Saturday, February 22, 2014

Holding the Ropes

The story is told of that great pioneer missionary to India, William Carey. A minister to a congregation in England, he was in a meeting discussing the spiritual needs of various places, and the secretary of the committee remarked, "There is a gold mine in India, but it seems almost as deep as the centre of the earth. Who will venture to explore it?"

"I will venture to go down," Carey responded, "but remember that you must hold the ropes." 

In April 1793, he sailed for India. Through his work and example, and with his oft-repeated challenge ringing in their ears ("Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God"), others like David Livingstone, Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor left their homelands to care for the physical and spiritual needs of others. Many years later, in 1959, Allan T. Ironside also followed God's call to India.

He and Mum officially "retired" in 1999; but the reality is that almost without fail they went back to India every year, trying to plan their trips so that they could participate in the graduation conferences.

This year, Dad will not be able to make it back for the graduation conferences at those beloved colleges in which he and Mum invested their lives. Although he's better, he is not strong and the travel would be too much for him. Our winter has been so long and the super bugs making their rounds throughout Alberta have been particularly merciless.

And so this year he will be holding the ropes all the way from Canada for the men who are scheduled to speak. 

Prayer time at the Manor: taken
two days before he became so ill ...

Deb and I also got a mild version of what Dad has been enduring, so we too will be doing our best to hold the ropes from this end as well.

As you know, every year Reading the Leaves and the Tea House work on a project for one of the children's homes associated with a college in India. This year, we discovered an urgent need for the children's home where our little buddy Chetan lives.

The Powers That Be have decreed that the Children's Home needs to have a vehicle with separate seats and seat belts for each child. Now, for anyone familiar with travel in India, we know that there is always room for one more person in any type of vehicle! However, we also know that the kids would be much safer if they had a reliable vehicle to transport them to school each day.

Ed and Sarah Chelli have spearheaded the research and the most economical, practical van with 15 passenger seats is this one, manufactured in India:

Brand new it costs $14,000-15,000 - a great price compared with what we would pay in North America, but still staggering for our little Children's Home!

Thanks to the amazingly generous response of last year, after the mattresses and bedding were purchased we had a surplus of $2,000, which I left with Ed to be used for the Children's Home. He is putting that money toward the van. In addition, in the last few weeks we have received $1,490 from people who have asked what this year's project is. (A goodly portion of that was given with much love and prayer from the Oldies who attend Dad's Tuesday morning Bible study group at the Robertson Manor!)

So I'm putting it out to you all who have held the ropes for these children's homes right from when we raised money for the bunk beds for the Tsunami Children's Home: if you feel that you are able - in these tougher economic times - to help toward the purchase of this van, the TH will once again be accepting donations. As always, ALL the money goes directly to the project. And because this is not what's called a "soft" project (which apparently bedding and bunk beds are!), we can get tax receipts for donations over $50. If you would like more information, please email me at

Dad is back in Three Hills, and this week he once more took the Robertson Manor Tuesday study. This coming week he hopes to be able to resume the Wednesday evening study at the Tea House. Please continue to pray for continued restoration of strength and health. God promises that His strength is made perfect in our weakness and we see Him working even through this time of Dad's suffering.

Today would have been my Mum's 77th birthday. Dad always would sing to her that old song "Have I told you lately that I love you?" Today he had no voice for singing, so he played Jim Reeves' version of it for BA and me as we sipped tea and remembered a truly great woman.

But oh how he longs - how we all do! - to be back in what we consider in many ways to be our true home land ... to rid ourselves of this bitter cold, these mountains of snow; to be in the place of great congregational singing and outstanding preaching and unquestioning welcome and unwavering love.

To be in India.


  1. As always, your writings touch my heart.

  2. Jeanie Erickson DavisFebruary 24, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Love this

  3. So glad to hear that he is doing better & back in Three Hills!

  4. Will pray you all have peace and a special sense of His presence as you hold the ropes from here! Hugs!

  5. Praise the Lord Karyn Ironside for your love for India. Praise the Lord for your dear parents and the missionarieis of the past who with great sacrifice served our India. I am personally thankful to them, their families and to our loving God. Love your news pages.


I love to hear from you! Please leave me a leaf to read ...