Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Four Quaker Questions

I was reading Debbie's blog at Heart Choices where she shared seven good questions a friend had asked her recently.  She also shared her warm and candid answers.  This reminded me of a "get acquainted" exercise we used many years ago, whenever a group of us would get together to fellowship with those new to our circle of friends.  It was called the Four Quaker  Questions and went something like this:

#1 - Where is the first place you can ever remember living?

For me it was Mt. Carmel, IL. situated near the Wabash River which divides Illinois from Indiana.  My parents and grandparents, as well as various aunts, uncles, and numerous cousins all lived in or around this small town in Southern Illinois, when I was a little girl.   Rural Southern Illinois can be both beautiful and boring, by turns.  Sometimes you can drive for miles and never see anything but corn fields and grain silos. 
stock photo : Corn crop with farm silos and mountains in background
But other times, you come up over a little rise in the road, and suddenly there is a lovely copse of trees and perhaps a river or small creek, with an expanse of grass all around that looks like a park, but it is out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere.  And in the evenings there was the magic of fireflies, and the tuneless, but cheerful song of the katydids.

#2 - What kind of heating did the house have where you lived when you were six years old?
Item image

I remember the old pot-bellied black heating stove in the middle of the living room.  We brought in buckets of coal from a supply that was kept in a shed attached to the house.  One winter, when the coal supply was low, I remember, while getting ready for school, breaking the ice on the surface of the water in the bathroom sink, so that I could wash my face and hands.  We let the water drip all night in order to keep the pipes from freezing and bursting.

#3 - Where were you when you first accepted Jesus as your Savior?

We lived in the country near another small town in Illinois.  My mother and two sisters and I used to walk to a little country church about a mile from our house.  It was called Swearington Methodist Chapel.  One evening, in May, 1959, they asked anyone who wanted to accept Jesus to come forward.

Because I was a very stubborn young girl, I balked at going to church that evening, and had taken a library book with me, so that I could read and "tune out" the speaker.  But I could not block out the still small voice of the Spirit speaking to me, and I gave my heart to the Lord that evening when I was twelve years old.

White church no. 1
Many years later, in 1991, I had the opportunity to drive down that country road to see if the small, white, clapboard church was still there.  When we got to the place, there was smoke rising from the charred remains of the structure - it had burned to the ground the night before.  How strange that it should have been there for all those years since that important night in my life, and then be destroyed the night before I could revisit it.

#4 - Who was the person who most influenced you to want to be a Christian?

My mother was that person in my life.  She was a church pianist for over 40 years, she taught Sunday school nearly all my growing up years, and she made the floral arrangements for the alters for many years as well.

But more than these activities, I watched who and what she was.  She read her Bible daily, she faced real hardship with faith and courage, and she was generous to a fault, but always privately.  She truly knew how to give without others knowing about it.

She was not perfect by any means, yet she was the most steadfast example of a believer that I have ever known.
& & &

If someone were to ask you the "Four Quaker Questions" what would your answers be?  Would it help the other person to learn more about who you are and what you value? 
Have a good day. ...Marsha Y.


  1. I like this exercise. I'll respond to number 4 - my parents. I was six when they were baptized, and I got to watch it. My grandparents were believers. We had wonderful support systems at church. I have been very blessed with many encouraging and uplifting Christians in my life.

    Good post.


  2. Thanks, Warren
    We can all be thankful for those wonderful role models we have been blessed with. Have a good day.
    Marsha Y.