Shepherdess: Don't Ignore the "Special People"

Sponsored by Catherine Dower for the Shepherdess

Marjoric Snyder is a minister's wife and secretary in the Michigan Conference trust office and president of the Michigan Shepherdess Club.

 

Dear Shepherdess: How we love camp meetings! We can't pass one by, whether it is an assignment or not. On our trip west this summer to our first camp meeting in northern California, we found ourselves driving along through Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, in the early evening. We realized we could reach Shelton, where camp was being held, by meeting time, and we did. We enjoyed hearing Pastor F. W. Bresee speak, and greeting many friends on the campus of Platte Valley Academy.

The camp meeting at Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, was a spiritual feast. We saw Christian love and fellowship in action and were abundantly blessed by the sweet spirit we felt. We were rather startled to learn that the Paradise section of the camp meeting was canceled because of the drought. We realized how soon there could be an end to all camp meetings. A solemn thought indeed.

We went on to the wonderful Washington camp meeting held on the cam pus of Auburn Academy. This was a memorable occasion for us, for we had spent almost ten years in that conference. Every minute was special to us—meeting new and old friends. We saw the grandeur of Mt. Rainier almost every day, as we walked from the boys' dormitory, where we were comfortably housed, to the auditorium. We drove up to the junior camp with Brother and Sister Mundy, who had been caretakers there for so many years.

Pastor and Mrs. James Chase were most cordial hosts to us and to the entire constituency. Violet Chase led out in well-attended Shepherdess meetings each day. My husband had the morning devotional meetings, where he spoke on the sanctuary service. What a blessed assurance we have knowing we have an Intercessor in the heavenly sanctuary who longs for us to "come home."

We took special joy in helping to celebrate the fifteenth wedding anniversary of Clinton and Lois Cornell. My husband had been their "marrying parson." They are home on furlough, with their four children, from their teaching work in Africa.

When Pastor and Mrs. Glenn Patterson told us that Montana's camp meeting would be in session as we traveled east to Michigan, we couldn't pass up that one either. We spent a happy Sabbath with our people in Bozeman, and my husband participated in several services, including the ordination.

The Michigan camp meeting was again a "homecoming" for us, as we had spent seven pleasant years serving in Flint and Detroit. It was rewarding for us to meet many faithful members who had been young people in our churches. How well the "pioneers" had planned for the large convocations in Michigan! As I sat in that spacious stone pavilion built in 1937 for less than twenty thou sand dollars, I recognized again the leading of God.

There were ordinations at each camp meeting we attended, and we were especially happy to see that the wives were included in the charge and welcome. Wives are, indeed, ah important part of the pastoral team.

Marjorie Snyder led out in the Shepherdess meetings, in which we enjoyed sharing our thoughts, problems, and triumphs. We left for our homes deter mined that not one of the beautiful family of God should be missing from those gathered together when Jesus comes. With love, Kay.

 

"WOULD YOU like to buy a ticket to the bazaar?"

Ron smiled shyly as he spoke softly to me after prayer meeting. Of course I would buy a ticket! At the price he quoted I decided to buy five of them, just to help him. Who could resist his winning ways? The tickets were from his school, and without realizing it, I had purchased five tickets for a raffle. His mother explained to me later that the bazaar was really free and the tickets were for a drawing for a school project. You see, Ron is a special child with the reasoning ability of about a 5-year-old, even though he is eighteen years of age. I mentally chalked up the cost of the tickets as a contribution to his special school.

Since Ron was born without the ability to develop normally, he is sometimes ignored by those around him. If you have a person like Ron in your congregation, don't ignore him. Having him for a friend can be one of the most rewarding experiences you ever had. Just a friendly smile from you will make him your friend for life, and you will learn a great deal about love and caring from him. You see, although an accident of nature left Ron without much ability to learn and develop, it must be that God gave him the special ability to spread sunshine to those who will reach out and receive it from him.

Thinking of Ron takes me back in memory to another time and place about twenty years ago. Lucy was crippled in another way. Her mind was sharp, but her body was twisted so that she lurched when she walked, and her speech was slurred.

But Lucy did love the Lord. She spent several hours each week walking around the little town where we lived, selling religious books and giving out literature. She never complained about her handicap. When it was Ingathering time, Lucy was the first to volunteer, and when we had to be away from home, my children loved having her for a baby-sitter. I don't recall ever seeing Lucy without a smile on her face, and she often sang as she went about her tasks, eager to work for the Lord.

Old Brother Chubb walked with a cane. It wasn't because he was crippled, though. His cane was white, and as he shuffled carefully down the road from the house to the barn it was very apparent that his difficulty was a lack of sight and not of his ability to think things through and operate in spite of his dis ability. He loved to study the Sabbath school lessons that he received from the Christian Record Braille Foundation, and he loved to listen to tapes my husband would bring him from his seemingly endless collection.

What is your reaction when you come in contact with these "special" people in your church? Do you ignore them, or worse still, treat them with an overemphasis they sense is not sincere? I have to admit that at times I have been guilty of ignoring them because I didn't know how to talk with them. Then, I found they really would like to be treated like the average, well-adjusted persons they usually turn out to be. They have their limitations, but don't we all?

Ron will never win any scholastic prizes, but he has a great depth of love to give, and he has feelings of acceptance or rejection just as much as you or I. If you have blind persons in your church, be helpful to them, but take the cue from them. They like to be as independent as possible. Offer them an arm when you want to help them go some where. They don't like to be "steered" around. If you doubt this, try an experiment. Put on a blindfold and try having someone pull you around by the arm. Then, take their arm and let them lead you. In other words, put yourself in their place for a few minutes and decide how it would be easier for you. Chances are, it would be easier for them that way too.

When God created the world, he didn't plan to have Ron's brain fail to develop, or Lucy's body to be twisted out of shape. He really planned that old Brother Chubb's eyes would last him forever, but sin changed all that. We must live with these things until a better time when the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the lame will leap for joy. Until that time, as Shepherdesses, let us include these "special" people in our lives, and not leave them tragically alone. Who knows? Maybe when I meet Ron in heaven he will be teaching an astronomy class while I happily sit at his feet and try to fathom the wonders of the universe.


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Marjoric Snyder is a minister's wife and secretary in the Michigan Conference trust office and president of the Michigan Shepherdess Club.

November 1977

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