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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, June 10, 2013


This is the sixth and final post in a series of articles written by a number of Community of Christ Evangelists in Canada East Mission. We are pleased to offer the stories of these highly respected ministers for your reading. It is our hope that their stories of faith will bring a blessing to your life. This post is a little longer than we usually publish, but it is well worth five minutes of your time.  The post is from Evangelist Heather Fryer of Monetville, Ontario. 

Based on: Luke 4:18 IV
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised;”

As I pondered this scripture and the request to give an example of “the oppressed go free”, I considered that oppression can come in many forms—and can even be self-inflicted. I thought of a situation where people can find themselves “oppressed” by their circumstances and don’t recognize that they have caused the situation by their own fears, beliefs and choices. 
This is the story of a good friend and neighbour whom I will call Mrs. G. (just “G” for short).  After a lifetime of working hard and spending the last two years of her husband’s life caring for him until he died, G kept herself busy by helping out her neighbours and expressing her love in the form of homemade bread, pies, cakes or cookies. She was a blessing to many.  But, over time, she found managing her finances very challenging—her husband had always done that job. And now, of course, there was just one pension income but the same expenses to care for her home, even with the widow’s supplement. She became brokenhearted with despair over how to make ends meet.  She succumbed to “purchase-required” contests that promised big winnings and fortune-tellers that promised good fortune if money was sent to them.  Using credit cards to pay the fortune-tellers (who threated to send her “bad” luck if she didn’t send money), these situations drew her deeper and deeper into debt.  G became anemic from living on bread and margarine because she spent her money on these dreams instead of groceries. To her credit, she had good intentions for her potential winnings—to help others and the Church. This situation was unknown to anyone. Her only child, a son who was drowning in his own troubles was very effective at ignoring his mother and seldom stopped by to see her (even though he drove past her house every day, going to and from his home further up the road).
Since her husband died, G was very faithful attending our congregation and was baptized in 1997, at the age of 70. In 2006, although she professed to being “fine” when I would chat with her after Church, I had noticed that she seemed to be distressed but was not forthcoming. In the Fall of that year, we had as our guest ministry Ken McGowan, Financial Specialist. (I believe that his presence was God-directed, as there were three CEM appointees who had given a presentation in North Bay the previous day and on Sunday, each one was designated (by whom?) to visit a Northern Ontario congregation.)  Dwight and I hosted Ken overnight in our home. During our visit I expressed to him my concern for G, as I knew of a previous time that she’d had received advice through another friend who had tried to help resolve some dubious financial matters. Ken had some ideas for me to consider offering to her. As is our congregation’s custom when we receive guest ministry, we had a pot-luck lunch after Church and sister Shirley and I noticed that G was looking very pale. Shirley and I convinced (read: coerced) G into permitting Shirley to drive her to the Emergency at the nearest hospital.  G was so depleted, she required blood transfusions and barely remembers being hospitalized for a week, or any visitors who came to see her.
Following the return to her home, I visited her and expressed my concern, offering assistance if there was anything I could do to help. G’s eyes welled up with tears and she told me that she had “not slept a wink all night”, but had lain awake praying, asking God to please send someone to help her. The Holy Spirit sent a tingle through me from head to toe and tears came to my eyes, as I realized that mine was a God-sent mission. What a humbling and awesome privilege to be God’s instrument in answer to another’s prayers. As we talked, I shared with her that Ken had some ideas and if she wished we could follow through with them. I became her Financial Manager and hold Power of Attorney for her finances. As CFO, I applied for some assistance from the Oblation fund, which was gratefully received. We met with the bank manager and arranged a consolidation loan to pay off her debts. Then we set up a budget to manage income and expenses, settling on a weekly amount of cash for her to pay for some costs directly, such as groceries and personal items. With Ken’s assistance, we also prepared her will. God helped us to “bring deliverance to a captive”.

G got back into the baking she loved to do, sometimes taking orders or selling from her table at the local annual yard sale. Her hope and joy in life returned and she enjoyed visiting her friends once again and helping where she could. Since I would not receive any monetary appreciation for assisting her, she kept us supplied with regular gifts of pies or my husband’s favourite oatmeal cookies. G’s mail was delivered to my mailbox so I could pay her bills and after several months of “return to sender” and note-writing, managed to eliminate the contest and fortune-teller mailings. G was no longer “blind” to the deceit she had suffered and could now “see” hope for the future. It is ironic that in her troubles she could see the needs of others and wanted to help them but could not see how to help herself. I believe that is why God needed to respond to her prayerful pleas.
Through regular contact with her son, I was able to involve him more in her life and his new wife was also instrumental in promoting regular visits. In her 80’s, G’s health was deteriorating and my “responsibilities” grew to accompanying her to medical appointments and shopping trips. The care providers kept supposing I was her daughter, so we unofficially “adopted” each other. Arrangements were also made for Home Care, nurse visits and various other services through the wonderful Community Care program. Through government Residential Rehabilitation Assistance and Home Adaptation for Senior’s Independence programs, we were able to arrange for much-needed repairs and adaptations for her comfort and safety.  
A year and a half ago, her son and his wife found themselves in need of new accommodations.  This presented an opportunity for them to move in with G, which was a blessing since by then she was becoming unable to live alone. Because she was not amenable to the idea of a nursing home, this took care of all of their needs.  The son that ignored her for years now provides 24-hour a day care, supplemented with several visits per week from the Community Care workers. The “bruising” of the past has healed as she expresses her love and appreciation for her “wonderful son who takes such good care of me”. In accordance with her wishes and those of her son and daughter-in-law, I remain her financial manager. These arrangements are fulfilling her wish to remain in her own home for the rest of her days. She is ”set at liberty” from previous fears and anxieties.
At 85 years of age, G comes to Church when physically able and attended the Community Christmas Dinner and, in January, following a half-hour drive, sat in a wheelchair to pay her respects to the family of a priesthood member who passed away. I am pleased to state that G’s finances are in a healthy condition with sufficient funds reserved for her funeral expenses. She feels secure, knowing that her affairs are in order. For myself, I humbly appreciate having the opportunity to act with God’s help to bless the life of a faithful soul who has the gift of kindness and generosity towards others. In turn, G has blessed me with her warm friendship and love and the many lessons I have learned along the way about being a Spiritual Companion and receiving our Heavenly Father’s guidance.

Heather Fryer, Evangelist
Monetville, ON Canada

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