July 23, 2022 Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
On July 22, 2022, my good wife Laurie and brother Tom Martin drove the three hours one way from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to meet with my cousins on my dad’s side (Louis Martin), near Plainview, Minnesota, the small town where I was born almost 68 years ago. My cousin Betty (Martin) Tlougan and Tom had arranged the lunch at a bar and grill in nearby Elgin, 4 miles from Plainview. Tom, Laurie, and I were expecting maybe 4-5 could get together on that Friday noontime. When over 9 arrived, I personally was very surprised, and blessed, to see so many. Two also had driven over 3 hours to meet with us.
My Aunt Elaine and her husband Bob came (my Dad’s sister-in-law), along with cousins Betty and her husband Ben Tlougan, Bill Martin, Alan and Cathy Martin, Christine (Chris), now from Brooklyn, Iowa, and a 2nd cousin from the area. We had all been raised Roman Catholic, attending St. Joachim Catholic Church in the small town of Plainview.
I sat down by my cousin Rich (Richie when growing up) Schultz, son of Uncle Cleyson, and Aunt Jean Schultz (Dad’s oldest sister). He had grown up in nearby Elba, Minnesota, and during our early childhood and teen years we had spent time hiking, fishing, swimming, and hunting raccoon near Whitewater State Park a few miles away from Elba, there in SE Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”
When he handed me a letter I had written to him over 48 years ago, on May 27, 1974, when I was a freshman in college and he had just joined the Army, I was shocked! He had kept it all this time. I opened it up and read it.
Lord, the way You move in people’s lives always amazes me.
I was so taken back by him saving this letter, and then bringing it that day to show me. Again, it astounded me. So I took photos of the envelope, and the hand-written letter front and back. I hope you can read my penmanship. Someday I will transcribe it. (You can read it better with a laptop or desktop computer, rather than on a small phone!)
Briefly, I encouraged him to do well in the Army and wrote of my upcoming trip to Appalachia (Blue Ridge mountain range area running through Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and northward) that summer of 1974, to be a part of a Catholic Glenmary Brothers mission trip to the kids in the “hollers” (hills and valleys) of northern Georgia. More importantly, I encouraged him to be watchful of our times, as I believed then (and even more so now), that Jesus Christ was soon returning, and how we needed to be aware, watchful, and prepared.
I told him of the book by Hal Lindsey, “The Late Great Planet Earth” of Bible prophecy being fulfilled in our time. I had read the paperback and had given a copy to his dad (my uncle Cleyson). (Sidenote: I had also recorded it on cassette so my dad could hear it, being he didn’t read much. Like most men!)
I love my cousins. I pray they all grow closer to Jesus Christ, to know Him more personally, the One Who saves and redeems us all, in His love and mercy. He IS returning soon!
Ahava and shalom,
Founder, Love For His People Ministry