by Travis Wiginton
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My Mom used to say, "When Noah's flood came, we got a half inch at Altus".
Altus is a wonderful county-seat town in Southwest Oklahoma, but it is located in a very dry part of the state. I will never forget how we always needed rain in July and August to help the cotton to mature.
"Well Mom (in Heaven now) you would be happy to know that Altus (and all of Okla.) have received some BIG rains in the last 2 months!"
In fact the Lake that they irrigate out of, is full for the 1st time in many years!
Here in Norman, my study/office (as well as our garage) was flooded recently.
It cost us quite a lot to have the water extraction people come and not only tear out the carpet and lower part of the walls (due to mold), but remove the carpet and all my shelves and files. What a mess!!!
I was complaining about it and then I thought about the people in the New Orleans area who are STILL fighting problems from the flooding of Katrina over 2 yrs. ago!!!
'Comfort Comparison' (a phrase I coined while I was in cancer treatment) helps us to be thankful for what we have....and to pray for those who are less fortunate.
Being a cancer survivor, I feel blessed compared to many others who are fighting that terrible disease.
In fact, a dear friend of our's died Saturday at only 59 yrs. of age and her Memorial service was this a.m. in Altus. Josie Hansel was SUCH a tremendous witness all through her battle, giving CD's of her beautiful music to other patients on the cancer ward, as well doctors, nurses and others there.
(Josie and husband Jay always joined us at our Wiginton Family Reunions as they were like family to us.)
La Moyne has 'lived with Lupus' (she doesn't say that she 'has Lupus'....she says that she 'lives with it'). With the help of the Great Physician, good medical doctors and family support, she does 'what she can when she can'. During these 30+ years, she has heard from many others who've been diagnosed with Lupus and has been able to encourage them in their battle with that unpredictable disease.
My three brothers and I have had heart/circulation problems, but stents, by-pass surgeries, etc. have prolonged our lives (and hopefully our usefulness).
My youngest brother Keith has had diabetes for over 40 yrs.
Though retired now, he (and wife Linda) continue with revivals and Senior Conference across the U.S. and is to lead a conference at Branson, Missouri this fall.
Our brother Edsel and wife, Peggy are retired from many years as owners of Wiginton Furniture in Altus. They now help care for their 5 little great-gr'children each week in their home.
They are both active in FBC Altus (Peggy teaching SS and Edsel singing in the choir)...
so we praise God for adding years to their lives as well.
We often think about about our Dad's three brothers who died in their 40's.
Dad died at 62, so we four sons lived longer than Dad, though our oldest brother Bryce died in 2001.
So compared to a lot of people and families, we MUST count our blessings.
"Name them one by one! It amazes us to see what the Lord has done...and is doing."
We truly have been BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING!
OUR ACCESSIBILITY TO THE GOSPEL:
Compared to most of the world, we are SO blessed to have churches and opportunities to hear the Gospel Message! When we arrived in Korea in 1960 to serve as missionaries...
we learned that Korea had been blessed more than many other countries in the Orient....
because of Christian missionaries.
When Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries arrived in 1885 on the same boat, they decided to step off the boat together so that there would be no bragging about 'who' arrived first. :)
Baptist missionaries arrived in the 1930's and joined the Canadian Baptists who were already there.
Today, South Korea is 35% Christian and sending out their own missionaries to countries around the world.
The Korean War (1950-54) devastated the country as almost 85% of the country was destroyed. When we arrived, we saw how terrible a type of civil war can be.
We prayed then (and still pray) that our country will never be involved in this type of war of 'brother against brother'.
We MUST be grateful that we have had no invasion of our country and let this gratitude evolve into sharing the Gospel with everyone around us.
The Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 in New York City were bad enough and should lead us to pray that a massive invasion of our country will never happen.
STEWARDSHIP = 'BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING'
My parents were great stewards of their 160 acre farm.
My Gr'Dad Wiginton came to what is now Jackson County, Oklahoma in 1889.
He homesteaded land that was made available by the government.
He gave my parents 80 acres and they bought the adjoining 80 acres years later.
In fact, their 'dream' was that we 4 sons would settle on each corner of the 160 acres.
Not feeling led to be farmers, none of us sons did that, but we DID learn stewardship from Dad.
I can see my Dad now (sack and knife in hand) walking across the farm, cutting off the Johnson grass before it 'seeded out'. As he plowed the field, he would stop at the end of each row, to remove Bermuda grass from the plow, in order to keep it out of the field.
I guess that Dad would say with Barney Fife on 'Andy Griffith'...
'You've got to nip it in the bud'.
La Moyne's parents were also good stewards. Her Mom was a tremendous seamstress, making dresses for her 2 daughters...and shirts, ties and pants for her little brother and their Dad.
One of La Moyne's fondest memories was one Christmas when funds were very low...
her Mom made a skirt for La Moyne out of their draperies!!
La Moyne said that she and her Mom would go downtown in Colorado Springs and her Mom would draw pictures of clothing in the windows of exclusive stores.
One time they followed a lady (because La Moyne liked her skirt) with Mary sketching as they went along.
When they got home, Mary made a pattern out of newspapers, cut it out and make that very skirt for La Moyne (as well as many other beautiful outfits!)
Thanks to Mary, La Moyne's name appeared on the 'Best Dressed' at her school each year.
Her Dad Jim Harris, was a road-grader specialist, helping build roads all over Oklahoma.
He also helped construct an Air Field in Western Oklahoma during WWII.
After moving to Colorado Springs, he helped build the Air Force Academy, as well as the construction of NORAD in Cheyenne Mtn. He also helped keep the road up Pikes Peak passable year round.
During the summers when Seminary was not in session, we lived with La Moyne's parents in Colorado Springs and I worked on the road crew with Jim.
With his humble yet thankful spirit, Jim was a good witness among the men with whom he worked.
He tried to eat lunch with a different group of men each day and quietly went about sharing the Gospel.
Sometimes when those men might be telling an 'off colored joke' and if Jim happened to walk by, they would stop their jokes....out of respect for him.
LONGEVITY OF LIFE:
Psalm 90:10 "The days of our years may be 70 and if by reason of strength they be 80, teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto God's Wisdom and Way."
Longevity of life can not be said for much of the world due to AIDS, Malaria, Civil Wars, etc.
La Moyne's Dad had a sign on his pickup truck (it's now in her sewing room):
'Don't Regret Growing Older...It Is A Privilege Denied Many People.'
This privilege is that we should live long and well and at the same time...
help the rest of the world that is less fortunate than we.
We may live long and well, but what is important is, 'Are we making a difference?'
Jim Harris DID make a difference before he died at 72 yrs. of age...
of the only heart attack he ever had.
Some International Students toured the USA and when asked 'what was the most impressive thing they saw'. They replied, "The size of the garbage cans!"
Each year, our daughter-in-law (Kevin's wife Michelle) is host to a group of college students from France. She and Kevin take these young people to many different events/places during their 3 months here, to try and help them leave with a different viewpoint of America....and Americans!
Truly, "unto whom much is given, much shall be required."
God has no privileged characters, just children whom He loves and wants to live through.
All of this should lead to 'Thanks-Giving toward God' and.....
'Thanks-Living in attitude and actions'.
We ARE Blessed to be a Blessing, but some don't seem to realize how blessed they are.
This reminds me of a man who was crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a ship...
eating crackers all the way.
He did not realize that food came with the ticket, so he missed all the great food.
PLEASE don't miss the blessings.....and ALWAYS be thankful to God in the process!!!
I thought of 3 songs that are appropriate for this study:
"Count Your Blessings"
"Love Lifted Me"
"Great is Thy Faithfulness"
I would be remiss on this Memorial Day Weekend if I did not give Praise....
for all who have given SO much in order for us to have our freedoms!!
Even today, the news reported that more of our troops gave their all....for us!
Much of the 'Comfort Comparisons' are due to living in a FREE country!
So THANKS TO ALL THE VETERANS (Past, Present and Future) FOR YOUR DEDICATION AND SERVICE!
Would that all citizens had that kind of Commitment.
If you enjoy your freedoms, THANK A VETERAN!
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