• Shari House

HSS - Georgia Dearmore {Know Your Snakes}


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Georgia Mae Reynolds was born on January 25, 1924, in Springfield, Missouri. She was an only child and was raised by godly parents who were faithful members at High Street Baptist Church. It was there that Georgia made a profession of faith while in her youth. After high school, Georgia enrolled at J. Frank Norris’ Bible college in Fort Worth, Texas, where she met her future husband, James Dearmore. James was a server at a local BBQ restaurant where Georgia often stopped for lunch on her way to work. James managed to always be her server and made sure her order was always done just as she liked it. It was love at first sight, and they were married about seven months later on January 3, 1949.


Georgia and her husband had four children: Jenny, born premature in 1950, lived only a few days, James born in 1951, Rebecca born in 1953, and John Frank born in 1955. She and her husband loved the Lord very much and had a desire to serve Him full-time. In late 1961, they surrendered their lives to the mission field and began raising their support. Georgia and her husband set off for Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) with their three children in June of 1963. They teamed up with James’ brother, Dr. Roy Dearmore, who had arrived on the field a couple years earlier. They worked to build a mission station on a bare patch of land on top of a hill which became known as Mongo wa Nkenda or “Hill of Kindness” or “Hill of Mercy.” Their ministry was mainly to the Bayaka and Baholo tribes where witchcraft was still quite prevalent. Over the next eight years their ministry and mission station grew to include a school and a hospital with a village eventually building up around them. Besides raising her children, Georgia taught in the Christian school and helped out at the hospital where they held daily services for those who were not able to make it to church. They planted many fields including banana, okra, and pawpaw (papaya) in order to have food to feed the people at the hospital where they treated many cases of tuberculosis and leprosy. Each evening Georgia and her husband would take a walk up through the workers’ village on the mission station to check on everyone and make sure things were all right. They would then go up to the hospital to visit with the patients – talking to them, witnessing to them, holding new babies, and encouraging them in any way they could. Georgia often took special care to love on the young ones and the ladies on the mission station. She was deeply loved by the nationals in return. Georgia and her husband would often travel by boat up the Kwango River to evangelize other villages, as well. There ministry flourished as more and more of the Bayaka were coming to know Christ as their personal Savior. One particular day, a few years after they had been there, they had 142 converts get baptized in the Sukuku River. The mission station was shut down in early 1972, when Zaire passed a law requiring all missionaries be members of the World Council of Churches. It was hard for Georgia and her husband to leave this place they had given their hearts to, but in their 10 short years there, thousands were saved, 21 trained pastors had graduated from the Bible Institute, and several churches had been established.



Georgia and her husband felt the Lord leading them to Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe) for their next missionary work. They served the Lord in Rhodesia for eight years evangelizing, training disciples, and loving the people. For the better part of their time there, Georgia and James found themselves struggling to deal with terrorists in their area who persecuted the people relentlessly. They did not let this added stress hinder their ministry but realized it gave them a greater opportunity to trust God. Georgia and her husband refused to live in fear and instead lived by the creed given to us in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” At times with Uzi and Bible in hand they would lead the new converts down to the river for baptisms. Georgia learned how to handle an Uzi gun herself, and she would often ride in the car with James to help watch for ambushes and land mines in the road. On the morning of November 28, 1978, James had to leave the house for a brief moment, and his police sergeant friend went with him. Georgia stayed behind to prepare breakfast for their return. James hadn't been gone but a few minutes when he was attacked and nearly killed by 40 or 50 terrorists in a "double ambush." The kitchen shook with the explosions that were followed by bursts of automatic fire. Georgia immediately knew her husband was under attack, and she quickly pressed the alarm button that radioed to police and other security forces to let them know. She then grabbed for her Uzi and was about to go out to try to face them and rescue her husband when word was sent that the police were already organizing a rescue and a spotter plane had been dispatched. Georgia waited and prayed. It seemed to take hours. Scriptures were the only thing that brought her comfort and after the ordeal she said of the Lord, “Truly He WAS and IS the strength of my life . . ." - Psalm 27:1. The call finally came that James was found alive, but he had been shot multiple times and was badly wounded. SAS Commandos arrived by helicopter to defend the homestead from further attack. Georgia hopped in her car and with a soldier riding shotgun with his weapon at the ready to watch for land mines and ward off another ambush, they drove over the same path James had just been on in order to get to the hospital where he had been taken. God preformed many miracles and spared both their lives that day. It took six weeks in the hospital and three months of physical therapy to restore James to near normal use of his left shoulder, arm, and hand where he had sustained injuries.


After the ambush, Georgia and James moved to South Africa and settled in Bophuthatswana where they faithfully served the Lord as missionaries for the next 16 years. They had a fruitful ministry there and had a wonderful opportunity to preach weekly to 4,000 – 5,000 students plus teachers and officials in the schools in their area. In 1994, after more than 30 years of missionary service in Africa, they left the field due to Georgia’s failing health and settled in Garland, Texas. James started a ministry on the World Wide Web called Gospel Web just as the internet was becoming a popular way to give and receive information. Their website is filled with sermons, Bible studies, devotions, testimonies, stories, and accounts from their time as missionaries. The website gets over 2 million hits yearly from over 170 countries and is still being used greatly to bring the Gospel to many lands. Georgia started showing signs of Alzheimers by 1995, and although she was unable to have much part in the website ministry, she continued to befriend and show God’s love to anyone who came across her path.



On November 17, 2004, at the age of 80, Georgia passed away. She lived all of her days in the Lord’s service and faithfully lived her life according to her favorite Bible verse - Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” She is truly a woman of whom it could be said, “She hath done what she could.”


Her Story/My Story:

Once when visiting a church while on deputation, Georgia was asked by several ladies, “How can you take these little children to the troubled country of Congo, Africa. Are you really going to take these little children into that dangerous part of the world?” Georgia quickly responded, “I am.” Besides the normal difficulties of living in an African country at that time, many nationals and missionaries alike had suffered horrific things at the hands of guerilla warriors. The idea of taking children into such a place was more than some could think of. Georgia responded with, “God has promised He would take care of us, even our children. We and they, will be safer there in God’s will, than to stay in ‘safety’ here in the USA, out of God’s will and way for our lives.” It didn’t take much time before Georgia had proof for her statement of faith once they arrived in Africa. Both of Georgia’s sons befriended the young African boys and learned to speak the language quickly. They liked to go with their friends to help them hunt for birds that the boys would add to their meal of flying ants, caterpillars, palm tree grub worms, snakes, or any other wild thing they could trap. One particular day, John, Georgia’s younger son, and his friends were walking single file down a trail through the bush on a “hunting expedition.” They had spotted some birds in a tree off to the side of the trail, and they were slowly trying to get as close to the birds as they could so they could use their slingshots. With his eyes firmly on the birds and not on the narrow pathway they were creeping along, John stepped right on a Black Mamba snake. This snake is one of the deadliest in the bush and is often referred to as the “African Two-Step” as just two drops of its venom is enough to kill someone and it usually didn't take long to succumb to its bite. Amazingly, the Lord had sent a rat across the snake’s path moments before John stepped on it. Instinctively, the snake reared up and struck John on his leg near his knee. Because the snake was in the process of swallowing the rat, which was still sticking halfway out its mouth, the snake’s fangs couldn’t pierce John’s skin. John and his little African friends quickly killed the snake and ran home to tell the story of how the Lord had protected them.


There are no snakes in New Zealand, which is just one of the reasons why it was an ideal place to live. Here in Thailand we have lots of types of snakes and depending where you live, on any given day, you might see a cobra or two. I haven’t personally experienced many snakes here, but I did see a large one once outside my kitchen window ledge years ago while living in Bangkok. Once I killed a baby snake in the kitchen of someone’s house where I was visiting. And then last month, I killed two small baby snakes in the same day - one in my backyard area and one on my front porch. Now, I have to explain that I’m terrified of spiders and most any crawling bugs, but ever since my Grandpa Meloy taught me how to pick up a snake by its tail and crack it like a whip, I’ve not been so afraid of them. Of course, it might have benefitted me to do a bit of a study on types of snakes in Nigeria before I went there. We had lots of snakes. Once I had my hands full of groceries and was trying to enter my house. This required unlocking several doors, and I called out for some of the Bible Institute guys, who were working in an office behind my house, to come and help me. Thank goodness I did, because when they opened the second door to let me in, a huge black snake dropped from above the door right on top of them. I just managed to hold onto my groceries as it slithered off. I hadn’t been in Nigeria that long before I had another snake encounter. I was in my yard cutting my grass with a machete by my front wall. Cutting grass in this manner requires holding one hand behind your back, bending down, and with the large machete make sweeping cuts. As I was cutting away, I saw a bright green snake that was as thick around as about a 50-cent piece. Why I didn’t just whack it with the machete I don’t know. Instead I quickly deduced that this must just be a garden snake since it was green, and I bent down and grabbed it by its tail. It was longer than I thought and took quite a bit of force, but I cracked that thing like a whip. Just then two of the Bible Institute guys came around the corner from the backyard and witnessed this feat. I looked up and saw them staring at me with their mouths wide open and eyes bugged out. I’m sure if they were not already practicing Christians they would have reverted back to their tribal beliefs and bowed down worshipping me for being a snake slayer. I looked at them and said, “What?” They exclaimed that they had never seen anything like that before and that I had just killed a deadly Green Momba snake. I caught my breath and decided I'd just let them think I was brave and not reveal to them how foolish I was to think it was a simple garden snake.


Bible Study: Know Your Snakes


Not knowing what kind of snake I was dealing with that day almost got me killed. One of the most dangerous things in the Christian life is not being aware of the "snakes" or tricks the Devil is trying to use on you to hamper your walk with the Lord. A young teen that gives his allegiance to the drug dealer down the street who has befriended him probably doesn’t see the motives behind the friendship. A young lady who listens to the sly, smooth words of a boyfriend might not realize he has only one thing he hopes to gain from it. For the most part though, as adults we have become adept at recognizing dangerous pitfalls that Satan tries to throw in our path. Cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and pornography, for example are all deadly “snakes” that everyone is aware of and knows to steer clear of. It is not likely that any of these will creep up on me unawares because my guard is up concerning these areas. It is not likely that I will find these “snakes” on my daily path because I stay as far away from them as possible. When these obvious deadly “snakes” fail to trip me up, Satan sends a different kind of “snake” into my path. These “snakes” are the most dangerous to me because I don’t recognize them as dangerous “snakes.” These “snakes” can often rob me of my joy and greatly hinder my work and usefulness for the Lord. Each of us deal with different “snakes” in our lives, and it is important that we are vigilant to steer clear of the poisonous and harmful ones . . . or at the very least, be prepared to grab them by the tail and crack them like a whip.


Here are just a few deadly “snakes” that I have, from time to time, discovered on my path of life that might also be lurking on yours. They might seem innocent at first glance, but they can often prove deadly to our Christian life. I've also included a few "anti-venom" Bible verses that might help you if you get bit.


1. “Gossip” posing as “Well-Meaning Concern”


“Did you hear what so-and-so did” or “You are not going to believe what so-and-so said” are common phrases that usually precede a bit of gossip. If you are trying to avoid gossip, statements like these send up a red flag to let you know you need to turn and walk away from the conversation. Words, though, like “I’m concerned for” or “I’m wondering about” are more stealthily disguised words that also usually proceed a bit of gossip. I will tell you truthfully, I like to be in the know and like most people, I can find myself down a long trail of conversation fraught with gossip before recognizing that the Holy Spirit is telling me to run away.


I remember a particular time when I was trying to be careful of what I said or what I listened to. I got in the habit of standing up and excusing myself whenever a conversation turned to gossip. I didn’t do it as a “holier than thou” thing, but I would make up some excuse for why I needed to leave the room and would politely excuse myself. I needed to do this because I knew my propensity to get in on the gossip and revel in it. After this became my habit, one of our ladies in the church came to me privately and mentioned that she noticed that every time I happened to excuse myself from the group, the group happened to be gossiping. She thanked me for my testimony and said it had caused her to check herself more when we were sitting around chatting. I didn’t realize anyone had caught on to me, but I did notice that I had to excuse myself less and less from our conversations. The Bible has many verses that admonish us to be careful of what we say and what we listen to. Here are just a few:

  • “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” Proverbs 11:13

  • “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

  • “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.” Proverbs 16:28

2. “Indifference” masked as “Ritual” or “Routine” or “Habit”

I am all about scheduling and keeping lists and having a routine, but if we aren’t careful our rituals, routines, and habits can keep us from listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit. How many times does the Holy Spirit prompt us to stop and pray, or make a quick visit, or meet someone’s need, or maybe take a little longer with our devotions, but we ignore His leading because we have to get to the next place or do the next thing on our list or maybe it just isn’t something we “do.” The Bible teaches us these truths about how we should order our days:

  • “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

  • “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:4,5


3. “Giving up” disguised as “Acceptance”

I have had a long-standing battle in my mind with this one. When should I keep praying for, fighting for, working towards something versus when I should accept that the Lord is saying “no” and leave it alone? I remember talking to a friend once about a situation where the Lord had given me some verses in the Bible that I took as confirmation for moving forward in a matter. I had held to those verses for many years but as time had gone on, I decided I had misread the Lord’s leading and that I should just accept things as they were. My friend openly challenged me on this and encouraged me to not settle but to have faith until the Lord brought it to pass. I realized I had grown weary and tired of waiting, and it was easier to just say I had accepted God’s will in the matter than to continue to have hope and faith in the things the Lord had clearly shown me. The Bible admonishes us with these verses:

  • “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

  • “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5

  • “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:4


There are many "snakes" out there that seem harmless but ultimately can prove deadly to our testimony and our walk with the Lord. It is important for us to know which ones they are, and although it is true that knowledge is power, knowledge is useless without awareness. Ask the Lord to show you things in your life that you might be unaware of that could be potentially dangerous "snakes" for you. Study the Scriptures and arm yourself with "anti-venom" remedies should you happen to get bit. I hope you don't find a snake on your path of life today . . . literally or figuratively, but if you do, don't just assume it is a harmless garden snake because your lack of knowledge and awareness might just get you killed.



Serving the Master joyfully,

Shari

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Copyright 2019 www.sharihouse.com

Resources:

Personal written interview with Georgia's children

http://www.gospelweb.net

http://www.gospelweb.net/17photo00j&gwedding.htm

http://www.gospelweb.net/MissionWorks/jimambushstory.htm

http://www.gospelweb.net/MissionWorks/blackmambastrike.htm



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