on the words in Ruth one, “Wherever thou goest I will go.” The lawyer smiled when she saw that and told us that was sung at her wedding too. Interesting.

She then told us that it would take three months to check everything after which the deal would be official. I told her that we were going to Canada on September 27 for a 3 months visit and we would very much like to have things settled before then. It was about the middle of August then, so it seemed almost impossible to have things finished by that date. She looked at us, smiled and told us that she would give us priority and that she was quite sure we would have our money before we left. And we did, a couple days before leaving for Canada everything was cleared, unbelievable.

There was something else we had sort of worried about. In Belgium, as in other countries, when deals are done, often people will do things under the table so they don’t have to pay as much tax. When we bought this house, the owner wanted to do part under the table, but I refused and instead gave him extra money. Now we were the ones selling. What if the buyer insisted on doing that too? Well, that problem never came up, as the buyer was chief of police and I imagine he couldn’t risk doing something unlawful, ha! So we rejoiced and thanked the Lord.

But now we had about six weeks to find another house and move, to us that seemed almost impossible, but God………………! (Go to Musings).

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.192

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Nr.191 ended with, “We had no idea that several miracles were about to happen………….!”(See richardandmarina.net).

Marina opened the door and greeted the lady standing there who said that they had heard from our neighbor that our house may be up for sale? Marina was quite surprised and answered her that I was not home, could she come back later? The lady said she would come back with her husband as they were interested in our house. Later on that day they returned, he was the police commissioner for southern Ghent. Their unmarried daughter was also with the police and they were looking to buy a house for her. We showed the whole house, garage and yard and they said they were definitely interested and could come back the next morning to meet our realtor. After they left I phoned him and told him that we had some folk who were interested in our house. When I told him their name, he laughed and said not to expect much, as he had shown them a number of houses already and every time they were interested, but then changed their minds.

The next morning the couple returned and also the realtor. He went through the whole house with them, left them upstairs, came down to us and asked us again how much we wanted for the house. I told him that he knew that already and that we were sticking to that price. He frowned and went back upstairs, and a little later the three of them came down with a smile on their faces, yes, they wanted the house and agreed to the price, unbelievable! Not only that, but I had a list of some 23 things that needed to be done to the house before we could sell it. The policeman told us not to do anything whatsoever, as they themselves would fix up the house the way they wanted it. He had also studied to be an architect and loved to fix up old buildings. What a relief, as I was quite worried about all the work that needed to be done and how I would get it all done.Talk about a miracle, the realtor was so impressed that he and his wife took us out for a very expensive dinner and we had a great opportunity to witness to them.

Miracle number two: together with the buyers we went to a lawyer to get all the legal paperwork done. She was a very nice and friendly lady who had a young man, her secretary present too. She had a list of fourteen things that needed to be looked into and checked. I was asked about mortgages and I answered that we didn’t have any. She looked surprised and asked how we were able to buy the house. When I told her what had happened, she was absolutely amazed………..! (Go to Musings).

 

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.190

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Nr.189 ended with, “We arrived at the large hotel where the conference was held and the organizers showed us a quiet room at the end of the hallway, at least they thought it was quiet! We arrived quite late and went straight to bed, but then……..! (See richardandmarina.net).

All of a sudden there was a tremendous noise from below us, musical instruments and loud singing and shouting. What we didn’t know, and I don’t think the organizer knew either, was, that there was another floor below us with a ballroom. The noise was so overwhelming that Marina’s heart started acting up. I left our room to see what was going on and discovered that a group of handicapped young people were there to make music, dance and have a ball. The rock and roll music was very, very loud and it came right up into our room. I’ll let Marina tell you in her own words how she felt, “It started with the feeling of a train’s wheels going through my body, starting at the stomach through the heart and ending up in my throat. I tried to sing and pray, but it kept on and on. We read in the Bible, “The troubles of my heart are enlarged, O Lord, bring me out of my distress”, this was my inner cry. Richard prayed with me, and finally the music and noise stopped and there was blessed quietness.”

I went looking in the hallway for some help, but it was late and everyone was asleep, besides, we didn’t know where “our” people were as there were other guests in the hotel too. And since I do not speak French, I didn’t want to talk to someone at the desk. It took quite some time yet for Marina’s heart to be at ease and beat normal again. We did sleep for some hours, but were up early and decided to go home as we felt the busyness of the meetings, meals and discussions would be too much for Marina, who needed quietness. We arrived home and called our cardiologist and had an appointment made. He had Marina do a stress test and he said everything seemed to be all right, but Marina knew it wasn’t.

A week or so later Marina was not feeling good again and we returned to the cardiologist who put a monitor on her for a week. The day after we returned it, he called and asked me to come and see him as soon as possible. In his office he told me that they had found something irregular and gave me some special medication for Marina and also told me that if anything abnormal were to happen, to go to emergency immediately. Saturday night at 11.45 pm Marina felt miserable again and I took her blood pressure which was 83/33 (normal = 120/80) and her pulse 22 (normal = 70)……………! (Go to Musings).

 

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.189

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Nr.188 ended with, “Thinking I had another heart attack, she (Marina) jumped up and cried out, “My husband is dead………..!” (See richardandmarina.net).

No, I wasn’t dead. After a few moments I opened my eyes, lifted up my head and saw a lot of people standing around me. I asked, “Was I away for a bit?” They nodded their heads. I felt very weak and was trembling. Someone brought a glass of water and I slowly got to my feet, shaking quite a bit. Most of the people had gone downstairs for coffee and after a bit I went down too, with someone helping me. I realized that I wasn’t up to preaching and the folk told me to go to the hospital and get checked. I was still feeling pretty miserable, and so, Marina and I drove to the hospital in Listowel where a doctor examined me, concluding that it had not been a heart attack, I had fainted, likely due to overtiredness and the warm weather. The last 6 weeks had been very busy, first in Belgium getting everything arranged for the time we would be away. Then coming to Canada, and after settling in, having our 40th wedding feast with our family and Marina’s relatives living in Ontario. Our assembly also had a come and go tea for friends and others. The doctor had wanted to keep me in the hospital overnight, but I refused. Marina drove us home where I went to bed.

The next day I still felt very weak and tired and we realized that it was not possible to make the long trip out West now. So we phoned and emailed all our contacts and new dates were set. We were able to stay in a house in Gorrie, On. belonging to missionaries who were on the mission field right then. It was a very quiet place and we were able to get rested up and after I got my strength back, we started out for the West. We had a good trip, wonderful meetings and great times with family and friends. We returned to Elmira and after spending time with Rosa we flew back to Belgium.

We continued to help the assembly in Mariakerke, Ghent, while I also gave Bible studies and messages in other churches. Time was spent in meeting with men who were or would become elders in the churches. Marina was on the phone a lot encouraging people and she also spent much time writing cards and letters. Towards the end of August 2004, we drove to France to attend the yearly Foreign Workers Conference. We arrived at the large hotel where the conference was held and the organizers showed us a quiet room at the end of the hallway, at least they thought it was quiet! We arrived quite late and went straight to bed, but then…………..! (Go to Musings).

MUSINGS OF AN “OLDER” MAN”. Nr.188

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Nr.187 ended with, “I doubt whether this man had ever heard the gospel, but he sure did that afternoon as I did not beat around the bush, but as I was speaking I sure wondered what his response was going to be…………….!” (See richardandmarina.net).

A reception was held after the meeting and the Mayor came to me and thanked me for my words, he was very positive, incredible! His wife was really enthusiastic and thanked me several times, telling me how much she had enjoyed everything, especially my speech. I asked her whether she had a Bible, which she didn’t, so she went home with one. She told me that a few times while ironing clothes, she had watched the Evangelical Broadcast from Holland. The seed has been sown, eternity will reveal what has happened to it. In the entrance hall a plaque is on the wall with the words: “On May 5, 2000, this building of the Evangelical Christian Church was officially opened by Mr. Frank Beke, Mayor of the city of Ghent.” We praised God for this. And so, rejoicing in the Lord we went on with the work of the Lord.

When one is busy and has much to do, time just flies and two years were gone in no time. In August 2002 we went back to Canada for our 40th wedding anniversary. This time we had our second daughter Lily and her husband, Bart, plus their three daughters come over too, this was the first time for them. Our youngest daughter Rini was living in Israel at the time and was not able to come. Rosa, who was still fairly well at that time, together with Carol, Marina’s youngest sister, who lived in Chatham, ON, planned the whole party. It was such a wonderful time in every way and we all thanked God for His blessings.

While Lily, Bart and the three girls returned to Belgium, Marina and I stayed to speak in different assemblies in Ontario and then drive west, holding meetings along the way in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, while also visiting family. The meetings and visits were all lined up and we were going to be starting out shortly after September 15, our wedding date. On that day we drove to an assembly in Ethel about 45 minutes from us. I was to speak there that morning. We started with the Lord’s Supper and different ones took part. Then the bread and cup were shared to remember the Lord Jesus. After that the collection plate was passed around to receive gifts of thanksgiving. Marina looked at me and saw that my head was down, my eyes were closed and my face was as white as a sheet and when she touched my arm, it felt as cold as ice. Thinking I had another heart attack, she jumped up and cried out, “My husband is dead……………!” (Go to Musings).