I wrote about this some years back and friends passed it around. Some for the consideration of how people can be others for the story of the Rapture I was allowed to witness it in the spirit. Most have seen things they cannot explain or do not recall. The good Lord keeps the most special gifts He gives to us and in His time He reveals to us the truth of what He has given.
First I would like to give you a quick rundown of two of the beautiful friends I have been graced with here on earth.
Rod was in the air force when we met. In time he would take me to meet his close friends. His sergeant Dave was one of them. Dave was originally from Oklahoma. A big ole country boy generally quiet in nature. Pong, Dave's wife a very petite Chinese lady who appeared to be the total opposite of Dave. Keep in mind through this story Pong was less than five foot tall.
Rod and I had known each other for only a few months, yet it was as if we had both found our long lost friend when we had met. So it seemed we had known each other forever. As Rod was driving me towards Mountain Home that day he told me, "I have someone very special I want you to meet today."
We arrived at a house. It had dogs, chickens and ducks in the yard and it was some what cluttered looking. A newer modern suburb house with farm animals. Once at the door a tiny lady invited us in. Rod introduced me and she said, "Hi come in", in very broken English. She started asking Rod, "What you been doing?" after the awkward feeling introductions.
I used to be a very quiet reserved person, introverted; intimidated by the world in general I kept my thoughts to myself.
I sat there and tried to keep up in listening to the conversation between Rod and Pong. She talked ninety miles and hour and I could only understand every third word through her Chinese accent. The house to me smelled awful, having no idea to Pong it smelled like delicacies (Kim Chi). She insisted we eat while we were there and that was very hard for me through the stench of the Kim Chi that filled the air. (Kim Chi is a mixture of fermented cabbage in case you do not know what it is). At the time I thought it might be the dogs she kept in the house. Today I would be able to tell the difference between dogs littering a house and Kim Chi.
She continued rattling off in her broken English as she served us. She was angry with Dave and was telling Rod about whatever it was that made her so angry with Dave. Through the whole conversation I heard more cuss words than I think I had ever heard anyone use in my life. Not realizing at that point in my life this is what many who come from another language culture learn first the slang words. Especially being around military guys the slang expressions stick. That is how Pong learned to speak English.
Then she started talking about the women where she worked at the base chow hall. From what I could gather through her broken English was that these women had been harassing her terribly and they were black.
Then it came to the point of what she told these women during one of her angry spurts at work as she was cutting up the lettuce for the salad. "I told her you bitch, I cut u cunt out and feed it to my dogs." We had just watched Pong put dinner in the pots on the stove for the dogs after she had fed us. She had chopped up Chicken Gizzards and Livers and tossed them in a large pot of water as she told of what had happened to her. I had thought when I saw her cooking for her dogs, "Well she can't be all bad. She even cooks for her dogs."
As the conversations went forward I thought to myself about what Rod had told me before bringing me here, "I want you to meet someone very special." Is this foul mouth person what he was talking about? Little at that time would I know how very special she was. Nor would I know she was truly one that was very near and dear to my heart. When we think in the flesh we cannot know these things.
Over the years Pong and I grew so very close. Her speech improved in the days ahead and I would learn to laugh at Pong's expressions as she talked about anything in life. Pong and I would learn we truly were so much a like in so many ways. In that first day she considered me a snob, a spoiled rich American girl. Later she would tell me how sorry she was. She said, "You never a snob, you just quiet." We learned even though our lives were separated in cultures, many aspects of our lives were parallel. Her mother had sold pong into slavery when she was fourteen years old. Her husband was actually her hero. He married her and brought her to America.
Pong suffered physically from her childhood of poverty. She had Diabetes. At an early age her heart started giving out. Her sight would go as her health deteriorated. By the time she was forty her days here on earth were very limited. She was on dialysis daily and in and out of the hospital on a regular basis. The doctors told her she needed a lung transplant and a kidney transplant or she would die. She told me one day, "I no want to do this, if I die I die."
Then one day my dear Pong called me. She said, "I call you cause you smart." I told her well I am not so sure about that Pong. "No" she said, "You smart and you be able to tell me things I need to know". "You know I dying. Another person tell me I going to Hell, I don't pay her church." "You tell truth and I going to Hell." "I think she lying. You tell me what you know." "She say if I don't come to her church and pay them money I go to HELL!" "I raised Buddha but I no believe that crap Buddha." "She want her preacher to come see me and her preacher say I go to HELL!" "I need truth and you tell truth. I no believe her at all". "SO" she finished her question, "Is she full of shit?"
It somewhat angered me that a church would fill another with such garbage. Taking advantage of someone who could not fully understand the English language to fill their church basket with money.” About giving money to get to heaven?" I responded. "Yeah" Pong replied.
"No Pong you can't buy your way out of Hell or into heaven." I replied.
"So, she full of shit. I knew she full of shit." Pong said.
I confirmed Pong's words, "Yup, she full of shit but it may be that it is the person telling her that."
Pong's voice came back to the tone of the one I dearly loved. She now was sounding like the sweetest person I have ever known in her childlike voice saying, "Okay you tell me truth now. What you know?"
I explained to Pong what I knew the words of the Bible said and what Jesus said. She asked me, "Is this what you believe."
I responded, "Yes. Believe in Jesus with your whole heart Pong and be baptized. Those are the requirements that I know of Pong. So do you want to be baptized in Jesus name?"
She responded, "Yes, you fix it. Can you baptize me?" I told her I cannot but I can make the arrangements for you at one of the churches here near us. She was excited now, "OKAY! I be baptized as soon as you fix."
I promised Pong I would make the arrangements as soon as possible. The doctors did not know how much longer she had to live here. Each day her frail frame grew even weaker. Since she denied the transplants the doctors did not think she would live for much longer.
I called the Christian center church. The pastor there claimed he would get back to me right away. He didn't and a week had passed. So I called him again and again he promised he would get back with me in a few days. He didn't. So I walked up the street to the Methodist church (our home in Idaho was surrounded by churches). I had spoke with Sid the pastor there previously since the church was actually one of our neighbors and our son Tim had gone to the Methodist church before. Tim said he really liked Sid. Sid said he would be honored to baptize my dear friend and asked when. I told him as soon as possible. So we set the day for the following Sunday after the upcoming weekend.
I went home and called Pong and asked her if she would be up to being baptized on the Sunday after next. She was as excited as a child going to a birthday party. We would go to church and then have a special dinner at our house to celebrate Pong's baptism in water. The day was a beautiful day. The sun was shining bright and everything seemed so perfect. I had wanted to make the day as special as I could for Pong and it was truly a special day. I had prepared Enchiladas and the full course Spanish meal for Pong and Dave for her special day. Pong was so happy and she laughed and giggled through the day. I had fixed Boo my Chow a plate of Enchiladas also; they were Boo's favorite food. Pong told Boo, "You no Mexican dog, you Chinese dog. Why you like Mexican food." Leave it to Pong to remind the dog of his heritage. She had to take a rest before Dave could take her home and have one of her treatments. As I watched my friend resting my heart soured to see her look so at peace and resting. She looked as bright as I had ever seen her. The day truly seemed to go so perfect I thought as we hugged to say goodbye that evening.
The next morning my phone rang as I was sitting in the family room recalling what a nice day Pong's day had been the day before. I answered the phone. It was John Rinard another dear friend I had made in the last ten years. I could never forget the day I met John. He was taking a tour of a new facility the state had built that we had gotten the contract on for maintenance. He was an older gentleman with a gruffy authoritive type voice. The area supervisor was with him as he asked me if there was anything the state needed to do that they had missed. I told him about some safety issues that were missed in the design of the stairway to the top of the lookout o the building. He asked if there were any other issues that I thought they should address. I gave him my thoughts from the point of view of the traveling public and the maintenance person. He said he would consider the issues I brought up and have some changes made. In my thoughts I was considering the gentleman as we spoke. I had heard so many things about this man over the years and this was the first time we had ever spoke. I was somewhat intimidated by his gruff voice at first but he seemed to want to hear what I had to say. So I asked him since I had his ear if I could ask something more of him. He told me to go ahead. I explained to him about our visit with a worker at a site we had reviewed and were bidding on soon. Explaining to him also it was very unlikely I would get the bid for that site, I told him about John Wayne the man who lived there and worked for the other company. Rinard shot back at me, "He cuts all my wild flowers!" Ouch, that was a sore subject matter. I said, "Well there is a reason for that." Rinard was looking at me sideways as I said that. I told him really John Wayne never has been told what to do up there, if you could when you are there let him know. John really does want to do a good job and he will do whatever he is instructed. So I went on to describe how the area set on top of the hill over looking the valley below and named the town below.” Yes, I know all that" Rinard says. "Well" I explained, "John mows the area overlooking the valley and they have church services up there when the weather is nice." Hoping he would understand the small town and the fellowship of John Wayne and the town members at the facility. He was not looking at me sideways now but he shot back with, "No churches or brothels on the rest areas." He was trying not to smile as he said it and I caught that smile under his stern looking face. I smiled and said, "You know I was thinking about..." He cut me off at that and said, "Hm, hmph, my concerns are here for today, this is what we are going to concentrate on." That was that conversation over and John Rinard said we would now walk through the building.
A few weeks later Rod and I were in that same district near Pocatello, Idaho at another newly built site for a pre bid conference near the Idaho Utah border. We were told we were by the district engineering assistant that we should be having lunch with Rinard. That is if it was okay with us. We were told since we had a large portion of the contracts at this point and he was of course the person over all of these facility contracts in the state. He said he had wished to meet me formally. So we met at the local town for lunch after the pre bid walk through. They had me to sit in the booth next to Mr. Rinard. After formal introduction and being told by Mr. Rinard to call him John we started talking. John asked me if I could tell him in detail what happened in 1983. I started telling him how it went from day one on the very first contract I had ever had and what I though based on my personal observations. He told me, "You were the contractor I was looking for back then. What went wrong?" We talked a little further and it just blurted out. One of those things that if you were thinking at all you would have never said it. I was looking straight at John and said, "Your not at all the asshole everyone said you were." He faced looked a little shocked. My brain went into a shock; stuff my foot in my mouth. John replied, "Well I haven't heard to many nice things about you either young lady." Oops, that did it, I was sure I screwed up. Rod was sitting across the table next to one of the engineers that had told me that. He did not say a word. John Rinard and I started talking again just not as busily. The statements of truth broke the ice and cemented a lasting friendship between John and I that could never end. John over the next 6 years would try to help me understand and help me learn to maneuver around in the bureaucratic offices he had worked in all those years. He would be the one to talk to when things seemed really tough even at home. John would be one of the best friends I would ever have.
Today as the phone rang I had no clue that I would have to make such a serious choice after I answered the phone. It was John and immediately I was asked by my dear friend in a not so friendly voice, "What did you do?" Usually with a tone a voice that sounded something like that from John was some claim of off BS from certain DOT employees that had been trying to discredit me since I had started bidding on and winning contracts again. Yet today John's voice was harsh it was not his normal stern voice I had learn to recognize and know as just his authoritative nature. I ask John "What?" John said, "Well I got a phone call from down there." I am still thinking it is concerning the rest areas. Then the bomb fell on my thoughts and heart as John said, "I got a call from my old friend ...... He said you brought a heathen into their church. What did you do?"
"Heathen!" I shot back. My mind was spinning and my heart had sunk. I new this may be the end of our friendship and it was very disheartening to me. Of all things John and I had spent hours talking about over the years, we had never discussed our faith or our beliefs. I gather my thoughts and I told my dear friend "Pong is no heathen. She is a very dear friend. She called me one day and wanted to know about Jesus. She is dieing and a person she knows told her she was going to Hell if she did not payoff the gal's church. Pong had never been baptized and I made arrangement with Sid the pastor at the Methodist Church just up the street and that is God's church not your friends whether they like it or not. Jesus came for all. Those people do not pick or choose who He takes or who will be saved and who will not." John's voice changed and he said, "Wells that's exactly right. What else happened.”? I told John the whole story about my beautiful friend Pong and her special day. John was very quiet as I told him about Pong, our friendship and my faith in Jesus. John spoke after I was finished talking. He simply said, "I have known those people my whole life Becky and I am so sorry. I had no idea they were like that. I am so, so sorry." The heart sinking dreads that I had from the beginning of this conversation were gone and I was so grateful again for the friend God gave to me, dear John.
John passed away in 1995. It seemed like me to be only a few months after he retired. He never let on to me he was sick. I think John did not want me upset and feeling heart broken at the loss of not having him there to call on for encouragement and advice. John was the one who reminded me when I was placed under arrest on false charges, "It is okay, some of the greatest leaders ever have been placed under arrest. It means nothing." As my tears fell for my loss, Rod reminded me John is safe.
We came to Iowa and I would only be able to see Pong a few times over the next few years. Whenever we would go back to Idaho I would try to spend a day with her. By 1999 we were so busy working to get the mine started. It seemed I rarely got to rest through the day in the summer. On one particular day though I was home and decided to rest for just a little bit. I went upstairs, opened the slider door and the air seemed so fresh I left it open. I lay down and smelled the freshness of the summer breeze. As I closed my eyes I could still see the picture of a mountain meadow full of flowers from my childhood. The air felt like that mountain meadow as I drifted off to sleep. I awoke with these memories. I saw Pong. She was dancing around a shiny pole. Dresses in a flowing white dress and more beautiful than I had ever seen her. The whole space where I was was full of light. The light radiated from everywhere and everything. Pong was laughing, dancing and so happy. It was most wonderful to see her like that. When Rod came home I told him what I saw.
The next morning we were just getting our last cup of coffee down and the phone rang. It was Dave. He called to tell us Pong had passed away the evening before. He described how in the afternoon she was up from her hospital bed dancing around with her IV pole. Happy and laughing. The doctor even said he thought she could go home last night. She was better he said, I mean she was up and laughing and dancing then she laid down, went to sleep and she was gone.
God gives us the most precious gifts and many times He blesses us with such beautiful friends on earth as it is in heaven. This was a portion of what He gave to me. I hope you enjoy hearing about the gifts of God as they were given to me.