Word Combinations and Slight Disasters!

Dedicated to all Fathers and Husbands

It is not always easy to combine specific words in an orderly fashion so that they make perfect sense to the reader.  For instance the following series of words;

  1. Small but heavy antique desk
  2. raftersSturdy six foot aluminum ladder
  3. Storage rafters in a garage
  4. Strong, agile 83 year old man

All of those words, combined into a paragraph, could produce a short word-picture story, describing a just-around the corner, work place accident.

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon and a perfect day for sitting in an easy chair, catching up on some reading material, which is exactly what I was doing.  As the pages turned, my friend Lorretta, my loving companion and wife of sixty-three years, noted that I had reached the end of the chapter.  She quietly reminded me of the need to fulfill the promise I had made two or three, maybe more, weeks earlier, concerning the moving of the antique desk out of the guest bedroom. This would allow more space for easier access in that room.  It was a simple matter; move the desk to a storage place in the rafters in the garage.

In the communication of that moment, it became quite clear that the reading of the next chapter would have to wait.  Though I was quite relaxed, I was not dressed for work in the garage.  I was wearing dress slacks, a nice Hawaiian shirt and barefoot.  However, this task was very simple, it would not take more than a couple of minutes.  I jumped up in order to perform my husbandly duties both quickly and gladly, and may I add, (sigh) finally!

Some minor details needed attention before this simple project could be completed.  One car, the red one, had to be re-positioned out of the garage in order to remove the ladder from its hanging location on the rafter.  The other car, Lorretta’s white one, would be at least three feet from the action so it was not in the way.  The ladder was carefully removed, placed in its exact location and leveled properly.   The target location in the rafters for the placement of the small, but heavy, antique desk, was carefully assessed.  The process was well in hand and shortly, I could get back to the book.

I carefully placed the antique desk next to the ladder, lifting it by my left hand while I climbed up the ladder.  The desk was heavy, but not more than I could handle.   As I climbed the ladder, I reached the place where I could grab hold of the 2 X 4 rafter with my right hand for stability while placing the desk in its target location.  The desk was in the proper angle to fit precisely into the pre-planned storage area.

However, there in the rafters, not observed earlier by yours truly, a small chair protruded slightly into the open space reserved for the antique desk.   It was inadvertently jarred by the antique table leg, being moved into the planned location.

This slight unforeseen reaction caused the small antique desk in my hand to shift to the left, causing a reaction of my body to shift to the right.  That movement caused the sturdy six-foot aluminum ladder to move in the opposite direction of the desk, causing me to release my grip on the small, but heavy, antique desk, and at the same time  tighten my right-hand grip on the rafter.

The sounds coming from the garage, at that moment, caused Lorretta to stop her ironing in the bedroom and wonder what her husband was accomplishing in the garage.    The sounds I was hearing were:

the desk kissing and scraping  my face on its way toward the floor, the sturdy six-foot aluminum ladder upon which I had been standing crashing through the safe three foot clearance and smashing onto the highly polished, rear fender of my wife’s white convertible accompanied by the unmistakable noise of the aluminum ladder      ricocheting along the rear metal fender on Lorretta’s white car, producing the grinding, scraping, denting sound of white paint being  removed from the surface of the vehicle, while the ladder continued its plummet downward toward the floor, being accompanied by the crunching sounds of the small but heavy antique desk crushing the legs of the sturdy six-foot aluminum ladder,  lying directly beneath me on the garage floor.

All of the aforementioned events occurring in near record time.

At the conclusion of this short event, while I was still hanging precariously by my right hand from the garage rafters, the following thought found its way into my mind:

“If I release the grip of my right hand from the rafter from which I am hanging, I will be able to join the ladder and desk, with all of us together, in a small pile, on the rubble beneath me on the garage floor”.

Which is precisely what I did!

…then absolute silence!

It was at this precise moment of silence that the bedroom door, leading from the garage to the inside of our lovely home, opened and who should appear but the wife of my youth.  She was simply wondering how to explain the strange sounds coming from the garage while she was in the far bedroom quietly and faithfully ironing our clothes for church the next day.

As she stood staring at me, while I was straddling the bent ladder, and with blood coming from the cut on my nose from the antique table and the cut on my shin from the aluminum ladder, she simply exclaimed.

                   “What happened to the back of my car?”

I quietly responded, while standing in the rubble, like a hurt little boy.

“The car?  What about my nose?”

It is then that my Lorretta, following a brief gasp, went immediately into the nurse mode, which is what she has had to do many times during our meaningful, eventful, sixty-three years of marriage, four children, fifteen grandchildren and twenty-four great grandchildren!

 As stated earlier, the ability to combine words in order to give meaning is very important in the world of communication and writing.  But the combination of words such as ladder, heavy, rafters, eighty-three, lifting, storage, disaster, blood and  “what happened to the back of my car!” are far more than just a combination of words.  These are the precise words needed to paint the picture of gathered events, illustrating life’s wonderful lessons.

Perhaps the question needing to be asked here is, “what are life’s wonderful lessons to be learned from the combination of these precise words and events gathered together on this beautiful Saturday afternoon”?

chuckAt this moment, I have decided to think about the answer until the up-coming, not too distant, Christmas season. That is when I will bring out the eighteen-foot extension ladder and extend it up the side of our home to place the beautiful lights and hang the Christmas decorations on the rather high eves. That could prove to be a very productive, volatile Christmas season project perhaps even my last! Could this possibly work into  a “Face-Book post?

I am also sure that before the project is fully unfolded, it will be accompanied by carefully chosen words spoken by Lorretta, my loving, concerned wife;

“Chuck, don’t forget about the $800.00 it cost to fix the car from your last adventure on the ladder.  Please, before you go up the ladder, would you move the car to the street?”



May our Lord Jesus Christ,

      whose birthday we celebrate,

 bring you peace and stability and joy

during His Blessed Birthday Celebration.

   Chuck and Lorretta Emert

“… there has been born for you a Savior,

who is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:11


Where Will Their Story End?

“Milestones” following “Why did you come to Russia?” On my way home from Lampados College, standing at the corner, waiting for the #6 trolley-bus.”

At what destination will their story end?

I stood at the corner and watched them go by. Their eyes were saying, “Look at us, feel for us, listen to our cry, We are struggling and hurting, can’t you tell by our face? We have not been taught about your good God of grace.


Our Kiosks are full with good things to buy, But our rubles are few, so we just pass them by. We are paying such a price for our sins of the past, It seems that our nation is taking its last gasps.

We purposely abandoned the Lord God overall, Now we are forsaken, on whom can we call? We need to get back to the God of our youth, The God of our grandparents, the God of all truth.


Do you, on this corner, have an answer for us? Or do we need to look elsewhere?

There’s no one to trust!”

I stood on that corner wondering what can I say? I do not know Russian, can I learn it in a day? This frustrating knowledge of being unable to say The Gospel to those people as they passed on their way.

Their eyes speak it all, their need is so great

O God, send Believing Russians to Russians before it is too late. The language of these Russians will never be preached by me, but, we are teaching their believers Your ambassadors to be. These students at Lampados College are truly quite bold. God, help me train them so your Good News can be told.

Soaring like an Eagle Or Acting like a Turkey?

A meeting of the local communist officials took place and their decision was to remove the Lampados Bible College  (Currently Kuban Evangelical Christian University) from its facilities in the building which the college had occupied for the past months.  This was not the first time they had been “kicked out” of a building, and probably it would not be the last time. Christian schools and churches were accustomed to this sudden, unannounced move order, never a request!

The college was meeting in a building near Turgeniva and Festivalia, two of the main streets in Krasnodar, close to the trolley and rail bus system.   This new move would put the College into Adygea Territory across the Kuban River, in this month where the thermometer reads “frigid”!

This meeting would become very special because Anna the Blonde, who was invited to the meeting, became our translator in Russia.   She came that late October day meeting, and saw what we were trying to accomplish and wanted to become part of the team.  I did not see an answer to this problem of moving the school again  because I was looking at the problem.  The problem was not the problem.  The problem was that the problem was all that I could see.

          While I was pouting down-stream, God was busy working up-stream to put us into a better place for teaching and ministry.


A Place With…

electricity in the room,

a blackboard against the wall,

a large back yard, with an out-house, with a light,

a place to dig a hole in the ground for a fire-pit,

a large, metal container to place over the fire pit to make the soup,

a deep well with water that had not been affected by Chernobyl,

only a mile to walk from the bus stop,

with only one military checkpoint,

and one long bridge to cross the Kuban River into Adygea territory.

But beyond the problem,

He brought us a translator.

 It became a win…win situation, however not seen by me.

          Early that morning, I was reading Psalm 61, ascribed to David as its author, before I made my way to the College.   The Rev. Dr.  A. Cohen, writing in the commentary The Psalms (Soncino Press, page 192) states, [This is] a petition to God for restoration by a person away from home….not in a remote spot far away from his home, but Jerusalem, the dwelling-place of God [which is for him] the centre of the earth.  He measures his distance from it not by the miles but by the intensity of his yearning to be there, in the place where the visible pledges of God’s Presence were to be found.”

Psalm 61

For the choir director; on a stringed instrument.

 A Psalm of David.

1    Hear my cry, O God;

Give heed to my prayer.

2   From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

3   For You have been a refuge for me,

A tower of strength against the enemy.

4   Let me dwell in Your tent forever;

Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.


5   For You have heard my vows, O God;

You have given me the inheritance

of those who fear Your name.

6   You will prolong the king’s life;

His years will be as many generations.

7   He will abide before God forever;

Appoint loving-kindness and truth

that they may preserve him.

8   So I will sing praise to Your name forever,

That I may pay my vows day by day.

Chuck’s Psalm 61 prayer of intensity
  Look Out!  I am standing on the Rock




Psalm 61

There is a time to run, and a time to race.

A time to walk, and slow down the pace.

A time to be quiet and a time to talk.

A time to pray, and trust in His grace

A time to stop, and a time to go;

A time to move forward and a time to move slow.

A time to take refuge and a time to fight;

A time to let go, and a time to hang tight.

But whatever the time, with the need big or small,

Whatever the problem, or how hard the hammer falls,

Whoever the enemy, whether outside or in,

We’ll trust in our Savior, and lean hard on Him.

They think they have thwarted us in the move they have planned

They failed to see that You were holding our hand.

We will simply dig deeper into Your Word this day,

Watching You move us forward with no setback or delay.

We are standing on the Rock that is exceedingly high;

We are soaring like an eagle, into Your endless sky.

You are our tower of strength; we are under Your wings,

Our future is in Your hands, and because of this we can sing.

So help us, O God, to trust You each day;

Your presence is with us, You’re in our life to stay.

Our life is in Your hands; we need not worry or fear,

You are present with us in Russia, we are so glad we are here!

Krasnodar, 1993

Why Did You Come To Russia?

Milestones “Standing at the Corner” 1993

What is it like to live in the land of Tolstoy? What kind of thoughts flow through the mind as one stands beneath the large portrait of Lenin in the Communist Hall in Moscow? What strange feelings lurk in the mind as you ride the underground Metro in Moscow, or when you are being crushed in the trolley bus in Krasnodar, or preaching in a church where no American has ever been before, or singing praises to Jesus in the large Communist hall in Kropotkin, or walking on the sand of the largest Pioneer camp at the Black Sea, or riding in the dark elevator in the hospital in Maykop, or giving a Bible to an elderly babushka, who has never seen or touched a Bible. Many strange and wonderful feelings indeed!

Helene and the Kiosk

A small Kiosk is located about two blocks from our apartment. The color of the kiosk is now faded into a blend of midnight blue, sky blue, dirty blue almost blue all combined with rust and white. The windows that are not cracked are too dirty to look through. I usually pass the kiosk about 6:45 A. M. because it is close to where I catch the # 6 or # 14 bus on my way to the Lampados Bible College.kiosk

It has never been open that early in the morning, so there are no displays of merchandise showing. The Kiosk owners usually remove everything out of the windows at night so that there will be something to sell the next morning! The glass is easily broken, the merchandise easily removed and no one will have seen the theft take place.

One afternoon, as Lorretta and I were on our shopping excursion, we spotted some cookies in the window of the “blue” kiosk and since the Co-Mission team would be coming to our home for the church service and lunch on Sunday. We purchased whatever we could find to feed the team members.

We quickly looked into our “Speak Russian” book to find the word for ”cookie” and ”how much”, then stepped up to the window and in our very best Russian said what we believed were the right words. The Russian woman looked at us and said, ”From what country do you come?” in beautiful English. Cookies were no longer on our mind. This was our first contact with an English speaking Russian woman, right on our street, with whom we could speak.

A Flurry of Questions

We explained to her that we had just recently moved into Krasnodar from America. She stated that she had seen us pass her kiosk many times and she had wanted to speak with us. She had suspected that we were Americans by the way we walked. She was amazed that we were living in the five-floor apartment building on the street on which her kiosk was located. She asked, “Why did you come to Russia? You left America to come to Russia. Why? What would make you do that?”

We explained that we had come to Russia to tell people that God loved them and sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for their sins. We then continued to explain to her that we were also involved in teaching the students at the Lampados Bible College how to study the Bible and train them to become preachers and teachers of the Word of God.

She listened intently to us and told us her name was Helene, then came the questions:

Who sent you here?

Who is paying you?

Are you working for our Government (the KGB?) or the United States (the CIA)?

What is there here that would make you leave America?

Why are you not living at the Inn-tourist Hotel downtown?

Are you not afraid that you may not be able to get out of this country?

My friends have been watching you go into your apartment building and they are wondering if you are afraid to live in that building. Are you not fearful of our collapsing political situation? Were you aware of the revolution in Moscow last week?

Question after question and answer after answer. During our conversation, we were able to inquire about her background. Helene told us she was born in Tel Aviv and lived in Russia for over 37 years. She and her husband live on the fifth floor of the apartment directly behind the kiosk. He is not well and they are struggling financially. We found out that Helene was raised in a French Convent, learning about Christianity through Roman Catholic nuns. She was not a believer but her smile, which was contagious, invited us to tell her more. However, the line behind us at the kiosk, waiting to buy what Helene has displayed in the window, was getting longer, so we had to leave.

Our New Friend Helene

We gave her the rubles for the cookies, bid her a ”good day” and left. She smiled and waved to us. What a tremendous and exciting experience. Now we looked for Helene every day as we passed her kiosk. We would wave, smile, and often stop to purchase some item that we needed, or did not need. We took her a Russian Bible and told her it was a gift from the believers in America. She appreciated it so very much and, according to tradition, she gave a gift to us during a later encounter with her at the kiosk.bank notes

As we walked toward our flat one afternoon, we heard someone calling us. We looked around, and there was Helene, waving wildly out of her kiosk window and beckoning us across the street. Upon our arrival, she gave us a gift of ice cream and we thanked her and went on our way.

Our desire was to make ourselves available to Helene and eventually invited to her home. We wanted to communicate with her in an uninterrupted conversation. We looked for openings and we invited her to our apartment, two blocks away. She was on the heavy side and she said she could never handle the fifty stairs leading up to our third floor apartment. Her building had an elevator so she and her husband were able to live on the fifth floor.

As time passed, we noticed that Helene’s kiosk was not open as consistently as when we first met her. When we were able to catch her in her kiosk one afternoon, she related that her husband was ill and she was spending more time tending to his needs. We told her we would pray for him and she responded with a grateful smile.

It was just a short time later, when we saw her opening her kiosk, so we stopped and told her that we had missed seeing her. She related that her husband of 25 years had died that week. It was then that I remembered passing the building, which I thought contained Helene’s apartment, and seeing an open casket resting outside the front door, surrounded by a number of Russian people. A bus was idling at the curb and my assumption was that the people were on the way to the cemetery. I had no idea that the casket contained Helene’s husband.

She immediately begged us take some ice cream and eat it with her. She stated that one of the traditions of the Russian people was to eat with the bereaved person and in that way participate in the sorrow of the death. She gave us the ice cream cones she wanted us to eat with her and wrapped up four other delicacies for us to eat later. We went to our apartment and found a sympathy card we had brought from the United States. Lorretta wrote her a very kind note, and we returned it to her that afternoon. She was sincerely overwhelmed with the thoughtfulness and she cried.

A Missed Opportunity?

We were extremely sorry that we had not been more connected to this nice, kind Russian Jewish woman. We are thankful that God gave us this unique opportunity to be with her, and we prayed that God would allow us the opportunity to give further information to Helene regarding the Lord Jesus Christ.

The next week, as we were returning from the college, Helene called us over to her kiosk and smiled that hallow smile that says, ”I’m hurting”. We told her that we were praying for her and gave her another book, More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell. She immediately reached under her counter and gave us a bottle of high priced Vodka, which was a very expensive and sacrificial gift. She told us that she knew we did not drink but that Vodka was great to rub on your body if you had sore muscles. We accepted her gift and were grateful for her kindness.


Helene’s hours at the kiosk were not the same that they had been before her husband’s death. One day on our way home from the college, we noticed that there was an 8” padlock on the front window of her kiosk.

We never saw Helene again. Our translator, Anna, went into the apartment building to find out where she lived, but no one knew who she was and if known, were not talking. Talking and questioning could lead to consequences with unpleasant results. Approximately four weeks later, a new person took over the Kiosk and our friend Helene, our first real Russian contact in Krasnodar, was forever gone from our lives

We are praying that the Bible and the books given to her will continue to affect Helene’s life with the hope and peace that comes with the glorious Gospel message. We know that the seed that God allowed us to plant in her life, will be watered by His Word and will spring up into life eternal. We continue to pray that God will send someone else to Helene, this nice Russian, Jewish woman, who will be able to share more information with her regarding the love and saving Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Such a great need in Russia! Who can meet it?
Only Our God through His word!

How Many Apples is Six?

By Chuck Emert| Krasnodar, Russia

We were standing at our corner market where we purchased most of our daily provisions, and only three blocks from our flat. We affectionately called this market, ”cholera corner”. Perhaps we will later explain this kind terminology for those who have never purchased their meat on the street, and that is literal. Not road kill, mind you, but on the street never the less.

A Pleasant Babushka

”Lorretta,” I almost shouted, “those are real, red delicious apples that that lady has for sale over there on the blanket!” Sure enough, they looked good enough to eat.  We saw no worm holes, or anything else that would be discouraging except the problem of which one of us was going to be brave enough to try and buy them. I knew five words in Russian, none of them understandable by Russians, and Lorretta knew more words, but, since we were out in this public place, she thought it best for me to be embarrassed half to death rather than her.

So, off goes the great white hunter to bargain for his apples. Thus began my babushkaresponsibility as the red-delicious apple buyer, a responsibility that proved not to be immediately rewarding, but abundantly, more fruit-full than I ever anticipated.  The apple seller was a very pleasant Russian Babushka. I had not seen her at this corner before nor did I notice the other Babushka who often times helped me buy things in our local market. She would watch me approach a seller, and then shake her head yes or no when I was to begin the bargaining process. She knew who we were, and she always greeted me as “Pastor”. We had no idea why she would say that but…. She was a tremendous help to us in our shopping at Cholera corner, but she was not here today.

Can You Say That Again?

I approached the blanket upon which the apples had been placed and said in my best Russian “SKOLka?”(How much?)  She replied in her best Russian, “Treetzifitzit”. It was obvious to her that she did not communicate the amount to me.  I looked at her with my best Russian look, which clearly said to her;  “Pardon me, but would you please repeat that” So, she said to me “Treet-ze-fitz-it.”

This time it certainly was clearer, but, those words had no meaning at all to me.  I could understand Russian numbers up to ten if they were spoken slowly, but when we were dealing in these monumental sums, and the transaction was so earth shattering, I had to have the facts laid out before me.  I looked toward Lorretta, who, at that point, was acting as if she did not know me. Well, I knew that I wanted six apples and I knew the word for six.  Therefore, in flawless Russian, with my California accent, I said  “SHEST”  holding up six fingers.

Wow, she smiled, reached for a plastic bag, since I had forgotten mine, and then she dug into the pile of apples. We were communicating!  Yes, I can do it! Adin, dva, tree, cheteeree, piet, shest …. That was my six, but… she did not stop at my six!  “Lady, thank you, I appreciate that!” She smiled and continued to put apples into the plastic sack. It was a big plastic sack, too big! “Stop, please”, but my Russian word for stop didn’t produce stop for the busy babushka.  “Lady, thank you, I don’t want any more apples, I only want six, we are now at eleven!”

More Apples Than We Wanted!

I looked again at Lorretta, and she was gone. What in the world is she embarrassed about? I’m the one trying to turn off this apple machine! ” Lady, NYET” Yes! That’s the word for no, and it worked. She stopped counting right there!  Then I looked and the apples were on a scale. That was it!  She was giving me 6 kilos! Oh Man!  Well, we really did like apple sauce and apple pancakes and apple fritters and apple muffins and apple juice and apple pie and…

Actually, it did not cost that much money, and she certainly needed the funds more than we did, and 14 lbs. of apples is not that much, especially when they were just picked off a tree, and I was helping to jump start the entire Russian economy, so, I carried the apples home, eventually catching up to Lorretta.  She had stopped and was looking into our ”Speak Russian Overnight” vocabulary book to find the word for “stop” and also to seek out what in the world Treet-ze-fitz-it meant. I can tell you right now, it is not there!  But that is what she said, l heard it very distinctly!  I know one thing for sure: treet-ze-fitz-it was the price for six kilos of apples that day in Krasnodar, Russia!

Cross my heart? No! The Cross IN my heart!

“How many crosses do you have in this house?”

Cross”How many pictures of Jesus”I am not certain!” do you have in this house?” ”You may look. I am not certain”. ”Why do you defy the state mandate and continue to have these religious relics in your house?”

The above conversation is not from a ”once upon a time” fairy tale. The words were communicated to us by a man who, years before, had stood behind the door as a ten year old boy and heard the questions shouted from the lips of a Soviet government official and then answered by his father, the pastor of the small Baptist church in that rural Russian village.

That day, the officials removed four crosses, three Bibles, two ”pictures” of Jesus, a stack of religious material and the communion dishes. The house served as the meeting place for the church since the church building was now a storage area.  The next day, the communist officials returned and removed the pastor, taken to trial, and sentenced to eight years in prison to be served in exile in Siberia.

While standing in the courtroom, before the sentence was enforced, he asked the judge and prosecutors if he could address the court.  They gave their reluctant permission.  The pastor stated that they had missed one cross but that they could not take that one away. He put his hand over his heart and explained to them that the most important cross was in his heart, the one placed there by the risen Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

His prison sentence was immediately nullified and a new sentence imposed; execution, to be carried out before the weekend. The village and his family, were forced to watch their beloved Pastor become an example to the citizens that you cannot defy the state and get away with it.  No torture, no being forced to recant, simply one bullet, shot into the back of the head, and the offense was settled.

KGB Bullet, Some of our favorite things

Whether one was living in Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, or Albania, the stories from the late 1940’s through the 1980’s are about the same. The Cross of Jesus Christ provided the path-way to persecution, jail and/or death.

Even in the beginning days of the church age 2000 years ago, to acknowledge the redeeming work of Jesus Christ on the cross as the most important principle of life, the division between heaven and hell, right and wrong, God and Caesar, was the surest, quickest way to persecution and death.

Today, even as the history books and KGB files are opened and the papers hidden from the populace are released from their filing cabinets, the world is discovering the brutality of the forces that marched under the banner of the word ”communism”.

Remove the cross from the people, and replace it with a demonically devised philosophy, and the only things that remains are murder, mayhem, strange disappearances of people and the stifling of the populace. By removing the cross, the forces of evil also removed peace, hope and love.

In this: they failed!

It is no small wonder that the power of the Good News of Jesus Christ could not be overcome by the darkness of Communism.  Jesus Himself said, “These things have I spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. (John 16:33-Jeremiah Study Bible)

Not the depravity of Marx, the brutality of Stalin, 

or the ingenuity of Satan is able to thwart  the work of God, through His Son, 

the Lord Jesus Christ, on the Cross of Calvary.

          The cross was the one consistent means of survival in the darkness.

Its light was the guide during the seventy years of the empty

and vain philosophy of communism. Its hope was His ever-present power

as the people clutched the Love it represented to their hearts.

You can remove the cross from the walls of the homes, and you can take down the image of the wooden crosses that hang in the churches, but you can never remove the cross from the heart.  It is a permanent symbol, placed before the world, to reveal the unquenchable love of God through Jesus, God’s Son.  He paid the awesome price to dispel the darkness, and bring His wonderful gift of eternal life to all who believe in His death, burial and resurrection.

The little child’s phrase ”cross my heart and hope to die” is no substitute for

                    “the cross in my heart which brings hope if I must die”.

Many people left this world by martyrdom during the reign of terror brought on by the forces of wickedness and brutality of Communism.  Today, many more are facing martyrdom because of their faith in Christ. The martyrs in the past were clinging to the old rugged cross, those today are grasping the cross, and those in the future will do the same.

No, Mr. Marx, Mr. Lenin and Mr. Stalin, and all of your colleagues and former forces of communism, and future forces of terrorism,

The Cross Is Here To Stay.

I am sorry if you missed the real meaning of the cross. What you took from the walls of the homes and churches, was only the external symbol of the love and work of the Eternal God. It may have been nails holding those wooden crosses to the walls that you removed, but it was not nails that held Him to His the original cross at Calvary.  His redeeming, atoning love for the world kept Him on the cross.

I am sure that by now, you have all the information you will ever need about that Old Rugged Cross.  The information you rejected is etched deeply in the hearts of God’s believing, beloved children. Unfortunately for you, the cross is now out of your reach, forever.






The hymnist penned the following words;

The cross, it standeth fast, defying every blast. The winds of hell have blown, the world its hate hath shown, Yet it is not over-thrown, hallelujah for the cross.

It is the old cross still, its triumph let us tell The grace of God here shown through Christ, the blessed Son. Who did for sin atone, hallelujah for the cross.

Twas here the debt was paid, our sins on Jesus laid. So round the cross we sing of Christ, our offering, Of Christ, our living King, hallelujah for the cross.

Hallelujah for the cross, it shall never suffer loss.

(Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889  —  James McGranahan, 1840-1907)

Just another Birthday? 

I don’t think so!

What are the right words or phrases that can be bestowed upon a woman who has committed herself to her God, to her husband, and to her family for the entirety of her adult life? What are the words of praise and thanks that she deserves for her life of love and prayer? What kind of gift could ever repay the sacrifices she made through the years to help her children to become wonderful, productive, believing adults? How could her husband of 60+ years ever repay the debt he owes to her for her consistent, daily, Christ-like life she has openly expressed to him during their lifetime together?

For me,  this describes Lorretta

In the final chapter of the Biblical book of Proverbs, the words of a wise mother giving instructions as for a king, and the son, the king, repeating those words to the world regarding the finding of an ideal wife. This is not a “make believe” kind of wife, but a woman who possesses the multiple virtues of a wise woman, with economic talents and great personal gifts.

For me, it is the description of my Lorretta. However, so you can see that I am not over-reaching, I will let you read the text as it is recorded in the New International Version of Proverbs 31:10 – 31, followed by something that I have watched in my Lorretta in our first 63 years of marriage.

PROVERBS 31:10-31 Epilogue:

The Wife of Noble Character 10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night;

she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.


Lorretta’s Violin and Jesus

Chuck’s note written for Lorretta

celebrating her 83rd Birthday

It was a strange scene, as I stood in my place,

Observing before me a room completely filled.Violin

People were gathered from every nation on earth,

Their faces indicating they were extremely thrilled

I saw them step forward one person at a time,

As they responded to the call of their name.

There was no fear, reaction, or anxiety there,

Just a call to move forward, as their time came.

I watched as they moved toward the front of the room,

and became aware of the great peace in their eyes.

They had finished their work and now came the time

When their efforts in life would be fully recognized.

ViolinThe soldier stood erect, with his medals in place,

He bore the high rank of a career military man.

He stepped briskly forward at the call of his name,

He heard “Thank you, My Soldier, for fulfilling My plan”

He stepped back to his place, his smile could be seen,

His reward was the best he had ever received.

 A “Thank you, Soldier”, spoken to him by his Christ,

Was much more than his mind could conceive.

Then a woman stepped forward upon hearing her name,

She was humbly delighted to be standing there.

When she arrived at the spot where the light was on her

Her smile was radiant in She was not quite ready for that exquisitely bright glare.

As she raised her head up, and her eyes saw her Lord,

She knew all her hopes had been realized.

She heard “Thank you, My child, for loving your child”.

Her reward was really just looking into His eyes.Violin

Then I looked up again and saw my Lorretta there,

and when called, she moved quickly toward the throne.

She was holding in her hand her old violin,

And standing before Him, she was beautifully adorned.

Jesus looked squarely into the eyes of my beautiful one,

And broadly smiling, He spoke gently to my wife.

“Thank you, Lorretta, for your service for Me.

You have loved Me your entire adult life. 

You have served Me in prayer for your husband and kids.

You have labored in ministry and kept your life pure.

You moved wherever I called you and Chuck to go,

Russia or Romania; you knew that in Me you were secure 

You have practiced and played and cried some too,

Because the music placed before you was tough.

ViolinBut you worked and prayed and practiced some more

And you conquered the music, though it was rough. 

 Thank you, Lorretta, please accept My special reward.

All those who heard you play were wonderfully blessed.

The music you performed brought glory to My Name;

Now your arthritic fingers can finally have rest”. 

Lorretta just stood there, not saying a word;

 Then she did a strange but interesting thing.

She looked into the eyes of the Savior she loved

And held up her old violin with its strings.

She gave it to Jesus, and He took it and said,

“Thank you for this gift you’ve given to Me.

But in fact you gave it to Me a long time ago,

By playing it for My glory for all to see”.

He turned and placed it in His large trophy caseViolin

Which was filled with many memorable things.

I saw some nails there, and the handle of a spear,

An oar, a manger, some small rocks, and a sling.

Other items there filled the trophy case full,

But I saw where that Old Violin was laid.

It had some cracks and the bridge was extremely worn,

But the violin honored Jesus, every time Lorretta played.

I am sure that our lives are going to end soon,

And our effort at living here will finally cease.

But our Lord has already prepared our real home;

It is waiting for us following our earthly release.

At that moment, my wife, prayer-partner and friend,

will hear His precious words spoken from His throne.

“You have been a good steward with your life, faithful one,

The door is open, step inside, and enter your glorious, eternal home.”


Well Done, Lorretta, God’s good and faithful servant.

May you continue to experience the joy of your Lord.


Concert in Hungary

Concert in Hungary


Chris and Mihi Wedding

Chris and Mihi Wedding

Bocsa Stadium

Bocsa Stadium



CBI Graduation at Caransebes  Romania