In the early years of my Christian life, I suffered many troubles. It took me many years to learn to trust the Lord in my struggles. After another hard blow, I started learning to cast my cares on the Lord.
Ups and Downs of a baby Christian
As a baby Christian, I often failed to take my burdens to the Lord and leave them there. I called them "nerves," and said, "I cannot do anything about them." The Lord is able, but it took me years to learn that lesson.
Four times, I ventured different places to serve the Lord. Each time I came home because I had not learned to trust Him.
Are You through with me, Lord?
In Montrose I occupied myself with Christian activities. I taught two children's home Bible classes each week, besides the primary Sunday School class. I volunteered as church secretary and piano player. Twice a week I visited. However, I lost my joy and believed the Lord had something else for me.
Perhaps, God will use me in a Spanish work, I reasoned. I think I can learn Spanish better if I start using what I know. However, nothing turned up. "Why, Lord? I wondered. Are you through with me?"
About this time Ron, a missionary to the Navajo Indian, spoke in our church. "What about the Navajo?" he asked.
"I'm not called to the Navajo," I answered. I waited yet another year while I kept busy with my Christian activities. I experienced some joy when one of my primaries accepted the Saviour. However, I lacked deep abiding joy and peace.
About a year later Ron again spoke in our church. "Why don't you come down and visit us for one week?" he said to me.
"Okay," I said. In my heart I thought, "I will have a nice vacation."
While staying with Ron’s family in Broomfield, New Mexico, we drove out to White Rock on the backside of the reservation. We arrived early and made a few visits before the service. One Navajo woman said, "Yá'át'ééh," to me.
"Yá'át'ééh," I replied.
"Brother Don," I said to Ron's twin on the way back, "Does yá'át'ééh mean "hello"?
"You're a pretty good Navajo," he replied.
I told myself, "You can never learn Navajo." God contradicted my argument by causing me to understand and repeat one word. That left me with one more argument, "I'm not called to the Navajo."
Then the end of the week approached. The last night I sat in my room alone with my Bible. In the silence of the hour God spoke to me. "I the Lord have called thee...to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house" (Isaiah 43:6-7).
Who was as blind as the Navajo? Do they not sit in the prison house of sin, blinded by their religion? Do they not dwell in spiritual darkness? God took away my arguments and called me to the Navajo.
When I returned home, Mom and I sat in the attic one day. She asked me, "Are you going back to the Navajo?"
"Yes," I replied.
"No, you're not," she countered.
"I'm over twenty-one," I said in a soft, gentle voice.
How can I get to Farmington, I pondered. Maybe Sharon will take me to the bus depot.
Before my time of departure came, Mom said, "We will take you." God had changed Mom and Dad’s minds.
Before my departure date, it snowed and made the passes unsafe. My stuff stayed packed in my bedroom for one week. When the snows melted, my parents drove me to Farmington. My heart filled with joy, knowing I arrived at the place God wanted me.
That was in January 1969. About a year later, a man named Leon Wallace moved to Gallup, New Mexico. He worked with the mission there about three months, but he did not find it satisfactory. Therefore he joined the mission in Farmington.
On Thursday nights we studied the Navajo language. I saw Leon there for the first time, but we did not speak to each other. The missionaries used the same building for a rescue mission. I had no idea why Leon attended. He did not speak to me as he thought I might be too young for him.
The missionaries checked out Leon's references. They discovered that he lived a clean-cut life and did not chase woman.
Leon also spent time learning about me. He discovered I was about eight years younger than he. "I will woo her," he decided. Ere long he asked me to marry him. "I will have to pray about it," I said.
After this I prayed hard. I tried to list all the pro's and con's, but I had a hard time finding the con's. Soon God gave me His answer. I told Leon, "Yes."
We served together on the Navajo field about ten years. We stayed in Gallup, New Mexico about two years. Our baby, Lynette, joined our family here. We visited the Navajo people every week-end. However no one offered us a lease site. We decided to move to Page, Arizona.
We lived in Page about two years. Leon worked as janitor for the school. We visited the Navajo on weekends. At first we tried to work in Coppermine, a few miles from Page. A Navajo preacher worked with us.
The Navajo preacher wanted to pursue a different direction. Consequently, we worked in the Inscription House area, about fifty miles east of Page. We made some inroads. The Navajo take their weekend exodus like the white man. All their business meetings also took place on weekends. Leon worked on week days.
Subsequently, Leon decided to go on deputation. He tried to raise more support. Thereby he hoped to become a fulltime missionary. We got in a hurry and after a year returned to the Navajo. We raised about half our needed support.
This time we located right on the reservation at Inscription House in our 1958 International school bus. We added a cabinet, stove, table, two bus seats, hideabed, Lynette's bed, and a dresser. The outhouse, propane furnace, stove and lanterns made our bus self-contained.
At first we used a Coleman stove instead of propane. This stove blew up. We built an outdoor fireplace. The neighbor’s goat wanted my fry biscuits. When I cracked him between his horns, he bolted away.
Later, Mom gave us a propane stove top. We still used our outdoor oven on occasion. Thanksgiving Day we celebrated with a turkey in our bucket, banana squash in our roaster (from a neighbor), and potatoes in foil on the coals. Delicious! A piece of metal on the front transformed our fireplace into an oven. We lived here about a year and almost, but not quite, got our lease. We had to move again.
We stayed three months at Black Mesa in a trailer park about eighty miles from Page. The Lord supplied the extra funds needed for our rented space.
One month we sold our VW "Bug", another month a total stranger handed Leon a $20 bill for showing him where he could part his motor-home. He earned the rest by working with a friend in the Black Mesa mine just above us. The third month a Daily Vacation Bible School from Berean Baptist Church in Oklahoma City sent us the $80 rent money.
Then we sold our bus and rented an eight foot trailer in Cortez. Leon did not find work in Cortez, but he heard the school in Montezuma Creek, Utah needed janitors.
They hired Leon as a janitor and we moved about eighty miles west of Cortez to Montezuma Creek. Now Leon said, "I feel like I work in a dragon's den." The Mormons did not like a Baptist working with them.
About a year later we left on deputation for the second time. We strongly felt the need to be on the field fulltime. However, we failed to pick up one penny of additional support. Later, we learned why. Our church had changed its doctrinal position.
Leon found it necessary to seek employment. We joined a church, and planned to return to the Navajo. The Lord had different plans.
God Gives and He Takes Away
About sixteen years after Leon and I wed, my beloved suffered a massive heart attack and died. He had entered his heavenly home. I felt like part of me had left with him.
Our child, now fourteen, and I mourned over this loss. We went through difficult times. However, I know the Lord sustained us. He promised us, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). When things happen that we do not understand, He wants us to trust Him and lean on Him.
Shortly after suffering such loss, I began learning the secret of casting my cares upon the Lord. Though still far from perfect, I’ve not suffered from deep depression for several years. As I seek to trust God each day, He gives me His peace and His joy.
God can give any believer peace and joy. He waits for us to trust Him with our lives, and cast our cares upon Him.
This is a wonderful and very needed reminder to us to trust our LORD. He sees the beginning and the end and knows everything in between. He is faithful. He said "My peace I give you, not as the world gives, but MY peace." Thank you for sharing this.