A Story

A Story that Is True. 

This is how it began. . . 

A baby girl born in Ontario, Oregon, a small community set in the midst of farms and ranches, on August 28, 1932. 
Name? Vondelae Eldred (no middle name – and people always asked me why. Yes, there was a reason) 

A very brief history here: 
My brother was born in 1934. 
In 1935, Dad sold his part of the ranch to his brother, and we moved to Bellingham, Washington, close to the Canadian border. Dad started a fuel business (at that time the fuel was coal). 
My earliest memory was when I was three, and talked Dad into letting me dry the dishes he was washing. (Mom was taking care of my brother.) Dad pulled a chair up beside him, helped me climb and stand on it, and gave me a towel to dry the dishes. I was one very proud little girl – and Dad hid his nervousness well, as he kept a close eye on me. 

The memories come rolling in. 
Me sipping some of Mom’s perfume after stern instructions not to touch it – so, of course, I did – to my sorrow. 

The ice truck driving down the alley and me running out to tell the driver how much ice we needed for our ‘ice cooler” that used huge chunks of ice to keep the food cold (before the days of electric refrigerators) and the mess it was to get rid of the ice water and put in new chunks of ice., (the kitchen floor always received a thorough mopping afterward. I loved the confusion – Mom hated it. For her, the worst part was it had to be done every couple of days.) 

Me poking holes in a box of avocados to see if they were ripe (I still love avocados). 
And more memories – some funny, some embarrassing. 

When I was five we moved to a small farm near Bellingham. Dad loved the land, and always found a way to work with it, wherever we lived. He added another truck and Eldred Fuel became a part of Bellingham businesses. More memories 😊 

Mom and Dad loved God, each other, and my brother and I… in that order. I was secure in that love, and loved them, God and my brother (some of the time). We had the normal sibling disagreements – but Dad did not allow fisticuffs. And he taught us about the heartbreaks of angry words. With time and experience, I learned the value of those teachings. 

I talked to God all the time, about everything – and still do. Jesus was involved in those conversations, also – but I did not know much about the Holy Spirit, other than He was also part of the Trinity. 

I understood the value of water baptism – and was baptized when I was eleven. 

Now I am going to skip years of memories – I will only say that it was a different world than the one we know now. 
But God was not different. He was always God and present in my life. 

However . . . I did not know the Holy Spirit. 
but I was about to! … 

 
In the summer of 1967, our family (Cal Hall, myself, and our five children – ages 15 to two) moved by a Japanese freighter to Brazil. We were part of a large group (in 1968, 68 people) who moved to work together to share the Good News about Jesus Christ in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil. 
The group began forming in 1962, representing years of work and learning, and was called Operation ’68. 

We were as prepared as we could be – but I had no idea of some of the now indelibly printed adventures in my mind that were waiting for me, including moving next door to an active spiritualist family. That is when God began a process of deeper teaching. 

I’ll share some more about that in the next post 

-voni 

THANKING GOD -AT ALL TIMES !

Tonight I am feeling pensive. Memories passing in front of my inner eyes. Do you know what I mean?

An old swimming pool in Contagem, MG. Moss is growing between some of the stones… but Sr Jose keeps the water clean so family and friends can cool off on those hot days w/o wind. Some mango trees are growing close to the edge of the pool, so we can pick them and eat. Then we jump back into the water to get rid of the juice that has dripped all over us.:)

—————-

The house we built on top of a mountain above Belo Horizonte, MG. It was a miracle, for we had no money coming from the states… only what we earned through teaching English. An absolute impossibility for us, but not for God!

The laundry room was on the basement level … once a week I gathered up all the linens and dirty clothes, separated them in piles on the cement floor (many piles), filled the washing machine with cold water, added some Omo Laundry Soap, threw in the first pile of clothes, filled the laundry tubs with water, and began. I often thought of all the times I helped my mom wash clothes in the basement of Mom and Dad’s home in the US., using the same type of washing machine! So many years ago!

Washing machine, wringer, first laundry tub for rinsing, then wringer to second laundry tub to rinse again, wringer to clothes basket. It was automatic from throwing in the clothes until they were washed and rinsed and in the basket to go hang them up. ..It was like a dance. My hands and body following the steps and my mind talking to God – a lot! I discovered it was a great time to work things out in my conversations with Him.

One memory that stands out: A thunderstorm rolled in and surrounded us, with all the noise and lightning. I just had the last basket of clothes to hang up… and I rushed to get that done.

The rest of the basement area had only an unfinished cement floor, and the wall to the outside was open to the weather, with bricks creating an “inside/outside” feeling. For the clothesline, we’d had to use wire extended rather than clothesline cords- for the latter didn’t exist in our locale.

I ran out of the laundry room with that clothes basket and hastily started using the last clothespins to hang wet clothes onto that wire line – NOT smart! A few times I felt my body tingle as lightning arched across the sky. Many hours of tiring work – and it was done until the next week.

Only later, when I thought of those “tingles” did I realize what a blessing it was that I was wearing sturdy tennis shoes that had sufficient rubber to break my contact with the ground – AND a loving Father Who protected me!

Countless times He has protected you and I: many times without us realizing it when it happened. Then, with a backward look, we see – and are full of thanks! When I recognize those times I am in awe and thank Him again, every time I look at that memory.

How about you? Have you stopped to thank God in all your circumstances? Have you looked and see all those times He has blessed and protected?

-voni-

“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18