Ministries for My Imagination in London
Chapter 5 - of A Passion for Souls
Aunt Jean introduced me to many of her friends, but she moved away to Burlington right after I arrived, as she had been offered a job as secretary to the District Superintendent of the Christian & Missionary Alliance.
I reached a point where I humbled myself before the Lord, and confessed I must have misunderstood. I asked to start over with Him.
Although I made new friends easily enough, the Lord Jesus was still my closest and dearest Confidant and Friend. I continued to share all my thoughts and feelings and questions and ideas with Him by the hour! I also began to realize that if I didn't have that relationship with Him, I would simply lose my mental balance. That unique relationship allowed me to 'tell it all to Jesus', and kept me from going insane or sinking into deep depression.
I started job hunting, resigned to even working in a factory, something I had always thought was anathema to my busy mind. A temporary agency sent me first to a lingerie factory, and then to Philips Electronics, which made light bulbs, but in both cases I worked as a switchboard operator. At Philips I trained others for the job, but they didn't work out, or didn't show up, so finally the company hired me full-time.
The 1970s was the era of the 'Jesus people', and so I went to a coffee house in a United church which ran a ministry to street people. After just a session or two I had to face the fact that I was like a fish out of water. I could not relate to those people. The smoke just tied my sinuses into knots!
Pastor John A. Robb, at the Alliance Church, with his Irish lilt said one Wednesday at prayer meeting, "Ruth, I believe the Lord wants you to teach Sunday School!"
I did miss my little Sunday School class from Hague, so agreed, and with that I began 12 years of children's ministries, etc. in that church.
Soon, I had a very special relationship bond with this church. They discovered that I was willing to try things if just asked, and I threw heart and soul into my work for the Lord. Wednesday evenings, I could attend prayer meetings and name specific requests for children I was concerned about, and the people blessed and encouraged me. In fact, they egged me on! They seemed to praise every effort I made, whether it was in children's ministries or in designing backdrops for the missions conference - whatever.
That made it safe to have more ideas!
Soon my involvements multiplied! Howard, the Sunday School Superintendent, had what he called a Brinkmanship theory or policy. He believe that if he pushed a volunteer over the brink of what they thought they knew or could do, they would sink or swim, and he was tickled that I swam. He made me the Sunday School Secretary, which meant that I ended up doing a lot of his work behind the scenes, while he stood up in church and made the announcements.
When Laura Finch, the Pioneer Girls Chief Guide, died suddenly the next summer of a brain aneurysm, the church leaders asked if I'd take on her Chief Guide role. I was nervous but I wanted to serve the Lord - so I agreed if they would walk me through it by prayer. We had our Tuesday night Pioneer Girls meetings with the Trailblazer girls, (to which I delegated other leaders) and the Colonists, later called Shakari (11-13 year olds), which I led myself. On Wednesdays I came to the mid-week prayer meeting with my lists of prayer requests. Again, that little church was very supportive and I grew spiritually, and in leadership skills.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 9:10, Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might;..." I sure did. I learned in Pioneer Girls to let my enthusiasm show - it helped draw and hold the attention of the girls, and persuaded them that my message was worth while.
It was especially exciting to be able to lead some of the girls to faith in Christ, and the regular meetings gave me a chance to disciple and train them in the Christian walk. I planned ways of meeting with "my girls" one on one, or by twos and threes, for picnics in the park, or any excuse to spend more quality time with them.
Pastor Franklin Thomas and his wife had been missionaries to India, so it wasn't long before we worked up some great backdrops and displays for our missions conferences. I loved that too! My creative ideas were honoured and respected.
When the Thomases left, I became one of the leaders that led prayer meetings for the new pastor. And when Pastor Luke Rienstra and their growing family came, (they adopted kids from other countries), he asked me to become the church secretary as well.
The church couldn't afford me on a full-time basis, but they found $50/month to pay me and I did most of the work from my Philips' job. I was often at church four to five evenings a week, but I did the church typing from my Philips' desk, and the bulletins, which I cranked off on the Gestetner they brought to my apartment.
Besides all this I had time at my job to spend leisurely hours in Bible study and prayer, and of course, preparing for Pioneer Girls lessons, and crafts and other activities. One other quiet hidden ministry I took up there was intercession. I don't usually mention that to people, but it is still part of my spiritual life and ministries.
When I recognized that my Gr'ma back in the Altenheim in Warman was praying for each of her large clan by name, and that she was aging, it came to me that I needed to pick up this work before she was gone so it would carry on unbroken. I began to make lists of all my relatives, and my friends, and the missionaries I knew, and broke them up into shorter lists, and then started cycling through them day by day. There have been moments when I wonder if I should use that time for other things, but after all the books I've read on prayer, and the relationship I have with the Lord, it just seems a shame to stop.
A constant refrain through all my praying and my thoughts was my passion for souls - I wanted to witness for Jesus, and be a soul winner. My daydreams still focused on showing individuals how to receive Christ as their Saviour and then to grow in their Christian faith, their prayer life, and their involvement in church. I wanted to see others mature as I was maturing. Through my children's ministries in church I was wading in those waters.
But why was it so hard to strike up such a conversation with strangers? As a receptionist I had people come through the door, but they seemed to catch me off guard, and I worried about what the management would think.
Gradually though, over much reading, thought and prayer, I came to understand that such scenes would not happen as long as I was trying to manufacture them. I needed to let the Holy Spirit guide and prompt me, and just let my spiritual life bubble up out of me naturally.
I read and listened to everything about abiding in the vine and bearing fruit (especially in John chapters 14-16), but many more, like Luke 12:11-12, which says, "Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." Rather than worrying ahead of time, I should trust the Holy Spirit to show me what to say - as needed.
Then, I began to notice it happening! Just a small conversation with a salesman, or someone from the production floor here and there. The more I relaxed the more frequently they happened. The best ones of course, happened in my times with my Pioneer Girls. I saw that as the place to witness most suited to me.
Even now I'm convinced we must be enthusiastic in our witnessing, not mechanical in presenting the gospel. Let our devotion and awe of God show plainly in our life and presentations. I don't always succeed, but that's what I aim to do.
When my youngest sister, Erma, came to live with me, in 1980, my apartment seemed too crowded, and my friend Shirley Ella thought I should rent her boss's house on The Ridgeway, so that I could rent out rooms to Christian college girls like she did. Sure enough, that worked out and soon I was like a den mother to several other girls besides my sister who all had bedrooms on the second floor while I claimed the basement for my own suite. It was in a lovely older home on a walnut-treed little street alongside the Thames river. This started another whole chapter of interesting experiences with these girls for three years.
In so many ways my life seemed full and exciting and fulfilling as long as I kept my private dream hushed up and quietly to myself, and continued in a waiting mode for God to bring my dream husband and marriage to pass. I was living up to my name, Ruth. But I was about to enter a spiritual battle and a major life-changing decision.
Back to Hope index
Chapter 1 - First, I Need Jesus Myself
Chapter 2 - Camp and Assurance of Salvation
Chapter 3 - A Passion for Souls
Chapter 4 - Hunting for Souls in Saskatoon
Chapter 5 - Ministries-for-My-Imagination-in-London
Chapter 6 - A Life Changing Spiritual Battle and Move
Chapter 7 - By Still Waters - The Hague Years
Chapter 8 - Multi-tasking Missionary and Business Woman