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Shiny Shoes on Dusty Paths, though essentially a two-volume biography of Abe Kroeker, is also the saga of a familys adventures on three continents. Growing up on the Canadian prairies young Abe has no capacity to appreciate the struggles and sacrifices made by his parents when they left their old life in Russia to bring him to a land of freedom. Embarrassed by his familys peculiar ways Abe frankly voices his opinions. Aquiring friends easily, he indulges in all the sports; thrills, and mischief that rugged Saskatchewan has to offer.
When the family moves to British Columbia, his father, attempting to keep his son out of trouble, employs him in his lumber business as a river rat, to shove logs from the Fraser river into the sawmill. Even this doesnt keep Abe from getting into mischief or finding his way to the pool halls. When two of his brothers drown in the Nachako river, the parents again decide to move.
In Dallas, Oregon, while a partner in his fathers business, Abe enjoys the thrills of a biker and consumes large quantities of liquor in the local tavern. Hes on the verge of becoming an addict when his life is drastically turned around. To the amazement of his buddies, his family, and the whole town, he declares his new goal: go to the heart of Africa as a missionary. With hardly a penny in his pocket he sets out for Los Angeles to attain formal training. There he picks up jobs of all kinds including a position as gardener for the movie producer Cecil B. Demille. Meanwhile, in his home-town of Dallas, Oregon, theres a timid young girl by the name of Mary who, so far, has wanted nothing to do with the wild and crazy Abe Kroeker. For sometime, however, shes been troubled by her own longing for a future invested in higher ideals than money, comfort, and pleasure. When Abe returns from the big city He approaches her at a church picnic with a wild proposal: How would you like to be a missionary in Africa? Mary is dumbfounded, but later she hesitatingly agrees to apply to the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. At the end of summer, with great apprehension, she dares to step onto the bus that will take her to Los Angeles. Never could she have imagined how far shed travel from there. Falling in love is especially exciting when two young people have compatible life-goals that include mysterious, far-away people and places and enormous challenges. In those days risks were especially high. Missions lost 20 to 50 percent of their missionaries. But such dark thoughts were far from the minds of the young couple saying their vows on June 21, 1930, in Forest Lawns charming story book chapel, the Wee Kirk of the Heather. Anxious to reach Congo, the heart of Africa, the young couple recklessly put all their savings into a ticket that will take them only as far as Belgium. When it seems that financial disaster is at their door, a miracle happens. In July of 1933 they find themselves aboard the Dunbar Castle destined for Lobito, Angola. Stepping off the boat they have no idea that real adventures are about to begin. A dangerous safari on precarious or barely recognizable roads and crossing crocodile-infested rivers would be but a few of the adventures that would bring them to the untamed interior. Here their arrival would be marked by a first bout with malaria that almost claims their lives. Coping with harsh living conditions and destruction caused by herds of elephants are tame as compared to the challenges of witchcraft, cannibalism, the poison cup and warring tribes. Eventually Abe will have to do some risky negotiating with African chiefs; Mary will undergo a difficult birth with no doctor within a days journey and other adventures with two more African-born children. Her fourth child comes close to being born at sea with no doctor aboard. In America family and friends are adamant. You owe it to your children to stay in America is only one of the many convincing arguments proposed by loved ones. But theres no turning back for the Kroekers. Before leaving an African friend had assured them, Once you have the African wind in your stomach, youll be back, and he was right. Adventures multiply in the next seven years as children, animals, pets, enemies and friends touch and blend. Safaris now include regular trips to Zambia where the children are enrolled in a British boarding school. Livingstones Zambezi becomes only too familiar when Abe must drive his truck through it. When they board the Canterbury Castle in South Africa, none can know that the family would never again experience Africa together. Though Africa still holds the hearts of each of the Kroekers, Shiny Shoes volume two recounts the tragedy that suddenly transfers the family to France. In a haze of grief they attempt to adapt to another continent, culture and language. Humor and love interplay to unite and bond people from many European countries. A new challenge is born that will keep the Kroekers in Europe but widen their arms to Africa and many other points of the globe. Shiny Shoes volume two ends with Abe walking with dazzling shoes on streets of gold, yet the family saga still continues as the shoes of Abes children continue to be polished by grace.Though a story winds its way through the books, each chapter naturally highlights a theme that touches on shoe-leather Christianity. The book is about real people who have struggled to find meaning in life; coped with personal inadequacies; lost their cool; been overcome by fear, temptation, selfishness, failure, and grief; people who, at times, lose their sense of direction, or doubt that God cares and answers prayer. Through all the struggles rich discoveries are made.
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Shiny Shoes on Dusty Pths is about ordinary people whose paths through life are covered with the dust of human fraily: often blocked by sharp rocks, steep hills, and dangerous rivers; and challenged by baffling crossroads. The story of this missionary's life and the discoveries he made will help all readers realize that grace is the divine touch that polishes away the dust and gives meaning to our lives.About the Author:
African born, Joanne Kroeker Mahar has lived much of the Shiny Shoes saga, absorbing with her family the diversity of countries and cultures. Congo, the land of her childhood is still close to her heart. She remembers with fondness her playmates and their mothers who taught her to eat pili (hot pepper) candy, winnow grain, grind manioc rythmically in mortors, make fires, carry loads on the head and babies on the back. As a fair-skinned, blue-eyed blond she astonished neighbors and passers by who made comments such as, Your Mother must have soaked you a long time to make you so white, or, Why did your Mother stick pung-a-pung (palm string) on your head? This would cause her to run and hide. But the Kroeker children loved animals, the boats, the forests, and the wide open spaces. Some aspects of African life were less pleasant. A witchdoctor encounter, drums that beat into the morning hours, frenzied dances, spears, arrows, masks and other costumes remind her of the dark side and practices that her parents tried to shield her from. Snakes were a continual dread and scorpions also. Boarding school days in Zambia, meant excellent education, but months of separation from home and family. Adjusting to the United States was an enormous challenge, but the arrival in France and walking cold into a French class room brought her to near panic. But sympathetic class mates took her on as a project and won her heart. France, the country that she and her brothers had hated because it appeared so dark and dismal became a favorite. She learned, with the help of her history loving Mother to appreciate the significance of her surroundings,the dignity of French culture, the delight of French art and cuisine. College in the US offered stepping stones for a thirty-year career mostly in Belgium with Editeurs de Littrature Biblique, the European branch of Biblical Literature Fellowship. Encouraged by many to recount her fathers story, Joanne began in Belgium by reading her Mothers diaries and interviewing her parents. Shed hoped that the books could be written there, but her busy life permitted only a rough draft of the first volume. Upon the death of her father in Belgium, she brought her Mother to California where, three months later, she too died. Though circumstances were not yet favorable, Joanne knew that completing the task of Shiny Shoes, and other projects simmering on a back burner, would require some major changes in her life, one being the readaptation to living in the U.S. With Gods help and kind friends she has surmounted considerable hurdles.
On November 28, 1998 Joanne was married to Franklyn Mahar in a European-style wedding. Her husband, a graduate of the Univiersity of California where he earned a PHD, is a retired history professor from Humbolt State University. Besides volunteer teaching in a small local college hes devoted to helping her with research on subsequent projects. The couple are presently living in Redding, California.
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Book Description Destiny Image Publishers, 1995. Paperback. Condition: Acceptable. Signed. SIGNED AND INSCRIBED BY AUTHOR to her partnership in ministry. Book has considerable wear, but is still very usable. Interior appears free from markings. SHIPS WITHIN 24 HOURS! Tracking Provided. DHL processing & USPS delivery for an average of 3-5 Day Standard & 2-3 Day Expedited! FREE INSURANCE! Fast & Personal Support! Careful Packaging. No Hassle, Full Refund Return Policy!. Seller Inventory # mon0000085652