Knauft Footprints in Idaho

Two years ago Emil and Marguerite Knauft could regularly be seen sitting in church on the front-left side. Now home-bound, the Knaufts have 12 precious years of fellowship with friends at the Nampa (Idaho) Church.

When I was in the eighth grade, for my dad's birthday I built a keepsake box out of plywood that he could place on his dresser. Stained and shellacked, it had three drawers that could hold tie clasps and souvenirs. Not long ago I spotted it still on Dad's dresser. He had made it his dresser centerpiece for more than 54 years.

Dad has gone to bat for me more than once. I had finished my sophomore year at Andrews University, and I desperately needed a summer job. Three weeks before the close of school, Dad was checking leads for summer work for me.

On a fluke he ended up at the attorney general's office in Olympia, Wash. The office manager said, "We have a dime a dozen of summer people who can do legal carrier work for us, but if he knows how to operate an offset press, we could use him now!"

Dad answered, "My son, Dan, has a year's experience printing on an offset press." This job opportunity for me was good for three summers.

When I was in the third grade living in Grand Rapids, Mich., I learned my first lesson in tithing. Dad began to give me an allowance — two dollars each month. Out of 20 dimes, two belonged to the Lord, he told me. So each month at church I'd find the tithe envelope in the pew, record 20 cents on the envelope, lick the seal and place it in the offering plate.

May I add this memory of my mother, as well? When I was an academy youngster, Mother would place freshly washed sheets on my bed on Fridays in preparation for the Sabbath. I helped her with this of course. The scent and feel of freshly washed sheets when I slipped into bed on Friday nights reminded me then, as well as now, of the Sabbath experience. Also imprinted in my memory is Mother's Friday night special of popcorn and applesauce.

As a pastor for 40 years, Emil Knauft has been a hard worker. He and Mother made many friends through the years as well. Nampa holds a special memory for my dad. Following graduation in 1939 from Walla Walla College, my father was called to the Idaho Conference to begin his pastoral ministry. During the year that followed, he, along with his new bride, held evangelistic meetings in Oregon and Idaho. The Nampa series was held in the Masonic Lodge, which is still on 11th Avenue. All of this was done before I, and many of those reading this, were "out of diapers."

The Idaho Conference was his last assignment before retirement in 1979. During the years that Emil and Marguerite worked together in the Weiser, Cambridge and New Meadows districts, Dad had a super vision. He was rather quiet about this with me. So it was a matter of amazement when later I learned that he was working out his dream to reach every home in his district. Week after week Dad and Mother would pick some territory, pack provisions and park their RV in a state park. Dad would visit members but also systematically comb the side roads for ranch homes and residences to personally meet people, leaving Signs of the Times and invitations for Bible guides.

So now when I think of Idaho towns like McCall, Midvale, Council, Donnelly, Cascade, Riggins and Indian Valley, I know my dad and mother's footprints are up and down these roads and hills.

April 01, 2012 / Idaho Conference
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