RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:
by Rennard Svanoe,
Nephew of Pearl A. Ginther,
and a Reminiscence
by her Son Ronald Ginther
Pearl´s life was remembered by many of a record 81 persons who attended the reunion, as were the lives of her sons Darrell and Jerry, who also passed away recently. Her ¨cup of tea¨or mission in life was sharing ¨the love of Jesus for others.¨ Her son Darrell was a ¨sidewalk evangelist¨and her son Jerry left a legacy of items and information from the Stadem family heritage, now available on the family website that carries the name of Plain View Farm, and-or DVDs that feature old home movies and videos. Another Ginther son, Lorin of Tacoma, Washington, presided at the commemoration event.
A big interest of Pearl´s was the continuation of family traditions that meant so much to her. A new 3200 square foot heritage center named ¨Barna Velkommen¨ was dedicated in a ceremony led by Pastor Stadem. Built in a shape to suggest barns of the past, the building when finished will accommodate meeting, eating and sleeping spaces, as well as house family records and memorabilia. Younger members especially enjoyed use of the lofts that surround the meeting area. A timeline of the construction of the new facility was posted, covering the 8 years great’grandson John Brown of Sioux Falls has served as reunion president. Grandson Tom Stadem, the new president, will take over the leadership of future reunions and construction of the new center´s interior. Family members contributed items to auction as well as money, furnishings and laborfor the project.
Favorite activities of the younger generation were swimming at the Bryant pool, campfire singing, playing ¨Mafia, fireworks and meeting new distant cousins. The family formed a choir and sang for the Sunday service at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Songs included ¨Sanctuary¨ and ¨Prince of Peace,¨ led by great ‘grandchildren David Stadem and Liz Coats. Greats Gene Iserman and Rachel Svanoe sang Gene´s composition, ¨The Cross.¨
by Ronald D. Ginther
To have lived with and helped care for such a grand lady as this was a great honor I will be grateful for to my own dying day.
I mean every word--and more. I know that I personally owe Christ my salvation, but I probably wouldn't have been saved except through her unfailing love for me. I owe to her an unpayable debt.
Although it took me a long time to wake up to the treasure she really was, it wasn't long into my total of twenty or so years of active assistance of her in her home that I realized this was no ordinary woman. I began seeing all the ways she influenced people and changed things for good that she was not only unusual, she was indeed, extraordinary.
I had already observed the multiple birthday cakes given her for many, many years of birthdays. I saw so many people attest to her love of them in their letters, cards, and personal visits, and how this love changed their lives and made a difference. For this reason of much preparation, it came as no surprise that her church's sanctuary was packed out for her funeral service, which was really no sad affair as everyone present entertained no doubts she was gloriously in heaven, enjoying the first of many rewards. Actually, it was a "graduation," a "home-going," and an eternal joyous reunion, all wrapped into one package that she entered into--not death at all in the sense people of this world commonly think. She is now much more alive, and young looking too, though I thought she aged most gracefully and was lovely even as a Centenarian!
Because of her, I grew to love old people and love their aged appearance too-- and appreciate them for the treasures they truly are. To make life cheerier, to lessen the pain if possible of infirmities, to do all the little errands of life she couldn't do for herself as life advanced to extreme limits--that became my privilege as a son. Yet she still independently continued to do many necessary things, feeding herself, preparing some of her meals, even walking with a walker wherever she needed to go in the house. But what I most wanted her to do was to keep up her great sense of humor (even if her body kept failing little by little), and keep writing and composing her own unique cards for people's birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions, and, above all, keep praying for others and myself included who had needs. Whatever prayer need I mentioned, she prayed for it on the spot, and I know she had a direct line to heaven, to God's mercy-seat, because I got answers. Others testified of healings too after they called her for prayer on specific maladies the doctors could do nothing about. My brother Jerry was quick to take prayer concerns from work at the airport, and she prayed for people there. It didn't matter who the person was, she loved everybody, and would lift them up to God.
All my life I witnessed her love of her family never, never wavered, though some of us put her to the test countless times, demanding patience of her that you should only demand of God, yet she came through those tests with flying colors! I witnessed her love of the Church, always willing to serve there as a Sunday School teacher, as a cook, as a delegate to church conventions, as a Circle member, as a prayer chain lady, as a Seamen's Mission auxiliary president and very active member (making up as many as 37 gift boxes in her home every Christmas for giving to the sailors), as a landmark Mt. View chapel restoration worker, even as the first woman member of the Mt. View church council whose appointment was voted unaminously by the councilmen. She also tithed for sixty years and more as a member. She also ministered as a deaconess, ministering Communion and the Gospel too to shut-ins of the congregation. She also kept lovingly but firmly mentioning Jesus' Name to the pastors until they mentioned Jesus too in their sermons, whereas before His name had been noticeably lacking. Shouldn't "also" be part of her name? Her list of services is almost endless, including also being a member of the church quilters' group for many years until her eyes gave out.
Her love of everybody included her neighbors, and she actively engaged their friendship, putting up with some difficult or rude behavior toward her at times but always loving them "until they came around." Her mobile home court and the various managers over the over 32 years she resided at Golden Rose loved her dearly, where she served years as a "Sunshine Girl" who went about visiting the elderly residents who were ill or too handicapped to get to the clubhouse for gatherings. I saw how much she loved flowers, and grew the best flower gardens I could for her in her tiny yard, trying to make it one big bouquet, and she appreciated the least, little flower I could find for her even in winter from her garden. I observed how we could go nowhere in public in this "small town" of Puyallup, Washington, which had grown in the years since we first moved there to a city approaching 100,000, that she wasn't recognized, warmly greeted, and loved in return. You could not go to aany restaurant where she wouldn't be greeted by people she no longer remembered, but who wanted her to know how much they appreciated her; and while there she usually got around to talking to everyone and also taking pictures of the help!
Mother was the same always--just got sweeter, if possible, and somehow adjusted to the growing restraints of ageing. She kept active, very active even into her early nineties, and then a series of fall severely limited her freedom of mobility. Until then she was taking much younger people to stores and doctors, etc. She was a member of Volunteer Chore services, a Catholic agency, for years and received commendations for fifteen years of faithful service from them. The State of Washington early on cut all funding for mileage used by Volunteer Chore, so Mother continued to drive without any compensation, regardless, on countless trips taking shut-in people to stores, doctors, clinics, etc. She received a tiny hourly amount only, which certainly didn't cover her actual time and gas spent, as she had to drive home after delivering them to their residences. But, as she never complained, this was a ministry to her, not a job. That makes all the difference!
Mother gave to countless good charities and Christian ministries, but she herself gave, most importantly, of herself, her time, energy, love, and whatever she had materially. She didn't leave it to others to give, she stepped out herself first.
She never, absolutely never called herself poor, though all she had was her Social Security. Yet she ran up no bills on credit cards, and left a balance in the bank.
Get this: she never bought a single piece of clothing in a store here, yet she always managed to look good and even stylish in clothes given her.
She also never bought a single pair of shoes, or jewelry and accessories, or had her hair done in a beauty parlor, but she always managed to look good.
This "trait" strongly reminds us of the Israelites in the wilderness, when God provided all their needs, and even their shoes did not wear out-- a miracle. Food too--God kept them all alive with manna from heaven. In Mother's case, she declined to spend on herself, even on things most people consider necessities, so that she could give more to the Lord's work.
Her missions giving was remarkable considering her slim income, and truly it was the Widow's mite all over again, only multiplied by God's phenomenal gift of multiplication, if you recall the loaves and the fishes account. Thousands of dollars were somehow sent to establish the new ministry and reunion Center on the family relationship's farm in South Dakota, her old home place where her parents homesteaded.
She aimed to help preserve our golden heritage of God-fearing, pioneer farmers from Scandinavia that way, and wrote down her wonderful stories of life on the farm in the old buggy days--which total enthralled her whole Stadem clan and her grandchildren and her Ginther line's great-grandchildren, especially the triplets, three boys of the Pujals family.
All in all, she proved herself a woman of God, unarguably, and over the course of a lifetime in all my reading, I haven't yet encountered her peer. But I don't need to put her on any pedestal, as her boasting, like Paul, was in Christ her Lord, not in herself. It is all the nicer when the inimitable saint is practical and down-to-earth too. Mother could do most anything, she grew up working on the family farm and learned early to make do with little or odd bits of this and that on hand to get a job done. That was her Papa's example too. This gift of "making do" with whatever life hands you, she retained all her life. If you are handed a lemon, make lemonade! That was her modus operandi. Only when she added the sweetening, it wasn't cane sugar or Splenda, but love.
MAY HIS LIGHT SHINE THROUGH OUR HERITAGE,
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
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