God and the Carpet Business

The hour Hank and I spend in fitness class three mornings a week speeds by in a rush of laughter and stories. Our leader often remarks that being in that class is as good as a college education.

Our leader, Irene, showing Eileen and Glenn an exercise

Hank getting the ball rolling

    Our friend Tony Bundy’s stories are cheerful, often funny, and always testify to the goodness of God. When he and Bonnie came to Washington from North Dakota as young marrieds, he went to work for Penneys Department Store. He especially loved managing the children’s department, and dreamed about running a children’s store himself.

He began looking for an appropriate building but God shut the doors. Then he took a job with a floor covering firm. After seven years with that firm he got restless and depressed, feeling that the job wasn’t challenging enough. Here’s what he says happened next:

Ray and Carolyn enjoying a joke
“One night I was awakened by a voice. It told me to quit my job. ‘I have other plans for you,’ it said.
“I wasn’t sure whether God was speaking or if it was my own wishful thinking. So I got up, knelt in the living room, and said, ‘God, if this is your voice, I’ll quit my job, but how do I know?’”

Tony went back to bed, fell asleep, and was awakened again by the voice. “Quit your job and I’ll take care of the rest.”

He woke Bonnie and told her. She said, “If you’re sure it’s God, you’d better do it.”

The next morning he told his boss he had to resign. That afternoon, Bonnie telephoned the store with news that the realtor he’d talked to seven years earlier had called, asking if Tony still wanted to go into business. “I’ve got just the building for him.”

The building was perfect. It fronted on the busiest street in town. And it was affordable. Two hours later the Bundys signed a rental agreement, not yet knowing what their business would be.

A few days later they received another call. A sales representative from a reputable carpet company wanted Tony to represent his line of carpet. They arranged to meet in Seattle to discuss the idea.

But when Tony arrived for their appointment, the rep had gone to lunch with someone else. Tony asked God, “What does this mean?” He felt impressed to call another sales representative, a good friend who lived in Renton.

This man immediately answered his phone. “Tony! I was just thinking of calling you. I heard you want to open a store. Come on over and let me show you my lines.”

Tony was excited, knowing that this rep had much more to offer than the one who’d stood him up.

The two spent the afternoon together, choosing displays and samples enough to start a carpet business. Then the friend went through the list, crossing out numbers and writing others. When he handed the total to Tony, it had been reduced to eight percent of the original. The company’s owner came by and asked what was happening. He looked at the list, crossed out the price again, and halved that number.

Just like that, the Bundys were in the carpet business for themselves.

They built a reputation for quality service, which led to opportunities to tell others about God and his awesome power to heal and help. Over the years, they planted several churches and served in others. Their children grew up to carry on their example of selfless service to others.  After 35 years, the Bundys sold their carpet business to their children, but when the kids need him, 75-year-old Tony is still there to help.

Bonnie says,”We saw first hand that God is interested in our lives and will do miracles for us. It changed our lives and strengthened our faith.”

The Bundys, telling their story

Tony and Bonnie are still telling others that God is faithful and good at all times. I don’t know better examples than these two of the connection between obedience and blessing.

Calling on God in Haiti

Market Day in Haiti (photo by Hank Husby)

Now that a little time has passed since the earthquake in Haiti, it’s harder to find news in mainstream vehicles about what’s happening there. But the Internet is full of communications that help us to know what’s going on. Here are excerpts from e-mails that came across my desk in the past few days, plus this link to a video you won’t want to miss.

Our friend Dr. Jerry Rusher is in Dessalines, Haiti, supervising medical teams assisting earthquake victims and other patients in the Free Methodist hospital there. On February 19, he wrote:

The churches were overflowing Sunday. The 2000 seat Parc Chretien Church in Port au Prince had a 6 hour service and was packed with people standing outside. The Dessalines church also was about as full as I’ve seen it. This past Tuesday was Mardi Gras here which normally is a time of marching bands, singing, and dancing. This year all the celebrating was cancelled at order from the president as it is a time of grieving. I am hoping that the praying and repentance that is going on here is lasting and sincere. I am really impressed by the strong faith of Christians here in these hard times. One worker at the hospital, Alphonse, who knows his Bible inside and out shared with me a verse this week which God had been encouraging him with. It is Ephesians 3:20 which talks about how God’s answers to our prayers are much better than what we ask for. They are” greater than we can think or imagine.” I trust that will be true of the many prayers that have been going up for Haiti this past week.

Jerry Miel is a radio engineer who served as a missionary in Haiti with World Team mission.  He returned to Haiti to help in the aftermath of the earthquake and makes these observations:

Only about 6 years ago a former Haitian president called the nation to come together to rededicate the nation to Satan.
As (we) left the guest house about 7:30 am, we were met by throngs of well dressed people headed to various churches. The sounds of Christian music and worship filled the air everywhere. The next observation was that there was NO traffic. Port-au-Prince streets are always clogged and overflowing with bumper to bumper traffic. This morning there were only a few vehicles on the roads, a few small buses (tap taps),  some UN and military vehicles, and a few private cars. We had clear sailing through town. The same was true of foot traffic. Usually the streets are clogged also with people walking. Today there were only a few and many of them dressed for church. The only place that there were traffic blocks was in front of several churches where the congregations had overflowed the buildings and the yards and had moved out into the streets as well.
The next observation was that EVERYTHING was closed! We could not find even one business or gas station open. There were no intercity buses running . . . The huge outdoor market near the wharf where thousands (of street vendors) work each day and spread out to cover most of the street, was EMPTY.
Where were all the people? They were in churches and makeshift meeting sites. Every church . . .  had services going on, almost always overflowing into the streets. Beside broken down churches, services were taking place outside. In homeless camps, there were services. Everywhere the nation was gathered to worship and pray. . .This scene was repeated in every town and hamlet that we passed during the day.
Tonight, Pastor Ignace, who is sharing the room with me, asked this question:  “Can people still say that Haiti is a voodoo country?” What has been happening and is continuing to happen in Haiti did not happen because of the earthquake.  It has been happening because the Haitian people know how to pray.  This is a tremendous outpouring of God’s power as the result of prayer.

Rural family and home

Market Day in Haiti (Photos Hank Husby 1999)                  

Wisdom from a Great President

As a child and later as a teacher, February was exciting to me because of the celebrations clustered in the middle of the month: Lincoln’s Birthday on the 12th, Valentine’s Day on the 14th, and Washington’s Birthday on February 22.

But in 1968, the days devoted to our two greatest presidents were swallowed by an all-purpose holiday called Presidents’ Day.

Washington’s birthday had been celebrated as a legal federal holiday starting while the first president was still alive. Later, our 16th president’s birthday (Lincoln’s) was set aside as a holiday by many states.

When Congress passed the Monday Holidays Act, they moved the official observance of Washington’s birthday from Feb. 22 to the third Monday in February. A popular misconception rose that the day had been officially renamed Presidents’ Day. The name change was never authorized by Congress, but still, it is used on calendars, in advertising, and even by government agencies.

Most states have adopted Washington’s Birthday. A dozen of them officially celebrate Presidents’ Day. A number of the states that celebrate Washington’s Birthday also recognize Lincoln’s Birthday as a separate legal holiday. But not our state. We get Presidents’ Day. I think Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom and leadership is too important not to remember. So, in honor of his birthday, here are a few of his words of wisdom:

“The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me.”
— December 26, 1839 – Speech on the Sub-Treasury in the Illinois House of Representatives

“When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim, that a ‘drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.'”— February 22, 1842 – Temperance Address of Springfield, Illinois

“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: ‘And this, too, shall pass away.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!”
— September 30, 1859 – Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society

“Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”
— December 1, 1862 – Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress

I don’t have sources for these, but I like them:

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

“Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

Here’s one especially for our politicians to think about:

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

               Happy  201st Birthday, Mr. Lincoln !

Picture: courtesy of Free-Clip-Art

Working Together to Fight Recession

    I just experienced a nudge into a new (for me) area of technology. The phone rang. On the other end I heard the state director of AARP inviting me (and 1800 other people, I found out later) to join a telephone town meeting with the governor of Washington state. The conversation, he said, was to be about the challenge of maintaining public services and quality of life in our state in the face of the worst recession in 50 years.

    Intrigued, I stayed on the line to hear Governor Gregoire, sounding like she was in the next room, talk about the work facing our state legislators, now in week four of a short session, as they try to close a 2.6 billion dollar gap between the money on hand and the needs of the state.

    She said we’re trying to climb out of the worst recession in 80 years. (I don’t know whether it’s 50 years or 80 years, but I am sure the governor is right in saying that we came out of the Great Depression of the ’30s because we as a country united to lift ourselves out of it. The way we got out of that depression was by putting people back to work. That is the way we’ll get out of it today.

    Our legislators know they can’t make enough cuts to services or raise enough revenue to plug all the holes in the budget. So as they struggle to balance a very boney budget and not leave more people hanging out over a financial abyss, I was thrilled to hear some thoughtful suggestions coming in from my fellow citizens. I’m glad to know that the governor was listening and I hope our legislators were.

    Way back in February of 1842, Abraham Lincoln gave a temperance address in Springfield, Illinois. He said, “When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim, that a ‘drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.’”   

    Lincoln’s words are still true. So are the governor’s words, “Today we understand the fundamental value of helping our fellow citizens.”

    As people of good will work together, I’m hoping we can overcome the disasters caused by those who put their own wealth and power ahead of the welfare of their fellow citizens. We won’t overcome by force, or by imposing our own will, but by kind persuasion and a desire to help others.