by Marien Hall
Editor’s note: In “As the Lord Intended,” Marien Hall describes how she waited 50 years for the fulfillment of her missionary calling. In the article below, she explains how God provided the means for her to start the Harvest Field Workers Endowment Fund.
In much of our married life, serving pastorates and various other ministries, George and I never saved any finances. We owned nothing except the furniture and auto necessary in the Lord’s work. Any income over and above our needs was plowed back into that part of the Lord’s field in which we were working.
For example, George and I were driving back home to Texas from the C&MA General Council. That year, district superintendents received a $700 salary increase. George was jubilant in praise to God and said to me, “Honey, this is enough to do what the grounds so desperately need—to treat the dirt road of the circle to make it fit to look at and drive on.”
“The grounds” of which he spoke was our 33 and 1/3 acres in Arlington, Texas, where our summer camps were held and where also the district office was located. This was typical of George’s sacrificial life, but he never thought of it as such. The joy of the Lord was his outstanding characteristic.
In 1966, through a covenant of ours with God and an open door with Him, George being at “performance peak” career-wise and with 14 years of active ministry still ahead (as I now know), a different dimension of service began for us: to serve God in small, struggling, almost down-and-out Alliance churches in our home district. The church in Fulton, New York, was our first.
Let It Grow
Meanwhile, my parents died in 1968, and each of their children received an inheritance of approximately $6,000. My recollection is that we had the Fulton parsonage’s long driveway black-topped. As for the balance, roughly $3,000, George made a pronouncement:
“We are not going to do as we have done up til now (i.e., putting any extra money right into God’s work). My reasons are: I am older”—George was 16-and-a-half years my senior—“and naturally speaking, we can realistically expect that I will go before you to heaven unless the Lord comes first. And there is no life insurance to benefit you.
“Further,” his argument went, “our commitment to serve small, needy churches in the last third or so of my working life will surely affect your Social Security income downward. You will need savings to draw on.
“So, with the rest of this money from your mom and dad, we will buy a certificate of deposit (CD). It will accumulate interest, and we will let it grow. I feel this is good and pleasing to our Lord.”
That was that.
When George was promoted to glory 14 and a half years later, CDs were still the nature of our savings. There was a confidence in my heart that God wanted me to continue not only to live frugally but to save as much as possible.
In matters of finance, I was as inexperienced as the proverbial “green Swede.” Therefore, by prompting from the Lord, I set about to continue to live frugally and, beyond that, to learn about investing so as to build a portfolio of assets of any legitimate type, except stocks.
I asked myself, What am I doing this for? I did not know why, but I was convinced I would know the purpose in God’s good time.
This Cannot Be!
In the latter part of 1989, I began to say, Lord, isn’t it high time for something to be done with the accumulated value of these investments? I was led to contact Stanley Bjornson, at that time the director of C&MA Stewardship Ministries (now called the Donor Relations Office). He spoke of various areas of Alliance work as beneficiary possibilities, but none “struck a bell” in my spirit.
“I know the end result is to be an endowment fund for overseas missions,” I told Stanley, “but the Lord has not yet made the details plain.”
In September 1991, during an extended time of prayer at our church, one of the requests broke my heart. It told of the reality of 43 missionary candidates, fully qualified and ready by as much as 12 years of preparation, who could not be sent because money was not on hand. Lord, I prayed, this cannot be! Somehow provide. To then praying, Lord, what can I do about it?
This concern and my sincere prayer culminated in an idea to start the Harvest Field Workers Endowment Fund (Matthew 9:38) to send out a first-term foreign missionary.
This is all the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in my eyes.
What’s Your Legacy?
Do you want to leave a legacy as Marien Hall did? Learn more about C&MA gift planning by calling the Donor Relations Office at (719) 265-2111.