Erik Lund - Susannah in the Farrow Islands - Santee II - 2001

I would like to take you home to the Farrow Islands today.  We call the Farrow Islands the “Sheep Islands” and I think that is appropriate.  In England in 1919, Peter was the eldest son of a farmer who embraced the truth in England, and later brought the gospel to Denmark.

 

Two years later a young woman, Susannah, left her home in the Sheep Islands and moved to England.  She met the truth there and embraced it. Susannah talked to the worker, Peter, and asked him to come to the Sheep Islands and bring the gospel to her family and friends.

 

It cost Peter when he went to Denmark, and it cost him again when he came to the Sheep islands in 1926, but within a year there was a fair-sized church close to where Susannah lived on the Island. Her particular village didn’t receive the truth, and she lived 7-8 miles from where the meeting was on the other side of a mountain with only a mountain path between them.

 

You would know how the Sunday morning meetings are so dear to us, this is the way it was for Susannah.  Every Sunday morning, she left her village early in the morning and prepared to walk the two hours to get to the meeting across the mountain.  I hope our Sunday morning meeting means as much to us. My companion and I walked that mountain path once just to see and experience what Susannah walked every Sunday, and it was like a picture of life’s way, of God’s way to me.

 

Susannah heard the same message Abraham heard, "Get thee out of thy county, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee; And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing."

 

Those villages on the Sheep Islands were close together, there are no trees, grass is everywhere so there are no hiding places, and perhaps it would be easy to be afraid to be different because they know each other so well.

 

Susannah prepared early, she started on Saturday to prepare for her trip across the mountain the next morning.  She made a little food to take and some water and, early Sunday morning, she would walk through her village, walk along the bay, and start up the mountain.

 

Some of the villagers would be awake, while most would still be asleep, but Susannah had an aim.  Some saw her as "strange, different." Perhaps she would meet a few persons walking down to the church in the village going the opposite way, and they might ask her, "Why don’t you come with us?"  

 

It wouldn’t be easy, but that was her start every Sunday morning, and it’s the same way we all start.  We are different because we have a different calling and goal in life.  We have a way that is true, a way that is safe, and has more value than any other way.  Susannah would leave the village behind her, and then cross a river.  When we start, there is something to be buried in the river.  When the children of Israel left Egypt, they left behind the old life, the old villages.  They couldn’t see the goal clearly, but they started anyway.

 

Hebrews 11:8, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."  We don’t know what’s ahead, but there is grace for each step.  To Susannah, the mountain looked impossible, but there was a crack in the steep mountain, and, as she drew nearer, she would be guided by a heap of stones every so often.  We call those stones "a cairn."  She knew it was possible then, even though it looked impossible, because someone else had already paved the way.  Someone had went before and left way-markers.  Susannah could go forward in faith even when she couldn’t see a way across the mountain.  She would come a little ways, then stop to catch her breath.  Then the thoughts would come, "Does this pay?  Is it worth it?"  Then once she was rested she would go a little farther before she had to stop again.

 

As she walked along the way, the old way, the old village would get smaller and smaller.  Finally near the top of the mountain, she might run into a hailstorm.  And perhaps she would think, "I shouldn’t have left home."  But she would wait awhile until she could see the way-markers again, and start on.  Each meeting is like a way-marker, it assures us that we are in the right way.

 

The way goes on and on, and it’s easy to get careless and take it for granted.  Finally, she would come to the last way-marker and think, "I’m almost there.  I can relax." We can’t relax.  We can’t take any shortcuts, they prove dangerous.  Then there is another river to cross.  This is a picture of life’s end.  Susannah was glad that someone had already bridged that river.

 

We can be thankful that Jesus has bridged the last step of death for us.


Finally she would be assured again, the price wasn’t too great.  So much is given in return.  Every effort will pay and pay wholeheartedly.  Those who put their best into their service, will get the most in return.  God rewards so much more than we can ever realize.

 

The way-markers are made because of frequent storms in the mountains. The most dangerous thing to do in a blizzard is sit down and rest.  We must keep moving.  I knew a man who got caught in a blizzard beside a way-marker.  He couldn’t see forward, he couldn’t see behind, so he stayed right there and took apart the way-marker and put it back together several times until help finally came.

 

Jeremiah 31:21, "Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps… turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again…"  Charity and love are the foundation stones of God’s way-markers, combined with obedience, humility, and meekness.  The way-markers may repeat themselves, but this assures us that the way has not changed.  At Buttonwillow, I was so happy to be assured that God’s way hasn’t changed.  The same virtues are visible, and this is a confirmation that this is the way of God.