Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)
Allow me to introduce this day,
Our “Canadian Granny,”
Mrs. C. as we say.
She’s the finest of ladies,
That you’ll ever meet.
Dresses well too; stylish and neat.
With a heart that’s generous,
And her ways’ discreet,
Noble in purpose; kind and sweet.
She’s a Christian who’s sincere,
Who lives by God’s Word,
Often in prayer; and rarely deterred.
She’s filled with God’s love,
Which in many ways is seen,
Through her encouraging words and daily routine.
Last but not least,
Her motives are pure,
For she’s chosen of God; a saint who’s mature.
When my family and I first came to Canada in 1991, a series of remarkable events made it all possible. Knowing that God had put it in my heart to come and study at Ontario Theological Seminary (now Tyndale Seminary) my father-in-law wrote a letter to a friend of his in Toronto asking if she knew of any available accommodation for a family of four.
Dad’s letter arrived in the mailbox the day after a missionary couple had left for Vancouver following an extensive stay with Mrs. Caples. Mrs. C. had been in prayer all morning asking God what He wanted her to do with her house. When the mail arrived at midday, Mrs. C. opened Dad’s letter and took it as a direct answer to her prayers. Even though she had never met our family, she phoned us in South Africa and breathless with excitement told us that God wanted her to have us come and live with her. We were flabbergasted. We tried to dissuade her due to the fact that we had two young children. But Mrs. C. refused to be deterred. As far as she was concerned God had spoken, and that settled it.
We arrived in Canada a few months later and moved in with Mrs. C. at 45 Elsfield Road in Etobicoke. We stayed for three years. Mrs. C. never asked for any rent, went out of her way to adopt us as her family, and patiently put up with us without ever getting upset. Her testimony remains the most profound example of the gift of hospitality we have ever encountered. Through her actions Mrs. C. modeled more about generosity and a selfless spirit than a multitude of books or any number of sermons ever preached.
Mrs. C. was a godly old widow when we first arrived and after we left she continued to welcome people into her home for however long they needed to stay. But as she got older and her health began to fail it became obvious that she would have to leave her home in Etobicoke. So Mrs. C. moved to a better place. Now she’s enjoying a mansion in heaven that was built specially for her. I’m sure she’s comfortable. After all, Mrs. C. was a wise investor, she knew how to use earthly treasures to build up credit for eternity.
We miss Auntie Evelyn, as the children used to call her. She’ll be lovingly remembered as our all time best “Canadian Granny.”