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John and Elizabeth Fehr

An Above the Knee Amputee

by John Fehr, Saskatoon, SK

I was very young, perhaps anywhere from 10 to 12 years old when I had some very strange experiences. It was as if I was in the eye of a hurricane. All around me, in a circular motion were images and confusing noises. They only lasted a little while and therefore, I was not that concerned.

However they returned, more frequently and more intensely, and I became very concerned. Back then there were no mental hospitals, they were known as insane asylums. I prayed that the Lord would take it away, but He didn't.

The Bible was used as a learning tool in my parents' home to teach us to read the German language. Then by learning to read, you also got to know what it said.

So I reasoned that if Jesus was determined not to give up, and finally after much begging, reasoning and pleading, a Hand gently stroked my forehead and I was healed.

Yes, the One who healed so many people so many years ago reached down from Heaven and healed me. Heaven is only a prayer away. Praise the Lord.

During the second world war, when so many young people served in the armed forces there was a shortage of farm labourers to help with the harvest, so the government introduced a program whereby they would subsidize the train fare so that east and west could help each other out. Since I had been found medically unfit to serve in the armed forces, (for which I was very glad), I participated in this program.

I paid the five dollars for a return ticket and was off to Toronto. There I was met by a gentleman named Elmer Wiggins, who took me to their farm about forty miles north of Toronto.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to Ontario was to see Niagara Falls. Which I did. I asked for, and was granted one weekend off, and so off to Toronto by bus, and from Toronto to Niagara by ferry. The ferry ride across Lake Ontario was very pleasant. It was at night and for quite some time I stood by the railing and watched as the ferry, so smoothly and quietly glided through the water. It was so peaceful.

This kid from the prairies stuck out like a sore thumb. As soon as I got off the ferry some person tried to attach himself to me. I was quite uncomfortable with his presence, but, how to get rid of him?

When we got closer to the falls, I saw my opportunity. There was a little boat that went up the Niagara river and right into the Horseshoe Falls. I said, "I'm going on that boat." He didn't want to, and that was what I had hoped for. If it had not been for him, I would not have gone either. I am far too chicken, but I was desperate.

What an experience it was! The water comes thundering down in front of you and on either side of you, and the little boat just trembles in the turbulent water. If I had been the Captain, I would not have gone quite so close. My curiosity had been satisfied some distance back already.

Those majestic falls are so awesome, and yet they are but a minute, tiny speck in this great universe. No wonder the song writer exclaimed, "My God, How Great Thou Art!"

I had to spend a night in Toronto before I could take the bus back to Bradford, where I worked. As I walked about in this very large city, I walked past a movie theatre. The advertising looked interesting, so I walked in. I had not sat very long when a woman came in and sat down on my right side. I could not understand why, there were so many empty seats, why here?

I soon found out. A bit later a man came in and sat down on my left side. This is not good, I thought, it is just too unusual. All my sense were on red alert. Then this woman put her head on my shoulder and while she did that, the man seemed to take an interest in my hip pocket. When your senses are on high alert like that you can act very quickly. I did. With my billfold safely in my coat pocket, I walked out. These two followed me. That's not good! I thought.

As I got to the door, a group of about six or eight soldiers walked by. "Mind if I join you?" I asked. They didn't, so I stepped into formation with them."

Quite some time later, when I thought back to this incident, I couldn't help but wonder, why had it been so unusually quiet? Not a single word was said. And all those army boots, should they not have made some noise on the sidewalk? But they didn't. There was just a strangely peaceful quietness. Did I walk with angels? Did God send His angels to rescue me from these thieves? I believe He did.

[Note: the following might stand alone as a testiomy]

On August 19, 1949, just five days after marrying the most wonderful girl under the sun, I lost my left leg above the knee in an industrial accident. When a large artery like that is cut you lose blood very rapidly, and since the ambulance was delayed, time did not appear to be on our side.

But help is only a prayer away, so I assured my fellow employees that the Lord had answered our prayer, that I would live. "As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him." (Psalm 103:13).

News travels fast. My brother Henry and his father-in-law had been on the Clarkboro ferry at that time. He was so troubled when hearing the news that he insisted that they go and check it out. When they came to the hospital, Henry found that I was in desperate need of blood and the hospital did not have my type. His type matched and so they did a direct transfusion, from his artery into mine. That was of great help in speeding up my recovery.

What a humbling experience. I had such lofty ambitions and now I couldn't even look after myself.

Worst of all was the hardship that Elizabeth went through. Something like this should never happen to a young bride. But she is not a quitter. She did not give up. Praise the Lord.

I had a job but no money. Up to this time making money had not been my priority. I had worked in all the major provinces in Canada, except Quebec and the Maritimes, but that was mostly for the experience. It may have been a bit irresponsible at the time, but it proved to be to our benefit.

As an above the knee amputee, my places for employment were limited. We prayed that the Lord might somehow open a door for us. He did.

In a dream I went to inspect our field of wheat. The outer edge was very poor, but the farther into the field I went the better it got. That is exactly how it happened. I responded to a poster requesting applicants for clerical positions within the Federal Civil service. My application was accepted and I was asked to come for an interview.

The first question they asked was, "Why did you apply when you did not meet the educational requirements?"

I answered, "You accept applicants aged eighteen years and up, with grade ten education." I explained to them the various places I had worked and that my extra life experiences more than made up for a couple of years of sitting in a classroom. They accepted my explanation and the rest is history.

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