A note from Rebekah:
In order for you to fully appreciate the wonderful, intricate way God works His purpose in us and in the lives of others around us to bring blessings and fulfillment, I must go back in time to 1946. I was attending Pearl Harbor Elementary School in Hawaii. There I enjoyed very much playing with a girl named Barbara Fuller. Barbara’s family moved away at the end of the year, and I did not see her again until the first part of my senior year of high school when her family was stationed in Hawaii again. She approached me and introduced herself. She wondered if I remembered her and offered her friendship. I did remember her very well, but by that time I had been so many years in a deep depression that I had nothing to offer her. All I could do was stare at her. She had blossomed into the “All-American Girl,” blonde, blue-eyed, with a terrific personality, enthusiastic, full of life and joy. She was soon into everything, becoming head cheerleader, editor of the school yearbook, officer in clubs, and so on. I avoided her, as I did everyone else, feeling so “out of it.”
impressed her to go shopping this particular week on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. She hesitated for a while wondering if it would be inconvenient for her friend to change shopping days. However, when the Lord persisted, Betsy called her friend, who readily agreed to go on Wednesday. As they were walking along at the mall, Betsy thought she recognized the person in front of her.
Almost twenty years went by. Peter and I had established our home in Escondido, when the Lord brought Barbara to my mind. “Barbara?” I questioned, “What about Barbara?” After the thought of her had persisted for several weeks, I spoke to my childhood friend Betsy, who had also known Barbara. She lived in San Diego, and we had kept in touch all through the years. I asked Betsy if she knew anything about Barbara. She said she didn’t but agreed to pray with me for her. I asked her to let me know if she could find out where Barbara was, for I knew the Lord was up to something.
A little while later, Betsy related the most extraordinary events to me as we were rejoicing over having found Barbara’s whereabouts. Betsy would go shopping every Tuesday with a friend. The Lord
She called out, “Melvin, is that you?” And Melvin Sousa, a childhood friend of Betsy’s and mine, responded, “Betsy, is that you?” Melvin’s mother lived in the area, and he was visiting her. He had flown in as a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines. Betsy, bless her heart, had the presence of mind to ask him if he knew anything about Barbara. He didn’t, but remembered that our high school class was holding its twentieth reunion shortly and had published a booklet with available names and addresses. Melvin flew back to Hawaii, obtained the booklet, and sent it to Betsy, who forwarded it to me. And there it was. Barbara’s name and address!
I need not tell you how excited I was. “Okay, Lord,” I said, “now what?” I sat down at the table and penned a short note, introducing myself again. I asked her if she remembered me and offered my friendship. Within a few short days I received a long, long letter from Barbara, telling me of the events of the past twenty years. She had gone to the University of California at Berkeley, met and married a French count, spent some ten years in France, and had three sons. Her youngest had a rare eye disease, and she had, for the first time in her life, encountered a situation that she could not handle. She had become a member of the Catholic Church and was searching out not only any doctor who could help her son, but also every religious person who held hope for the boy’s healing.
I read the letter with amazement as I realized that because of the many trials in my life, I now had something—or Someone—to offer her. I quickly sat down to write, with Jesus standing behind me dictating the entire letter. What love and confidence came forth from the Savior for her in that letter! What a privilege for me to write it! Some very lively correspondence followed.
Once Peter said, “I can see Barbara sitting in that chair,” as he pointed to a dining room chair.
Later, almost one year to the day, Barbara walked in our front door, greeted us, and headed right for that chair! I let out a little yelp, praising God for his goodness and His sense of humor.
“Oh, sure,” I said.
Shortly after her visit, she asked us if we would be willing to visit a family friend who was very ill. He had emigrated from Holland and was living in Los Angeles. He had undergone six operations, which left him in worse condition than before. He was now in much pain, with internal bleeding every time he moved. He was housebound. Peter and I prayed and felt led to go see him. We visited him, enjoying very much his outgoing personality and the Old World decor of his apartment. Before leaving, we felt very much led to pray for him, and we did. A few months later we received an amazing letter from him. He said that he had just come back from a 3,000-mile selling trip and had found the most wonderful place and wanted to tell us about it. Our curiosity was very high, since the doctors had given up on him and he was barely able to move when we last saw him.
Once again we made the trip to Los Angeles. He was just bouncing with vigor and excitement about the discovery of a most beautiful place where he had purchased some property. We were more interested in what God had done for him physically, and he said, “Yes, yes, God has healed me.” Then he rushed on, showing us brochures of “Pagosa in Colorado.” He said that he was going to move there but that none of his friends would go with him. Would we move there with him he wondered.
“Yes, we will,” said Peter. I was stunned! Just a simple, quiet statement. It was a good thing I was sitting down!
That was in May of 1977, and the next month we were on our way to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, to see what the housing situation was like and what the Lord’s directive was. Peter had been in the area a few years previously on a hunting trip and was somewhat familiar with it. The Lord had also given him a picture of living in an area similar to Pagosa.
We stayed at the Pagosa Lodge and were shown many pieces of property but few houses. We were thrilled with the beauty of the mountainous area, but we needed some place to live. As we were packing the car to go back to California, Peter noticed a little car next to us, which said “Thomason’s Stained Glass” on the door. Being prompted by the Holy Spirit, he rushed into the lodge and asked that the owners of the car be paged. He found Ann Thomason and her children having breakfast in the restaurant. He asked if she would like to see our work. She said she would just as soon as she finished her breakfast. Later she stated that she had never been in that restaurant for breakfast before, even though it was quite close to her home.
She was very much pleased with our work and asked if we would like to see the house she had just purchased. We thought, “Why not?” We all piled into the little car, and she brought us to see her huge log house on Lake Pagosa. We just marveled at it because it was the epitome of our dreams. The view across the lake to the Rocky Mountains was the most beautiful picture I had ever seen. It just took my breath away! Well, for some reason we exchanged names and addresses with this lady. She and her husband were schoolteachers in California, she told us, and planned to spend the summers and short vacations in their house on Lake Pagosa.
Arriving back in California, we put our house up for sale, believing that if God wanted us in Pagosa Springs, He would sell our house and arrange for a place there for us. It happened that the county assessor wanted our place badly but was having difficulty obtaining financing. He called Peter, very discouraged. With a great deal of authority, Peter told him exactly how to manage it. It worked! Everything was going along smoothly. Peter suggested that we contact the Thomasons to see if they might want to rent their house. The very day that the papers on our house were signed, we received a phone call from the Thomasons asking if we wanted to rent their home. We were thrilled, mostly with the way the Lord was working everything out. The rent was enormous, but our Dutch friend and a young couple going with us would help with the payments. As it worked out, they stayed with us for just a short time. The Lord miraculously provided the funds necessary to keep us in this lovely, healing place. Eventually, we were able to purchase this very house, but this is another story.
As I contemplate our lives, I am overwhelmed by the way God works. Over so many years He had intricately woven our lives together for His purpose. I remember feeling so utterly desolate for many years, but now, looking back, I know that God had His hand on my life always.
Peter will now continue our story.