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Following in His Steps

Ivan Spencer in front of Elim Bible Institute.

The Holy Spirit then reminded me of Psalm 37:23, “The steps of the God-pursuing ones follow firmly in the footsteps of the Lord, and God delights in every step they take to follow him.”[13] If history is indeed His story, then all the continuity of life and service within these communities repetitively appearing in my genealogy meant something. There had to be some purpose or meaning. Perhaps, it was that God honors the prayers and service of His children, keeping covenant with them for generations. Maybe, it was to ensure a faithful witness remained in these communities. Though I believe both of these had something to do with God’s purposes, I am most encouraged with the thought that my family and yours as well are fulfilling the Lord’s narrative by following “firmly in the footsteps” of Him. After all, isn’t it all about each generation pursuing God and following in His steps? And if it is, then as The Message says, “We’d better get on with it”!

 

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Notes

[1] Elim Bible Institute is now known as Elim Bible Institute & College (EBI&C).

[2] EBI was founded by Ivan and Minnie Spencer. They both were committed to fulfilling the work of the ministry as God set it before them. From the school’s inception, Minnie Spencer was actively involved, carrying “a large share of the load,” according to her daughter Eva Butler (from personal correspondence to Edie Mourey). As their eldest daughter, Mary Reed, once said, “Mom often said that she wasn’t called to the ministry, nor to start a Bible School. However, she knew it was the will of the Lord for her to marry my father, and to be a part of his life and calling. For many years it was just an obedience on her part to the Lord and to my father. She didn’t have any special public ministry but fitted in wherever and however she could while bearing and raising her children, as well as being totally involved in running the fledgling school. However, there came a time in the 1940’s, before the Latter Rain revival, when the Lord by the Holy Spirit visited my mother, made the vision real to her, gave her a strong intercessory ministry, and caused her in a real way to become a part of my father’s public ministry” (from “Dad and Mom,” an article written by Mary Reed, appearing on page 5 of the Dec. 1992/Jan. 1993 issue of the Elim Herald).

[3] EBI&C’s campus since 1951 is the former site of Genesee Wesleyan Seminary. Two buildings on the campus are nationally registered as historical places. One of them is Genesee Wesleyan College Hall—simply known to those on Elim’s campus today as College Hall. It was built to completion around 1851.

[4] Mabel Furner Jenks, “The Crossroads of Western New York: Outline of the History of Lima Written for the 175th Anniversary Celebration (Lima 1788–1964),” (July 18, 1964—reprinted September 1984) 25.

[5] Jessie Belle Rittenhouse was graduated from Genesee Wesleyan Seminary. She was a poet and literary critic. She helped found the Poetry Society of America in 1910.

[6] Frances Willard taught at Genesee Wesleyan Seminary from 1867 to 1868. She was an educator, suffragist, and temperance reformer, serving as the national president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

[7] Belva Ann Lockwood was graduated from Genesee Wesleyan Seminary in the 1857. She later became an attorney and politician. She is considered by many to be the first woman to ever run for the office of President of the United States.

[8] RBTS began in 1906 by Elizabeth V. Baker and her sisters—Susan A. Duncan, Hattie M. Duncan, Mary E. Work, and Nellie A. Fell. Trust was a monthly journal featuring the teaching of RBTS and news of the ministries associated with it. Ivan Q. Spencer was a graduate of RBTS. Additionally, there he met Minnie Back who would become his wife on April 30, 1913, a few months after his graduation.

[9] The Elim Pentecostal Herald was first published on January 1, 1931, when EBI was located in Red Creek, New York. It started as a quarterly publication. In that first issue, Spencer explained that the “periodical [be] printed in the interests of the Elim Bible School. . . . We are desirous to use all means possible in keeping touch with the many friends of the work, that God may mutually increase our blessings” (p. 4). The frequency of publication changed throughout the years.

[10] Travail is one of those words that has fallen out of use and, more sadly to the point, fallen out of practice. To travail means to intercede or pray as one giving birth. It’s the kind of prayer that was very much practiced by my parents and grandparents. Today’s church needs more who practice the ministry of travail.

[11] Taken from The Passion Translation® Copyright © 2017 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[12] Taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

[13] Taken from The Passion Translation® Copyright © 2017 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2019

About the Author: Edie Mourey is the owner and editor for Furrow Press, a boutique self-publishing company. She is the youngest granddaughter of Ivan and Minnie Spencer, the founders of Elim Bible Institute & College and Elim Fellowship of Lima, New York. She authored Elim: Living in the Flow (1999) and compiled Faith: Living the Crucified Life (2008) and Daily Seedings: A Devotional Classic for the Spirit-Filled Life. Edie edits and writes in New York State’s Southern Tier where she, her husband, and daughter reside. Twitter: @EdieMou

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