by Bethany Khng
On June 4th, our f amily spent two lovely days in the Orchard Hotel, a 5-star hotel along Orchard Road. Nathaniel had won the complimentary voucher in a music competition organised by his music school.
Strolling around the shopping arcade, we chanced upon a shop called ‘The Nail Shop’. It specializes in grooming nails, that is, finger and toe nails for a price of $30 per treatment. Strange, we thought, what sensible folks would spend their hard-earned money to groom their nails? But we were wrong! Through the glass panels, we could see at least two ‘beauticians’ working on their customer’s toenails! Business must have been pretty brisk to be able to pay for the rental of a shop in such a posh place besides the salaries of those ladies paid to pamper their feet.
Recent reports in the LIFE! Section of The Straits Times featured the need of taking care of one’s feet. One article describes the possible crippling effect to the only pair of feet we own, if they are subject to abuse by tight fitting and other unsuitable footwear. Our feet are one of the most used and abused parts of our body. I am not suggesting that we splurge $30 to have our feet pampered and ‘beautified’.
However, there is a verse in the Bible that talks about the truly beautiful feet, perhaps not literally.
Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good, that publisheth salvation ; that said unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
Our Lord commends the Christian who uses his feet to go places, where he can dispense the Gospel. Isaiah describes these feet as ‘beautiful’. Today, there are very few (literal) mountains to scale, unlike Isobel Khun, missionary to the Lisus in Tibet, China, who had to climb many a hilly terrain to reach the hill tribes with the Gospel. However, the same verse can surely be applied to our modern setting, when Christians have to drive, sail or fly to distant lands to bring the gospel to the lost. What about the one, who has to walk around his neighbourhood, or to the MRT station, armed with gospel tracts to distribute to passers-by?
These, too, have ‘beautiful feet’ worthy of emulation. The Lord of the Harvest does not promise success at every turn of our ministry, but He asks for our faithfulness in ‘publishing salvation’ to the lost and needy world.
I am thinking of some of these ‘beautiful feet’ people and would like to lift them up for your prayer support.
Jerry and Linda Gardner have been our friends since our student days at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. There are no ‘airs’ about this lovely couple and we felt absolutely comfortable to move around with them from the first day we met them. Jerry and John were both in the Preacher’s Boys class at BJU, did extension work together at the University Baptist Church, Clemson, and later continued helping out in a small country Baptist church near the Spartanburg vicinity in South Carolina. We could never quite get over Jerry’s chock of red hair, twinkling blue eyes, great sense of humour, his child-likeness (‘a man in whom there is no guile’) and his evident pride in his ancient grand piano which he would thump with gusto. (He blows the trumpet, too – the literal one). Linda is a remarkable woman – strong in faith, loyal, encouraging, and exuding the Southern charm and hospitality that made everyone and us who met her, feel welcomed at once. Linda’s enthusiasm and zest for serving the Lord is highly commendable.
The Lord has given them a fair share of trials and tribulations when Linda had to quit her stable post as an English lecturer at BJU to take care of her ailing parents. Without that job, the family had to move out of the house provided for faculty members. Unforeseen circumstances forced Jerry to stop working at the University as well. Through that difficult period, we had not heard a word of complaint from them against the Lord’s chaffing. Sweetly and patiently, they left the matter to the Lord. Linda’s unfailing support for Jerry’s ministry in Brevard, has always been an inspiring lesson to me. After a few years of faithful labor in a work that is progressing rather slowly, the Lord has blessed them and opened another field of service for them.
Recently, we received their prayer letter and would like to share excerpts of the content with you.
“The Lord has blessed us richly as always. This year has been full of surprises. As I (Linda) was teaching English at Brevard College, a call came to Jerry to preach in the First Bible Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. We went in January and enjoyed the people very, very much. These people surprised us by giving Jerry a call to pastor its church. We prayed and believed it was God’s will to continue in Brevard. We really planned to stay here for the rest of our lives. The amazing and humbling thing to us is that instead of going on and calling another pastor, this church in Nashville kept calling us.
Jerry and I travelled to Lakeland, Florida in August for the annual Synod meeting which involves the Bible Presbyterian Churches throughout the world. Almost unanimously these godly men took to heart this call we had from Nashville and advised us to accept. They said the church was in need, and many who know the church and its people well there though we would be compatible with these people and serviceable to them. Jerry, Dad and I returned to Nashville to be sure they still wanted us – to give them one last chance to reject us. They still wanted us… It is hard to leave (Brevard). But we feel strongly led.”
By the time this article is written, the Gardners would have been relocated in Nashville, and serving the church there. Pray for their ministry, for guidance in purchasing a house near the church and for someone to buy their house in Brevard.
Finally, a word about Linda’s father, Mr Don Hill.
“Dad, at 92, is doing quite well. He loves traveling back and forth from Brevard to Nashville. We have had severe van trouble which is the vehicle he best rides in since it has a lift for him and his wheel chair. This last time we were grateful the Lord helped us make it to Nashville with the van. We had continued trouble with it there, so we left it there. Traveling in the car tires Dad much more then when he uses the van. But we made it safely here to Brevard.”
Beautiful are the feet of them that “publish good tidings, tidings of peace; tidings of Jesus, redemption and release.” Pray with these dear ones and Mr. Hill as they continue preaching the word faithfully in this part of America.
(Christ Our Intercessor, Church Anniversary Magazine 5)
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