THE SPARROW AT STARBUCKS
(The song that silenced the cappuccino machine by John Thomas Oaks)
It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it’s enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth.
For a musician, it’s the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I’m told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig – I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments.
We mostly did pop songs from the ’40s to the ’90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.
After the tune was over, she approached me. “I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?” she asked. “No,” I replied. “We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?” To my delight, she accepted my invitation. “You choose,” I said. “What are you in the mood to sing?” “Well. … do you know any hymns?” Hymns? This woman didn’t know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. “Name one.” “Oh, I don’t know. There are so many good ones. You pick one.” “Okay,” I replied. “How about ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’?”
My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, “Yeah. Let’s do that one.” She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing. Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come?
The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion. I sing because I’m happy; I sing because I’m free. For His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches me.
When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, “Oh, y’all go back to your coffee! I didn’t come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin’ to drink, just like you!” But the ovation continued. I embraced my new friend. “You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!” “Well, it’s funny that you picked that particular hymn,” she said. “Why is that?” “Well . …” she hesitated again, “that was my daughter’s favorite song.” “Really!” I exclaimed.
“Yes,” she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual. “She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week.” I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. “Are you going to be okay?” She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. “I’m gonna be okay. I’ve just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything’s gonna be just fine.” She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.
Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it.
God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it’s no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing his songs, everything’s gonna be okay.
God sent his singers on the earth, with songs of gladness and of myrth. They they might touch the hearts of men, and bring them back to heaven again. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
Back in January 2019 I posted a series of blogs about my Wolfe heritage. Those stories were mostly written by my brother Evangelist Larry E. Wolfe (who is now with the Lord) with a few of my edits and additions. If interested in reading them the first chapter can be found here: https://lobochronicles.com/2019/01/30/wolfe-pack-story-chp-1/
Larry also wrote about our Mother’s side of the family, the Anspachs from Lebanon County Pennsylvania. At first I thought of just posting his writings but then ended up doing quite a bit of research of my own and I also conducted interviews with my Uncle Wayne (Snack) Anspach. So now I bring to you the first chapter of the “Anspachs – The Tale of Two Houses”. Many thanks to my Uncle Snack (89 yrs old) for his phenomenal memory and contributions to this story!
There’s just something about a house that makes it a home. Our earliest memories hearken back to remembrances and adventures at “home”. We discovered, we learned, and we experienced a range of emotions, we loved and were loved. A home is a place of refuge, no matter how elegant. It’s a place of cover from the elements whether they be from nature or human nature. We may leave, and even go astray far afield from our roots, but at some point we remember home and yearn to return to the safety of that place. Homes may be palaces or meager shantys like the one pictured above, but nevertheless they are still home. Though they must be wisely built to last….
Jesus said,“Thereforewhoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.Matthew 7:24-25
The house pictured above was originally built in a hidden valley between two Blue Mountains at a place called Rausch Gap. The coal mining industry had sprung up on the side of the mountain after the Civil War in the late 19th century along with a Gold Mine or two that quickly petered out after a short 10 year spurt of growth leaving a village with no reason for being. The homes, the hotel, the stores, the ancient healing waters of Cold Springs were all forgotten.
Families whose husbands fought in the Civil War came to the valley to make a living but in a few short years their sources of income withered away. Wild game could be harvested, a garden could be planted but eventually the grass was actually greener and alluring just back over the mountains to the south into northern Lebanon County.
One such family was my Great Great Grandparents Henry (1839-1901) & Susannah (1848-1921) Anspach. Henry H. Anspach served in the Union Army in the Cavalry Division. They had eight children: Savilla: 1867, Milton: 1870, Clara: 1872, Lucinda: 1874, Emma: 1876, Harry: 1879, Mary: 1880 & lastly Harvey: 1886 my Great Grandfather. Some of their eight children are shown in the One Room School pictures below, numbered by birth order.
Editor’s Note: Lembergers School burnt down and was re-built and re-named as Harrison School
The youngest Anspach child Harvey at 8 yrs old and sister Mary are shown above. ALSO, Bertha Miller is on this picture. She would grow up and marry and have a child named Margaret from Miles Soliday who died at age 24 from a burst appendix. The young widow moved home to her Mother and Father David & Rebecca Miller and then Bertha later married Harvey Anspach’s oldest brother Milton!
Below is a picture of Milton & Bertha with some of their children.
Henry Anspach, my earliest ancestor on my mother Irene’s side made his living in either the Coal Mines or the Sawmill industry but in 1890 when work was no longer available he (at 51 yrs of age), along with his wife Susannah (age 42), had their house in Rausch Gap dis-assembled, loaded onto a wagon and with most of his children in tow, hauled their home and their belongings over two mountains to where they had purchased a 3 acre plot of land along Bullfrog Road in East Hanover Township.
The Anspachs would set up housekeeping once again and raise their family along a dusty two lane road on a very meager income. Their home had no electricity and would have been heated by wood gathered in the nearby forest or with coal when they could afford it. They planted a garden along the west side of their property and the woods to their south held plenty of squirrels, pheasants and deer. They pumped their water up from a hand dug well behind the house with a mechanical hand pump that sat on a platform of wood above the well. That hand pump worked well into my young adulthood years in the early 1970’s.
It’s likely that Henry used his skills with his hands in carpentry or physical labor of some sort to provide for the family. Though he would only live another 11 years and die in 1901 at the young age of 61 just into the dawn of the 20th century leaving his wife Susannah a relatively young 52-year-old widow.
Henry was buried in the Church of God cemetery less than a mile from their home. The family worshipped at the Church of God which was within easy walking distance from their home. The family would follow suit and bury many of their next two generations in the same cemetery.
Susannah was a “pistol-packing” mother and grandmother, as she bought this .22 revolver, and would take up the leadership for her family after Henry’s passing. The only child remaining at home at that time would have been their youngest child, her son Harvey, who was only 15 when his father died. The other 7 children, the oldest being Savilla at 34, and second youngest Mary at 21, would by that time have left home and started their own families.
Young Harvey, my Great Grandfather, was married 3 years after his father Henry’s death on July 16, 1904 at age 18 to Jenny Stichler, the granddaughter of Charles Drews of “Blue Eyed Six” infamy. Jenny’s parents, John & Magdolena Stichler, eventually lived just up the dirt road from the Anspachs on the corner of Rt. 443 and Bullfrog Road. John would be called “Pappy” by his future grandchildren and he was known to be an evil man with a wondering eye. His granddaughters avoided his wayward stares as he often “checked them out” so to speak when they were visiting. It was no surprise that he was found dead along the road in June of 1940 having been hit by a car late one night when he was walking home from a “house of ill repute” in the city of Lebanon.
John & Magdolena Stichler’s children attended Harrison School as they had moved south from St Joseph Springs into East Hanover township after the trial and hanging of 5 of the 6 men who conspired to murder the town hobo Joseph Raber just 16 years earlier. The couple had a unique connection to the “Blue Eyed Six”.
John Stichler’s older brother Frank (they would name their firstborn son Frank pictured above) was the youngest member of the gang at age 19 and John’s wife Magdolena was the daughter of Charles Drews, the “Humble Butcher” who, along with Frank Stichler in 1878 were persuaded to drown Joseph Raber for only $300 in Indiantown Creek. The other 4 conspirators who paid them to commit the dastardly deed (Israel Brandt, Jesiah Hummel, George Zechman & Henry Wise) had taken out $8,000 worth of life insurance on the victim though they would never collect!
Harvey & Jenny Anspach’s first child Clarence was born 3 months prior to the couple’s marriage on April 13, 1904 and so it’s apparent they lived at home with Harvey’s widowed mother Susannah for an extended period of time. When Susannah passed away 17 years later in 1921 (at age 73) rather than leave the home to her eldest son Milton she left the home to her youngest child, her son Harvey & wife Jenny. In my generation they went by the nicknames “Lucy’s Mom & Pop”. It was said that Jenny didn’t like the name Grandma so she insisted on being called the Mom of her youngest child Lucy! So until their dying day we called them “Lucy’s Mom & Lucy’s Pop! We honored our elders!
Though Susannah & Henry Anspach had a relationship with the Church of God just up the street from their home, their son Harvey & wife Jenny would not follow in their footsteps and were not “church people” as people sometimes characterize their “non-faith”. Maybe it was because Jenny carried the stigma that her Grandfather and Uncle were hung for murder. Maybe she built an imaginary wall between herself and her creator. Certainly Jenny’s parents Pappy and Magdelena Stichler didn’t pass down a tradition of faith and Jenny was often heard to say that a strong person doesn’t need religion!
We do know that “Lucy’s Mom” would not allow anyone to speak of the “Blue Eyed Six” in her presence, and it was only after her death in 1970 that her husband Harvey took his grandson “Snack” on a tour of all six graves of the Blue Eyed Six. Snack would go on to write a book on the Blue Eyed Six and still to this day at 89 years of age gives tours to interested individuals and groups.
Like their parents, Harvey & Jenny’s children would have little to no interest in the Christian faith. In fact, Clarence their firstborn (known as Pop) would not permit his wife Margaret to attend church nor even own a Bible! Both of Pop’s brothers John & Wayne would become alcoholics like their big brother.
Pop would become a raging alcoholic and live life like a “bull in a china shop” as they say. He would come home drunk night after night and demand that Maggie (as he called her) get up at whatever time of night and make him some eggs! He stole chickens, broke his marriage vows, fought in barrooms and flattened his son John’s nose like a pancake at a tiny infraction of dis-respect! Then refused to get him the medical attention he needed.
Most of Lucy Mom & Pop’s other children’s families were dysfunctional as well, as some lived in slum-like housing going from paycheck to paycheck if in fact they were even working. I recall NO family reunions of happy relatives enjoying life together. It seemed to all be pain and despair!
But that life would not be good enough for one little lady Margaret Soliday Anspach! She knew of the teaching of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament:
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:7-10
Maggie was determined to follow that principle and change the path of her family’s trajectory from down to UP!
In the front center is my Grandpa Clarence Anspach with his future Wife Margaret Soliday sitting behind him. Also in the picture are Clarence’s Aunts Mary & Isma Stichler who were younger sisters of his mother Jenny Stichler Anspach!
The next Chapter in “The Tale of Two Houses” will tell the story of the Soliday & Miller houses, how they relate to the Anspach house, and how one little lady called Maggie changed the course of family history!
As many of my readers know, my brother, Evangelist Larry E. Wolfe recently went to be with His Lord. During his 7 year ministry at the I-85 Pilot Truck Stop in SC he published a daily devotional and had many opportunities to share Christ with others. Sometimes in his daily devotional he would share about these encounters. Here is one of them from December 19, 2018:
“Though gone from among us he still speaks!”
In the last week or so, The Lord has sent three men my way with the same name, Darryl. The first was a homeless man who was parked where I park our Mobile Chapel in the car lot. When the van was out for repairs on the carburetor a few weeks ago I lost my normal parking spot where I can view the whole Truck lot. So, when I returned, Darryl was in my spot, but instead of me having to get out and convince him that he needs to move, he immediately pulled out allowing me to park.
When I went over to thank him I found out that he had been here three years ago, so he knew my M.O., i.e. Modus Operandi, saying to me, when I introduced myself, handing him a prayer card/tract: I know you, I was here three years ago, so, I began praying for Darryl again, that he might come to know The Lord!
The second Darryl is a Driver I met just met a few days ago in McD’s. He sat down across from me and his table was dirty. So, I commented on the table’s condition, smiling, and he agreed, then, asked me: Where are you Chaplain? And I responded: Right here, are you a Driver? He said: Yes, so I said: You are one of my victims, laughing, and that led to more conversation and him telling me that he was a 7th Day Adventist. He signed up for The Daily Devotional and also took our prayer card, so please pray for Darryl number two.
Darryl number three knocked on our front door yesterday as I was working on the computer, checking mail, news, weather, writing a message etc. He was looking right at me for the sun was shining brightly, on a very warm December day. He was holding a notebook and at first I though he might be peddling some kind of religion for we have all different kinds of people coming to our door here in The SC Bible Belt, for we have numerous Bible Schools, Institutes, Colleges and Universities, not to mention “A Church on every corner.”
I got up out of my recliner, set aside the computer, and when he saw me he smiled broadly and I handed him our prayer card after he gave me his business card which showed some kind of funeral insurance. He was looking for the woman next door who was not responding to his calls for she had requested him to come over. Well, the third Darryl knew The Lord telling me how his older brother led him to The Lord when he was just sixteen!
The Lord did all this to open up a number of ministry opportunities for me and to bless those who received His Word. But, He also reminded me how my older brother was very instrumental in my salvation as he told me, in 1972, “If you have any questions about God, read The Gospel of John” and read The Gospel of John I did. Eight years later, being desperate and suicidal, I read The Gospel of John, on March 7, 1980, from the Bible my wife gave me in 1973 seven years before, which I never touched until that day!
Her sister led her to the Lord almost eleven years before that in 1969, and she is the lady I asked you all to pray for a few days ago. She does not have long on this planet, but, will soon go home to be with her Lord in Heaven, for death is but A Doorway into Glory. Jesus said: “He that believes on Me shall never die” (John 11:36)! She was the one who initiated The Gospel’s power into our family for my wife called her when our marriage was on the rocks, seeing her sister’s marriage was prospering. She explained to my wife on the telephone how to be saved!
Yes, Drivers, The Lord used all of these people and then, He visited our little Mom and Pop grocery store, north of Harrisburg, in the mountains of PA, and gloriously saved my soul, after reading almost fifteen chapters of The Gospel of John, God spoke to my heart, saying: “Greater love has no man than this, that A Man lay down His Life for His friends.” (John 15:13)
All of these very significant people He put in my path in a marvelous network of events. And, think about it, you just might be the one who needs to give a tract or open your mouth and witness for The Lord, becoming a very significant person in the life of that one you encounter today as you roll down the road! “Souls for Jesus” must be our continuing battle cry, as we become more like Jesus: “Who came to seek and to save those who are lost!!”
By Rev. Larry Wolfe now with the Lord since February 10, 2019.
I can hardly believe it! My dear brother Larry (Laramie as the brothers called him) went to be with the Lord on Sunday February 10th in his sleep! He fondly called me “Brainiac” and I want to honor him with this blog and tell the story of how he impacted my life.
Larry E. Wolfe came into the world on New Year’s Eve 1944. He had just turned 74 years old. He was the son of Irene & Warren Wolfe whose life together was tumultuous to say the least. As a result Larry and brother Warren (Pooch) attended thirteen different schools during their youth as the family moved from house to house just one step ahead of the bill collectors!
Incredibly, Larry still managed to receive a wonderful public school education and was mechanically brilliant! Likewise he was an amazing speller! As demonstrated one day walking home from school, as they passed a local grocer who called out to him and asked “What are you learning in school?” to which Larry replied, “Spelling!” The grocer quickly responded, “Well then, spell antidisestablishmentarianism!” To which Larry quickly responded spelling the huge word letter by letter to a “T” and the shocked grocer replied, “I think I owe you an ice cream cone!”
Larry would be forced to mature very early as our mom, a single mother surrounded by stress, would from time to time have nervous breakdowns and have to go to a mental hospital. So in one particular episode it was decided that our baby brother Stevie would go to live with our oldest brother Pooch and his wife Thelma, our younger brother Fred was taken in by an Aunt and Uncle, and Larry was charged with caring for “the twins” me and my brother Bruce!
So he cared for his two younger twin brothers at home. From August of 1968 to the end of February 1969 he made sure Bruce and I would get up and get ready for school, give us lunch money and cooked our meals. We were seniors in High School but it was still good to have a big brother watching over us. What a brother! Though we were very glad when mom came home!
Larry married Elizabeth (Betsy) Ziegler and started their family and lived in “Ritzy Village” a small development in the mountains which had a community pool. Their house had the look of a modern log cabin with expansive windows in the living room and a stone fireplace.
We had many a family get together in his home which was the largest of the Wolfe Boys homes at the time. They would have 3 children, Wendy, Nathan & Andrea who all married giving them eight grandchildren.
Larry’s career led him into Machine Design and he had a very successful career with some of the major electronics manufacturing companies in the Harrisburg area. His talents were very obvious and he was promoted to Manufacturing Manager at his last position before the Lord called him into full-time Christian ministry. During the time preparing for ministry he continued to work part-time as a designer from home and in one of his projects designed a machine that could automatically fold a blanket!
His talent with his hands was also seen by his fascination with motor head cars, and he had many beautiful cars which he built or bought outright. In particular he loved the Ford Shelby Mustang of which he had two of them. He also loved foreign cars and had two Triumphs, a TR3 and a white TR4 like the one below.
As my BIG brother, it was incredible that he would leave a young 16-year-old use his Shelby and his Triumphs to take my girl friend out on dates! Can you imagine that? What trust he had! Thankfully, I didn’t leave him down and always brought them home in once piece, though I won’t say how fast I might have driven them! But it was VERY cool as a teenager to be able to drive in such style as my friends drooled with envy!
When I was 15 years old I joined a Rock and Roll band called “The Entertainers” as the Lead Singer and eventually Larry joined the band as our Manager and saxophone player. We played in a lot of bad places where booze and drugs were in use but Larry as the oldest member, and strict chaperone over the other 7 teenagers in the band, made sure NONE of us got into ANY trouble and I mean that seriously!
Larry lived on the “edge” as he often said! He came within an inch of his life on at least two occasions I can recall. The first was when he was driving to work in his souped up 1956 Ford Station Wagon on a three lane highway. He was in the passing lane (of course) and a driver who he was passing decided to also pass and pushed Larry’s car into the oncoming lane and a PA State Dump Truck hit Larry’s car broadside driving the passenger door all the way over into the driver’s seat!
He was thrown from the vehicle onto a barbwire fence along the highway. When the police arrived they looked at him hanging there and said, “Well he’s dead” without even checking for a pulse. A womon who saw him hanging there went over to throw a blanket over the “body” and noticed he was breathing but hanging on by a thread! He recuperated with many scars but got right back to living life flat-out standing on the gas.
The second time he was headed home to their apartment on Colonial Road in Harrisburg and was driving “reasonably” but it had snowed and there was ice on the bridge spanning Rt. 81 and his Mint Green 1967 Shelby Mustang GT-500 skidded broadside and slid directly into a huge electric pole. The car hit the pole on the passenger side where the front fender meets the side door, tearing the front end of the car completely off the vehicle!
Larry jumped out of the car through the opening where the windshield used to be and trotted home which was just a few hundred yards down the street! He escaped death with only a few scratches. The Lord had plans for his life and it wasn’t time for him to go!
Larry also had a fascination with motorcycles, the “Chopper” type. He built an amazing Harley 74 Chopper, complete with a custom green paint job and he also collected a number of other bikes including a Harley 74 with a Side Car and a Sportster.
It was at this point Larry trusted Christ as his Savior at the counter of his Country Store when he hit bottom and he remembered that his brother Pooch had told him once that whenever he has questions about God to read the Gospel of John which he did, and the Lord marvelously intervened in his life as he came to John 15:13 where Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” I’ll let Larry’s own words tell you about his life at this point:
My life changed drastically after The Lord saved me. Before, I was running from a violent motorcycle gang, before, my mind was consumed with evil being drenched continually with alcohol and drugs, causing me to live outside of the law, at times, running with the most raucous bunch of men. Then, I was building custom motorcycles living life on the edge. My slogan was “If you’re not living life on the edge you’re taking up too much room.” So, madness at the max ruled! But, The Lord in His great mercy wherewith He loved me, intervened, and now, all of the above are gone and my life is like the one: “Who hearkens unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” (Proverb 1:33)
God would move quickly in Larry’s life and with the help of his friend Pastor Bill Haken the Lord directed him to seek training for ministry. Then, with the help of his big brother Pooch, they moved all of their belongings and the whole family to Greenville SC to attend college. When he left for Bible School he had a total of three Harley Davidson motorcycles which as time went by would pay for his tuition as he sold them one by one to pay for college.
After achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Bible at Bob Jones University he would come home and begin ministry as Pastor in a small Baptist church in Mechanicsburg. But within a couple of years he recognized his Spiritual Gifts matched him better for Evangelism than Pastoring, though it was a career with a much less than guaranteed income flow. His faith and trust in the Lord would be tested as he had to fall back on his engineering skills as a “Tentmaker” so to speak like the Apostle Paul to make a living and depend day by day on the Lord to meet he and his young families needs.
This life would take him going door to door witnessing, street preaching on Front Street in Harrisburg PA, starting a Revival ministry of holding Tent Meetings like the old-time evangelists, plus preaching in churches from time to time as the Lord would open doors.
Eventually he would make the huge decision to get his CDL license and began to drive 18 wheel trucks across the USA. He would often say that the Lord used these times of extended seclusion to draw close to Him and reveal the deeper things of the Faith as he put Scriptures on 3×5 index cards on his dash and memorized a huge volume of Bible verses.
In retirement he moved back to South Carolina where two of his 3 children lived with their families. That was when he began his truck stop ministry. He walked into the Pilot Travel Center on I-85 and walked up to the Manager and asked, “Do you have a Chaplain?” The Manager replied, well no we don’t to which Larry boldly said, “Do You want one?” And so started his 7 year-long fruitful ministry there.
His MO went like this. He would show up very early with his Chaplain name plate pinned onto his trademark black leather vest (which also served as his tract rack) then sit down in a booth in the McDonald’s side of the facility and place his well-worn Bible open on the table and sip a cup of coffee. The open Bible and the Chaplain label was like a magnet to spiritually needy people as they would stop by and ask a question or sit across the aisle or behind him and then meekly engage him in discussion.
Larry reached thousands of people in this manner. He tried to win the souls of many people who were “regulars” and time and time again they would stop at his booth to debate in a friendly manner or to seek God’s will on a particular issue. I remember he often told me of one Lawyer friend who was an atheist but loved to discuss topics with him, but as far as I know he never reached him for Christ.
His other ministry at the truck stop was nightly preaching at 6pm in his old Ford Econoline van in which he tore out the bench seats and added chairs for more capacity. He would drive by the line of parked 18 Wheelers who had settled in for the night with his sign boldly inviting them to come to his service. Even some local people would come regularly to be ministered to by his excellent Bible teaching and discipleship.
My big Brother Larry was more than a brother in the flesh, he was a Brother in the Lord. He was always on fire for Jesus! He was a no-nonsense Servant of the Lord. He knew more about the Bible and the Christian life than ANY one I have EVER known in my 40+ years of walking with Jesus. He encouraged me to memorize and meditate on Scripture, share my Faith with others and read through the Bible on a yearly basis.
He was an expert on the Prophecy surrounding the End Times and the Tribulation Period which you can read about on his website. He also wrote two books on the End Times, “The People of the Apocalypse” in 2007 and then “The Priesthood of the Apocalypse” in 2009, plus many other helpful pieces of literature found on his below website.
Most Christians that I know (myself included) have highs and lows in their zeal for the Lord and for sharing their faith. Larry was not perfect to be sure, but I never knew of a time where he grew lukewarm in his faith. Like in everything, he always ran FULL TILT and FULL SPEED ahead!
Just take a look at the picture below which I took of his Study when we visited him last year. That’s his well-marked Bible on the reading stand. On the right is his microphone which he used to record his “New Song” Psalm of the Day which was a verse of the Psalms he sang to a melody he created out of his Love for the Lord. Yes, some were sung out of key and a little quirky but they were done to encourage the listener to make the Psalms a part of their daily lives. He would include his “New Song” recording in a daily devotional which he sent out 7 days a week to his Truckers and others in his family like me plus many friends. I will play and treasure those little “quirky songs” in the coming years from time to time when I long to hear his voice.
Studying the Word of God was his passion.
Then look to the left, those are pictures of people he prayed for on a daily basis. Also, see the big book on the left side? That’s his Bible Concordance which he used to look up different word meanings so he could understand what different words and verses meant in the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the faith and said, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 3:16
At the end of the Apostle Paul’s life he again wrote to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-9
My brother Larry loved studying and preaching about the Lord’s appearing at the end of this age. Now he will have a front row Heavenly seat!
Let me ask you, will you, like Larry, commit yourself to loving Jesus and serving Him by living in the Word of God, Memorizing it and Meditating upon it so that you too can be used for His Glory? I hope you will!
This is a shortened version of my brother Larry’s testimony but is well worth the read!
It’s full of blessings from the Lord. Larry is a Chaplain at a Pilot Truck Stop on I-85 in SC.
My life changed drastically after The Lord saved me. Before, I was running from a violent motorcycle gang, before, my mind was consumed with evil being drenched continually with alcohol and drugs, causing me to live outside of the law, at times, running with the most raucous bunch of men. Then, I was building custom motorcycles living life on the edge. My slogan was “If you’re not living life on the edge you’re taking up too much room.” So, madness at the max ruled! But, The Lord in His great mercy wherewith He loved me, intervened, and now, all of the above are gone and my life is like the one: “Who hearkens unto…
Written by Larry E. Wolfe (edited and compiled by his brother Brian A. Wolfe)
Dad was working in Harrisburg doing interior and exterior painting and somehow decided that we should live closer to his work, so after a while we were movin’ on, on the road again. It was early in 1958 when we moved to Piketown in the mountains of Dauphin County north of Harrisburg. Mom and Dad bought another home with the help of our Great-Grandma Kate Wolfe and it was here that we, the whole family, lived for the longest period together as a family, early spring of 1958 to the spring of 1962, a little over four years!
It was also here that Pooch (Warren) and I received a sound high school education in a good school with the twins attending a modern elementary school in West Hanover township. Fred would start school down the road a little later, and have the privilege of attending one school system for all of his school days! Years later mom’s last son my youngest brother Steven would also have this same blessing of living in one place most of his childhood days, due to Mom’s determination to keep her boys together and raise them the best she could.
Pooch graduated from Central Dauphin High School in 1961, but before he did, Dad kicked him out of the house! This was a traumatic event for Mom and the rest of us kids. Our family was splitting up, it seemed, and turmoil abounded! Pooch moved in with his future in-laws, having dated his future wife, Thelma Moyer, for over a year and soon joined the Navy. But, he was still a strong influence on our family even though he was away for quite a while. He served his country for four years during the build-up to the Vietnam war.
I graduated in 1962, but three months before that happened Mom separated from Dad permanently and divorced him not long after their twentieth wedding anniversary, February 28th, when she was only thirty-nine years of age! Her boys were her priority, and she decided it was time to get a place of her own! We moved on once more into another old farmhouse near Grantville on old Rte.22 where we once again rented one half. This was the twelfth place we had lived in ten short years if you count our stays at the two Grandma’s! I think we were called to be ‘Professional Nomads’ hah!! Maybe that’s the reason we’re so comfortable ‘On the road’!
The twins and I finished our school year commuting in a ’48 Chevy Tudor Fleetline I bought for $75 from U.J. (Uncle John) but it barely lasted me the three months we needed it to get the job done. True to U.J.’s prophecy, the engine blew, throwing a rod out the side, when I exceeded its previous owner’s limits, which was ’50 mph and no faster’ I remember U.J. saying! Hahaha…that limit lasted only about two weeks, and the old Chevy couldn’t take the pressure of 65mph on new Rte. 22, the only four-lane highway in the area!
But, thankfully, Mom’s moving days were almost over. She gave birth to her sixth and last son, my brother Steven, while living there in Grantville in 1966 when she was 44 years old. She lived there for six years, the longest she ever lived in one place since she was a child, until Pooch bought her a mobile home in 1968 and set it up on a beautiful piece of land overlooking the valley, and it was there where she spent her most carefree and peaceful days.
Mom with her Boys at Fred’s Wedding in 1984, From Left: Warren, Larry, Brian, Mom, Bruce, Fred, Steven
She lived there in her trailer twenty-three years, some of the happiest days of her life, in a place which was truly her own, to move on no more…except for her final trip, the one she made to heaven in October of 1991…movin’ on no more…no more tears…resting in the arms of Jesus…Irene…our Mom found PEACE at last! In those sixty-eight plus years Mom spent on this earth, some would say she didn’t amount to much. But, when viewed from God’s vantage point, we will easily recognize that God used her to keep her boys together and influence them all for eternity! Now I’m surely not trying to paint a picture of Mom the ‘Saint’, because she certainly was not, even though she did become a saint, a born-again child of God!
No, she had her faults to which we all would admit, but her determined mindset to do what she could to keep her boys together and raise them the best she could was one of the keys to her great success as a Mother, which is probably the greatest single calling anyone can have here on Earth! Yes, it was and still is the miraculous working of God throughout the history of our family that is the MAIN reason why we can truly say today, “To God be the glory, great things He hath done!!” And as one Bible Preacher has rightly said: “It takes a thousand pounds of Preacher to equal one ounce of Mother”, Amen and Amen!
And so, the sacrificial influence of our Mom who loved us, as she depended on God’s grace and provision to raise us, became the very reason why we, ‘Irene’s boys’ as we are called by the people in the area, are living for God’s Glory today!
“The Life and Times of Irene Violet (Anspach) Wolfe”
By her son Larry E. Wolfe (edited and compiled by his brother Brian A. Wolfe)
It was the day after Christmas in the year 1922, and even though it was the day after The Lord Jesus Christ’s birthday is celebrated, one of the greatest gifts to me, next to my wife and The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, was born into the world. It was the day my mother Irene Violet (Anspach) Wolfe was born!
Born to Margaret Soliday and Clarence Anspach near Indiantown Gap, PA she was the first of their seven children, five girls and two boys. Mom’s Mother, Grandma’ Anspach was the glue that held together their family and Mom learned much from her Mother and her steadfast Christian faith which she learned from her Mother Grandma’ Soliday.
Mom, the oldest, was educated in a one-room schoolhouse along with her siblings, Minnie, John, Wayne, Dorothy and Betty Lou (Mary Anne [youngest] died as an infant). The school only accommodated the first eight grades! Did I say only? Eight grades with one teacher seems like an impossibility but it was the right combination for learning as these schools produced many top notch students, which if I may brag a bit on Mom, she was one of them.
She showed us her ‘Straight A’ report card many a time when we, me and my brothers, were draggin’ behind! We still have that report card of hers and the school picture to remind us of her determined ‘Get the job done’ outlook on life. You can almost see it in her expression in her eighth-grade picture!
Her name, Irene, means ‘Peace’ in the Greek language, but peace never seemed to be something she possessed. Her life since I can remember was filled with turmoil, for the most part due to her father, a reckless sometimes ruthless man, and her husband, a wayward veteran of World War II, my father Warren A. Wolfe. Although Dad was described as a friendly, likeable guy by those who knew him, he definitely came home from the war, a different guy, with a multitude of bad habits including a dependence on alcohol. Drink and the surrounding lifestyle it brings wrecked our home for it was his priority, not his family.
Mom had to go to work to pay the bills and put food on the table before I was in school, and that was only the beginning! We lived in Fredericksburg, PA then, although Dad and Uncle, my mom’s Uncle John, tried to make it in D.C. working in a large supermarket, while we commuted, movin’ on, from an apartment in D.C. to Fredericksburg. The ’41 Buick Mom drove back and forth on the weekends was the first vehicle we owned that I can remember, and Mom knew how to get us home in that ‘ol straight eight, the first car she dubbed: ‘The Jet’.
My twin brothers, Bruce and Brian, were born in October of 1951 while we lived in Fredericksburg. My oldest brother Warren Jr. was eight years old and I was six. We lived in a right nice Brick Rancher which they bought with G.I. Bill money. You had a choice, higher education or a lump sum of money. They chose the money for a down payment on our beautiful brick home.
We walked to school through the town of Fredericksburg, past one of the first cut-up poultry plants in the USA, but it wasn’t long until we moved to Ono, PA where ‘Butch’ later nicknamed ‘Pooch’ (Warren Jr.) and I walked to a one room schoolhouse just across new Rte. 22. We lost our home in Fredericksburg through a storm window scam which caused us not to be able to make the mortgage and the payment on the windows. So, our home was sold, and we used the minimal equity to buy another place in the area.
The twins were still in their high-chairs, just one-year old babies, when we arrived in Ono, only a few miles from Fredericksburg. Pooch and I didn’t realize it then, but Dad was now ‘On the run’, owing money to other creditors! Before we knew it we were living in Annville, renting a house on Sheridan Avenue, no longer owning our home as Dad drank away the money from the sale of our house in Ono. All this in just a few short years…the spring of 1952 to the winter of 1953!
We stayed in Annville for only a couple of months it seemed, and suddenly one day when we came home from school, Dad and Mom were packing up for yet another move, throwing ‘stuff’ into cardboard boxes! The dreadful toll it took on Mom was beginning to surface. She lost most of her lovely belongings and all of her dreams in just a few short but tragic years. It was now the summer of 1954 our next destination was a two-story frame house ‘In the curve’ back in Greenpoint, a few miles from Dad’s home and birthplace.
December 14th, 1954 Mom had a ‘Nervous breakdown’ and was committed to Wernersville, the state mental institution! Pooch was eleven and I was almost ten, and we moved in with Grandma’ Harriet my Dad’s mother who lived in Greenpoint. The twins just turned three years old and they went to Mom’s family. She was released six months later and briefly moved in with her parents, Grandma’ and Grandpa’ Anspach and my Aunt Betty mom’s youngest sister who was just a few months younger than Pooch. This was Mom’s attempt to get away from Dad, and, of course us four kids went with her.
Dad and Mom were now separated. A few weeks later we moved into Billy Stichler’s ‘Trolley-car like’ three rooms in a row cabin in the Appalachian mountains just a mile or so from Grandma & Grandpa Anspach’s place. No running water, just a spring out in the woods, a woodstove, and plenty of wood to chop for us young-uns’! I can still remember the Christmas we spent there in 1955, Pooch’s most memorable he told me recently.
He and I went out into the snowy woods looking for a Christmas tree that would be suitable for Mom and us kids. We topped a few hemlocks after we couldn’t find anything else, and finally, chilled to the bone, we dragged (one of the topped hemlocks) home. With scarcely any of her belongings intact after the harrowing experiences she had gone through in just the past couple of years, Mom gathered ‘Her boys’ together and we had a Christmas regardless of how the outward circumstances seemed!
But, Mom wasn’t really in the best mental/spiritual condition after her stay in Wernersville, and the ‘Cabin experience’ was really hectic with Mom driving Pooch and I to school in Hershey, saying that the ‘One room school’ where she went to school wasn’t good enough for her boys. Her old one room schoolhouse a couple of miles down the road is where Pooch and I were going to school at the time. The twins turned four while we lived there and finally got rid of their baby bottles, throwing them out into the deep snow one wintry afternoon!
I remember Dad visiting on one occasion driving a black ’40 Ford four door sedan, and after the dust cleared, he went on his way with one half of the windshield broken thanks to Mom’s kitchen pot which she threw at him as he backed out the driveway! Mom and Dad somehow reconciled, and eventually they got back together early in 1956. Mom was only thirty-three! What a life!
We were movin’ on, on the road again, moving to a huge farmhouse north of Annville we called Herr’s, which was the name of the other family that rented the opposite side. It was while we lived there in the spring of 1956 that Grandpa A. J. Wolfe (Our Great-Grandpa who owned the store in Greenpoint) died! It was the first death in the family that I can remember and it had a somber effect on us all, especially me as I spent a few summer’s day at Grandpa’ and Grandma’ Wolfe’s place enjoying the beauty and blessedness that was there.
We stayed at Herr’s less than a year, once again movin’ on, on the road again, moving into a garage on old Rte 22 near Ono that had an upstairs where we slept. That’s right…a GARAGE! The downstairs was wide open, concrete floors, with a garage door on one wall. I distinctly remember waking up one morning and all of us were covered in soot! Black faces and all! Obviously, our crude oil furnace had malfunctioned during the night. Our guardian angels must have been working overtime for Irene’s Boys!
It was now the winter of 1957 and Mom’s fifth child, my brother Frederick John, was born on February 21st. Pooch and I treated Freddy like a new toy when he was in his playpen, flashing the camera causing him to throw back his arms…he hasn’t gotten over it since, HAH! Grandma Harriet was there to help Mom during the first few weeks of Fred’s life, and handily caught Pooch and me playing hooky from school to boot!
The twins would turn six in October so off to school they went in September. You guessed it, a one room school was where they started, about a quarter of a mile from where we lived on old Rte.22. I’ll never forget the day Mom dressed them and they just walked out the door, by themselves, off to school as though they had been doing it for years! But, that was life in the ‘50’s.