When History Comes Calling

My vehicle of choice that summer day was a bicycle, since I was too young for a license to drive. My fascination with history had been excited by the discovery that the acreage where I was raised was just more than a mile away from a country cemetery. So, I determined to take my trusty bicycle to visit the cemetery. In addition to this little jaunt, my father had arranged for me to visit our neighbor, Jeanette Larson, whose long residence in the area and family connections made her the local expert on the cemetery. So, after a brief excursion to the cemetery, I spent the majority of the afternoon visiting with her.

I did not know at that time how fateful this meeting would be. Not only was Jeanette a good neighbor and expert in local history, she was also a Christian and a member of the AFLC church nearby. I was raised in a somewhat conservative sector of the ELCA, and was unfamiliar with the AFLC at that time. Jeanette introduced me for the first time to AFLBS by way of a magazine telling readers about the new music man on campus—Andrew Hanson. It was later, and by means of other people and events, that I would be drawn into the AFLC and find myself at the Bible school, but this was my first exposure to it.

That day was not the last time I took my bicycle, or later on my Ford Escape, down the gravel road to visit my neighbor. Every summer I would knock on her door a time or two, and every December I would give her a wreath for her front door. Jeanette loved to talk, and I loved to listen. We talked about local and family history, politics, and Christ. Sometimes I took notes, sometimes I just listened. It was always a pleasure. Every time I saw her, she would tell me that she prayed for me every day, even when she had moved into the local nursing home.

Ole Hallesby, in his book Prayer, says that answers to prayer come to Christians like a gentle rain shower. He speaks about older saints in particular, often parents and grandparents, who pray for their children and grandchildren faithfully, day after day, year after year. The answers God sends upon the children from the prayers of their parents continue to fall gently on them for years even after the parents have died. Many times in my career as a student, when things were rough, I would comfort myself with the reminder that Jeanette, among others, was praying for me.

In November 2017, Jeanette died at 90 years of age. Her prayers for me, however, continue to be answered by Almighty God, in whom she trusted. Indeed, although her death brought about the temporary end of our fellowship, it was not the end of her blessing to me even in this life. A few months after her death, I learned that her estate was going to cover the majority of my seminary tuition for this year.

My bicycle will not be seen outside of Jeanette’s front door on a gravel road west of Story City, Iowa. She and I will have to wait awhile before we visit face to face again. Until then, I continue to comfort myself that her prayers for me continue to follow me—even after her death—like a gentle rain shower, with answers from God to sustain me through every trouble.

Brian Lunn [AFLTS senior] is from Story City, Iowa. He will serve an internship year at
Living Word Lutheran, Eagan, Minn.

This article first appeared in Kinship Magazine, Spring 2019 Edition.

Kinship is a magazine of the Free Lutheran Schools. Stay up to date on the latest news, student stories, classroom highlights, and fun tidbits about life on the AFLBS and AFLTS campus.

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