Meet The Board: James Lucas


Board Member

 

Jim Lucas, SFMI Board MemberThe Year of the Big Snow Fall


It was in October of nineteen and sixty-nine at Leaburg, Oregon and the snow did fall day after day night after night. The children of course loved it and played and played in it. Thirty-six inches right at the front door, it was a big job keeping the walks clear and the path over to Grandma’s house (Francille’s folks lived next door) the path was almost like a tunnel for the children. This type of snowfall is very rare for the Willamette valley, fortunately the shed was full of firewood, and the two-bedroom house that we lived in was very warm. This self-employed logger knew he was in for a long quite winter. Thirty-six inches of snow on the lower Mackenzie River meant that up in the high Cascades where the job was the snow would be ten to twenty feet deep. O well, it had been a real good summer and there was a fair amount of money in the bank. If I can just keep from getting cabin fever everything will be fine. Keeping the fire going, enjoying the wife and kids and reading Louie Lamoure would be my greatest excitement, I thought; however things don’t always go just the way you think they will. Everything changed one afternoon when Orville Tadlock came for a visit. He was a logger whom I had worked with on several occasions, a good worker, proud but a nice guy. He loved to arm wrestle, play poker, and many such activities that had been much grief, for his dear wife Blanch, who was a devout Christian and had been praying for him for a long time. Now we had heard that Orville had seen the light and was going about preaching the word but who knew if that was really true, after all he was a much worse sinner than most, taking trips to Reno Nevada enjoying the things that married people shouldn’t do. Well he was caring a bible and talking about God, as if he knew Him, his language was really strange why he wasn’t speaking one cuss word. He was quoting scripture left and right and his eyes were so bright there really was something different about this logger. Then he looked me straight in the eyes and said; “Jim you are a Mormon right?” I said, “Yes” but thinking not a very good one. Orville said; “You will go to hell, you need to be born again, your religion cannot save you.” I thought, who does he think he is coming here in my own place and telling me such things? I will just tell him off and throw him out. But maybe he is right; in fact these Mormons don’t have me all that convinced that they have the truth. I know there is a hell and who is to say I am not headed there.

Neither my life nor my family’s life would ever be the same again and this winter is not going to be like any other we will ever have. This Orville, he kept coming back and I hated to see him come but I really hoped that he would. I didn’t know what to believe but I was becoming aware of my need for knowing the will of God. Sometimes I thought the preacher was speaking the truth and sometimes I was not so sure. Then I had a bright idea; why I will just study all the religions in the world and then I will know which one is right. Then my bright idea turned into a dark dismal cloud when I realized just how big a task it would be, after all I had been a Mormon for many years and still didn’t know for sure about their teaching, and the world is full of religions, so how could one ever really know the truth. I didn’t know why but for some unknown reason I just had to know the truth about all this. I was reading all the time but not Luis Lamoure for Orville kept me supplied with all kinds of books, that spoke a lot about God and people getting saved and how they were being persecuted for their faith. I however still wasn’t sure about all this. Then I became very concerned and felt totally confused and lost, then I had a thought that brought me great comfort and I believed it was God who gave me this thought, the thought was you know the Bible is the word of God just read it and you will find the truth. I dove into the New Testament with great anticipation of finding the truth, I read it all the way through then read it again then I read the book of Revelation through several times because it was fascinating to me and made me think a lot about the end of the world and coming judgment. I was somewhat surprised when I thought about the New Testament for I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but found something much better. I found that the Bible was talking about one person in particular and that was this man from Galilee Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Neither my life nor my family’s life would ever be the same again and this winter is not going to be like any other we will ever have. This Orville, he kept coming back and I hated to see him come but I really hoped that he would. I didn’t know what to believe but I was becoming aware of my need for knowing the will of God. Sometimes I thought the preacher was speaking the truth and sometimes I was not so sure. Then I had a bright idea; why I will just study all the religions in the world and then I will know which one is right. Then my bright idea turned into a dark dismal cloud when I realized just how big a task it would be, after all I had been a Mormon for many years and still didn’t know for sure about their teaching, and the world is full of religions, so how could one ever really know the truth. I didn’t know why but for some unknown reason I just had to know the truth about all this. I was reading all the time but not Luis Lamoure for Orville kept me supplied with all kinds of books, that spoke a lot about God and people getting saved and how they were being persecuted for their faith. I however still wasn’t sure about all this. Then I became very concerned and felt totally confused and lost, then I had a thought that brought me great comfort and I believed it was God who gave me this thought, the thought was you know the Bible is the word of God just read it and you will find the truth. I dove into the New Testament with great anticipation of finding the truth, I read it all the way through then read it again then I read the book of Revelation through several times because it was fascinating to me and made me think a lot about the end of the world and coming judgment. I was somewhat surprised when I thought about the New Testament for I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but found something much better. I found that the Bible was talking about one person in particular and that was this man from Galilee Jesus Christ the Son of the resolve to do anything about it. The guilt went back to when I was twelve when the Mormon elders had convinced me to sign a paper saying that I would keep the word of wisdom and that I would not smoke or drink any liquor or coffee or go to movies and a long list of other things. Of course I did all those things and the guilt was always there. I always had it in the back of my mind that someday I would get right with God.


The reading of the word of God was having a big effect on me, it clearly was showing me that Jesus Christ the Son of God is the Savior of the world and no religion could change the sinner but he who created me could. In spite of all this there was something holding me back. Something that had a very strong influence in my life and was bigger than I was, at first I didn’t know what this was that kept me from doing what I knew was the right thing. But now I know it was my pride, it’s amazing how strong of a hold it had on me.


Orville continued to come by and one day he was quite excited because he had been offered the use of an old church building up at Finn rock in the logging camp of Rosebourgh Lumber Company, Orville and I both had worked for Rosebourgh in what we call high lead logging. The supervisor when he heard that Orville was preaching asked him if he would like to use the old church building because it was not in use. Orville of course said he would. I understood to some extent why he was so elated about this offer of the building. He had explained to me how he had wanted to go to bible school and become a preacher. He went up to Portland to a very well know bible college and attempted to enroll but when they discovered that he hadn’t completed his high school education they told him that he would need to do that first. Then he went down to Texas for a while hoping to serve the Lord Jesus there but this was not the plan of God either. These things had been a big disappointment to him, for awhile he was set back by this but then one day he realized that it didn’t say, in the bible, that you had to go to bible school in order to preach, so he determined to continue going up and down the river telling people about Jesus and now he was given a building to use. He told about some different people that said they would come and hear him preach and wanted to know if Francille and I would like to come. It would have been quite rude to say otherwise so we graciously accepted. We went and we were quite impressed with his ability to expound upon the word of God. I was under a lot of conviction and I don’t think I would have gone back but we were then invited by a couple in the church to come the next Sunday for dinner and we realized it would be quite rude to just go for dinner and not go to the church service. Then on the following Sunday another family invited us for dinner. They were very crafty and this way they kept us coming and on the third Sunday Orville was preaching a message that was putting me under very heavy conviction, I knew that I had to go forward and give my life to Christ but something was holding me back, I don’t know how to explain the struggle that was going on in my heart, it was a real war, and I was determined that I would obey the Lord even if nobody else was going to, I was sure that Francille would not want to, but I knew what I had to do. While going forward I was surprised to see her walking down the aisle with me. Then this tough proud logger broke and began to weep like a baby, the tears ran down my face and then I felt so ashamed that I ran outside and wept out there, then Orville came out and brought me in, and now we are in the Lord Jesus. The burden of my guilt was lifted that day in such a way, that I really felt the weight taken off my shoulders. The assurance of salvation was present from the beginning the assurance was not from any physical experience but it was much deeper work of the spirit of God giving a witness to my spirit that God was indeed present with me. This work of the spirit was the result of the work of faith that came from reading the word of God. I had come to understand the promise of God was that Jesus Christ had paid it all; it was just left for me to believe and repent of my sin. The resurrected Jesus was now ready to live his life in me and I knew that things were different now. It was a winter that we cannot forget.

James and Francille Lucas