Called, Chosen, And Faithful
By Lois J. Stucky
By the time you read this issue of Herald of His Coming, the "PrayWorld! 2004" calendar will likely have expired. Thank you for participating in daily prayer that the glory of God be released among the nations! If we faithfully followed the calendar, we will have prayed for every nation in the world. What a privilege to be a member of the Body of Christ, and to be united with untold numbers who are seeking God for His intervention in mighty power, to deluge our ailing world with salvation before it is devoured in flames of judgment!
Might we build on the momentum of prayer, and press on for mighty outpourings of the Holy Spirit such as this sinful, wayward world has never seen! God’s Word still stands: "I will pour water on Him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit…" (Isa. 44:3). Our God is "good and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy…full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psa. 86:5,15). He wants to use you and me through prayer and as He leads otherwise, to bring to fulfillment His grand and glorious purposes of mercy for mankind in this hour.
Keeping Faith! Keeping Faithful!
A Herald of His Coming friend who was an inspiration through many years in her continuing faith and faithfulness in prayer for revival was Helen Gilkerson. Although Helen had grown up in California, she came to consider Taiwan her home. A few years ago she wrote us: "April 18, 1951 was the date I first arrived in Taiwan – 50 years! I recall stepping off the ship, after twenty-one days from San Francisco, through the Philippines Islands and Hong Kong to Taiwan. The Lord said to me, ‘This is your land and these are your people.’
"Yes, it is true! Wonderful Lord! Sent by Him! Then in 1952 after one and one-half years in Taipei, the Lord said, ‘I want you in Hsinchu.’ I had never been to Hsinchu and knew nothing about it, but He wonderfully opened up the way for Addie Gordon [a chalk artist] and me to begin student work here, the beginning of our Berachah Church. ‘Berachah’ means ‘Blessing’ says the Bible margin (2 Chr. 20:26), and this we have wanted to be through the years. Fifteen are now in full-time service who were once baptized in our church. Two of them are pastors, and one, Daniel Tai, is founder of Taiwan’s first prayer mountain. Daniel was the first one in his family to become a Christian and his father put him out of his home. He came and lived with us for one and one-half years and helped us start Sunday school, etc. His brother Joseph is now a pastor in Chicago, his sister is a pastor in Taipei, and the youngest brother is a pastor in Taipei. Two of Daniel’s children are pastors. He paid the price, surely."
During the 50 years of service, Helen remained in the States for several years as a companion to her aging, widowed mother. While here she ministered with a Chinese Church in Glendale. Once a week she drove a few ladies to Herald of His Coming and they wrapped Herald papers for mailing overseas. Time at the wrapping table flew by as Helen shared with the other ladies some of her missionary experiences, such as weaving through crowded city traffic on the back of a motorbike to do visitation. When her mother was well into her nineties, the Lord took her to be with Himself, and Helen promptly returned to Taiwan.
She had an effective ministry with the young people, and there was a school nearby which brought a number to the services in Berachah chapel. As the ones Helen led to the Lord and discipled moved on, many to become wives and mothers, the fruit of her labors was seen throughout the island. Taiwan is a land of much spiritual darkness. Buddhist temples with their idol worship abound. Along with other evangelical churches in the city, Berachah Church felt oppression from the enemy Satan, and there were losses along with the gains. Beside these disappointments were the dangers of the cyclones which periodically came to Taiwan, threatening to flood or even sweep away the little chapel building.
In 2001 there was held a prayer meeting at 5:00 a.m. preceding the union meeting of Hsinchu churches on Easter Sunday in the Sports Stadium. A few attending desired to continue early morning prayer meetings and they asked to hold them in Berachah Church. At that time Helen was living with the pastor and family on the seventh floor of an apartment building across the street from the church. Although Helen’s health had begun to fail, she regularly rose about 4:20 each morning including Sunday, and in the pre-dawn darkness, went across the street to unlock the door, turn on the lights and the fan and prepare for those who would gather to pray. Sometimes as many as eight were there, sometimes only three. Faithfully day after day, they cried out to God for revival.
Many a time Helen looked out of her seventh floor window upon the part of the city she could see. She well knew that many Buddhist temples were scattered throughout and that multitudes worshiped the idols within them. As her eyes rested upon little Berachah chapel down below, with its repairs upon repairs, it seemed so humble and insignificant. But that did not obscure her vision nor dampen her faith nor silence the cry in her heart that God would one day visit the chapel, the city, and even the whole of Taiwan in mighty power, as she felt He wanted to do.
Helen was an avid reader of Herald of His Coming, and often shared in letters how the revival messages helped keep the fire burning in her heart. In one letter she excitedly praised the Lord that they were seeing new folk come to their church, folk from "out of the blue" – people who had not been invited by any person but were drawn by the Spirit of God. Other churches in Hsinchu even now report that they see little drops of blessing that they are trusting will turn into abundant showers of revival blessing. Other revival prayer meetings have sprung up in the city.
Helen’s first hospital experience in the many years she served in Taiwan came in 2001. She was released but had to re-enter, and the last year of her earthly life was spent in the hospital. Until she was bedfast, she went about in her wheelchair in the hospital witnessing for the Lord. She redeemed time in the hospital by memorizing Scripture and she urged the dozens of visitors who came to see their beloved missionary, to do the same. Memorizing Scripture and Christian hymns had been on her agenda for some time previously, for there was the possibility that her Bible and hymn book might one day be taken from her. Off and on, little Taiwan heard the "rattling of swords" across the narrow strait, and the Taiwanese did not know what might eventually befall them. Helen remained steadfast in her intention of continuing to the end with her dear brothers and sisters in Christ in Taiwan, come what may.
The Lord took Helen Gilkerson to Himself in November 2003, at the age of ninety. Her body lies buried in the place of her choice in Taiwan, in a Christian cemetery, in a section designated for ministers and missionaries. But her prayers live on! We pay tribute to our dear sister in the Lord – called, chosen, and faithful! "To God be the glory," she would want us to say, and we gladly ascribe to Him the glory and praise for such a life.
"Called, and chosen, and faithful!" This is the designation given to those who are with the Lord of lords, and King of kings, when He triumphantly overcomes in earths final battle! (Rev. 17:14). What a lofty goal toward which to press – whether I am a young person eagerly looking to the Lord for His chosen field of service, or a parent learning along with the children I am training up in the ways of the Lord, or an aged one who has mellowed and drawn close, close to the heart of God through enduring life’s disappointments and dangers, or whoever I may be. For Jesus’ sake, let us strive to be in the number of the called, chosen, and faithful!