My First Fifty Years – By Gerald Bustin

Chapter 19

Marriage Again and Our Home

In the latter part of December 1939 the writer was introduced by his sister to Miss Alma Platt, a Registered Nurse, who was then working in the employ of the State, and located in the city of Tampa. About ten months later Miss Platt was introduced to the family then in Florida on the way to the Bahamas. After our arrival in the Bahamas this lady began to give regular support to our work there, and even though we never saw her again for more than seven years she was a constant supporter of the work.

About seven years later a letter came from Miss Platt asking if the Mission would grant her the privilege of coming to Haiti at her own expense and help in the work of the clinic which at that time was indeed heavy. She had arranged for a year’s leave of absence from her work in Florida in order to relieve sufferers in Haiti. All of us believed that this was in answer to prayer, for our Station was in dire need of a qualified nurse to assume responsibility in the clinic. This was before the Government of Haiti had installed a free clinic in the city of Cap Haitien, so it was then a common thing to have from one hundred to one hundred and seventy-five patients every clinic day.

Miss Platt was one of the passengers aboard the ANGELOS on its maiden voyage to Haiti, and was among the number who weathered the terrific storm on the Gulf. This lady tackled her task in Haiti with a courageous heart, and, though not officially accepted as a missionary, faithfully filled her place as a missionary. She loved her work, loved the natives, and adapted herself well to institutional life among the missionary staff. She not only served the natives, but served our missionaries, those of other Missions, and members of our family. It was a common thing for her to be called out at all hours of the night as well as day. When it became necessary for any member of our staff or of our immediate family to be in the Government Hospital she was always a volunteer to go there and remain day and night so long as her services were required.

The nurse filled her year’s contract, but did not feel clear to leave at the termination of this period, so continued her labors in Haiti. The mother of my children became quite attached to Miss Platt and greatly appreciated the untiring services she rendered to all who required her assistance. While the writer was on the other side of the world his two youngest children, Paul and Gerald, were dangerously ill with diphtheria in the hospital in Haiti. Ordinarily their mother would never close her eyes in slumber while any of her children were seriously ill, but she felt free to fully trust them in the care of our nurse.

This good lady was yet on the field when my wife was taken from us, stood by her until the end, then played the part of an undertaker in caring for the body. Personally I have never beheld a more beautiful corpse as she lay in her casket with the color from a large bouquet of roses reflected upon her face.

Following this grief my daughter, Claudine, suffered for some weeks with a broken foot She was tenderly cared for by our nurse. Your writer was next on the list for the nurse’s care. Our readers can guess the rest. A sincere appreciation ripened into a smiling admiration which silently developed into a sublime affection. All of this eventuated in a correspondence courtship which was consummated in matrimony on December the 24th, 1949; one year and nine days after the death of my first wife.

It is to be expected that some good people thought it was altogether too soon to become interested in another. They may be correct, and yet they have no law, scriptural or profane, to prove their claims. I was not seeking another companion, and had no thought of doing so, but God in His kind providence prearranged that this good woman should be prepared to fill the vacancy in our hearts and in our home. Specially the smaller children needed a mother and I needed a companion. Our Father supplied that need in the person of another Unselfish life.

Why our Father has been so graciously good to me I am at a loss to know. He has given me two good women whose hearts have been deeply concerned for the work of the Lord, and have always been ready to deny themselves in order for His work to prosper. My present companion is a true mother to my children and is loved by them. This has brought great joy to my life. She was the means, soon after we were married and while I was away from home, of leading the youngest children to the Lord. Our home is one of peace and harmony, and every member a lover of the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be unto His matchless name!

While speaking of my family, I should like to add this note. One of the deep joys of my life is afforded by the fact that each of my six children has confidence in their father’s faith. They know my faults as well as I know theirs, but their love and confidence is deep and true. They sometimes bring embarrassment by thinking their thoughts aloud to the effect that “our daddy is the best preacher in the world.” while I well know they are far off on this point, yet it gives me great peace of mind to know that my children have confidence in me. For them not to have confidence in my life would be heart-crushing indeed.

At this writing my oldest daughter, Miriam Claudine, and her husband Victor C. Chamberlin, with their two children, are in missionary work on the island of Haiti, but with a call to go to New Guinea as soon as the way is clear. My second oldest daughter, Lenita May, is now in Bible School — The Great Commission Schools — Anderson, Indiana preparing for future missionary work. Charles Milton, my oldest son, in under appointment to return as a missionary to Haiti in the near future if he is deferred from Selective Service. Joanna Ruth, my youngest daughter, is in her Senior year of high school, and expects to prepare herself for the work of Missions. The two younger children, still in the grades, resent the oversight in not referring to them as missionaries. Their only plans are to spend their days somewhere in the “regions beyond,” and this is natural, for they were born and raised across the sea.

My unknowing critics have said, “Bustin is feathering his nest.” These might think and speak differently if they had “nested” through the years where we have, and had endured some of the privations common to life in other lands. My children have for the most part of their lives been denied many of the common comforts and petty pleasantries, but they are none the worse for such. Until this hour we have no certain abiding place — no place which we can truly call home. We have not spared ourselves, nor saved for ourselves. We own no earthly property, and may never do so, but don’t feel sorry for us, nor think us poor, for we have treasures safely out of sight. We have “brown gold,” “jewels in ebony,” and “diamonds from the rough” gloriously refined, gorgeously polished, and graciously mined already transferred and deposited in the Treasure City of the universe.

By the grace of God our family expects to own a home- “home sweet home in that continuing city” where death and distance shall never again become separating factors in our lives. Yes, maybe my critics are correct, “Bustin is feathering his nest,” but he is feathering it higher up than they think — far away from the malarial mire of this material war-worn world: away up where the wild winds of time shall never disturb “our nest.” Come, my friends, and do likewise.