By Ada Brownell
A late October day I arrived in Fruita, Colo., screaming. The doctor and Mama grinned, but to some ears it wasn’t a welcome sound.
Mama and Daddy had seven children. I was the eighth and the fifth girl. The family had escaped from the Kansas Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, but feeding and clothing so many wasn’t going to be easy.
Daddy and my oldest brother, Virgil, took jobs shoveling coal from railroad cars into trucks for $1 for a 12-hour day.
Yet, Mama was excited. The two bedroom home with a back porch was theirs—as well as the 10 acres of irrigated farmland. They could grow fruit, a garden. Pasture fed cows and other animals
A greater reason for rejoicing came soon, but at first Mama was horrified. My sister, Marjorie, the first of girls, wanted to go to church with a high school friend. It was the “holy-roller church,” and she didn’t think Marge should go there.
“Oh, let her go,” Daddy said. “I heard they teach young people to obey their parents there.”
Marjorie had a powerful experience with God that changed her from rebellion to loving, and soon God sent friends to my older siblings and they accepted Jesus as Savior. One by one everyone in our family dedicated their lives to God, including Mama and Daddy. At age 5 I knelt at the same altar, weeping, because I wanted my sins to be forgiven before Jesus came back.
Excitement filled the church. The Jews gathered to their homeland for the first time since the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, fulfilling Ezekiel’s prophecy about the dry bones (and others), meaning Jesus would come soon. I understood.
It’s amazing how our family affects us. Joy filled our house. When we were together, and it’s still like that, singing and laughter rang. A few times my siblings would get into a scrap, but for the most part love prevailed. We loved work and each person enjoyed what his hands could do. Most of us had a drive to study.
Virgil worked his way through Bible school, began teaching and kept studying until he received a doctorate in education and sociology. Everette worked his way to a degree and became a pastor. Joe got a job and became one of the first in the Assemblies of God to receive a doctorate in music.
Marjorie spent some time in ministry with her husband and much of her life sang in a church trio. A great cook and hostess, she ministered to people through love and friendship.
Clara attended Bible school, worked as a World War II riveter, and often played the piano in church.
Joan played the mandolin and faithfully served the Lord.
Erma used to preach to the barnyard animals and always planned to marry a preacher, but instead she lived a life loving her husband, children and others.
It’s amazing how blessed I am from being in this family. Mama and Daddy seldom had angry words. There was so much music in our house (everybody played an instrument) I don’t remember being unable to sing harmony.
These things I learned from having four sisters:
Marjorie: Have a heart full of love.
Clara: If something needs done, do it.
Joan: Don’t be sexy; be classy.
Erma: Laugh, love and enjoy your life.
After I married, five children filled our home, and even they are blessed. Carolyn is in heaven and the other four and their spouses as well as their children serve God.
Question: What have you learned from your siblings?