Thursday, May 1, 2014
The Beginners’ Class
By Ada Brownell
I remember her as a brunette woman with her hair tucked back into a tiny bun. But it was her eyes that fascinated me. They radiated love.
Sister McPherson, as we called her, was my first Sunday school teacher. She didn’t mind that I didn’t have fancy dresses or pretty shoes—or that I was covered with freckles. I usually had at least one flour-sack dress.
Otherwise, I wore my brother’s hand-me-down coveralls.
Maybe she liked my red naturally curly hair combed into little coils like Shirley Temple’s. On the other hand, maybe she didn’t notice. Ten or more of us little girls and boys tucked into that tiny classroom for preschoolers—the “beginners” class.
The teacher arranged pictures on the “flannel board” as she told us Bible stories.
Most of my family of 10 were new Christians. I remember family devotions, but not Bible wonders like Sister McPherson told.
As I listened to the amazing true experiences of people in Bible days and memorized verses Sister McPherson taught, light beamed into my young heart. God loved me and had a plan for my life.
Then, Sister McPherson died. Mama took me to the funeral. I was sad, but the woman planted such faith in me I was tempted when I went by the casket to shout, “In the name of Jesus rise up!”
Seemed I knew God has a part in our homegoing as well as our living, though, and I was content. I knew someday Sister McPherson will be resurrected.
In my childhood years, Jews came from all over the world to Israel and it became a nation, the prophecy of Ezekiel’s Valley of Dry Bones, fulfilled. The church was so excited I knew about the Second Coming even as a beginner. I had no doubt Jesus would come back to earth. I still have that expectation because God’s Word tells us to be ready and watch (Matthew 24-25).
As I grew up, these verses became my favorite:
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
I’ve watched for Jesus to come since childhood and now I’m a senior citizen. Some people quit watching for Him. Peter said in the last days there would be scoffers who would say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4).
Jesus told us our lives are like a puff of steam. We’re on earth a while and then gone.
Sunday school teachers like Sister McPherson helped me to look forward to Christ’s return and know how to prepare for His coming. I was age 5 when I accepted Christ as Savior, and I was afraid He would come before I could get to the altar to repent of my sins.
Thank God for those who know even young children can understand the truths of the gospel, and they preach it and teach it so that we can have eternal life.
©Copyright Ada Brownell April 2014
Ada Brownell Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06
Monday, April 28, 2014
Cover blurb: Jeth Cavanaugh is searching for a new life along one of Pennsylvania's mountain ridges when he stumbles upon a stable of show jumpers owned by Rob and Katie Chilton. Throw in a volatile gaited stallion named Dynamo, and Jeth will do anything to work there. He earns his living by training and showing Rob's jumpers, but Dynamo is his primary passion. Everything changes when God enters his life—in the unconventional form of a hard slap by an old girlfriend—and ignites a new, greater passion within him. But along with fervor comes fear at the undeniable evidence of God's hand on his life. Inexplicable events, both good and bad, make him moan plaintively, "Why does God do this to me? I get the feeling I'm being set up for something."
He is, indeed. Jeth's life is anything but predictable, much like the God he serves. The real Dynamo and his ultimate trainer emerge out of an excruciating mix of disaster and brokenness, which are never beyond the reach of redemption.
This story is God in your face: Who is He, really? What does He ask of us?
1) How did this story come to you?
Making up stories has been a life-long compulsion, and some eventually amounted to something. Dynamo, being horse centered, was one of these, and as I began to write, it began to evolve.
2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
Literary fiction is not an easy journey unless you are an established author. I shopped it around, went to a writers’ conference (ACFW), was recommended to an agent who also shopped it around. It had already been turned down by Whitaker House, publishers of my King David novel, The Stones, so it was purely a God thing that they decided to take another look at it. I am deeply beholden to the people at Whitaker House.
3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
a. I almost always climb stairs two at a time to maintain leg strength.
b. At Wheaton College I taught horsemanship. One student’s friend had signed him into a class because tennis was closed, and during the first riding session, his horse decided to take a roll in the snow. That student went from a C to an A and ended up marrying the teacher.
c. Years ago in my hometown of Branchville NJ, some friends and I were sitting on a hillside overlooking the town. We heard a zinging overhead, and one of the boys said, “Those are bullets!” We shrugged and moved to the other side of the hill. We didn’t worry much about Really Bad Guys in those days!
4) What are you working on now, and what's next for you?
I’m working hard on the Dynamo rollout, but another novel is patiently waiting for me to get back to it. This will be a tough one, though, both to write and to sell. Has three major threads: gardening, politics, and American Indians, and of course, a spiritual thread tying them all together.
5) Parting comments?
Don’t let the horse part of this novel scare you off. There’s a glossary in the back for help in that regard. The essence of the story is far deeper, and you will perhaps see God in a new and spiritually challenging way. Check out Amazon reviews.
6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
Dynamo page: http://www.eleanorgustafson.com/dynamo-a-new-novel/
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/author/eleanorgustafson
The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David http://www.amazon.com/Stones-Eleanor-Gustafson/dp/1603740791/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366735533&sr=1-1&keywords=gustafson+stones