Friday, 26 October 2012

Letter to America - my personal journey, part 3

After reading the tracts, I wrote a letter to Rod and Staff, asking where my nearest Mennonite church would be. I had thought they might say one of the major conurbations near where I lived (you can see how far I was from understanding the Mennonites, who mainly prefer to live in rural communities). It was some time before I received a reply. Unhappily, they said I would need to relocate to the United States as the nearest church would be there. That meant my nearest church was around 3000 miles away! To say I was disappointed was an understatement.

However, unknown to me, my letter was making the rounds of Mennonites in America and elsewhere.

Some weeks later, a letter dropped through our door, postmarked Canada and addressed to me by name. I knew no-one in Canada at that time, so I wondered who on earth could be writing to me from Canada. It was from an elderly gentleman (in his 80s or early 90s) and his wife, Mervyn and Fannie Baer. One way or another, through his own association with Rod and Staff, my letter had ended up on Mervyn’s desk. We corresponded for a short time, until Fannie became ill with dementia and he became too frail to continue.

I am no longer sure whether it was my original letter, or a subsequent one to Mervyn, that was later seen on his desk by his daughter-in-law, who came to clean for him and Fannie. Whichever it was, that daughter-in-law, Judy, and her husband Jim, were added to the growing number of people who were praying for me in the UK. My letter was being seen as similar to the plea of the Macedonians to Paul, 'Come over and help us' [Acts 16v9]

Several months after that, I received another letter, this time from Wisconsin in the far north of America (though they call it the ‘mid west’!), from a man called Kenneth and his wife, Anna. It appears they too had an interest in Rod and Staff and had seen my letter. Kenneth was making arrangements to come and see me and to bring his Uncle and their two wives with them. They wanted to meet this English woman who had written, seeking a Mennonite church in the UK…

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