24 July 2010 (Shibi'i/Sukkot)|
Day #131, 5934 AM
Aslaug Hagen Mj°lsvik
In Memory of Our First Matriarch
The Personal Chavurat Bekorot Banner of Aslaug Hagen Mj°lsvik
Shabbat Shalom and welcome to this special memorial service for a beloved sister in Christ, spiritual mother, and fellow worker in the Gospel.
I don't think anyone is every really prepared for the death of a loved on but in the case of our late spiritual mother, Aslaug Hagen Mj°lsvik, I think I can make an exception. We simply called her 'Mor' or Mother because that is what her spirit represented to us.
Learning of her death yesterday did not, truthfully, come as a shock to me but as a release for we watched her suffer for some years as she struggled with the confusion and pain that comes with Alzheimer's Disease. In its early days we watched her agony and she progressively lost more and more memory, slipping back into her childhood, reliving the traumas again and again of the death of her parents as though she were doing this for the first time. This illness, which witnesses the progressive disintegration of the brain, is surely one of the cruellest there is.
When I awoke this morning I knew what it was I should talk to you about. And I knew what it was that Aslaug would have wanted me to talk to you about. She would not have wanted a eulogy about her but her testimony to go forth from this pulpit. She would have wanted me to tell you about her faith in Christ and to share with you the teachings of Christ which most personally influenced her life.
She has only left us three of her writings. One is called, Til himmelens land - 'To the Heavenly Country' - and tells how the Saviour steers the trusting soul like a little boat through the dangerous and unpredictable seas of life. It was her testimony about faith illustrated using a trip she made to the Holy Land many years before.
Considering the hardships she went through - of being cheated by a man who lied to her saying he would marry her when he was already married and then abandoning her to raise a daughter single-handed (and you must remember how rural Lutheran Norway viewed such things back in the 1930's and 40's) surviving the war during an enemy occupation, having to take care of her father single-handed in the middle of nowhere because her sisters would not help, and sacrificing all prospects of marriage until in her 70's when she met Gunnar Mj°lsvik and married him - then you will realise what a load she carried. Only later did she enter nursing and in her typical fashion, put others ahead of herself. But the pain and sense of betrayal - the bitterness of having been abandoned by a charlatan and left with a daughter with no material support - did not manifest until very much later as Alzheimer's set in. She was one of those people who did not complain but rather chose to forget herself. That in itself was such a testimony to us, for how many people do you know who do not constantly complain and gripe about life and about their personal problems? Not Aslaug. And she witnessed, not so much in words but in her actions, what a life on Christ means practically.
The second writing she has left to posterity is called, Lampen og oljen (The Lamp and the Oil). She writes:
I wish I had remembered these words seeing her in a vegetable state in that Old Peoples' Home. Each time I would visit I would pray over her and there were times when there would be a response - a recognition that I was there, not with her physical senses, but with her spiritual. She would hold my hand tight as though seeking solace and comfort in her dark inner mental prison. We would take her for walks, until she was confined to a wheelchair, and finally to her bed, and could walk no longer. Yes, she was awaiting the Bridegroom to take her spirit home and at times it must have seemed as though the wait would never end. But He did come, and she is home now. She continues in her sermon:
"You are the lamps, and the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God), or the Light of Christ, is the oil. If you don't have this oil, then your life's energy weakens, and you become - relative to Heaven - the living dead. Look at the flowers of the field, give them water and they soon rise up, but if they don't get water, they will quickly start to droop and begin to die. We are Yahweh's plants here on the earth, and if we don't give them nourishment - that is, the Word of Elohim (the Bible) - then we will dry out and become nothing. Yah'shua said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father apart from me". He has given us clear lines to follow. It is up to us what we choose, because we have been given the right to choose. Free agency cannot be taken away from us, not even by the Father. He has given us the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) to whisper to us, if we are willing to listen. If we do as He says, we will always have strength with which to manage no matter what, so that we can carry out the will of Heaven. Yes, our lamps, which are our bodies, will provide us with all we need whilst we await the Bridegroom, who comes each and every day with Light, Wisdom and Love."
That was both the simplicity and profundity of Aslaug's faith and she lived it every day of her life. It was what made her strong, even in old age, until disease stopped her in her tracks. This is the legacy of Sister Mj°lsvik's testimony.
"As we refine our gifts of grace and strengths, we become even stronger in resisting the enemy. About righteousness the Scriptures say: "From his innermost parts shall streams of living water flow". But we must take especial care that we do not labour for our own personal gain, because if we do, we set ourselves up for a fall. Therefore we must examine our motives or we will be burned up by the light of the New Covenant instead of being sanctified by it. We must do what Yahweh tells us and if we do angels will come with outstretched arms. Angels will serve His ministers (priesthood). We know too that Yahweh never lays heavy burdens on us that we cannot carry. And so we will daily delight in Yah'shua our Saviour and praise our Heavenly Father, Yahweh-Elohim! Amen."
Her third and final writing I asked her to write when she assumed the position of Presiding Matriarch over our Community. The word 'Matriarch' means 'Mother-Ruler'. In this capacity she had responsibility for all the women in our fellowship of all ages, but principally young and older women. Knowing how important this witness would be both for the women of her ministry and for those who would come later, she spent some time praying about this assignment before she committed to paper these words entitled, Noen ord til kvinnene i Sion ('Some Words for the Women of Zion'). She knew fully well how women's divine r˘le had become twisted and perverted by the philosophies of men and how far the churches had wandered from the true tavnith or Biblical Pattern. So this final address is for the sisters from from a woman who had been a Christian all her life and had witnessed all the changes in an unstable world from the 1920's to the first decade of the 21st century. I hope the words of this seasoned sister, who loved her Saviour with all her heart, will bless you!
Such was the testimony of this very simple, pure-hearted, yet profound woman of Yahweh. But before I close today I do want to share something important - a prophetic dream which I have not understood until now which involved Sister Mj°lsvik which I initially understood wrongly. Let me backtrack to 2006 when this dream was received. Persecution has erupted again and would get a lot worse in the years to come which this dreams is a prophecy about:
"From the very beginning when Yahweh-Elohim created the world, when Yahweh commanded His Son Yah'shua the Messiah to...make the earth. Thereafter all the creatures were made, and finally mankind whom He created in His own image. First He made the man, and thereafter He took a rib from the man and made woman.
"In Yahweh the woman is not independent of the man, because in the same way that woman was created from man, so is the man born of the woman (1 Cor.11:11-12). Man is the head of the woman. The Apostle Paul said: "Let the women learn in silence with full submission."
This was the same way when we were small around 7 years old when we started school. We had to be completely silent and obedient to what mother explained and taught us about words and numbers. For at that time when I began school we had to know how to read and write before [we went to school], otherwise we would have been at a major disadvatage compared to the others whom we would start [school] with, and that wouldn't have been amusing.
"At that time there was a great deal more of Christian education in pre-school than there is today. We made to stand up with folded hands and read without notes what we had been taught from Bible stories and the [Lutheran] Catechism, so we had to do it, otherwise we would have had to learn it again for the next day. As a result we could remember far more from the Bible than young people do today. Consequently is was so important that children received education at home, about God, Christ and the Bible as a whole.
"Just imagine if we could persuade out politicians to understand that children need to receive more Christian education at school, because to many children today have never heard a single word about Yahweh and Yah'shua at home, because their parents don't believe in Yahweh or the Bible. Every child who has learned these things at home from their mother and father can joyfully praise and thank our Heavenly Father and Yah'shua because they have a mother and father who were willing and happy to teach them the Gospel, and everything that belongs to Eternity.
"Let us now [clearly] understand the order of Elohim's Authority:
"This is beautitful. The woman is not of lesser worth than the man. The woman's relationship to the man is the same as the man's relationship to Christ, and as Christ is to God the Father. If the relationship between the man and Christ is strong, so the relationship between the man and the woman will also be strong.
- GOD THE FATHER IS YAH'SHUA'S HEAD
- YAH'SHUA IS THE HEAD OF THE MAN, and
- THE MAN IS THE HEAD OF THE WOMAN
Yahweh's will and intention is that husband and wife should have a close connection. Yah'shua once said: "Father make them one (echad), even as You and I are one (echad)".
In marriage, husband and wife should live together, recognised by the world and society [where possible], likewise all the children and household. A wife who knwos and understands God's order, doesn't feel "trampled on", but rather raised and set high to be a part of Yahweh's Plan. The wife should not teach her husband about Yahweh, even if there is an opportunity for her to pray in public and prophesy:
"The young women of today don't understand their freedom - the freedom to learn and to have the possibility of developing their talents, and to use them for the best interests of God's Family, and for this reason they argue and answer back without understanding.
"And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28, NKJV).
"I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence" (1 Tim.2:8-12, NKJV).
"Paul does not therefore forbid us women from serving. He asks is to learn in silence, and to also accept that the man is Head of the family.
"I can well remember from my childhood that my two elder sisters and I quarrelled about one thing or another, that [my mother] always reminded me that the elder [sibling] had the first rights. As a rule I had to yield, but there were a few times that my mother ordered us to stop quarrelling, and said the matter would be discussed when our father got home. It was always father who made the final decission about a matter, and we had to accept it.
"Both my father and mother had a strong belief in God and Yah'shua, but it was always father who read from the Bible to us and prayed the evening prayer. My mother and father never argued, but they spoke calmly and softly with each other when they were matters to be decided. So our home was a haven of peace on earth.
"What have we taught our children? A child needs a lot of contact and love right from the time they are tiny. Talk and sing with children from when they are small, because they will remember and recall so many things from childhood when they are older. They must learn to pray morning prayers, meal prayers and evening prayers. They must be taught that God hears us. We must remember to use kind but firm words when we instruct children, because the way we speak to children will be the way they speak to others.
"They must also understand to be helpful to others when something goes wrong. We can tell them what Yah'shua taught the people in His parable of the Good Samaritan. We all have so much to learn from the Bible, and we must thank our Master and Saviour Yah'shua the Messiah for all that He has done for us.
"I am tankful to have grown up in a land where it is legal to freely preach the Gospel to everyone who is willing to listen. Now Yahweh has restored the New Covenant again on the earth, and I am happy to have been able to serve my Saviour in the restoration of His Kingdom. Amen."
In the minds of our opponents we were well on the way to being destroyed in 2006. Certainly they did a good job in smearing our reputation. Within a couple of years after this dream was received, we did indeed mentally, emotionally and physically look a lot like a landscape that had been hit by a tsunami - thoroughly devastated. But Yahweh has this 'unfortunate' (for the ungodly) habit of resurrecting dead things which the enemy believes he has triumphed over.
"I dreamed that I was besides the sea and as I looked inland I could see that it had recently been flooded by the sea. Everywhere there was dÚbris lying around as though a great storm or tidal wave had struck the coast. A inland I saw a tree which had been uprooted and was lying on the ground. Amazingly, though, the soil had not been washed away from its roots. A very large clump of earth was attched to the roots as though it had been removed from a very large plant pot.
"Quite suddenly the Presiding Matriarch of the Church appeared on the scene, and with her bare hands, picked up the tree and carried it off. I understood that she was going to replant it. Her entire concentration was occupied with this singular task and it was clear that she was not going to allow anything to sidetrack her from it.
"When I awoke I understood that the tree was the Church or Covenant which had been completely uprooted by the Third Wave, or Third Rebellion. It was, however, quite safe, Yahweh ensuring the the roots were protected from the salty water of the sea wave. I also understood that the Presiding Matriarch represented single-mindedness, tenacity, love and faithfulness, for the actual person in question has all of these qualities and has been a true, faithful, dedicated, and loyal servant of Yahweh since the beginning of this work, seeting a wonderful example for all the saints. By this means, them, the New Covenant Church was preserved through the Third Wave and was replanted in the Vineyard of Yahweh. Amen" (Olive Branch, Section 414, 29 May 2006).
I had supposed that Sister Mj°lsvik would herself be the instrument of the resurrection of this work by some miraculous healing which for the last few years has essentially confined itself to teaching and personal counselling - we have not been building congregations for a few years. Not until her death did I finally understand that what Yahweh was saying was that if we had the courage, determination, faith and focus of this great woman of Yahweh that we would rebuild again. The truth is, we never died. We were uprooted but still nourished even though everything else around us - the approbation and support of thousands of people - was removed. So Yah willing, we will replant and do what for man is impossible but which for Yahweh is not. And I believe firmly, following what Yahweh has told me, that our renewed time is imminent. We shall remember our spiritual mother and derive strength from the witness of her life. We shall not surrender. We shall not lie down and die. We shall arise again, not in our own strength, but IN Christ, and this time do even greater works to the glory of our Elohim!
Aslaug Hagen Mj°lsvik has gone home now and in truth we lost her to a devastating illness some time before. I feel a great peace about her as I think back on her life and where she is now. She remained true to the end, living by simple biblical pinciples, and so inspired us all. She was in every way, and remains, Mor - Mother. Her spirit lives on amongst us and we shall do even as she would have done had she lived on amongst us. May her descendants, if they ever read this, come to know and understand their grandmother and greatgrandmother, and to realise there is a noble name to be carried - the name of Hagen - 'The Garden' - for we are all Gardeners in Yahweh's Vineyard. Amen.