“THE TABLE”Posted on June 12th, 2012.
Gifts of the heart that keep on giving…
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio on a wet, fall day in 1975 was quite a change from Nairobi, where we had first met Rex & Maude Aimee Humbard* a few months earlier.
In Kenya, Rex invited Joel and me to visit Ohio because we were returning from Kenya for Joel to go to college. He told us if we found a college that suited Joel near Akron that we could work for the ministry and that is exactly what happened.
It was not long before we found an unfurnished apartment. We bought a king sized bed and anxiously waited for our 4’x 8’x 2’ crate to arrive from Mombasa so that we would have a few personal things for our new home. We simply had not given much thought about furniture and the basic needs of setting up a home.
The day we moved, Maude Aimee drove up in her white Cadillac, walked into our Living Room and demanded to know where our furniture was. We showed her the bed and the crate sitting in the middle of the Living Room floor. We proudly told her that our things had just arrived from Kenya.
The next morning we got a call to meet Maude Aimee at storage. By evening time our home was furnished with a houseful of furniture. The ministry “Nest” lake house had been dismantled and miraculously we were the proud owners of everything needed to set up a house. Furniture, linens, decorative items, china and even a rolling pin was included.
Through the years we took our furniture wherever we went and little by little some of the pieces were shared with others. The Dining Room table was given to my parents, Paul and Helen Bruton, since they needed a table when they moved to Texas from Ohio.
A few years down the line, Sarah DeLane and Lori Bird, members of the Nancy Harmon Love Special team, were able to get their first apartment. Friends were excited to help them get settled so I called Lori one snowy evening and offered “The Table”. Soon after, a U-Hall truck rolled up in the freezing rain, which was turning into a true Dallas ice storm, to pick up “The Table”.
A few days later, I casually mentioned to Sarah and Lori that “The Table” we had given to them had once been owned by Maude Aimee Humbard. It was then I learned the story of Lori’s sad childhood. Her father was abusive in every way. He became angry if he caught Lori listening to Christian TV Sunday mornings, so Lori would sneak down the stairs of their home to turn the volume low and sit close to the TV to watch Rex, Maude Aimee and the Family. She prayed many times that someday she would be able to sit at “The Table” of this beautiful family and belong to a family that offered so much love, acceptance and security.
Today, Lori Bird is in Heaven. Maybe she has already seen Maude Aimee, who recently entered Heaven’s gates. I wonder if Lori has told her that she is the little girl whose prayers were answered because of her generosity to Joel and me so many years ago. I do not tire of the intricacies of God’s ways to answer the prayers of His children in tender and specific ways. When the Humbard family sang on those early Sunday morning programs “I am loved, you are loved , I can risk loving you….” little did we know that today we would be remembering “The Table” and thinking of Maude Aimee’s great gift to our family that kept on giving .
Thank you Maude Aimee for all of the times you thought of us, the birthdays for Miki, and lunches at Marcel’s, backup studio recordings and so much more. My heart is sad and it is hard to think that you, and so many others that we love, have gone on. But we know that you are home at last. You are singing the praises of our Lord and Savior and all because of Jesus, you and Lori will be there to welcome us and we will all sit at “The Table” in Heaven with you soon.
Sally Bruton Vann
* In 1954, Maude Aimee and Rex Humbard settled in the city of Akron, Ohio where they built the Cathedral of Tomorrow in 1958. From the Cathedral, they began their television and radio ministry that continued for more than 37 years. Programs from the Cathedral of Tomorrow went out to more than 2,000 television stations around the world in 77 different languages.