Ripples of Influence

Our mom worked hard to keep us together as a family after our dad passed away while we were still school aged children. We faithfully attended Sunday morning church services and continued this custom as adults with our young families. That was until I heard Dan, a new acquaintance, speak of the seventh day as God’s true Sabbath.

Now I needed to know the truth and I earnestly prayed for it. I had a Bible which I had never really read or studied, but now I began randomly to turn its pages and each time I stopped to read a verse, it spoke to me about the Sabbath. This happened again and again until I realized that God was answering my prayer, and I accepted with joy this wonderful truth. Thus began a change in many lives.

After attending a Seventh-day Adventist Church for a few weeks, I wrote to my sister Jeannie about the Sabbath. At that time I didn’t know that she had asked our mom, who lived with her, to visit some other churches than the one they attended. Mom’s dad had believed that the Lutheran Church was the closest to Bible truth, and our mom also believed that.

Not long after I wrote to my sister, Mom drove the four-hour drive to my brother’s home, which was a short distance from where I lived. While there, Mom called me on a Sabbath afternoon to invite me to go to church with her the next day, Sunday. We had been taught to obey our parents and as I momentarily hesitated to answer her, I heard a voice say, “If you don’t tell her now, you never will.” I knew and understood that was true and quickly replied, “I go to church on Sabbath now.” That ended our conversation and Mom returned home.

My sister wrote to let me know how unhappy Mom was about my going to church on the Sabbath day. When Dan heard this news, he suggested that we fast and pray for my mom and sister, which we then did. I had never fasted before, but I deeply desired that God would help my family to understand this important truth. I felt so near to God as I fasted and prayed for three and a half days without eating any food, but did drink plenty of water.

Meanwhile my sister said to Mom concerning the Sabbath, “But Mom, we need to check it out to see if it is truth.” God was soon answering our prayers as mom and my sister started to attend church on Sabbath. And this was just the beginning of God’s rich blessings to us and to many others.

Shortly after my husband, our children and I were baptized, Dan Collins baptized Mom, my sister and her children in February 1975. And the blessings continued; one year later Mom became a colporteur and Bible worker. She loved the truth and sharing it with others. In 1981, she was selected as the literature evangelist of the year in the North Pacific Conference.

A fellow Bible worker wrote this report about our mom:

“Every one who knew Annabelle would probably describe her with one word—Committed. She was committed to her Lord and His work. She left behind an example of untiring effort and enthusiasm for sharing the Lord through literature and Bible studies. And as the words of God’s people in ages past continue to tell their story, even so Annabelle continues her work of soul saving through the seeds she left behind. The story unfolded at a Bible study a couple of weeks ago.

“Upon arriving at my Wednesday afternoon study with Lisa and her mother Carol, I was pleasantly surprised at what had transpired since our last lesson. Carol told me the story; it went something like this: While at their church’s weekly Bible study, someone in the discussion brought up the state of the dead. And when Carol defended the biblical position, there was quite a disagreement. I was thrilled that Carol stood in defense of Bible truth, not only before this small study group, but even before her pastors.

“I was somewhat puzzled at where she could have gotten her information as we were nowhere near that topic in our studies. Then it was that I noticed the familiar looking family Bible that she was using that week. I asked her, ‘Where did you get that family Bible?’ She replied, ‘A lady sold it to me about 21 years ago.’ Feeling sure that this was Annabelle’s work, I asked, ‘Was this lady in her early sixties at the time and did she have white curly hair?’ ‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘And these Bible studies in the back of this Bible is where I get a lot of my information.’

“Now I knew the source of her information; it was the sure result of Annabelle’s service in the Lord’s army. It was the fulfillment of one of her favorite Bible promises, ‘So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void’ (Isaiah 55:11). Even though Annabelle rests, the seeds she planted still continue to bear their harvest. In dying, she has passed the baton on to us. May we, as Annabelle, be faithful to the call. And some day soon when this war is over and the controversy ended, may we all be reunited in the kingdom of heaven.”

Ellen G. White illustrates our influence on others in this way: “Throw a pebble into the lake, and a wave is formed, and another and another; and as they increase, the circle widens, until it reaches the very shore. So with our influence. Beyond our knowledge or control it tells upon others in blessing or in cursing.” Christ’s Object lessons, 340.

Georgia Jacobs went to Wildwood Sanitarium four years after her baptism and was in the nursing program from 1978–1985; then worked at Hope International as an artist for the Our Firm Foundation magazine from 1988–1992. She later resided in South Africa where she did some missionary work.

Jeannie Hogarty also contributed to this article. She worked for Amazing Discoveries for more than seven years packing and shipping orders for all the world except Canada.