Peace, Guidance and His Protection-Always

It started in Palmer, Alaska, when Marcia's daughter Mary Beth was born with Down Syndrome. Soon after her birth, a lady named Annette knocked on the door offering to babysit, run errands for Marcia or just spend time listening and sharing. She came every few days, often bringing her own children to play with Marcia's older daughter, Jennifer. Marcia says, "Annette lived her Christian talk, often times just letting me sit and talk and cry." Mary Beth had many health issues and required open heart surgery, which meant the family had to move to Anchorage. Because she never learned Annette's last name, Marcia lost touch with her but never forgot her kindness and loving example of living a Christ-filled life.

The family eventually moved to a 16-by-24-foot cabin in the mountains of interior Alaska. With no phone and no electricity, life in the cabin was difficult, especially with three young children. One day Marcia's husband took their only vehicle and left, saying that he was going to Anchorage to find work. He didn't return.

It was early November, the snow was already deep and after only a few weeks there was nothing left on the pantry shelves but pancake mix and onions. Marcia realized that there was no way to get through the deep snow to the highway and gas station that were six miles away. After cooking and eating the last of the pancake mix, Marcia decided to play "what if" with the kids and they had a fun time thinking of all the things they could get if they could go to the grocery store. "We dreamed of flour, sugar, milk, soups, candles, kerosene, beans and other things that we would need to make it through the winter. I wrote it all down on a piece of paper and I still have that piece of paper," says Marcia. The next morning they heard their dog barking and Marcia looked outside to see a man coming up the path pulling two sleds that were full of things. On these two sleds were all the items on the list plus many more things, such as coats, hats, mittens, Christmas presents and even food for the dog. Marcia had never seen that man before and never saw him again. The items he brought took care of the family through the spring of the next year. Could God have sent an angel? They were so grateful to the Lord!

Later they moved to Springdale, Wash., and lived in a cozy mountain cabin. One day while at a food bank, Marcia saw a car with Alaska plates. She talked with the woman driving the car and found out that she lived on the same road that Marcia did, but six miles away. Debbie, the other woman, said," You look so familiar to me!" Debbie, her husband Jim and their five kids were building a home for their family. Jim had fallen and broken his arm and winter was coming, so Marcia gave them her camper trailer to live in and stay warm and dry. The next spring when they saw each other again, Debbie was very excited. Debbie said," I know who you are! You are Marcia from Palmer, Alaska. My mom, Annette, from the Adventist Church came to your house. I am her daughter, who used to come with her!" An act of kindness by a Christian woman to a total stranger had come full circle. Later that summer, Marcia and Annette met again for the first time in 20 years.

The kids grew up, Marcia remarried and moved to Glendive, Mont. In the fall of 2009, she got a call from Vicki Fish about some puppies. They talked on the phone several times but never met. Vicki invited Marcia to come to the women's retreat at Fairmont Hot Springs. Getting to Vicki's house and then into her van for a trip across the state was a big step for Marcia, but meeting Vicki, her sister Eudine, and their friend Sharon made her feel like she was with old friends. While at the retreat, Marcia made another new friend: Sandi, who lived right across the road from her for five years but whom she had never met. At the women's retreat, Marcia felt her life pass before her as Esmie Branner, the keynote speaker, told of her journey "Beyond the Veil of Darkness" to the freedoms of Jesus. Marcia felt that her life came through similar darkness into the comforting light of Christ.

These stories are just a couple instances of people from our church who were a blessing to Marcia through the years. God is always looking for people he can send to be a help in the lives of others right around us. Let's pray that God can use the women of Montana to be a blessing each day.

August 01, 2010 / Montana Conference