2 Peter 3:9 ESV – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Helen’s grandfather, Keil, was raised in a church tradition that preached the power of an angry God. His was an experience of hearing about a God of consequences; a God who responds to human misdeeds with punishment and retribution. When he became an adult Keil had little desire to attend church, believing that he had heard enough about God during the time he was compelled to attend as a child.
In the latter half of the 1950s, Helen’s brother, Calvin, began attending Sunday School at the church the family attended. In Sunday School Calvin would hear stories of Jesus as shared on the flannel board and by children’s books. Calvin often spent time with his grandfather as he toiled in his workshop. It was there that Calvin would retell the Sunday School stories of the miracles and love of Jesus.
The pastor of a nearby church would sometimes visit Keil at his workshop and each visit included an invitation to attend their church services. It was during one of these visits that Keil turned to the pastor and said, “I don’t want to hear about the God that I heard about as a child; instead, tell me about the God that my grandson knows.”
It was from that conversation that Helen, at the age of 3, stood with her parents, siblings and others at the edge of a pond and watched as her grandfather and grandmother, both in their 60s, were baptized and became members of the Mt. Ida Church of the Brethren. They lived the rest of their lives serving and loving their Lord, Jesus Christ.