Sunday, 26 March 2017

Influencing others - The impact of a faithful Pastor

Jesus’s life and example influenced and continues to influence others it is worth remembering that the things that we do, and the things that we say, also influence others.

Source: Faith and Health Connection
I was 6 years old and it was 1949, just a few years after the end of the Second World War. It started as a very ordinary day. I’d been down town to Tamworth with my mum doing a collection for the Salvation Army self-denial week however, things were about to change. On the way home when we got to the bottom of the hill where we lived I found that I couldn’t walk any further. When my mum realised that I wasn’t just playing up she gave me a piggyback all the rest of the way home. Later when were home, I used the potty and noticed that I was passing blood, much to my parents’ dismay. They called for the doctor and he thought I had got meningitis so he called for an ambulance. At the time we lived in a row of cottages with a shared courtyard and the ambulance pulled up right into the yard. I remember crying as the ambulance men came in to take me to the hospital and I remember my friends coming into the yard to wave me off which would be the last I saw of them for 10 months. Initially I was taken into Tamworth General Hospital and I was there for 2 months, after which a specialist from West Bromwich (the big hospital) came to see me and decided to move me to his hospital; were I was treated for the next 8 months.

I guess many of you would have seen pictures of the old-fashioned cots with the old metal bars; well I was in one of those for a while. At the time everything was scarce but I knew that God was with me, He was always with me. I was very blessed to have praying parents, family and church and I believe today that it was their prayers that bought me through. I was found to have Nephritis (a disease of the kidneys) and I was in the big hospital for a while when they took me on a trolley to see the doctor. I’ll never forget it, as this was the first black man I had ever seen and he was the doctor that examined me for my tonsils. He had a big light on his head and he said ‘right we’ve got to get these out’. I think it was the same day that they took my tonsils out because they discovered that it was the poisoned tonsils that were affecting my kidneys. They realized that they hadn’t asked permission from my mum and dad so they sent a policeman to my home. You can imagine my mum and dads thoughts as they saw the policeman at the door - they thought the worst; but he’d only come to tell them that I’d had my tonsils out without their permission. It must have been quite scary however phones in homes were rare in those days and it was often the police that delivered important messages.

The MacGreggor Cottages where I lived in at the time.
1949 saw the beginning of the NHS (The National Health Service in England) and in those days’ children weren’t allowed to have any visitors. Remember, I was only 6 years old and while I was still in Tamworth my mum and dad were able to wave to me through the window relatively easily but when I moved to West Bromwich my mum would have to make the 28-mile journey by bus. She would come every week to the hospital and come up as far as the ward doors and even though they wouldn’t let her in she still did this every week without fail. She was allowed to bring me sweets and fruit etc. which she always did however this had to be shared out among the whole ward. Food at the time was still scarce and that type of food was even scarcer although I did manage get some of it. This went on until I’d been in hospital, probably 9 months, but by this time my mum who was feisty had well and truly had enough. This particular day she said to my dad ‘I’m going to go and see our Elaine and I’m not coming home today until I’ve seen her’. So she came over to the hospital on the bus and went straight to see the matron and told her that she wanted to see her daughter who she hadn’t seen for 9 months and that she wasn’t leaving until she saw me. The matron was very understanding and bought my mum to see me on the ward. I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing my mum walk down that ward. There was a little boy in the bed opposite and I remember saying ‘shut up - my mums here’ (in an excited tone), I hadn’t forgotten her and it was a wonderful reunion.

Although my parents and friends were not allowed to visit, there was one person they couldn’t stop and that was my pastor, he was lovely, I loved him dearly. Every week he made the journey on his motorcycle to visit me. His name was Ernie Harford but I called him Uncle Ernie. He’d come and keep me in touch with home: he’d tell me stories about Jesus; update me on my dog Chappie (who was and old English Sheep dog), tell me what was going on in the church; tell me what my family was doing etc; and so through him I was in touch with home - what a ministry. A little child of six wasn’t unimportant to him and I really thank God for him. He was one of the good folk in my life! He wasn’t just a Christian, I could see God in his life and in the life of his wife, what a lovely couple. I believe they are now amongst the cloud of witnesses that are now cheering me on saying ‘come on Elaine keep running the race’. Hebrews 12:1 ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith’ (Amplified Version).

After 10 months I came out of hospital looking like a pincushion. I’d had that many injections and it wasn’t the sort of injections that you get today; it was the big long needles with glass syringes because that’s the way that penicillin was given. Penicillin was relatively new when I was in hospital and very, very painful when the injections were given. I used to cry when I saw the nurse coming up the ward to give me the injection because I knew I was going to be in pain for a long time afterwards.

As I’ve said before my pastor (Uncle Ernie) had time for me; just like Jesus had time for the children as we see in Luke 18:15–17 ‘Now they were also bringing their babies to Him, so that He would touch and bless them, and when the disciples noticed it, they began reprimanding them. But Jesus called them to Himself, saying [to the apostles], 'Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God [with faith and humility] like a child will not enter it at all’. (Amplified Version).

I wonder what it would have been like in bible times to have sat on Jesus’ knee? He would have had the little children on His knee as they surrounded Him: He loved the children and He told them stories - as well the adults. Children were there every time the people met together! Imagine what sort of impression that would have made on the children. What a role model! I was also thinking of the little boy who gave his loaves and fish in John 6:9; he must have been watching Jesus, he knew who Jesus was, he’d probably seen some of the miracles Jesus performed and yet this man who he admired was asking for his lunch. What a surprise that must have been! How blessed he must have been when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish and fed the five thousand (John 6:1-14). After witnessing that miracle I would think that that little boy would have grown up to follow Jesus! Jesus’s life and example influenced and continues to influence others and it is worth remembering that the things that we do, and the things that we say, also influence others. I believe that we should ‘suffer the little children to come unto us’ (Luke 18:16 - KJV) our children are very, very, very, very special. They are part of the church today and they are the preachers, pastors and workers of tomorrow. We should nurture them, encourage them take time to speak to them and hopefully they may look back when they are grown up and just like I did with my pastor; count us as some of ‘the good folks in their lives’.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ‘Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing’. Amen.

Author: Elaine Roach

May God bless and enrich your life

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  1. I praise God for the Blessing of Godly role models in our life and Pastor Ernie and his wife seemed to be just that. This is a beautiful tribute for a beautiful Godly woman. Until we meet again sweet Princess.

    PS, I can't wait to meet Pastor Ernie.
    All the Glory to God ALWAYS Amen

    1. ALICE Kay Burgdorf25 October 2017 at 11:46

      Thank you and God bless you too ���� amen sister ��

  2. I only knew Elaine for a short period of time however every time I met with her, her love for God just shone through. Elaine did not need to tell people that she was a Christian, that she loved Jesus or that she was saved because she was one of those people who visibly had the presence of God on her and within her, it was obvious. She is with the Lord now, but she will be greatly missed by those who had the privilege to know her or to meet her. May God bless Elaine. Amen

  3. this will always be one of my favourite blogs the story of a faithful and a pastor who greatly impacted the life of a little girl with Christs love in action JOHN 12 V 26 if anyone serves me, let him follow me; where I am , there my servant will be also if anyone serves me , him my father will honour , my dear sister Elaine greatly missed , but now she has gone home to be with her sweet savour (well done good and faithful servant)xx