June's Faith - Crossing Over - God's Unseen World
- Published on Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:25
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
This article for and of June will consist of a collection of events relating to June's life of faith, events relating to "Crossing Over" and to the "Unseen World."
June has been a lady with a strong Christian faith for all of her life. She was born in a loving Christian family and, raised in a Christian Lutheran environment. June has been a strong believer in Jesus and the Christian faith. I have never seen June's faith waver. She has always practiced her faith and has been deeply involved in the Lutheran Church for all of her lifetime. June loved Gospel music. She was a member of the Redeemer Lutheran Church for over 50 years. It was only when Alzheimer's took away her memory and gradually took over her life, that she slowly slipped into another world and eventually went to her heavenly home. Her favorite Bible verse was:
"John 3:16 (KJV): For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
An article that reviews June's life in the Redeemer Lutheran Church can be found by clicking this link:
A few days ago, 26 January 2010 was the 12th anniversary of June's Alzheimer's Diagnosis. For me this was an emotional, sad and melancholy day.
During that day, I listened to two (2) Gospel songs sung by Jimmy Swaggart who I consider to be one of the greatest singers of Gospel Music. Many people would only think of Swaggart as the Evangelist who was involved in a personal scandal in 1988....I believe his greatest talents are not as an Evangelist but as a singer and player of gospel music. (He is the past winner of numerous "Male Vocalist" and "Grammy" awards.) I have seen his music talent described as: "No one can sing Gospel like Jimmy Swaggart". I would agree.
Both of the songs were written by Thomas Dorsey who was the father of Gospel Music and in fact Dorsey coined the term "Gospel Music". He was an African American who was a genius as a song writer. His two songs are my favorites of all Gospel songs. Both of these beautiful songs were sung at June's funeral...("Peace in the Valley" and "Take My Hand Precious Lord".) "Peace in the Valley" was also sung at my mother Ellen (Nedland) Silbaugh's funeral just one year before June died.
Both June and my Mother were victims of Alzheimer's. Dorsey was also a victim of Alzheimer's, and died of this terrible disease. He died 5 years to the month and year (January 23rd, 1993) prior to the date that June was diagnosed and he died on the exact same day of the month (23rd) that June died. Many will say these three (3) references are all just coincidences...Perhaps...
Of these two songs, my very favorite song (and a favorite of June's) is "Take My Hand Precious Lord"...Dorsey wrote this song immediately after his wife Nettie and his infant son died in childbirth. It was first recorded August 16th, 1938...the day and month of our anniversary....another coincidence? This song has been said to be the greatest of all Gospel songs. It was published in 40 languages and made a part of the Christian Music Hall of Fame. Not only was it sung at June's funeral but also at Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson's funerals.
My focus on the song "Take My Hand Precious Lord" dates to late 2007. One afternoon as June was napping, I was sitting outside of the small Chapel (Holy Spirit Chapel) at the Benedictine Health Care Center having a cup of coffee. This was only a week or so after my mother’s funeral in late October 2007. Fran O'Connor, the Chaplain was playing some hymns on the Chapel piano. One hymn she was playing I recognized as a favorite of June's but could not put a name to the tune or recall the words. The Hymn was beautiful. It caused me to become very emotional. When Fran finished playing the hymn, I asked her what the name was. She told me it was “Take My Hand Precious Lord.” I then recalled the name and some of the words.
I subsequently obtained a CD recording of this song by Elvis. ("Elvis Presley - Amazing Grace - His Greatest Sacred Performances - 2 CD's") I then used this CD to play for June every day when I was at the Benedictine Health Care Center as June was nearing the end of her afternoon nap. I had a copy of the lyrics and would sing along with the recording... (I am not much of a singer but the recording effectively concealed my musical shortcomings.)
As indicated above, "Take My Hand Precious Lord" was one of the songs that we arranged to have played by violin and a vocalist at June's funeral...My daughter Julie said that as the song was ending, and out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw a bird fly across in front of the alter....Her first reaction was to wonder what was a bird doing in the church sanctuary. If Julie really did see a bird, then I am sure it was June on her way to heaven. Although no one else reported seeing a bird does not mean Julie did not see one...We do not all perceive the same.. We are not all endowed with or have the same powers of observation or perception. I recall that Julie mentioned the event to me immediately after the funeral service...I have thought of it often over the ensuing months...just a few days ago I again asked her about it and she reaffirmed the event. She reported what she saw was a movement from her right to her left. (She was sitting with the family in the front row on the left side of the church.) She recalled looking around to see if anyone else had noted it. After the service she even asked one of her friends Pam Stenstrom, who also served as a pall bearer, if she had seen anything unusual. She described the movement as a short period of time, similar to what one sees in the reflection and movement of a car headlight on a dark bedroom ceiling at night...
I mentioned this event to Erma Jean Yates, an ordained lady Minister from Tennessee, now retired. This lady visited June's web site a short time ago and experienced a startling and unusual vision of receiving a rose from June. (This story is related below in this collection of events.) Her reaction to Julie's story was:
" It is very interesting about the bird your daughter saw flying across the alter. I believe her 100%. My brother died one year ago tomorrow of cancer. We were very close although he was the baby boy. I went to Ohio, two days before he passed, he called my name and woke me from sleep. It was all very painful. I returned home after a week. Each evening and morning I'd cry for him. I could not believe he was gone. ...I was laying in bed crying for him. A bird came to my bedroom window and starting singing.. more a call than singing... loud and clear, almost urgently.. Immediately I begin to smile. It was Ronnie, my brother! I jumped out of bed, trying to see the bird... then I ran through to the patio and there this big bird sat, calling and looking me in the eye. "Oh, Ronnie, thank you" I replied. "I won't cry anymore." The bird came each morning, waking me up with his call...I don't know what kind of bird it was; I showed him to Jarrelle.(Grandson) We looked for him on the internet, couldn't find one like it...This went on for about a week and then the bird stopped coming. I have No doubt that it was my brother...If we trust God to show us, He will show us wondrous things in the most simple ways. We must allow our soul to be open and available, like a child, to hear beyond hearing and to see with more than eyes."
Here is the link below to the song "Take My Hand Precious Lord" as done by Swaggart:
Below is the link to "Peace in the Valley", also by Swaggart:
God's promise to June through Jesus is found in John 14:2 (KJV):
"In my father's house are many mansions...I go to prepare a place for you..."
Heaven is described in Revelation 21:4 (KJV)
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
June and the Rev. Erma Jean Yates connection!
Rev. Erma Jean Yates is an interesting lady, not only because she is a retired Minister, but also because she, like June, was a lady of very humble beginnings. Erma Yates was born in Hickory Ridge Township, Arkansas as the daughter of an African American share cropper and a blacksmith. Her mother was a blend of Cherokee/Native American and African American. Erma was the 7th child of 11 children. The family later moved to Ohio where she completed High School. She was able to enter Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina where she studied for the Ministry. Erma's uncle was the head of the Seminary. This same uncle was also the Pastor of the largest African American Church in Greensboro, NC. (Mt. Olivet A Methodist E. Zion Church.) She completed her education at Roane State College in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Rev. Erma Jean was ordained and licensed as a Minister in Tennessee, with a Ministry that covered all of east Tennessee. Formerly associated with the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, Clinton, Tennessee. She has a sister Lana who is a minister in Beverly Hills, CA. Rev. Erma left the Ministry following a physically abusive marriage that ended in divorce. I thought it was interesting to note that Rev. Erma was/is a collector of Angel Dolls just as June was an enthusiastic Angel Doll collector. Rev. Erma has had a number of unusual lifetime experiences and visions, some of which are documented in this article. Rev. Erma appears to possess a very unique and rare sensitivity and perception of the "unseen world" found in very few people. Below is Rev. Erma's story of her unusual connection with June...Rev. Erma (4/15/2010) also tells me that when she visits June's web site:
"Now sometimes when I go to a specific section of June's site, I am hearing music as I read... For you and June's I hear "Tennessee Waltz..", for the memorials I hear "Take My Hand.." and all the others songs the two of you loved so much... playing quietly in the background in the various sections."...Erma.
Rev. Erma originally visited June's website on 17 December 2009. As a result of that visit, Rev. Erma left a very touching and kind note in June's Guestbook. (Reproduced below.)
"Dear Stan: I could not contain my tears at what a wonderful, loving site you have made for June.. everything is so beautiful, so loving and precious.. This shall always be with me.. I have seen with my eyes how life is meant to be, the love and caring between a couple. You are both so very beautiful in the photos.. I can see and feel "love" radiating. You are both so cute... I'm so happy for what you had.. which can never disappear.. so very happy for you. You are blessed. Erma Yates,"
Rev. Yates and I then had a subsequent email conversation that ended in such an extraordinary and startling way that it left me stunned. Ms. Yates had told me of her own divorce from an severely physically abusive marriage. She had noted that I frequently gave June Roses and then stated that she had never in her life received a rose...
I just commented to her that perhaps we (June and I) could change that...She protested that this would not be necessary. This is what then immediately followed:.
(Rev. Erma Yate's email reproduced below.)
"Henceforth, whenever I see a rose, I will think of June...Please understand... Something just fluttered in my heart... in a quick vision... I saw her, June, giving me a rose... she is so beautiful... Oh, my God!! It seems I KNOW her! ... OH my God... Now I am crying..."
"The rose is a Christmas gift for me"
"She is happy, loves you, very bright and happy.."
It appeared to me that June had intervened in our email exchange and presented Erma with a Rose. Needless to say, this left me emotionally excited...Later in early January, Rev. Erma reaffirmed what had happened but also mentioned that June had smiled at her as she handed her the rose during the vision that flashed in her mind. Yes, a radiant smile was always June's signature!
I brought this rather unusual event to the attention of our Redeemer Lutheran Pastors.
Our senior Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fridley is Dr. David Glesne, a native Minnesotan who received a B.A. from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, a M. Div. from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a D. Min. degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. He has been a pastor of churches in Illinois, California and Minnesota. He also serves on the faculty of the Master’s Institute, a graduate level seminary in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area.
Pastor Glesne made the following comment:
"Stan, I believe in a God that can reveal things like this to us at junctures of our lives. Take it as another confidence that God is with you and June is with him.
Subsequently our associate Pastor, Scott Nocton also made a comment:
"Stan, I would accept what she says as a gift.
Editorial Note: I mentioned earlier that Rev. Erma Jean Yates has had many interesting personal experiences and visions that suggest God's presence through his angels. The following will serve as a good example of one such experience that I feel is worthy of documenting in this article.
"Years ago, I (Rev. Erma Jean Yates) was very ill and admitted to the hospital where I worked. I had a cardiac emergency. I remember my sisters and mother standing around as they raised the foot of my bed very high because my blood pressure was dropping. I remember the emergency cart being pulled over to my bed and doctors and nurses running around the bed.
I awoke in the middle of the night. My family was gone and standing near the side of my bed was a black lady dressed in green scrubs similar to a nurse's aid. She wore one of those old fashioned white ruffled caps... she had her hand on my forehead and said "Erma Jean do you want to live?" I said yes. She then said "you are going to have to drink all this water if you want to live." I said I would. Through out the night, she gave me sips of water which was cool and sweet tasting. Whenever I opened my eyes she would be there, holding my head up saying "drink this water if you want to live." Sometimes she put cold towels on my head. I was burning up with fever. Once I asked her where did my mother and sister go and she told me they were down the hall.
When I woke again, it was morning, I could not sit up but could see an RN sitting at the foot of my bed which was not longer raised. I looked around the room for the nurse's aid that had taken care of me. The RN said that no one had taken care of me except her. she said that nurse's aides did not work with intensive care patients, only RN's and she had been mine for the night. I told her what the lady had said, how she was dressed. She replied: "No, Erma, first of all, you're NPO, "nothing per oral", especially water.. that's why we have these IV fluids going. - I am the only one who has been in here last night. You were probably dreaming."
As soon as my mother and sisters came in, I told them about the woman and how she was dressed. Immediately my mother asked - "What did she look like". I said "In a way, she looked like you Momma, but darker skin, somewhat short, a little plump, thin lips and pretty eyes. My mother replied "That was my mother taking care of you." I believe it "- my deceased Grandmother appeared as an angel to take care of me during the night." (Erma had never known her maternal grandmother and no family photographs were available.)
Historical figures recorded in an event suggesting an example of "God's Unseen World"
The post death Vision of C.S. Lewis (Novelist, Poet, Lay-Theologian): - John Bertram “J.B.” Phillips The Bible Translator, writer, clergyman and close friend of C.S. Lewis reported that while at his home in Oxford, Phillips had a vision of his friend Lewis that appeared to him while in his chambers behind closed doors. At the time of the vision Lewis was said to have already died at his home at “The Kilns” miles away and a short time before his appearance to Phillips!
At the time of the vision, J. B. Phillips was in a deep depression…He refused to leave his chambers, refused food or exercise, and seriously questioned his faith in God. It was during this time of depression that suddenly, Lewis stood before him, as a “healthy Lewis, hearty and glowing” as Phillips later recorded the incident.
In this vision, Lewis was said to have spoke only one sentence to Phillips: “‘J.B., it’s not as hard as you think”.’ Lewis then disappeared. The effect of the short visit and remark was to snap Phillips out of his depression and resulted in the restoration of his faith.
When Phillips later emerged from his chambers, he found that Lewis had died shortly before this appearance. His death took place at the Lewis home in "The Kilns”,miles away after collapsing in his bedroom. Phillips is said to have considered the “wonder” of this event and never returned to his depression and continued his Christian work.
It has been suggested that this was a case of God giving a detour to a soul on the way to heaven by way of a special friend, to save him. It has also been suggested that this is recorded evidence of the highest order, by persons of the highest order: (Lewis and Phillips.) The story not only a benevolent story, but redemptive suggesting an element of authenticity. The death took place on 22 November 1963, the same day as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. ("The Ring of Truth", J. B. Phillips, 1967)
Dona Gondwe - London, United Kingdom - (29 August 2012): "A very moving article on a very moving site. Thanks for sharing."
For a discussion of Spirits of the “Unseen World” not of God but of the realm of Satan, the Devil and their kingdom of non believers, see the essay on a series of incidents that have involved the Berg-Rolstad Family and found on this website. These are incidents relating to the past farm home of Haldis and Henry Rolstad east of Cameron (June’s Mother and Father) and the current home of Julie Berg in Columbia Heights. (June’s youngest daughter.) - Click on the below link:
After battling Alzheimer's for almost 11 years, an exhausted June was finally called home by God on October 23rd, 2008. Her funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website under the "In Memoriam" label - Click on:
For the story of June’s favorite home at 6025 Gardena Lane and the poem I wrote about this home during a day of deep sadness, click on the below link. This home was June’s home for almost 40 years. It was constructed shortly after the previous home was severely damaged in a tornado. 6025 Gardena Lane was the first home the June participated in the selection and purchase of a lot on a small hill, helped with the design of the home and watched it being constructed. 6025 Gardena Lane had a special place in June's heart. as it does mine: