Recovering holy ground

Sometimes God speaks on mountaintops. He spoke to my father, and 70 years later to me, in a barn.

When my parents, Johann and Liese Dick, arrived from Russia in 1924 with five children under the age of seven, they found shelter in a farmhouse near Borden, Sask. Two years later, Mother gave birth to their sixth child, and began to hemorrhage.

Dad’s cousin took over the household and a nurse tended to Mother; many people prayed. My father’s faith wavered. The doctor had done all he could.

Over and over, Dad heard God say, “Tell me, ‘Thy will be done.’”

“Is God preparing me to give up my dear wife?” he questioned. “No, don’t ask me to do that! What will become of my family?” But he recalled Psalm 50:15: “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honour me.”

Mother continued to suffer and prospects for recovery waned. The voice my father heard repeated, “Thy will be done.” After a difficult night, Dad surrendered.

Feeling God as near as Moses did at the burning bush, he fell to his knees in the barn and cried, “I am willing to submit. I know no other way!” Tired and brokenhearted, he added, “I am alone in this country with no money, no job, no language, and six dear children. If it’s possible, answer my prayer and rescue their mother.”

A great peace came over him. With renewed hope, my father walked the 200 steps back to the house, where the nurse greeted him.

“The crisis is over,” she said.

Mother lived to raise all 13 of her children, surviving Dad by 24 years, and seeing 101 years of God’s faithfulness.

He leadeth me

As I was writing my parents’ stories, I longed to visit their first Canadian home. In 2000, a friend directed me to an acquaintance near Borden who could help me begin my search. The young man was unfamiliar with our history, but eager to help. I stated my mission – to find the barn my father described as “holy ground” 70 years ago, and held up a photo.

“Look out the window,” he replied. God had led me straight to my parents’ homestead!

Although my parents’ house had recently been torn down, the foundation remained. As I retraced the 200 paces from the house to the barn, the most difficult journey my immigrant father ever made, I recalled his words every time he told the story: “This is so that you children will not forget: God keeps his promises.”

—David Dick is a retired educator and a member of Highland MB Church, Calgary

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