There really is no place like Arnold, Nebraska!!
This is the town where I got my first and only black eye!
Arnold is where Ralph and I had the privilege of joining hands with Pastor Stan Scragg, Jerry Beltz and every denomination in this community to see God do miraculous things in the lives of all of us. I know He did a huge work in my heart that confirmed our calling to the mission field, gave definition to our life purpose and gave us a vision for the hearts of mankind that has yet to dim…
Something was happening in Arnold!
When the churches in this farming community began meeting together to pray and prepare for a Jerry Beltz Crusade, we jumped in wherever we could. We spent days witnessing to high school students and staff. We visited farms, families and churches in Arnold. We hit the “highways and byways” inviting anyone and everyone to the crusade. We canvased parks and meeting places where young people “hung out” looking for an opportunity to present Christ. In the evenings we would have Bible studies in most of the homes we stayed. On Sundays we would speak in the different churches in the community. Jerry Beltz interviewed Ralph on his television station in North Platte and Christina tapped on the screen wondering how her daddy did that! There were open hearts everywhere…
We had only intended on fulfilling a promise to fellow missionary candidates, Gary and Shirley Bassett and at best, stay a few days in Arnold. Shirley’s sister had lost her husband, and we volunteered to “stop by and encourage her oldest son on our way to California” after completing the training at New Tribes Mission Language School in Camdenton, Missouri.
We had no idea what God had planned for us!
While at Shirley’s sisters house we were included in a Bible study she had in her home. After the meeting we were invited to stay with Ed and Ginny Steele for a few days before heading to California. Their boys were small and Christina, only 6 months old, loved all three! While at the Steele’s, we met Glenn and Connie Weinman and their four small children. They invited us to stay with them before we left for California, as did Don and Sunbeam Swanson. We ended up staying almost six months in Arnold!
Charles Finney is quoted as saying that “a revival is nothing more than a new beginning of obedience to God.”
While at the Steele’s, Ginny’s brother and his new wife (Lane and Josie McClure) joined us for a prayer and Bible study. We stayed in their basement for a few days and Josie taught me to sew sundresses for our daughter, Christina. Ralph was helping Lane with a silo and caught a screwdriver in his eye! Ralph asked him if he lost his eye, would Lane go to the mission field in his place?! Shortly after arriving in Panama we heard that Lane and Josie had entered Boot Camp training with New Tribes and went on to serve in Paraguay!
There were many families (Fletchers, Androcks, Goodnows, to name a few, etc.…) that opened their hearts and homes to us over those months. Bob Watson’s family cared for us when Ralph left for an outboard motor course in Wisconsin for two weeks! Bless their hearts! The Carlson’s lived across the street, and it was in their attic that Ralph penned the life lessons that God has used to change lives on two continents over the last 50 years.
Everywhere we went, everyone we talked to had a spiritual interest we had not experienced before. Hearts were open to the Word, people were listening to the claims of Christ, and sin was being confronted ubiquitously. We had never been a part of anything like what God was beginning to do here…
What was happening?
Join me next week, Monday morning, for the revelation of that plan!
You won’t believe it!
I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America. Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a spanish-speaking church in Southern California. My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.