What About Iona?

Briefly summarizing the story thus far – I had entered into a relationship with Jesus and now we were in a church, after having searched for a number of months. But the question is – where was Iona in all of this? She had wanted me to get a little religion, but she didn’t really want me jumping into the deep end, and she didn’t want to jump into the deep end herself. She was happy we were attending church. The people at Parkdale Church of the Nazarene were very friendly and made us feel at home. The boys attended Sunday school and we found out that there was also an adult Sunday school class. Jim Varro was our first Sunday school teacher.

Iona had not given her heart to following Jesus and I wanted that for her more than anything. I kept bugging her, hoping that because of my insistence she would take the plunge. There is something about my wife that you need to know – she can be a little stubborn. When it is about something that agrees with me, I call it perseverance, but when it isn’t, it becomes stubbornness. I read a book that completely changed my perspective. I cannot remember the name of the book, but the title is secondary to what I learned from it. The author had faced a similar situation with his wife – he wanted her to become a Christian, but he discovered that the more he pushed, the further she was from Jesus. He was actually pushing her away.

I saw that I was pushing Iona away from Jesus rather than toward him. I tried to quit pushing and just prayed. I kept praying that the Lord would cultivate the soil of her soul to receive the Word of God. I kept praying and praying and it seemed to be in vain until February of 1977. We were at home in the Nazarene church. They had a strange custom that they called “Revival Meetings”. A speaker would come and would preach every night for a week. We went because we thought that’s what we were supposed to do. My job had me travel to Alberta for most of the week of meetings. I came home and went into my office and found an airline ticket on my desk. There was a conference I was supposed to attend in Winnipeg that weekend. I wasn’t very excited about that. I wasn’t looking forward to this housing conference in Winnipeg and on top of that, Sunday was going to be Iona’s birthday. It is never a good thing to miss your wife’s birthday.

I went to Winnipeg and stayed with my brother Lloyd and his wife Connie. The conference was completely forgettable. On Sunday my brother and sister-in-law took me to Fort Garry Church of the Nazarene. Dutifully I attend the morning and evening services. Truthfully, I really enjoyed them. I got to meet a man who would later become a good friend and colleague – Ron Fry. After the evening service I called Iona to wish her a happy birthday and to find out how she and the boys were doing. I thought she might have gone to the evening service, but I wasn’t sure. I kept calling and, because this was before the days of voicemail and answering machines, I couldn’t get through, nor could I leave her a message to have her call me back. Finally, at around 9:30 she answered the phone and the first thing she said was “I got saved!” She was over the moon and so was I. My prayers had been answered and now we could share the most important part of my life – my relationship with Jesus.

There was a high school girl that had kept on asking Iona for her testimony and now she had one to share. Our years at Parkdale were among the happiest of our lives. Mark Caldwell was our pastor and I just loved him. There was another lesson I needed to learn and that had to do with pastoral transitions. I will never forget an announcement Mark made at the end of a Sunday morning worship service – he was resigning to accept a call to serve the Abbotsford Church of the Nazarene. I had to learn that my relationship with Jesus wasn’t dependent on my relationship with my pastor.

Next week I will continue sharing our journey with you, but in the meantime Keep the Son in Your Eyes.

5 thoughts on “What About Iona?

  1. Jake

    Hi Len. Glad to have read your blog. John says that we are not reborn by the will of man!
    My saying is “ you can’t make an adult do they don’t want to do”.


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