Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

April 2010
Vol. 6, No. 4

Adventist World is free online. For that reason, I only review or comment on articles and editorials that I believe to be of special interest.

Hans Olson has written a brief history of the events in Rwanda that precipitated the 1994 genocide in which 1,000,000 people lost their lives, and 2,000,000 people lost their homes. INTO RWANDA is informative and worth reading, considering the fact that Rwanda was and is the most Christian nation in Africa. Not included in this piece is a bit of shameful Adventist history.

Pastor and doctor son aided Rwanda genocide, BBC, Feb 19, 2003
A pastor in the Seventh Day Adventist Church has been found guilty of genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Seventy-eight-year-old Elizaphan Ntakirutimana is the first church leader to be found guilty of genocide by the tribunal and was sentenced to 10 years in jail. The judges said they took into account his previous good character and also his current frail health. The tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania, heard that the pastor had personally driven Hutu attackers to places where Tutsis had taken refuge. His son, Doctor Gerard Ntakirutimana was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment for murdering Tutsi civilians. . .The pastor and his son, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, are the ninth and tenth people to be convicted by the court since its creation in November 1994.

POSTITIONED FOR SUCCESS reported by Bernadine Delafield is not online. The report raises the question, “Was the North American Division’s 2009 Year of Evangelism a success? Here is part of that report.

“Participation during the Year of Evangelism is a good indicator of what’s happening in our churches. . .With 6,013 churches and companies and 45,944 baptisms, on average each congregation welcomed 7.6 new members into fellowship. But the increase of 5,328 baptisms over [the number baptized in 2008] represents less than one additional member per congregation.”

MIGRAINE HEADACHES by Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless is a MUST READ if you or someone you know suffers from them.

Gerhard Padderatz’ JOHANNA’S LONG JOURNEY was an inspirational piece marred by this scurrilous theological commentary.

“[Johanna’s] spiritual pilgrimage took her to some unexpected places.
A change of her church affiliation was no issue for Johanna at that time. She was proud to be a Catholic. All Protestants, so she had learned, would go to hell. Therefore, what a shock it was for her when she found out from the Bible that the beast in Revelation 13 could refer only to the papacy.”

AMAZING GOD-MAN by Jaryong Lee elucidated Fundamental Adventist Belief Number 9. The following quote raises the following fundamental question for Christians who believe that the Devil and his angels were banished from Heaven to this earth because the “sin problem” couldn’t be solved where it originated. “Why couldn’t Jesus have been tortured to death in Heaven by evil angels to satisfy divine justice? Why get us involved?"

“Jesus came to this world not only to live a perfect sinless life as our example, but also to die for sinful human beings as humanity’s substitute. The death of Jesus endured for humankind, for you and me, was God’s design to save humanity from sin. The character of sin is so terrible that the only way to eradicate it for eternity and thereby liberate all under its yoke came through offering Himself as a sacrifice.”

WHEN THE NUMBERS AREN’T SO GREAT by Reinder Bruinsma, a retired church president of the Netherlands Union, is a MUST READ if you want to experience the frustrations of mission works in places where converts are hard to come by.

“Few things irritated and frustrated me more during my years as the president of a small union than subtle or not-so-subtle suggestions that the mission in my country would succeed much better if we would simply copy the methods that have proven to be so successful in those parts of the world where phenomenal membership growth is experienced. Circumstances differ greatly from country to country, and from culture to culture.”

STAND UP FOR LIBERTY, a NAD Feature Article that does not appear online, was written by Lincoln E. Steed, Editor of Liberty, “a magazine of religious freedom”, that really, really, really wants to preserve the liberty to discriminate against homosexuals and other undesirables.

“While nondiscrimination sounds great, in reality a church must be allowed to protect its faith identity. . .We see the beginning of a conflict of rights in the workplace. We may soon see churches that took government money for faith programs forced to hire, and unable to fire, individuals whose moral and doctrinal views differ from the body of faith.”

CHRIST’S SANCTUARY ACTIVITY is current and ongoing according to Angel Manuel Rodríguez. According to Angel’s interpretation of Revelation 8:2-6, “Jesus is mediating for us in the holy place, but we also see the drama of the book [of Life] moving to His work in the Most Holy Place.” I guess the Lord of the Universe doesn’t even own an iPad!

Some signs of the end are more frightening than others!

From Non Sequitur, by Wiley
(click image to enlarge)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

An ATS theologian counting the stars created on the fourth day of creation.

Comic modified from Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.
(click for enlarged image)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

April 8, 2010
Vol. 187, No. 10

This issue is pretty standard faire. Two pieces stand out: Cliff Goldstein’s ANOTHER MAN’S SKIN and LESSONS AT THE FEET OF JESUS: THE TESTING OF GEORGE I. BUTLER.

Two church members were killed in Jos, Nigeria, and six others had their homes burned during an antichristian riot. A police guard protected a newly constructed Adventist church.

James D. Standish was a member of an inter-religious task force that met with President Obama. He “lent the task force an expert grasp on ‘the role that church-state separation and religious freedom play in keeping faith independent and vital’”.

Adventist composer, Marcos Galvany’s opera, Oh My Son, “essentially a series of scenes from the life of Christ”, will debut in New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Jan Paulsen continued his unscripted dialogue with youth living in the Netherlands. Environmental concerns were discussed, as was the church’s position on homosexuality.

Bill Knott seems to be struggling with his own night of the soul. His editorial, NAMING THE STARS begins with these words: “It takes no special genius to discern the darkness of our day. We wake to news that thousands have perished in the small hours of the night as whole buildings and economies collapsed. We tremble when we learn that entire nations may this month default on massive international debt: in this global village, their great sickness will almost certainly soon be ours.” Thank goodness, “the eternal stars shine through” the darkest night. Hang in there Bill.

In a little more than a month, Kimberly Luste Maran will attend a high school reunion. In PROGRESSION, she reflects on her own memories of those years, and imagines that even “graduates from 50 years ago must still savor bittersweet memories”. Kimberly, I can assure you that the 1959 graduating class of Glendale Union Academy did more than “savor bittersweet memories”. We had a blast!

CLAIMING CONTINUES. Kimberly Luste Maran and Manny Cruz talk about the Just Claim It conference that just took place in Columbus, Ohio. It was “the largest gathering of the church’s youth and young adults in recent memory”. 15,000 Adventists aged 14-35 were expected.
MILES HIGH ON MARRIAGE by Grenville Kent explores temptation and the reasons for fidelity at 30,000 feet. “The airline seated me next to someone with a soft Irish accent, a wicked laugh, blue eyes, long dark hair, and dangerous curves. We talked through the flight, and as the plane made its approach over the lights of New York, she made her approach and invited me to her Manhattan apartment for coffee. I suspect “coffee” means more than a macchiato.”

IN ANOTHER MAN’S SKIN is a MUST READ. Clifford Goldstein just read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and he called it “the most moving, troubling, and insightful book my eyes have pierced in a decade”.

“Malcolm X was a Black Muslim; I’m a Jewish believer in Jesus. Little of his theology, attitudes, and conclusions resonate with me (no doubt, little of mine would have with him, either). I’m not here to praise the man; I’m here to praise his book, which powerfully reinforced for me Jesus’ words “Judge not” (Matt. 7:1, KJV). Sure, actions need to be judged, but The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which put me into another man’s skin (the skin of a different color), showed me the world through another man’s eyes and made me tremble at the thought of judging another man’s soul.” Read more about Malcolm X on Wikipedia.

For readers, like Cliff, who wonder where Malcolm’s life’s journey might have taken him, had he not been assassinated by rival Black Muslims, I offer his comments from a 1965 conversation with Gordon Parks, two days before his death.

“Listening to leaders like Nasser, Ben Bella, and Nkrumah awakened me to the dangers of racism. I realized racism isn't just a black and white problem. It's brought bloodbaths to about every nation on earth at one time or another.

“Brother, remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant—the one who wanted to help the [Black] Muslims and the whites get together—and I told her there wasn't a ghost of a chance and she went away crying? Well, I've lived to regret that incident. In many parts of the African continent I saw white students helping black people. Something like this kills a lot of argument. I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I'm sorry for now. I was a zombie then—like all [Black] Muslims—I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man's entitled to make a fool of himself if he's ready to pay the cost. It cost me 12 years.

“That was a bad scene, brother. The sickness and madness of those days—I'm glad to be free of them.”

WHO HATH BELIEVED by Elsie Perry Jones is a reminder that only one man is on record as understanding the meaning of his death. “In all that crowd of onlookers and participants, only one person brought a benediction into Christ’s closing hours. Just one humble soul! A thief who knew his own unworthiness was the only one to speak faith in the surety of Christ’s future glory, faith in Christ’s eternal triumph. “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”

(Elsie Perry Jones died on February 2, 2010, one day after she granted the Review the right to publish this essay. She was 95.)
Kameron DeVasher writes about George Butler’s initial opposition to the counsel of Ellen White in LESSONS AT THE FEET OF JESUS: THE TESTING OF GEORGE I. BUTLER. It’s a MUST READ.
“George I. Butler was one of Adventism’s most influential leaders. During his lifetime he served the church in a variety of administrative positions, including president of several conferences, head of two publishing associations, and president of the General Conference on two separate occasions. But for all the positive leadership he provided over the course of his career, those familiar with our denomination’s history likely associate George Butler with one polarizing experience: the 1888 General Conference session. At this session, during his last term as General Conference president, Butler joined with General Conference secretary and Review and Herald editor Uriah Smith to oppose the influence of the two young coeditors of the Signs of the Times, A. T. Jones and
E. J. Waggoner.”
In THE DOWNSIDE OF DIVORCE Angela Baerg takes an honest look at divorce and its consequences. She begins with the following statistic: “By the time they turn 18 years old, about 50 percent of children who were born in 2000 in the United States to parents who were married won’t know what it means to have their parents stay together until “death do they part.”

FACING OUR FEARS by Hyveth Williams talks about fearfulness that has become a way of life. “Legitimate fear is understandable and allowable, but chronic fear is a corrosive and destructive force. It takes away our incentive, kills our sense of adventure, saps our creativity, and makes us hostages of our own imagination so that we ‘play it safe and take no chances’. This fear makes us critical when we should be compassionate, hateful when we ought to be loving, and complainers when we should be compliant.”
STAND STILL is a James Black reflection. “Many of our church members may never know the numerous ways God blessed attendees of the first North American Division “Just Claim It” Youth Prayer Conference held February 28–March 4, 2007, in Dallas, Texas. The objective of this prayer conference—and the second congress scheduled for April 7-11, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio—is to meet the spiritual needs of Adventist youth and help lead them into a closer relationship with Jesus.”

But isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?

Comic modified from Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cynics aren’t always right, are they?

Comic modified from Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing Spectrum

Winter, 2010
Volume 38, Issue 1

Let me first mention what was well written and worth reading: CREATION AND DEVOLUTION by Charles Scriven, LETTERS, ZOGBY SURVEY FINDS RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND MEMBERS AT ODDS, and Dr. James Londis’ response to Launa Rasmussen’ review of his book, FAITH BASED CAREGIVING IN A SECULAR WORLD. (The review itself was disorganized and difficult to follow.)

NEW DIRECTOR MERKLIN TAKES REINS OF ADVENTIST MUSLIM STUDY CENTER, reported by Rick Kajiura mentioned something I didn’t know. There are mission study centers operated by the office of Adventist Mission for Jews in Israel, Buddhists in Thailand, Hindus in India, and Secular and Post Modern folks in England.

ELLEN WHITE RETURNS HOME: THE ELLEN WHITE PROJECT by Beverly Beem was informative but longer than necessary. (I had to work at staying awake.) I hope the Muslims that William Johnson finds so attractive as he engages in GLOBAL FAITH INTERACTION don’t read the ROADMAP FOR MISSION. Adventist friendship is really only an “opening wedge”.

I wish I could say that the poetic JOY IN THE MORNING at least made me happy. It was too self-conscious and long, and never did give even a gentle hint about what to do to get “joyful” except wake up in the morning. John McDowell’s poem, BLUE, at least informed the reader that God’s eyes are blue.

I read EMBRACING THE STRANGER: TOWARD AN ADVENTIST THEOLOGY OF MIGRATION in the hope that it would outline practical steps that I could take to further my efforts to get a comprehensive immigrant reform policy enacted. All I got was the message, repeated over and over: be kind to immigrants. Lourdes E. Morales-Gudmundsson did supply a reading list at the end, but I wanted an expert to tell me what I could do to help change things for the better.

Matthew Burdette reviewed Charles Scriven’s book, THE PROMISE OF PEACE. I’ve read the book, and I liked many of the sentiments expressed, but this review doesn’t do the book justice: it’s poorly written and the criticism is equivocal. Consequently, the spirit of the book drowns in faint praise.

The page devoted to HEALTH-CARE REFORM 2009-2010 reported by Larry A. Mitchel was old news. MY VIEW OF THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE by Leland R. Kaiser was poorly written and so filled with new-age gobbledygook that I thought nothing that followed could be worse. I was wrong!

Bonnie, in your editorial, STAND UP AND CHEER, you called the pieces by the presidents of the Adventist Theological society and the Adventist Society for Religious Studies, “excellent”? They bored me to tears, their language obscured reason; the content was unbearably superficial and so over referenced that clarity was destroyed. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MOSES AND ELIJAH by Roy E. Gane and REPAIRERS OF BROKEN WALLS AND RESTORES OF GOD’S JUSTICE by Zdravko Plantak give theological discourse a really bad name!

Well, by now you must have realized that this issue of the magazine was a disappointment. I’m looking forward to the next one. Things have to get better!

Cliff Goldstein on My Mind

Comic from Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.
(click for enlarged image)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reviewing the Adventist Review

March 25, 2010
Vol. 187, No. 9

This issue has a great deal to commend it. However, that doesn’t mean that my “conversation” with Roy Adams about his editorial, PEOPLE WILL NOTICE, will result in a meeting of the minds. Drs. Landless and Handysides’s comments on CHILDHOOD OBESITY AND BEHAVIOR CHANGE might make some Republicans squirm, but it’s brilliant and a MUST READ. And Gary B. Swanson provides the inside information regarding THE ADVENTISTS, a PBS documentary to be seen nationally during Easter Week.

The infrastructure of the Adventist church in Chile was badly damaged. No Adventists have been reported dead or injured. ADRA is on the scene and has pledged $105,000 to assist the relief efforts, in addition to their usual relief efforts.

Adventists were active during the Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver, dispensing handmade scarves and hugs and visitor information, and Andrea Luxton is now the Provost of Andrew’s University.

READ THE MANUAL by Mark A. Kellner is a reminder that paying attention to the instructions in the Bible’s manual for life on this planet is a good idea.
PEOPLE ARE WATCHING by Roy Adams left me with a totally different “feel” from his editorial. This article is generous, inclusive, and friendly.

“With their message of Creation, Seventh-day Adventists have the strongest incentive to work together to reach every culture, every people. A good Adventist sees every human being as a potential candidate for the kingdom of God. When we truly understand our message, we’d see it as the very opposite of narrow; the very opposite of insular; the very opposite of exclusive. It’s the good news that through the marvelous grace of our matchless Redeemer, millions and millions and millions—a multiethnic, multicultural, multiracial multitude—will stand together one day on that resplendent sea before the throne of God.”

LANGUAGE LESSONS by Andrew McChesney is a reminder that: “If we talk with God only every once in a while, we’ll have trouble understanding His voice. His words will sound as foreign to our ears as my Russian sounded to [eight-year-old] Misha.”
THE ADVENTISTS is a documentary that “will be premiering on PBS stations the first week of April to coincide with National Public Health Week, April 5-11. This one-hour program seeks to represent fairly the unique health message that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has advocated since the very earliest years of its organization. . .The film introduces and investigates a spiritual centrality of health that is being completely overlooked by both sides of the issue in the heat of recent political debate”.
HOW THEN WILL THEY KNOW by Ellen G. White describes effective Christian witnessing this way. “All the followers of Christ are to be witnesses unto him. Every one who receives the precious treasure of truth is to impart of this blessing to others. But the truth is too often presented in such a manner that it does not have the influence it should. A controversial spirit is encouraged. Many dwell almost exclusively upon doctrinal subjects. . .”

“Changing personal or cultural behavior is a monumental challenge. Sometimes we feel that just by promoting an “Adventist lifestyle” we will change people’s behavior. This alone does not work. Education, of course, is important, but how many smokers are unaware of the dangers of cigarette smoking? Motivation and values are operative in behavior change.

“There is a considerable body of evidence that shows values are transmitted through meaningful and trustworthy relationships. Values are learned almost intuitively and form the backbone of our cultures. Currently in North America and other regions of the world, a “toxic” culture exists that contributes to obesity. Trying to attack the problem of obesity on an individual case-by-case basis helps individuals see change; but as long as it remains individual, obesity will continue to be a problem in society as a whole. When will the greasy hamburger-and-fries “culture” come under serious question and be curbed? The change in smoking control came about when society addressed its problems and changed the environment by designating public areas as nonsmoking areas, prohibiting advertising, and attempting to make tobacco a regulated substance.”
In HOW TOP CLAIM YOUR CAMPUS by Jimmy Phillips argues that Adventist churches close to secular universities and colleges need to find “ways to connect, integrate, and empower college students”. He suggests that a visit to, or a call to 800-328-0525 might get the ball rolling. For additional information, check out Adventist Christian Fellowship ( and The Adventist Center for College Faith (
I’LL SING YOUR SONG is Kortnye Hurst’s tribute to a beloved grandfather and a song his family heard him sing when his life was ebbing away.

I’ll praise Your name, Lord, and sing Your song
I’ll praise Your name, Lord, my whole life long
I’ll praise Your name, Lord, until I’m home
I’ll praise Your name, Lord, and sing Your song.
© 1979 Singspiration Music

LIVING WITHOUT FEAR by Emily Felts Jones is a reminder that “Christians should look forward to Christ’s return with assurance. We should be able to say with the ancients, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation (Isa. 25:9).”
BLOSSER, Marylou M.
COY, Madeleine E.
FARLEY, Beulah L.
LIBBY, Vern Rowland
MILWARD, Arthur Amott
SMITH, Shirley M.
STILES, Helen L. Haauselt

In NEVER-ENDING LOVE by Dick Rentfro, he offers this reminder: “Even with grown children, parents need to continue a positive parenting role. When children no longer seek their parents’ advice, they still value their love and support. Let’s not neglect to supply them with this, because the need for a parent’s love never ends.”
Andy Nash writes about a donkey that smelled sweet in ANOINTED ONE. Can you guess why “this particular colt, at this particular Passover week, smelled like nard perfume?”

PEOPLE WILL NOTICE by Roy Adams is an editorial that requires a clarifying dialogue. Included here are three paragraphs that require the reviewer to ask a series of questions. (Questions are indicated by number placement.) What I would have said at that point in the conversation is referenced.

“The Sabbath and the Second Coming—these two tenets effectively define our identity as Adventist Christians, (1) and people expect we’d be alarmed—even just a tad—when either of them comes under attack. (2) The theory of evolution attacks them both—directly (the Sabbath) and indirectly (the Second Coming). (3) So why did important pockets of Adventists simply shrug the shoulder over the evolution events of 2009? (4)
“It was the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, with all kinds of scientific presentations and celebrations by evolution proponents—even by some Christian churches. And the issue is why so many of those Adventists best qualified (5) to respond to the avalanche of “scientific” propaganda (6) choose to maintain the deafening silence that we heard? (7)
“But even worse than the silence were the muffled noises from some quarters actually in support of the prevailing scientific status quo, (8) even questioning the fundamental biblical notion of a literal six-day Creation. (9) The small effort made by Adventist Review to counteract the tidal wave might have been strengthened considerably had many of those best qualified to speak felt convicted along the lines we took. (10)

“Observers are bound to notice that in so many areas of current biblical, scientific, and moral concerns and conflicts, Adventists are virtually silent; (11) and that it’s other folk, other Christians, who are carrying the ball, who are doing the heavy lifting, and who, as a consequence, are receiving the biting criticism and scorn.” (12)

Questions and Responses
(1) If these two tenets “effectively define our identity as Adventist Christians,” why are there 28 Fundamental Doctrines?
(2) To whom are you referring?
(3) How can that be? There is no way the scientific method can prove or disprove that God exists. On the other hand, religious beliefs are fundamentally unscientific, i.e. they cannot be arrived at using the methods of science. Consequently, it is rationally impossible to use science to validate religious belief, or religion to validate scientific theory.
(4) Define “important pockets”. What does it mean to “simply shrug the shoulder”?
(5) Who are the “Adventists best qualified to respond”?
(6) Your use of the word, “scientific” to describe propaganda, seems to imply that the science referred to is not science. Am I right?
(7) Who chose? Under what conditions might silence be “deafening”? To whom was it “deafening”?
(8) What is “the prevailing scientific status quo”?
(9) What about the other creation story in Genesis 2? Why do you suppose there are two? If the first is “literally” true, what is the status of the second?
(10) Again, who are “those best qualified to speak”?
(11) Which “areas of current biblical, scientific, and moral concerns and conflicts” are the ones “Adventists are virtually silent” about? And what does “virtually” mean when used to describe “silent”?
(12) Who are those “other Christians who are carrying the ball? “Ball” is a metaphor for something. What is it? Why are the folks with the ball “receiving the biting criticism and scorn”? Is that a good thing? Should Adventists feel left out?

You’ll have to fill in Roy’s responses to my answers for yourself. However, it’s too bad he wasn’t a little more specific. As it is, I’m concerned that just about anybody could jump to conclusions about which Adventists were “deafeningly silent” when they shouldn’t have been, and didn’t “carry the ball” when they should have.

Although I can only guess at this point, the following websites may provide the context for a real conversation with Roy:

Killer Plants

Once in a while, I challenge Adventist scientists and theologians of every stripe, to explain how a certain biological phenomena came to be.* Currently, Adventist scientists are taking a beating for their silence concerning whether or not the earth was created in six literal twenty-four hour days. It may be that these belligerent theologians and biblical literalists are ignorant of the workings of the natural world. Perhaps if they were better informed, they would be a little less enthusiastic in their persecution of their fellow Adventists who must take that world into consideration on a day-do-day basis.

So, in an attempt to test this theoretical possibility, I challenge any of those critics of Adventist scientists who know the Truth about creation to explain when, how, and why this plant was created.

"Like figures in a shadow theater, silhouettes of prey show through a Philippine pitcher plant. The waxy surface in the red tube stops bugs from climbing free. Below, enzymes leach nutrients from trapped insects."
(Killer Plants, March 2010, National Geographic Magazine)


A Tabloid Exclusive

From Non Sequitur, by Wiley
(click image to enlarge)

The Members of the Church at Alexadradar

In my review of the Review of January 21, 2010, I posted this picture of the members of the Adventist Church in Alexandradar Russia. It was taken 1914 and 1915, just before the church and its members became a casualtyies of the Russian revolution. The names of some of those pictured are listed below, thanks to the work of Louesa Peters, Betty Christianson, and Bernard Penner.

(This is a retyping of the notes, for clarity, that John G. Jacques wrote to his son, 1967, which is the key to the people in the picture of the Alexandrodar Church in Russia. Betty Christianson, Bernard Penner and I have figured out that as close as we can determine the date of the picture is around 1914-15.)

This photo is of our home church group at Alexandrodar, Caucasus, Russia. The name Alexandrodar of our village is derived from the emperor Alexander, the father of the last, the ill-fated Nicolai.

It is true, my grandfather Isaac furnished land and facilities for the Adventist church. He was a constant, faithful S.D.A., some wavered, but he remained true, come what may. I am sorry, grandpa Isaac is not in this photo, for he has already gone to his rest in death, soon after my return from the four years in Friedensau, Germany, 1910.

There are seven rows in this photo. (beginning with the bottom, and always from the left to right: In the first two rows I could only guess any of the kids, so I will pass them up. So starting with the third row:

1. Jakob Heinrichs, living now in Canada and good S.D.A.
2 & 3. X (his wife) very earnest Christians
4. Sister Jokob Berg (a very mother in Israel, wife of Jakob Berg just above her in the photo.
5. My dear grandmother Isaac, in whos bedroom I was secreted for one night for fear of the local detectives. She made the bed quilt for my escape journey during the night with the help of aunt Margaret the quilt was made in that night. We still have the quilt with a slip on it to preserve it. I wrapped it about myself during some winter steps in Manchuria.
6. Aunt Agatha, my mother’s sister, younger than mother.
7. Sister A. Heinrichs, wife of man just above her. I always remember him as one of the local church elders. (Quite a preacher too).
8. Sister X
9. Sister Neufeld, whose husband was a drunkard, but desiring to be delivered at times. (her husband is the man in row five from below, has a Russian cap on, he is first in the line five at left end.
10. Sister X

Row four:

11. Heinrich Koehn, first elder of the church much of my remembrance time
12. Sister Kornelia (Freisen) Kuntz (her husband just above her, a shoe cobbler living just across the street from us in my childhood days
13. Christian Xanke, good and faithful elder
14. Jakob Berg (husband of lady below him) choir leader in our church
15. & 16. John Xanke and wife (wife besid him at his left) His wife is my mother’s youngest sister.
18. Sister Heirichs, always faith but timid to speak words in church
19. Neufeld girl a member
20. A Heirichs, frequently one of the church elders. (quite a good speaker)
21. A child
22.& 23. Brother & sister Jakob Helver (a servant of Jakob Berg, but very true in church affairs, and could preach)
24. Sister Maria Isaac (a cousin of mine)
25. Sister Broeckel (the mother of the Broekels in New Jersey, Philip.

Row Five:

26. Enslaved brother (?) Neufeld, struggling with liquor habit.
27. Brother kuntz the cobbler.
28. & 29. Lad and sister of brother Xanke just below them
30. Marie Xanke, a fine girl, whom I was to have married had I not gone into exile to Siberia. I never quite agreed with my ideas of marriage because my mother’s sister Helena (Number 16 in this photo) became Marie’s mother by second marriage of John Xanke. For to me it would have seemed almost like marrying your own sister!
31. Sister X
32. & 33. Brother and sister Henry Heinrichs (His wife is the only daughter of choir director Jakob Berg (Number 14)
34,35,36. Neufeld girls, etc.X
37. Agatha Froesen, daughter of my Aunt Agattha (Number 6.) a timid girl

Row Six:

37. Jakob Friesen one of the five baptized converts of mine from my first evangelistic meeting in our village after return from Germany, Friedensau.
38. John Froese (cousin of mine (son of Aunt Agatha)
39. & 40. Brother & sister Gerhard Isaac (my cousins)
41,42. Brother and sister John Isaac, my mother’s youngest brother. Probably the most read man in our church. His temper caused frequent and embarrassing repentances in the church. His wife is the daughter of Elder Loebsack (the cousin of the chief Russian leader Loebsack) the former Elder Loebsack baptized me in thr River Cuban that flows from the Caucasian mountain Elbruz.
43,44. Brother Bernard Penner, brother of uncle Leonard Penner of Oklahoma, whom & whose sons you well know. (Who is #44, his wife?)
45. Sister X (forgot her name, though I know her.
46. My own Sister Lora (or Leonora) oldest member of our family, Now dead
47,48. Brother and sister Mitzoff (a cobbler by trade, but very active and earnest man in church activities. His wife beside him is the sister of Elder Loebsack, our chief leader in Russia till his death in Moscow prison.

Row seven:

49. Boy X
50. Henry Froese another son of Aunt Agatha, my mother’s sister.
51. John Isaac my cousin (His father not in photo; had been a faithful member, but took offense at other’s doings and went to drink and smoking, etc.) All children became good members.
52. Broeckkel (Philip, now in New Jersey & must be an old man himself now
53. Peter Isaac another son of Peter Isaac, my mother’s brother.
54. John Penner, son of uncle Bernard Penner, his father is just below his right hand, #43
55,56.57 Boys whom I can not identify.

Dear Oliver, Mama & Papa are very happy about what you said concerning the progress you are making with the book. I know the Lord is blessing you in this enterprise. It will bring pleasure to you after you get it in print. Hundreds of persons, daily almost, inquire about my book, of course, they mean the old one. I tell them that soon a new edition will be forthcoming. May the dear Lord Jesus keep and preserve your strength and steadfast view at the Great Author and Shepherd. (Signature—Love, Daddy)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010