Alfred Stadem's Round Robin Letter to Loved Ones,

On 6 States & 2 Continents,

from Plain View Farm,

Feb. 15, 1950

This P.V.F. round robin letter of 1950 had additions made on successive days to it and thus was delayed in getting sent, for the envelope has a May 5, 1950 postmark, and Hans Spilde's address is on it. The envelope is addressed in pencil, I think by Darrell, to Pearl Ginther in Puyallup, Washington. It was in her heritage collection, and she may have read it a number of times, as she was accustomed to rereading her mail, no matter how ancient, to remind herself of past doings of the Stadems and how God did various things in lives or their ministries and families were blessed by God.

At the top is written in ink by Alfred, "You sure do not have to read this scrib. Anyway not till you get time to spare." The letter is first typed on a mimeograph, and the legibility is poor, so Alfred wrote over the illegible words to make them clear, only it is tough going for this transcriber, but worth the trouble anyway. I really like his testimony about depending on grace, unmerited grace, for soul salvation, not works of any kind. He certainly knew then in 1950 his soul salvation wasn't by infant baptism! This proves he knew what salvation is truly based upon--Christ alone, not our own works or righteousness or goodness or even a revered church sacrament performed on infants making no personal, responsible decisions for Christ and who could not possibly do that at that age. Theology aside, try basing your salvation on something you were completely unaware of--that really takes faith, absolutely blind faith!

The letter is not going to be very preachy, Papa says, but gets down to very practical descriptions of farm life, and also references to letters already read from loved ones, and Alfred's responses. Since he is asked for counsel, he does give his reflections based on good Christian literature and his own experiences too. This gives us a great picture of a large part of the family at that time, how it was doing spiritually and the things they were concerned with.--Ed.

Plain View Farm. Feb. 15th, 1950, Our Dear Ones everywhere in 6 states and two continents:

I have come to realize this is not the kind of a letter yu want or expect, but guess it will have to serve the purpose [the blurry blue-mimeographed copy].

Happy to inform you we are well and happy. Have not even had a cold yet this wintger, no snowbound yet or floods, blizzards nor cyclones as we hear of elsewhere, no, not even a strike of any kind, but plenty to eat, ag ood place to sleep, work to do, good books and lots of literature to read and messages of good cheer from friends and dear ones.

What more could a person wish for. True enough all of this would not be wort living for, unless we inclued in the word "happy" the peace with God unmerited on our part. Yet it's there. Yep, it's a good thing the plan of Salvation is not based on works or "do's" and "don'ts", otherwise there sits one here who would be "skunk" on the day of reckoning.

Yet it is evident to me where there is "do's" or "don'ts" the first transaction has not been made! Nope, I'm not going to preach but just write a letter.

Taylors...thanks a 1000 for all we have heard from you. It's all been read and reread with much interest. The "chivante," the round robin through three Hills, the personal letter of Feb. 1st, also of last year. Yes, the "Brown Gold" is read with more interest now that we are better acquainted. And the box arrived and all done as directed, but do not mention that cash item any more unless you want to fight.

To be sure we followed every move at Coohabomba at the family reunion [so this proves there were family reunions going on at PVF back in the late forties!--Ed.]. You were not the only ones bawling!!! Indeed it was sad to hear of the 5 young soldiers for Christ [the five missionaries, Tate, and Jim Eliott, and three other young men, killed by the Auca Indians as they were then called], have to give their lives. Yet they are to be envied wearing the Martyr's crown to be sure. We are thrilled to hear about "the first nugget." [his reference to "Brown Gold"] Expect to meet him in heaven some day.

Now this is the next day allready, 9 p.m. Possibly you say, "what are you doing on P.V.F. anyhow? Well, it's the usual program of course, such as dusting the barn and what goes with 27 head of cattle, 5 horses, 6 hogs, 8 sheep, dog and cats, and 200 hens, etc. It takes a tremendous lot of water every day, 10 to 15 gallons for hens alone. Hope my young lady does not help me with this either. She has her stoves, dishes, food and patching, etc. And of late she has been writing letters to the lawmakers of Washington. She gets answers too [so is her Mama where Ruth got her example to write publicly with a Christian viewpoint to express on issues? If we only had the copies of such letters and the responses of lawmakers, it would be a wonderful thing.--Ed.].

Well, the other day to Co-op, and tied a quilt. Today she made two big boxes of soap.

I just mended water-pails and tin cans and put a iron band on the butterchurn for extra.

Loren [Lorin Ginther, recovering from rheumatic fever] is allowed to be outside now so he goes down and gets the mail, and visit Waldows. He is feeling O.K. but his temp. runs irrigular yet. Dr. said Fri. to try a month without remedie now. Am sure you all know by now Darrel expect he will pass the 8th Gr. this spring. Sure a different boy then he ever was.

It's 9 p.m. on the day after the day yesterday. The daily grind was not so different, only for the extra an old man and a man-to-be [Lorin] drove down to the old Bill Brown place with two plugs on the twowheel trailer and brought home an old binder I bought on an auction sale last fall.

We took along the rifle for protection as we do not want the big jackrabbits to run over us. Well, one just would not get up and go, so we took and shot him. My [aim] did not do so much extra to crow about. Just washed dirty cloths.

AND this is the day after the day after that. Yes, Sonney Bill [son-in-law Bill Svanoe], your letter from Tucson is at hand and read thrice, also the group letters and cards sent by Myrtle and it will all be on the way tomorrow [all these valuable letters are gone, alas, burned up or trashed by the next generation when they had a chance to do that, in clearing out their parents' effects--Ed.]. Thanks for it all, not the least for wanting our humble opinnion about the whole matter.

Frankly, I must say I do not know what to say about it, and I'm curious to see this what follows myself. Yes, indeed we have prayed about this in particular in addition to asking God every day to guide all our dear ones in all they do and say, and direct us all in our individual problems, but most of all to the wellfare of our immortal souls.

Will say at the outset, that we do believe you are following the right course so far. We are indeed happy you have the desire to step out more fully for the Lord and of service in His kingdom. We believe in the Christian's life the Lord creates the desire. What I mean is "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord"--Ps. 27:14

And the result will be "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint."--Is. 40:31. That's to be in His will.

Far be it from my purpose to discourage any one from gitting more into (seemingly) more effective service in the vineyard. We too have been waiting here to be, and yet while we are stranded here on this point as it seems, there are some things we must not lose sight of.

I do not know in what order they should be put, but we must know for sure what the motive is for wanting to take that step (only one is right). Then, is the place or position we cater to of more effective service?

Could there be a possibility that we ourselves might lose out spiritually if we do get into exalted position? (may God forbid)

How important is it not to remain faithful to the Lord even in the most obscure place? How it does thrill my soul to see the incident that sent Dr. John Scudder as a medical missionary to India, and what that must have meant in the soul harvest as also his 7 sons and 2 daughters [just the opposite of Alfred's 7 daughters and 2 sons!] went into full time service for the Lord.

Yes, who will get the most stars? The one who wrote the message? The one who printed it? The one who paid the money for it/ or the (timid) soul who laid it on the table in Dr. Scudder's hospital room where the Dr. picked it up and read it the minute he was taking the patient's temperature???

Read recintly what a great and marvelous work his daughter Ida is doing over there yet. Also Miss Arna Njaa, Execu. Sec'y of L.D.R. told me of the outstanding results of her labor among the Hindue women.

And to think that one little tract could put so much in motion. And then to think of even pastors (so-called) being out of God's will, having pushed themselves into it [the pastoral office and missions too] by wrong motive.

I recall that I read last summer somewhere, that the most rare yet most precious and beautiful flower in God's garden is calld "humility." Could not help but think of that after reading the message based on the "Talents" in "God's Word for Today" by O. Hallesby, PH.D. on Feb. 11, when he says "We who have received only one talent constitute the great majority of the servants of Jesus. To me it is proof sufficient that God's preserving power is still at work today," and as he states further that the disciple of Jesus has received less than one talent." And then this incouraging statement "As a matter of fact, I am inclined to think that we shall be surprised on the great day to find that the most important work in the Lord's kingdom has been done by those who have received only one talent."

Yes, read it all if available. It should inspire us to faithfulness at whatever task is at hand. As I look back over this part of the scrib, it surely do not look incouraging for those who contemplate greater service for God in His kingdom. But do know it is not intended as a discouragement but rather guiding thought as we step out on faith, and that there is no task no menial that we should sidetrack it.

Furthermore this, that it follows the hopeful news that the Svanoes are contemplating a more fulltime service, it is not directed at them any more than for the rest of us, if it is worth any consideration. After receiving the letter from Bill while at Tucson, we in our minds have allready placed them in a Christian book-store selling Chrristian literature. Assisting in Gospel radio broadcasting and giving personal testimonies and distributing gospel tracts. May God's will be done.--Papa Alfred

Note: All of these things the Svanoes subsequently did, Bill Svanoe worked in a Christian bookstore in Mpls, and then sold Christian books and literature at their church, and in their home, and Myrtle gave talks on Christian topics on the radio, though I have forgotten the topics, the family would know what they were. As for tract distribution, the Svanoes were absolute experts, and indefatigable witnesses for Jesus with personal testimonies and tracts wherever they went. They had no shame at all in their witness, for they loved Jesus and they loved people, loved sinners and wanted to see their souls saved and the individuals living for God. These ministries they engaged in while operating a full-time, most demanding landscaping business for over 50 years and they also raised a large family at the same time and served a number of churches in various capacities, as Sunday School teachers and also deacon and deaconess. Bill Svanoe always inclosed a tract with every statement he sent out to his landscaping customers. Who knows the fruits of all these labors? We do know that the Bible Study they had in their home grew into a church that mothered over twenty other churches and missions! Myrtle Svanoe counselled countless women in her home and prayed with them and for them. They gave to the poor, provided jobs to needy young men, fed them, counselled them too-- even housed some of them for a time. There is no end to their ministries. Incredibly abundant spiritual fruit for two laypersons, wouldn't you have to concur?--Ed.].

Mama Bergit:

Yes, our dear children. Dont get angry now, I think maybe you can make it out. Perhaps you will get some blue [from the blue mimeograph print] on your face and hands, and mind Papa started this awhile ago allrigth. No wonder yu Bernice are kind of wondring. Thanks for Card just received. Lorin got the mail, he jenerly go in and see Martin [Berent Martin Stadem] and fam. He got a new tractor he is very interested in. Lorin got to start his old one one day. Yes, he is normal every day now, likes to be outside. It runs down the hill today, hope it won't be too much for him, he is round as an apple.

We had a letter from Darrell that sounds good. WE sent the best one to Cora and Carl. Was that OK? We were to F.Ship [Lutheran Fellowship League meeting] yesterday in Lake Campel church south east of Volga, first time there. Rev. Eid serves that cong. and also Volga as old as he is, but seams realy to be him self and enjoy to work for His Lord.

Papa is hauling manure and hay today.

Cora sent Carl's black suit and 2 nice dark shirts for us to have cleaned and put away. Oh, my, such a strong moldy smell even after that long trip, it must be turble damp and still so hot. Cora sent me a big, kind of coase knitted doilie, she had a native Lady makie it for her. I do feel bad resieving anything from missionarys, it is not rigth an I told her, now that's first and last present.

How is all in Washington, hgope you are fine and happyt in the Lord. I was to Martha sirkel [Martha Circle at church] last nigth, they asked about Darrell, was so glad to tell them he is going to school in S.F., getting good grades and a nice teacher. God is good. Lorin likes to play with the little calfs. We got 2, he named one pet calf, "crown tip" [?].

Blessings and love to all,

Grandma & Grandpa, Papa & Mama

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