Monday, September 6, 2021
Friday, July 2, 2021
It's NO JOKE to get missionaries newly arrived from the mission field in your home. They can be difficult guests! I'll mention a few things that apply to us
--they are prone to wander around at 3 AM with jet lag
--they don't have their own transportation for awhile
--they don't have cell phones that work on this side of the ocean
--they get mixed up and drive on the wrong side of the road
--they can get emotional about seeing foods they can't get overseas
--they take a LONG time to grocery shop as they don't know what they're doing
My Mom takes us in with all these problems every chance she gets, and she acts like she likes us. She's cautious about letting us use her car for awhile, and when she does she says, "Stay on the right!" as we head out the door, in the hopes we'll not smash her wheels. She's a good Mom.
We arrived about 2 weeks before Josh's wedding, and we did have to figure out America again. We started in with meetings on Sundays and Wednesdays, and got ready to host the rehearsal dinner for the wedding party the night before the wedding.
Mom and my sister Wendy and her husband Rick, moved out of their cottage for three nights so we could have 5 overnight guests for the wedding.
I just kept feeling like we didn't have enough time. We wanted more time to get to know Cyrus, our one year old grandson, who had a bad cold when we met and really only wanted Mommy for the first few days. I wanted more time with Evangel, who is 6 months along with her next baby, and could use some help at home. It was good the time we had, but never felt like enough.
I wanted more time with Clarity reading her books! That was my big plan, but it didn't work out.
I wished for more time with my Mom and sister, even though we had the most with them. I can't seem to get enough.
And Josh. He's off on his honeymoon, all married now. I wanted more time with him.
But I'm thankful we got to come at all! So many things could have made us miss all of them entirely, I am grateful! Also grateful that they're the kind of people we want to be with.
Now as we start traveling, spending time with pastors and churches, I'm feeling the same thing. I want more time with them! Conversations that leave me with multiple questions. I guess that's a Heaven thing, unending time to linger.
And in writing blogs, I also feel short on time, so I'll just go with pictures that are worth 1000 words each.
Monday, May 31, 2021
God answered prayer on our recent trip to Zambia in opening doors to schools, churches and pastors conferences. We linked up with men who were eager to help get us into these places.
One of these men was Pastor Enoch. He had "the keys to the kingdom" in that he had government authorization that meant he could drive to a school, talk to those in charge and they would likely gather the students to listen, usually standing outside. Cool! Efficient!
Pastor Enoch would also pitch in and translate at some of the rural schools where English was not so well known. He also took pictures and sent them to us later. This first picture is mine, taken while I was holding the chalk board so it wouldn't blow away.
We left for Botswana around 1 in the afternoon. It was not until we stopped after 9 that night, in Francistown, Botswana, that we realized we had left Paul's "hang ups" behind in that room! Oops! We couldn't drive back all those miles, cross the border again to get them, so we would have to make do. To make matters worse, Paul's pen had leaked into the pocket of his only pants at the Botswana border crossing, leaving him with a bruised looking leg, and a bright blue spot on his jeans. I quick sent a desperate plea to our friends Koos & Jeni Basson who lived near that place where we had left the stuff.
The border crossing into Zambia took about 3 hours the next day. If not for that, we could have arrived in Lusaka before it was completely dark, but because of that, and road construction, we ended up driving about 4 hours in the dark again. We neared the place where we were to stay, the Baptist Mission of Zambia, and knew we were close, but we couldn't find it. Our phones were not working as they still had South African Sim cards in them, so we couldn't call, but tried hunting, and praying, and singing our "Guide Me O, Thou Great Jehovah." After nearly an hour of hunting, we were ready to give up. We spotted a hotel and went to see about staying there. The guy at the desk reeked of beer, but he was friendly. He told us the hotel was full, and he showed us on his phone the way to the place we wanted to be. We took off again, full of hope, and managed to get lost again, but when we passed the hotel again, we got our bearings, and the second time managed to find it. It was just at 11:00 PM, way past our bedtime. We are people who plan not to drive much after dark in between cities in Africa. There are goats, cows, maybe elephants, and worst of all, people on the roads, without tail-lights! We are so thankful we didn't hit anything in all the hours of night driving we had to put in on this trip.
We settled in our own little cottage there, and got to sleep. The next morning, we had to leave around 7:30 for the first appointment. It was in Kanyama, a big "compound" (informal settlement to South Africans) in Lusaka.
Besides schools there were pastors' conferences. One of the fun parts of pastors' conferences was when Paul would teach them object lessons. Of course he did his beloved Liquor Bottle Object Lesson. I'd love to know if any of the pastors use it. Seems a leap, but I hope so. Paul taught it to me on our first date, and I used it in my Sunday School soon after, so I know it's not impossible.
He also taught them a soul winning lesson. He makes one row of people be "people who need to be saved" or "Satan's kingdom." He chooses a "soul winner" (usually a boy around 12, but if you only have pastors, he chooses a small man) and a "devil" (This is also a boy or small man, but should be a bit bigger than the first guy). Paul makes himself play the part of Jesus.
The "soul winner" is instructed to lead the people in that one row to the front of the building, signifying that they are coming out of Satan's kingdom. The "devil" guy is supposed to stop them. They wrestle a bit, depending on how brave they are. The church loves this! It's drama! Surprises everyone that this is happening in the middle of church!
Soon into the wrestling, Paul calls the soul-winner to himself, and whispers in his ear. He tells the boy to call "Jesus" to help. He sends him back, but this time, when the "devil" tries to stop him from getting the people out, he turns to Paul, and Paul comes to his aid! He grabs the boy playing the devil, and now the "soul winner" can work! If the "devil" boy is small enough, Paul puts him right over his shoulder! By now the church is laughing! Thighs are being slapped! Hands are clapped over giggling mouths! It's so fun!
And I'm ashamed I have no pictures of this! I tried in one church, but the electricity was off and the lighting was horrible, and my camera was just my phone, so I failed.
The Zambian part of the trip was only about two weeks. It was "nose to the grindstone" for most of the time. No time to go off on safari or anything "African," so I feel grateful the Lord sent the safari animals right to us, in Botswana as we drove home!
We saw 8 elephants and got the best wildlife video we ever shot! As in, that elephant was acting like he was going to charge us! Ears flapping, tail high, all accompanied by my voice in the background yelling to Paul, "Go! Go! Go!"
We saw a regal Mama/baby giraffe combo who gazed at us from beside the road with their long flirty eyelashes, wondering what we were staring at.
We saw funny warthogs, and monkeys, of course. We saw big bright blue birds we didn't know the names of, but they made us gasp at their beauty.
And all this from the road. Here are a few examples:
It wasn't all out in the bush as this glimpse of the Johannesburg skyline will show, but we were blessed in the city and blessed in the field (Deuteronomy 28:3).
Monday, April 12, 2021
Gallup looking so professional, though keeping her feminity obvious with her pink harness.
Tim and I took the Cousins for a hike one Saturday morning back in June, I think. I saw Lauren, as I later came to know her with her man-trailing t-shirt, and it made me laugh, because it does sound a bit desperate for a man. I asked questions, and she invited Gallup and I to a training session to check it out.
I was so excited! One of my dreams since childhood was to train a dog for a blind person. I like the idea of useful, working dogs. The training sessions meet on Saturday morning which is perfect because Paul sequesters himself Saturday mornings so he wouldn't miss me if I took off for a few hours.
Those Saturday training sessions are wonderful! Turns out, Gallup has the number one talent for being a man-trailer: DRIVE! She LOVES finding things! and people particularly. So she has learned to sniff out people, with me in hot pursuit, dragging along ungracefully behind.
Another fun thing, three of the cousins have joined me in this. They are hiders and helpers and enjoyers of the whole Saturday morning outings. We have tacked shakes onto the end once, and explored parts of towns where we rarely go, and just love our outings, except for eating dog hair. Gallup is a shedder for sure.
A big perk of all this training has been a new friendship with Lauren. She's a Christ follower too! She goes to church where the pastor is our kids' former beloved youth group leader, Martin, so the girl talk in the middle of the dog talk is sweet. 😊 We didn't add too many new friends in 2020, but Lauren and her husband Bruce are keepers. (She wasn't really desperate for a man, she had already caught hers. :-)
Another of Gallup's passions is this particular frisbee. She loves to lie down in the water and "sizzle" when it's hot. She looks so pleased with herself. I call her Halo-Head when she wears her frisbee. Unfortunately, we have sunk 2 of them in the water so she doesn't have one right now.
So I'm besotted with this dog, but who wouldn't be? She loves me back, even to the smell of my socks! Is that true love or what?
I have high hopes that she will be a great asset to society and rescue missing people and give me a great story for a blog post. 😊
I want to have drive too, to find people who are lost in their sins, and need to come to their Creator. I'd love to help find them.
Friday, April 9, 2021
Tale of a Girl… and a Boy (the true story of Mellba and Lee)
There was, growing up in the far-western New York village of Mayville, a small girl with the big name of Mellba Johanna Christina Erickson. Her parents were both second-generation Americans, but Swedish, as well as English, was spoken in the home. Her dad, Anton, was not a learned man, but was known around the town as “Tony the Tinker”. He could fix pots and other broken things. He painted the little statue in the village park fountain. He did odd jobs here and there. Mellba grew up in the Lutheran church in town, but her family were not believers.
As a teen, Mellba was invited to the Baptist church, where she heard new and wonderful things about the Lord Jesus. She responded to the Lord’s call to salvation, and when she graduated from high school, she applied to Philadelphia School of Bible (PSOB) for further training. She was going to be a missionary! She was outgoing and loved people and fit in well with her classmates.
Upon graduation from PSOB, she applied to a Baptist mission and was accepted. Her support? Her Baptist church in Mayville had said, “We’ll do what we can.” Her outfit? Her father made her a couple of metal trunks to hold her earthly belongings including a bicycle donated by the Baptist church.
Meanwhile… Lee Einfeldt, a farm boy, had grown up just outside the western NY village of Randolph, NY. Lee was a quiet boy and remembers when someone kept asking him questions one day, he replied, “I dunno. Ask Lynnie (his brother). He likes to talk!” Each school day Lee and Lynn would hitch up a team of horses and ride into school in the village, park the team in the barn of the Baptist parsonage and walk the extra block from Church Street to School Street. And each weekend, the family would come into town together to worship at the First Baptist Church of Randolph, NY. After high school he and his brother Lynn enrolled in Houghton College and his supportive parents moved with their sons to a farm outside Rushford, NY, near Houghton. The family became active members of First Baptist Church of Rushford. Lynn studied business and didn’t enter the ministry until his retirement from IBM, but Lee was focused on missions. He was accepted as a missionary candidate… headed for French Equatorial Africa.
On Mellba's final weekend in Mayville before leaving for France, her home church in Mayville was holding a Missionary Conference featuring returning and prospective missionaries. Fully aware that she was to be a featured speaker that Saturday evening, she could not resist the "call" of the town fire-whistle. Both of her older brothers were firemen, and her natural adventurous instincts compelled her to jump on her bike and pedal across the back streets to share in the town excitement. This route took her past the First Baptist's parsonage, and a quick glance afforded her a glimpse of a set of broad shoulders silhouetted in the front window. "Must be the guy who's wanting to go to Africa that I've heard about," she thought as she sped on by. They were formally introduced that evening, and learned that they were headed to the same field…with the same mission. They met the following morning in her family’s kitchen. (It's not known which of the ladies from the "Mellba Missionary Society" from her church made that arrangement, 😉) Years later she told her daughter that as she stood behind him serving coffee that morning, she thought, "Who would ever marry a guy with a nose like that?" As for Lee, he was being polite; he never did develop a taste for coffee! Mellba left for France the following morning, for language study. The year was 1936. She spent the required year learning French at the Alliance Française before boarding a ship for Cameroon. Once there, she was to go inland to French Equatorial Africa. In those days, one method of transport was by “push-push”, a seat on a frame with one wheel at the bottom and poles for young African men to push and steer from either end. She made it inland to the country she had been called to serve and which became her home for many years. Mellba plunged herself into learning Sango, the local trade language, and beginning her life work.
Meanwhile, Lee, a man of few words, but with strength of body and character, finished his last year at Houghton College, then a year after Mellba had sailed for France, he also boarded a ship for French language school in Paris. His support? His sending church in Rushford promised to supply $35 a month!
Lee’s and Mellba’s first meeting was significant enough for the two to correspond the year she was in France and he was finishing his last year at Houghton, and they continued their correspondence during her 1st year learning Sango in French Equatorial Africa, and he learning French in Paris.
In 1938, having completed the French language requirements, Lee boarded a ship for his place of service – French Equatorial Africa. All 1st year Sango studies were conducted at Ft. Crampel (now Kaga Bandoro), so after her own Sango studies, Mellba was transferred to Ft. Archambault (now Sarh) about the time Lee arrived in Crampel. The letters continued, and it seems Lee & Mellba weren't the only ones interested in this growing love story. The older missionaries arranged that he not spend the entire year at Crampel, but was transferred early to Ft. Archambault for further studies. Mellba was a great help to Lee as he learned the Sango language. With her experience of a year’s head-start on the language, she was able to tutor him on moonlight walks near the mango trees. Soon, he asked Mellba if she would be his wife. She said YES!
One problem was that, according to the French law that governed French Equatorial Africa at that time, a woman desiring to wed before the age of 25 had to have her parents’ written permission! Problem: her parents were far away in the U.S. and mail across the Atlantic was slow in those days. Years later, when their daughter Shirley as an adult was looking at the permission paper that had been submitted, her eyes grew wide and she said, “The permission – that is MOM’s handwriting!” Her dad, Lee, smiled his wry smile and gave a slight nod. Mellba had signed in place of her parents and submitted the paperwork! The authorities granted permission to be married.
June 5, 1939 was their wedding day. They had to first fulfill the requirement of the government ceremony with the Sous-Préfet (local official) presiding. After that, Rev. and Mrs. Lee Einfeldt welcomed friends at a church ceremony and a little reception afterward.
Lee and Mellba embarked on their honeymoon in the African wild. One of the nights of their honeymoon, there was a lion prowling around their bungalow. Lee had to protect his bride and shot the lion dead!
Life was not easy in those first years of marriage. Before they could get back to the States for their first furlough, Mellba received word via telegram that both her parents had died, so, after she left for France, she never saw them again. She also developed infection sacs in the gums under all her teeth. ALL her teeth had to be pulled and she had to wait a full 11 months before her mail-order dentures arrived from France! She lost weight down to 90 pounds!
In 1943 during World War 2, as they headed back to the States for their first furlough, Lee and Mellba had to make a stop in Nigeria at a mission hospital, for Mellba to give birth to their firstborn son, Richard Lee. Later they boarded a troop ship with a naval escort across the Atlantic Ocean, hoping not to be bombed by the Axis forces. On the ship, Lee and Mellba had to be separated, Lee on the “men’s side” of the ship and Mellba and baby Richie on the “women’s side”. They would meet daily at the staircase where there was an opening for them to at least see each other and talk.
Once back in Africa, almost 4 years later, Shirley Joan was added to their family, and 6 years after Shirley’s birth, their “late lamb”, René Allynn (the middle name a combination of his 2 uncles, Uncle Al and Uncle Lynn), completed their family, being born just in time for the annual missionary conference. Lee and Mellba served the Lord in various towns of Chad and the Central African Republic (after French Equatorial Africa was broken up into separate countries). Their main responsibilities included teaching in a Bible school to train national church leaders and encouraging already-established local churches. Lee also served on the language committee that helped revise the Bible which had been translated into the Sango language. Mellba served as a proofreader for the revised translation.
They continued a fulfilling ministry in the Central African Republic until 1970 when health problems made their move back to the U.S. a necessity. For several more years they continued translation and proofreading work in the U.S. for the Sango language committee until they “retired” from missions and became the pastor and wife back in Lee’s hometown and home church of Randolph, NY for 10 more years. Lee was heard to remark, “I never changed jobs at age 63 before!”
After Lee retired from the pastorate, Mellba suffered a massive stroke. After a month in the hospital, she was moved to a nursing facility, but it was poorly managed. One day Lee came home quite agitated after visiting Mellba. He told his youngest son, René (on furlough from Africa in Randolph, NY at the time) that he had decided he would bring Mellba home to care for her. This was a massive undertaking and although René and his wife tried to show him all the reasons that would be a difficult task, he was determined. When they offered to stay home from Africa to help him, he vehemently refused… so for the next 6 years, Lee cared for Mellba, bathed her, fed her, turned her several times a day, so that she never had a bedsore. He showed the community of Randolph what the godly love of a boy for a girl could look like, following the example of Christ loving His church and giving Himself for her.
-- by Sonia Einfeldt,
daughter-in-law of Lee and Mellba
(I truly had the best second set of parents ever!)
Sonia recently borrowed my book Love Letters from Africa by my friend Virginia (Young!) Ross, who went to Heaven in February at the age of 100 years, 105 days. I put Virginia's testimony on my blog back in 2010, and it was so fun as someone googled her, and Virginia was surprised and delighted to hear that she was "googleable"
Sonia was telling me similarities between Virginia's story and her in-laws story also as missionaries in Africa, so I asked her to write it down for me. She went the second mile and put a picture in too.
Sonia and I met in 2016 at a ladies conference and became friends. We were so surprised when we learned we have the same maiden name! Amazing! But we haven't figured out if we're related. We also both did time at Bob Jones in Greenville, SC, so we have a lot to talk about when we're together. She and her husband Rene are missionaries in Kimberley, South Africa right now, though having visa problems.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Paul had 2 boys make a profession of faith today!
Little girl to Tim alone: Are you white people?😂
We met several Christians today in Manenberg who are so enthusiastic, and seemed so encouraged to see us reaching out in their neighborhood.
Last week we went to a new place, but we didn’t know the name of it. I asked a teen and she said, “Guguletu.” Sobered me right up.
In that neighborhood, three groups of adults spoke to Tim and me saying something to the tune of, “What are you doing here? It’s dangerous. You need to get out!” Then we met those teens, who told us where we were and said, “No, it’s not dangerous here.” To them it’s just home.
Skipped a day for tired. Skipped a day for weather. Hard to find walkers in bad weather.
Gugulethu stands out as having some super aggressive kids! They wanted tracts, and more tracts, and all the languages, and they were willing to rip them out of our hands if we relaxed for a second. They mobbed around us by the dozens, making sure that we were noticed in case our “height and white” wasn’t calling enough attention to us.
After Guguletu we slid back into Manenberg for a day. Paul really had some good talks with people. He prayed with three different individuals or groups. He talked to a group of boys, maybe 6 of them, and they prayed to ask the Lord to save them. Next was 2 girls, maybe 10 years old, and then there was a man named Douglas. They had quite a talk. Douglas had just lost his business, and was feeling pretty hopeless. They prayed, Douglas asked the Lord to save him. He appreciated Paul's help.
We ran into LOTS of kids that knew Paul from Phoenix High School or Easterpeak Primary School.
When we were in Guguletu over the weekend, it felt like half the people—more than half the males—were drunk. I forgot it was a holiday which probably upped the liquid intake. One (drunk) guy was disappointed in our tracts, saying, “I thought you were giving out vouchers.”
He recovered from his disappointment quickly, and then pointed out his friends who “needed it” (religion). Some people love to sic us on their friends as a joke.
Another guy, also in the tipsy department, said something like, “We are hungry! You need to give us money for food.”
Looking at his bulging tummy, I laughed and said, “I think you and I need a diet!” He laughed too, and sort of agreed.
Thursday we had a remarkable day: no one turned ANY of us down for tracts! Worth noting. Rare. Cool! Thankful!
Paul had a fun moment. Some guy asked for 50 rand to go with it. Paul ponged back with, “No, no. I’m only charging 40 rand for this one.” The man laughed. They just have to take a chance that we are millionaires, looking for places to disperse our wealth.
Usually, when they say they need money, Paul says emphatically that this message on the tracts is even more important!
Another one today, a young Muslim couple was sitting in a little car with a sun roof. Paul walked up and handed a tract down through the sun roof, saying, “A message from Heaven.” They laughed and received it with thanks.
Today we were in a very tame neighborhood compared to some places we’ve been, but we still got solemnly warned of how dangerous it was.
April 2nd we moved to the Port Elizabeth area. Port Elizabeth has recently changed its name to something very not-user-friendly so I'm being old fashioned and sticking to the old name. First we were in a nice neighborhood where there were few walkers, so our tract passing wasn't very memorable. Then we tried a more pedestrian place, but it was rainy so again, we weren't scoring too many. I was driving, Paul and Tim were hopping in and out of the car as we found little groups. I did get a few to come to my window, one of whom was a young girl who looked terrified of Paul.😄
He had several groups of mostly boys listen to the plan of salvation and pray with him. Now they're on his prayer list for life, I think.