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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Kayy Gordon's "God's Fire on Ice" Added Intro

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 Kayy Gordon's "God's Fire on Ice" Added Intro

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Introduction

In late August, 1972, I was in the high Arctic on a writing assignment for a travel magazine. My float plane sank in gale winds, leaving me stranded in the remote Eskimo settlement of Cambridge Bay, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. I was penniless and totally alone, but not for long. I walked along that bleak Arctic Ocean shore, the snow stinging my face, praying, “My God, are you really with me in this desolate place?”

He was, for He guided me to a little mission with an apartment above, and I knocked on the side door. (Kayy told me later she knew it was a white person, because no native would knock.) “Please do a little extra to prove your love for me and to renew my faith in the family of God. Please let them offer me something to eat.” I hadn’t eaten for the past eighteen hours.

Although I was a total stranger, they welcomed me with a warm hug. No sooner were my parka and boots off than a mug of steaming coffee was beside me. “How about a grilled cheese sandwich, Lois?” My heart fairly burst with praise and thanksgiving and a sense of belonging to God’s great family. But still I had not revealed to them that I too was a child of our wonderful, all-caring Father.

We chatted over lunch. They asked no questions. Gradually I told them who I was: a housewife and mother, an administrator of our church’s home for seniors near Toronto, Canada. But the love of my life was writing. I wrote mostly for “Reader’s Digest.” Other writing included travel articles and some work for Billy Graham’s “Decision” magazine where I helped in their Schools of Writing.

But what were there two sparkling, fun loving girls doing stuck away in this remote, godless Eskimo settlement? Marian Page was a nurse (probably in her early thirties, I figured) often called upon hurriedly for mercy flights south, perhaps to help an Eskimo woman brutally stabbed in a drunken brawl. But mostly, she was called of God to help Kayy.

Kayy Gordon – a vivacious, blue-eyed blond, somewhere in her thirties too – a slight, five-foot bundle of effortless “can-do” energy. Her pace was relaxed enough to fit the native way of life; yet her achievements were incredible. The very existence of this fine building was proof, with its warm, spacious sanctuary down below, and a comfortable apartment above. It has a kitchen to be envied by any housewife, complete with a dishwasher, and a living room with a four-by-eight-foot picture window looking over the bay, (“You can’t possibly get a glass that big into the Arctic, Kayy,” the men had told her.) Also, there was a modern three-piece bathroom with hot and cold running water and nicely furnished bedrooms. (What a treat it was to be tucked between flowered, perma-press sheets after days on the tundra!)


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 Re: Kayy Gordon's "God's Fire on Ice" Chap 1


Thank you dear sister for posting these. I am not sure if you are aware but Kayy Gordon is my great Aunt in our family. She is still alive and serving the Lord in singleness. This is very meaningful you are posting this as you are led by the Spirit. I look forward to reading this book again here on the forums!

We serve a great God.


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 Re: Kayy Gordon's "God's Fire on Ice" Intro


After a time of rest and recuperation, I attended a service which was led by the Eskimos. Afterward, I sat on the floor of the living room, drinking tea with giggling Eskimo young people who showed me some of their native tricks and games and wrestled for me.

Later, I went with Kayy to the post office. Kayy Gordon had been postmistress of Cambridge Bay for 12 years. Like Paul of old, she supported herself and contributed to the ministry. She showed me the first house she had built for herself in Cambridge Bay. She also told me of her first twelve months in the Arctic. During that first year, she lived in a tent with the reindeer herders. She told me of her 300-mile treks by dog sled and snowmobile to minister to the caribou hunters. (Not until later when I stood on the shores of the Hudson Bay and saw the crazy tangles and heaves of ice blocks and ridges, did I fully appreciate how difficult such a journey would be.) I saw her counseling, mediating, and encouraging the Christians and the drunks. And I knew that the natives obviously loved her.

She shared with me her vision of an Eskimo church that would be bible-taught and totally self-sufficient, ministering to its own people across the desolate wastes of three quarters of a million square miles of ice, snow and unmarked tundra.

After only three days I had to leave. As Kayy stood on the float dock waving to me in the Twin Otter, I realized that I had met one of God’s chosen servants, a truly remarkable young woman.

I have been back north several times and talked with Eskimos and whites. Always, I have found that Kayy Gordon is one of the most respected white women of the Canadian Arctic.

One day Kayy called me from Vancouver and said, “Lois, let’s write a book.” I was staggered, but overjoyed. As we met in Toronto and I had the pleasure of returning her hospitality, I found that Kayy was equally at home in our best restaurants as when she was sitting on caribou skins eating raw seal meat and drinking tea from a mug that was rubbed clean by a rag that had just wiped a runny nose.

Kayy and I wrote this story together. It is a story of God’s provision, of His faithfulness and great goodness – this procession of miracles across the land that is incredibly forbidding with temperatures often hovering at 85 bekow, with hardships that defy description. It is an account of God’s grace being extended to these gentle, dignified, gracious Inuit, a people of limitless patience and hospitality, who seem to be equal to any emergency and who have taken to their hearts this ting white woman – “Eyikpak,” or “Big Eyes” – and have embraced her and her God.

Lois Neely


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 Re:

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Thank you dear sister for posting these. I am not sure if you are aware but Kayy Gordon is my great Aunt in our family. She is still alive and serving the Lord in singleness. This is very meaningful you are posting this as you are led by the Spirit. I look forward to reading this book again here on the forums!

We serve a great God.


Brother,

When I saw where she was from and her last name, I did wonder if she was related!!

I read this first chapter to the girls at jail and we talked about complete trust and applied it to our lives. It was a good night that started out with this chapter!! God is indeed good!!


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 Re: Kayy Gordon's "God's Fire on Ice" Chap 1


Chapter 1 - The Arctic Storm

It was a frigid 65 below in January as we pushed our way across the barren lands of the Canadian Arctic. Two hours earlier a cloud of fog and snow had settled over the trail, shutting us off from our guide. We stumbled on. The dogs were hungry, tired, and upset. They pulled first in this direction, then that, and were fighting and restless.

Finally, I stopped. As I stood on the back of the toboggan with the snow swirling blindingly about us and the dogs snapping, snarling, tangling their harness, a feeling of helpless frustration came over me.

"Iona, let's face it. We're completely lost," I heard myself say. "The wind has whipped away all traces of the lead team's tracks and in this fog and darkness, I don't know how we can find our way."

"But, oh, God," I prayed silently, "please, somehow, make a way for us. I've brought this unsaved nurse with me and I don't want to be an instrument of her death."

Iona sat on the toboggan, staring grimly into the storm. Four days earlier, we had started out from the little Eskimo community of Tuktoyaktuk, high up along the bleak shores of the Arctic Ocean, just east of the Mackenzie River Delta. it had taken about seven hours of hard traveling over the soft snow with our dog team to reach the reindeer herders' camp. There Iona, a government nurse, checked the babies and gave them their inoculations, and I preached. We stayed two days and then with Nels, our Lapland guide, we headed back to Tuk. Winds came up, whirling the snow in clouds that blocked out the landscape. What little daylight there is in January had slipped away, so we decided to camp in an abandoned igloo and wait for the moon to come up.

The going was so slow that we ran out of gasoline for our primus stove (a two burner camp stove): all our food was frozen, so we couldn't eat. We couldn't thaw the snow for a cup of tea. Spreading our reindeer skins on the snow and climbing into our sleeping bags with our parkas and boots on, I remember thinking that I would never be warm again. Outside the hungry dogs howled and the wind swirled and moaned around the igloo.

At moonrise we rose and struggled to hitch up the two teams, Nels was ready first and took off, because once the dogs are hitched you have to go. This was only my second year with a dog team and I was having a difficult time. I was always reluctant to whip them, but finally they were hitched and we started off. As we came over the ridge, I realized with dismay that the fog had dropped and I could no longer see Nels. We followed his tracks a little way, until all traces of them had been wiped out by the gusting winds.

Which way should we go? A compass is no use the far north, and the dogs seemed confused. I'd try to get them going one way but they kept changing directions. Finally, I stopped, prayed a simple prayer and then said, "Iona, I'm going to let the dogs proceed." I knew that I couldn't direct them, so I prayed that God would.


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 Re: Kayy Gordon's "God's Fire on Ice" Chap 1


For a few minutes the dogs floundered around. Then they took off in a different direction altogether, purposefully now and pointing straight. There was no more tangling or fighting. For about an hour we traveled in the darkness and fog, only a little moonlight filtered through. Suddenly the dogs speeded up. About ten minutes later, just as suddenly, the blowing snow cleared momentarily. In that moment I caught a glimpse of dark figures moving against the shimmering snow about a quarter of a mile away. It had to be Nels! just as quickly, the swirling snow again shut off the view. I turned the team and they responded. In just a few minutes we had caught up.

"Praise the Lord!" Nels shouted as we came within earshot. his voice was vibrant with gratitude and joy. He had been gravely concerned about us, knowing that we were obviously lost and had no food or shelter. "Oh, God, guide them," Nels had prayed. His inclination had been to turn around immediately and begin to search for us, but somehow he had hesitated. Had he turned and begun that search, our trails might never have met, and Iona and I would have been lost permanently. Oh, the goodness of God!

It's easy to be lost in the Arctic during any season. It's not unusual to roam in summer over the hills and become completely turned around, because even in broad daylight, the land looks so much the same. Years later, when I could be considered a seasoned northerner, I've been known to be lost only a few miles from the village. In any season, the joy of being found is always indescribable, but to be lost in the killing cold of winter and then to be found is an ecstasy of joy.

Once our team had caught up to Nels, the night was still cold, the wind was still blowing, and the visibility still very limited but somehow I didn't notice the bite of the wind. Now I could relax, content just to see that dog team ahead of us.

Before long we sighted the DEW line beacon at Tuk, a red saucer of light against the dark, arctic night and a welcome landmark for all the travelers in the north. Even the dogs seemed to gain their second wind. They knew that home was just an hour or so away.

At last the lights of the village dotted the darkness and we could almost feel the warmth of those snug houses and the glow of hot tea and friendly faces. As the lights grew brighter, the dogs quickened their pace. Soon we heard the familiar howl of all the other dogs in the village announcing our arrival.

Some of the men nearby came to unharness the dogs and chain them to their stakes. With great delight I pulled off my outer parka and fur pants and stumbled into my little, green shack that somehow seemed like a mansion. Quickly, the Christian Eskimos began to come in. Very soon reindeer soup was heated up and hot tea–so welcome to our stiff cold bodies. The warmth of their love and care for us, the joy of being with them again, suddenly made the rigors of the trip very worthwhile.


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 Re: Kayy Gordon's "God's Fire on Ice" Chap 1


Coming in from the arctic storm that had almost entrapped us, I had a special appreciation for my house. The little old oil heater was throwing out its great heat; even sitting on a bench instead of squatting on a tent floor was satisfying. I had such a feeling of security in that little home. Its walls were strong. Winter winds could not penetrate them. As I finally laid down that night on my bunk, with reindeer skins for my mattress and and a sleeping bag for my blanket, I dropped off into a sound sleep thanking God for His goodness.

Several hours later I woke up. Lying on the reindeer skin, I looked around at the bare wood walls, the single gas lantern dangling from the ceiling, the oil space heater that doubled as an altar, the tiny primus stove perched on an orange crate and my one luxury–a wooden sleeping platform–tucked in a corner. Sparsely furnished? Not when jammed wall to wall each night with hungry-hearted Eskimos.

Outside, the wind still whistled and howled. The sun would peek over the horizon for about an hour, then twilight and darkness would fall again. Could it only be twenty months since I left Vancouver? Balmy Vancouver–a city of skyscrapers and charming homes set against the magnificent backdrop of towering, snow-capped mountains rising out of the blue Pacific; a shoreline with deep fjords slicing into the black and green of rock and forest. Only twenty months–yet surely light-years away.

Had my church encouraged me to come north? Hardly. "Crazy Kayy!" they chided. my dream of the Arctic had been the joke of the congregation. My family, my Christian co-workers, my pastor–all had discouraged me. "Why can't you feel called to somewhere nice and conventional like Africa or Taiwan?" they'd ask. "Nobody goes as a missionary to the Arctic." They'd shake their heads incredulously as my notion only grew stronger.

Finally I went north in June of 1956, a starry-eyed, twenty-two year-old visionary who was determined to light a fire for God in the frozen wastes of the Canadian Arctic. I had so much to teach the Eskimos.

But how much they had taught me–of true kindness, of generosity of spirit, of plain, simple gratitude, of caring for their brother, of courage in desperate situation. I had fished and hunted with them, feasting on caribou heads and ptarmigan stew. For fourteen months I had lived in a double canvas tent among the reindeer herders, through a winter when 45 below was the norm. And then, under the midnight sun, with the help of a dear Eskimo girl, i had built this shack on the windswept shores of the Arctic Ocean.

Yes, I had walked in their "mukluks" (sealskin overboots), slept in their igloos, and now the Holy Spirit was beginning to move in this desolate and lonely, but not God-forsaken, settlement of the high Arctic.

Vancouver? It seemed to be on another planet.


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 "God's Fire on Ice" CHAP 2


Chapter 2 – A Time to Learn

“God knows your address and phone number, Kayy. When He wants you, He’ll call you.” With these words, my pastor gently reminded me. It was June, 1953 and I was an insistent, demanding teenager.

But was I ever impatient. Why couldn’t Pastor Layzell understand that God was calling me to the Arctic? Had He not called me to the ministry even before I was born? Not until after I was saved and had renounced my burning ambition to be a lawyer, had mother told me of the vision she had seen almost as soon as she was aware that she had conceived me, her seventh child. Mother was a seeker after God, but not yet a true born-again believer. She had gone to the back yard and while lying on the grass, she lifted her heart to God.

“Oh, Lord,” she prayed, “let this last child be a minister, but not the ordinary kind of minister. Let him be one who challenges people.” As she opened her eyes, she looked up through the leaves of the trees and saw the form of a cross. From that moment on, mother firmly believed that God had heard and would answer her prayer. Then, when I was born – a girl! – mother’s heart sank. God had not granted her request, she thought, for whoever heard of a woman minister?

As I grew up on the Canadian prairie, mother’s doubts certainly appeared to be accurate. Stubborn and rebellious, with no interest in religion – that was the Kayy mother saw. With older brothers and sisters doting and waiting on me, I had no need to talk. Consequently, I was over two years old before I burst out with a sentence. I commanded, “Iris, get dat ball!” My family has never let me forget that my first words were in the imperative form.

Right from the start there was a determined, independent streak that would stand me in good stead in my arctic life. When I was three-and-a-half, I announced that I was going to learn to read for myself. My older sister, Iris, became my accomplice. She would eavesdrop on the first grade lessons in the one-room school in northern Saskatchewan, then come home and teach me. Before the year was out I could write, add, subtract, and best of all, read those comics by myself! It was just at this time I announced I would be a lawyer and that was that.

Father died quite suddenly, when I was only nine, after suffering many years with diabetes. The rest of the children were grown, and I was left with my mother who had been afflicted soon after my birth with crippling multiple sclerosis. She and I became close as increasingly there was more that I had to do for her. I would shop for her, go to the bank, and pay the bills. These lessons would prove to be invaluable in the work God called me to do. At that time, however, I felt only rebellion against God. I would often find myself thinking, “Why do I have to be saddled with sick, old parents? Why couldn’t I have had a young mother and father like the other kids?”

Mother and I moved from the farm to the city of Prince Albert. One day, as we entered the Princes Café on Central Avenue, a young man stepped in front of us. Noticing mother’s crutches, he told us about a man of God, William Branham, who prayed for sick people. He explained that many were healed at his services. Mother’s eyes lit up. We had traveled constantly from doctor to doctor searching for help with her dread multiple sclerosis.

“Shall we go to Calgary to hear this man, Kayy?” mother asked.

The idea didn’t appeal to me at all. My father, the most generous of all men, was an agnostic. The goal he set before me in life was to get a good education, with good earning power. In Prince Albert, mother and I attended a Presbyterian church where I galloped through eight years of catechism in nine months and memorized reams of Scripture. This wasn’t because I was interested. I was simply highly competitive, with a drive to excel in everything I did.

By the time I was fourteen, I had decided my father was right – there wasn’t anything of great value in religion. The more I learned, the more I was turned off. So I decided if I could get away from any church involvement without hurting my mother, I would do it. But now she was asking if I would go with her to the special healing meeting in Calgary. Although I wasn’t happy about it, I agreed to go.

I’ll never forget that evening – 5,000 people who seemed to be actually enjoying their religion! Their singing especially fascinated me. It was joyful and alive, as if the people really knew and meant what they were singing about.

Then a little man stood up and in a very quiet, humble way told of God’s call on his life and of the gift of healing the Lord had given him. We were seated at the front in the area set aside for wheelchairs. A little boy, whose eyes were badly crossed, was brought up to the platform for prayer. With a heart obviously filled with love and tenderness, Brother Branham prayed a simple prayer of faith that must have shaken the sinners and saints alike. When the child turned again to face the congregation, his eyes were straight as could be.

Even though my mother was not healed, the boy’s miracle left a profound impression on this smart-aleck teenager. I had actually witnessed at close range the miraculous power of God. There was no denying it.

The next afternoon I was back again. The singing seemed even better, the whole place more vibrant with joy. When the evangelist preached, the words came through loud and clear. “Are you ready for eternity?” he thundered. I knew I wasn’t ready. As the altar call was given, a tremendous struggle within began to tear me apart. They sang the first verse of “Just As I Am.” Others were going forward, but I couldn’t. They sang the second, the third, the fourth and fifth stanzas. How I wanted to walk down that aisle, but I was glued to my place!

Then they sang the sixth stanza and a strange thing happened. An aunt who was not living for the Lord but happened to be in that meeting, tapped me on the shoulder. “Kayy, would you like to make things right? I’ll go with you to the altar,” she gently suggested. That was all I needed.

When I got to the altar, I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t know how to pray. The workers instructed me to simply invite Christ into my life, to ask Him to forgive my sins. I did this, then got up from my knees, not aware of any great change or experience.

But the next morning when I woke up, there was a desire in my heart that had never been there before. Without hesitating, I went to my mother and asked, “Mom, do we have a Bible?” When she gave me grandma’s old Bible, I grabbed it eagerly and began to read. For the first time, the Bible was more than just words. It had meaning to me and it possessed a message. I was flooded with a great joy, to think I could actually understand God’s Word a little! Closing the Bible, I turned to my mother:

“Mom, do you know what I want to do when I finish school?” I asked. She looked at me. “Kayy, from the time you were a little tot you said you wanted to be a lawyer.”

“No, mom,” I answered, “I want to be a preacher.”

And with that my mother burst into tears and told me the story of her prayer and vision before I was born. God “was” faithful. He was going to answer her prayers.

Mother too found Jesus Christ as her Savior during those meetings in Calgary, and together we were baptized in water the next week. We all had to testify, and afterwards several people said to mom, “That girl of yours is going to be a preacher one day.”

God now put it into my mother’s heart to make some wise decisions about our future. In Prince Albert, I had been accelerated two years in school and because I was so much smaller and younger I had assumed the role of daredevil in order to be accepted by the older group. The opposite sex was becoming very attractive and I was scheming how I could have a part in the exciting sexual escapades I’d heard the older kids talking about. Mother didn’t think we should return to Prince Albert and one da said, “Let’s find a new home in a new city for our new life in Christ.”

I came to sophisticated Vancouver as an awkward, self-conscious shrimp of a teenager, with a deep inferiority complex which had developed over the years. These feelings were caused mostly by my teeth – or lack of them.

When I was four, Dad decided that two loose front teeth should go. “One dollar for each tooth, Kayy.” He said, fixing the pliers firmly on the first tooth. But those two teeth weren’t so loose. I refused to cry, put the two dollars under my pillow and sobbed myself to sleep with the pain. For the next four years I remained toothless, and the kids teased and razzed me mercilessly. Finally, the second teeth came in, but to my dismay, they stuck out. Buck teeth! I’d spend hours twisting my jaw this way and that, trying to improve my appearance.

So when the Vancouver dentist discovered that I had several cavities, I said, “No fillings. Pull out the whole works.” He was horrified. But that upper plate changed my whole personality.

Now it was fun to meet new friends. No more twisting or hiding my misshapen teeth. It was as if a tent had been lifted from me, and an outgoing Kayy had emerged.

I dashed through the last three years of high school with more interest in Christian work than high grades. Now that I wasn’t going into law, why struggle to win a scholarship? I know now that that was a mistake, an immature attitude.

I was headed straight for Bible school and the ministry. But Pastor Reg Layzell had other ideas. At Glad Tidings Temple, my mom and I had found a church home that suited us, a happy, joyful fellowship. Pastor Layzell became my father figure, a very strong man of God whom I deeply respected and loved. My brothers and sisters were shocked that I had abandoned my plans for law school. They may have resented the impact Pastor Layzell had on my life. My brother wryly remarked, “The gospel according to Kayy has at least three people in heaven: God on the throne, Jesus by His side, and Pastor Layzell next in command.”

A disciplinarian of high standards, our pastor demanded much from his young people. “Kayy, I don’t want you to go to Bible school. I believe you should get a job, rub shoulders with the world, and study at night.” Thus he punctured my dream of breezing through Bible school. He firmly believed that Bible training should be done in the local church, coupled with Christian work experience. Then, as the person proved his ministry, he could be set aside for full-time work in the call of God.

Such a long process didn’t appeal to me, but I finally agreed. “All right, Lord, if this is your will I’ll go by the pastor’s advice.” I registered in our evening Bible college program, and found a job as a dental assistant with the city of Vancouver. The job paid well, with many fringe benefits. Days were boring and drab, but evenings and weekends were what I lived for.

A preacher friend, Violet Kiteley, took me under her wing for skid row mission work. The men called Violet “Dynamite,” and I was “Little Dynamite.” It was good experience for a would-be preacher to learn to take rebuff, to learn how to keep people from falling asleep, to see how the other side of the world lives, to learn to appreciate the problems, fears, and joys of others. There were street meetings, and these were a great training ground for learning how to lift up one’s voice like a trumpet and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was just

I was just eighteen when Dorothy Williams, an accomplished Bible teacher, felt it on her heart to start a work in the town of Abbotsford, a town some forty miles southeast of Vancouver near the U.S. border. To my surprise, she invited me to join her in this new branch church. What a challenge! Twice a week, after working in the dental office all day, I’d drive with Dorothy the hour-and-a-half out to Abbotsford. The Odd Fellows’ Hall was the only place available, and many people felt we were very odd indeed as we pioneered in that city with the message of revival, praise, and the moving of God’s Spirit. We knocked on doors, gave out pamphlets, and shouted over loudspeakers, advertising the meetings. Our theme song was, “There’s Revival in the Air Today.”

But still, in all this busy challenging life of working, studying and ministering, I felt a vacuum deep inside. What was my purpose in life? What contribution could I make to humanity? Oh, just to find the perfect will of God! The future seemed so hazy. Why couldn’t I share the same interests as my peers? Most of my friends were interested in their jobs, their future education, their boyfriends, hoping to find a husband and start a Christian home. But for me? Why did I have this strange compelling drive, a desire that burned like a fire to accomplish something for God?

At times I felt so restless and frustrated. “Why? Why, Lord?” A thousand times the question arose. What was it all about? It seemed as if I was just racing my motor and spinning my wheels working as a dental assistant and co-pastoring a small work at Abbotsford. Was this the only contribution that God wanted me to make?

Why was God so silent? Didn’t He realize I had abandoned my lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer, hoping to become a preacher? Actually, I thought I was doing Him a great service by dedicating my life to His work. No wonder the Lord couldn’t speak further to me; my priorities were so topsy-turvy.

How I would chafe inwardly when Pastor Layzell would expound repeatedly about the devastating effects that pride and selfish ambition brought to our lives. How it would sting! Proud, yes. Ambitious, yes.

“But is it so wrong to be ambitious, Lord? Oh, God, help me, break me, make me,” was my continual prayer.


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