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She Was a Stray and I Took Her In

I heard her crying the minute I got out
of the car!

Dr. Van Impe and I had just arrived home
from a crusade trip on a beautiful August
night several years ago. It was almost 3
o’clock in the morning and we were eager to
get the car unpacked and get inside.

But we heard a little cry — almost like
the sound of a baby. I hurried over to some
nearby shrubbery, reached down…and there
was a tiny little kitten!

I picked up that wee ball of fur and
gently stroked her. She was so little, so
lost, so alone. Our house was not near the
city or heavily-traveled areas, so I couldn’t
imagine where that cat could have come from.

Later, I decided the Lord just allowed
her to come to our house.

“Can I feed her?” I asked my husband.

“That’s really not a very good idea,” he
said. “Once you feed her, you’ll have a cat.
And you know we’re traveling all the time,
often by air. That cat could never travel
with us. So I don’t think you’d better feed
her.”

Well, I finally went to bed that night, but
I didn’t sleep. I kept thinking about that
poor little kitty outside. As soon as it got
light the next morning, I was up. And there
was the kitten out on our patio!

“Can’t I feed her just a little now?” I asked.
And Jack gave in. So I got her some milk.

Winning our hearts

As we cared for that tiny animal, she
quickly began to win our hearts. We could
see that she was very hungry, weak, and
sick. But she was so sweet and appreciative
of the attention we gave her.

I took her to a veterinarian who found
that she had mites in her ears, intestinal
worms, and that her eyes were infected. He
gave me some medicine for her, and told me
she was about four weeks old. He said she
apparently had been abandoned by her
mother, and that if we had not cared for
her, she would have certainly died.

When I got home with her, Jack said,
“We’ll feed her and nurse her back to health,
but she has to stay out in the garage — she
can’t come inside the house.” So we fixed
up a comfortable place for her and she got
stronger and better by the day.

I was so happy to have this little stray
kitten because, with our travel schedule,
we’d never even considered having a pet of
any kind. We decided that the man who
mowed our grass during the summer could
come by the house every day when we were
gone and feed Finica.

That’s what we named her — Finica, a
derivative of the Flemish word for Josephine.
The “CA” on the end of the word indicates
precious or beloved. And so she is!

Finica’s bed in the garage lasted for one
trip. I could hardly wait to get back home
to check on her. And she was so glad to see
US.

Jack said, “Now, we can’t let her into
the house, you know.” And I replied, “Oh,
let’s just take her in for a little while so I
can love her a little bit.”

The moment she set foot inside the door,
Finica became queen of the house. And
she never went back to the garage again!
In two weeks’ time, she went from an
abandoned stray to a member of our family.

For many years now, she has been a
great joy! And we have learned so many
lessons from her — gentleness, unqualified
love, dependence with dignity, devotion, and
patience.

Little traveler

She immediately adapted herself to our
life-style. Because we spend so much time
working, she learned independence and
self-entertainment. She has always required
a minimum of fuss.

And she took to travel like a real trooper.
She began traveling in the car when she
was just a month old. Unlike many animals,
she never was nervous or upset, and never
had to be tranquilized.

So when it came time to fly, she went
right on the plane with me. She’s been on
hundreds of flights — even all the way to
Alaska. She adapts to different hotel rooms
without complaint. When we come in at
night, tired from a busy evening, there she
is with a gentle purr, ready to cuddle for a
while. It’s just like having “family” on the
road with us.

Although she still goes with us all the
time, now that she’s getting older, Finica
does enjoy home life a bit more than traveling.
She especially loves to lie in front of
the fireplace on a cold evening, or just sit
and look out the window during the day.
She doesn’t require a lot to be content.

And you know, the one who first said,
“Don’t feed her” — I just don’t know what he
would do without her now. Jack loves Finica
as much as I do. Some might have a hard
time visualizing this manly, busy scholar
having time for a cat — but you should just
see them together! They’re quite a pair.

When we travel, he never complains
about going to the airport a little early to
make special arrangements for Finica. He
likes to take her with us and would do
anything within reason for her.

So often when I’m enjoying the
companionship of my beloved friend and pet, I think
of what we would have missed had we not
taken her in. We had to get involved — we
fed her, nursed her, met her needs. And
over the years, she’s required some of our
time and attention. But, oh, how much
she’s given back to us! How we’ve been
blessed in return.

Dare to get involved

So often in today’s world, we miss out
on the opportunities God gives us to be
enriched and blessed by avoiding those we
could help. “I know that person has a need,”
we say, “but I don’t want to get involved. It
would be too much trouble…take too much
time…and it might be risky.”

So even when we have the resources to
share and wisdom that is needed, we pass
on by…or sit back doing nothing. We let
the inconvenience of caring rob us of the
rewards of becoming involved. Who knows
when the person you minister to in Christian
love will turn out to be a dear friend — a
“beloved” one? And what greater incentive
could we have to show love than the example
of our Saviour and the teachings of the
Word of God?

John, the Apostle of Love, wrote, But
whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his
brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels
of compassion from him, how dwelleth
the love of God in him? My little children, let
us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in
deed and in truth
(1 John 3:17,18).

I can think of no greater joy than to get
involved spiritually with people. How
wonderful to lead someone to Christ and see
changes begin to take place in his life. What
a thrill it will be to see that dear one in
heaven!

That’s why Dr. Van Impe and I just
cannot give enough these days — of our time,
our talents, our best efforts, or our personal
funds — to get involved with people crying
out for spiritual help.

We care! We are involved. And, oh, how
we are blessed!

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