In the early ‘90s, Oleta Adams, a gospel singer turned R&B pop performer, had a global hit with the song “Get Here.” It goes something like this: “You can reach me by airway, you can reach me by railway, you can reach me on an airplane, you can reach me with your mind. You can reach me by caravan, cross the desert like a wandering man, I don’t care how you get here, just get here if you can.” I can only imagine the solitude of someone trying to get to where they need and want to go.
This little analogy might well sum up the faith journey of Louise Shiboder and her mother, May Lachance, who live in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. For the uninitiated, Chilliwack is a small city located approximately 60 miles southeast of Vancouver; it is bounded by water with the Fraser River to the north and the US/Canada border to the south. As with most small towns, Chilliwack’s residents tend to be a resilient bunch, and Louise and her mom are no different.
“God Just Found Me”
A woman of deep faith, who can recall having only a couple of books in the house growing up, one being the family Bible, embarked on her journey with Christ, not without questions or hesitations. She says: “I didn’t want to be a religious person; God just found me.”
Her faith has been severely tested over the years. With a variety of serious medical ailments, highlighted with a profound reaction to microwaves (the unit, not the appliance), which leaves her unable to have a computer, any relatively modern devices, or cars for that matter. (She owns classic—that’s what she would like to think of them—automobiles, circa 1977–78, when the computer wasn’t such a prevalent component in the automotive industry.) The result is an isolated life in a small house without most of the modern conveniences we’ve expected. It doesn’t stop her in her enthusiasm for the Lord; if anything, it brings her even more conviction.
As she mentions several times, “my life is full because of my disappointments, there is a ‘message’ amidst the mess.” She is a shiny example of God using someone as His instrument for His glory.
The good news is that God doesn’t need any technology to get his message of salvation across. As it turns out, Louise’s only way to get communication from the outside of her four walls is a small radio that she faithfully listens to Praise 106.5 on from across the border in Bellingham, WA.
A Source of Joy
These days, it is easy to get overwhelmed by a sense of isolation. In an already reasonably lonely life, the pandemic has brought an acute sense of loneliness for many people, which Louise eagerly shared with us. Her relief? A radio broadcast by Pastor Greg Laurie brought her such joy that she felt compelled to call us and leave a message.
You see, Louise is an excellent example that our joy and happiness doesn’t come from the world. It comes from a much more significant (and reliable) source, our Lord. Amid her challenging circumstances, there is joy coming through her voice on the telephone. As she related her travels with Jesus, she mentioned several times how comforting it was to feel like she wasn’t alone, and that, even though she and her mom don’t get to see many people, she knows that she has fellowship with her fellow Christians, even if it is just by listening on the radio.
As she recalls, it’s a little bit of a gamble as to whether or not the transmission will get to them, but come rain or shine; she is faithfully listening, knowing that the broadcast will provide her with much-needed warmth, comfort, and, she makes this very clear, a biblical education. “Sometimes, the Bible can be a bit complicated, and Pastor Greg always explains it in a way that is easily understood and digested.” She continues: “There is a friendliness that emanates from his voice, and it feels like we have a friend speaking with us.”
It is a message that we hear time and time again during this pandemic, and whether you live close by in Southern California or Canada, the idea of experiencing loneliness is not an uncommon feeling. The importance of having someone or something to rely on is especially relevant.
The good news is that God reaches people through whatever ways He pleases. And wherever we find ourselves, we don’t have to feel alone.
Do you have a story of God reaching you through our radio program, A New Beginning? We’re listening.