The late Rev. Harald Bredesen, a noted Christian statesman, moved to Van Nuys, CA. We became the best of friends.
Later, he was called to pastor at Trinity Christian Fellowship, Victoria, B.C. Harald said, “When we get settled in our new church, we must have reports of Baja Adventures.” Thus I was invited to British Columbia.
Following the service, I was invited to High Tea at Colonel Bill Riddell’s lovely home. He asked me if I would be willing to share this incredible story with Rev. John Lucas, his friend in Calgary, AB.
Minutes later he was on the phone with John saying, “John, a Lutheran lady spoke at our Sunday morning service. She has an amazing story of how she and her husband adopted a Zapotec Indian baby which opened the door to their current ministry in Mexico.”
I overheard John’s reply, “Why would I be interested in the testimony of a Lutheran lady? I’ll call you back after I’ve prayed about it.” Twenty minutes later, John called, “Fly her to Calgary and I’ll have her speak at the mid-week service.”
It was a short flight from Victoria to Calgary, AB. As I stood at the airport waiting to be picked up, a young man inquired, “are you Charla?” I replied, “Yes.” Then he said, “Missionaries don’t usually wear hoop earrings.”
I was puzzled by his statement, but then was driven downtown to the Immanuel Assemblies of God church where I was received with the warmest of welcomes. This invitation opened the doors to ministry across Canada.
Our Baja adventures were shared in small and large congregations from Ft. McMurray, AB
to L’Assomption, Quebec. I was invited to be the plenary speaker to 10,000 attendants at Mission Fest, B.C. in Vancouver.
Our dear friend, the late Rev. Percy Gutteridge recommended that I share the amazing story at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Churh in Mission, B.C.
While speaking there, I met Olive Kieler, who was the church secretary and
cook at Camp Luther.
She caught the vision of bringing work groups to the Baja Mission. Her husband, Larry, was the bus driver and they gathered up young people from all over Canada who would have their lives changed forever by the trip to Mexico.
Pictorial journeys with Larry and Olive were amazing adventures of joy and yes, a few tears.
Larry Kieler was a master mechanic/bus driver. He provided the transportation to Mexico. Olive made all arrangements for their sojourn. When the Kielers and their crew arrived he was sent to the auto shop. There were vehicles waiting, including our back hoe, which was always in need of repair. Olive was met with a truck load of tomatoes. She knew how to can. Olive and her crew canned thousands of quarts of tomatoes.
Often Pastor John Lucas drove me hundreds of miles to speaking engagements that he had arranged on my behalf and Olive did the same. There were times when I scheduled my own itinerary and ended up hitch hiking.
I was guest speaker at Burnaby Christian Fellowship in British Columbia and had an evening service in Anacortes, WA. There was no bus transportation. What could I do? I walked a few blocks away from the church carrying a suitcase, a slide projector and put up my thumb. Sid Fluvog picked me up and drove me all the way to the church. I will forever be grateful.
From Anaimo, B.C. I met Nick and Zoya Andruff. They were certainly heroes of the faith. He was a master maintenance man. She, a gourmet cook and a healer of the broken hearted.
The Andruffs used their van to do procurement and made a weekly trip from Osborne Neighborhood Church in Arleta, CA to the Baja Mission. For 14 years they picked up everything from nuts and bolts to restaurant supplies.
If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, you must be servants of all. Nick and Zoya Andruff were certainly servants of all.