Jenny Hart was born in 1900 one chilly April morning in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her mother died as she gave birth to her and her father, unable to take care of her and her two sisters gave them up to be raised in an orphanage. At the age of 16, she and her sisters along with thousands of other orphans were shipped over to Canada to work on Canadian farms and as household help. She was placed on a farm located in the Ottawa Valley. The conditions were hard and the farmer was quite harsh with her.
At the age of 18 she attended an outdoor revival service. There she repented and gave her life over to Christ. Within one hour she was saved, baptized in water and baptized with Holy Spirit and fire. Her life would never be the same again. The farmer became even more harsh and told her she was not to talk of her faith at all to his daughters. But the daughters were persistent. They wanted what ever it was that had changed Jenny. One day up in the loft of the barn she led them both to Christ. Both were immediately filled with the Holy Spirit and fell under His anointing. When the farmer found out about it, he beat her and sent her from the farm.
She then moved to Montreal where she worked as a household servant until she met Guy Beck at the age of 26 at a church in Montreal. They had 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls. One of them a boy, died as a toddler. The youngest of her daughter’s was my mother. Not too long after I was born my grandmother moved in with us. She became a great help to my mom who was faced with many pressures being married to an abusive and alcoholic man. I know that it was because of my grandmother’s prayers that my family held together for as long as it did.
Nan or Nanny as we called her was quite a woman. She reminded everyone who met her of Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies. She knew how to make you laugh and everyone who met her loved her. I remember her putting a sheet over her head and wearing her glasses on top of it and chasing me and my brothers around the house. We would love to tease her and she was always good natured about it. But oh how bold she was about love for Christ and always had words of encouragement for those who were struggling. She was never ashamed to tell someone how much Jesus loved them. She loved Jesus with all her heart, mind, strength and soul. Many times I would hear her crying out to God in prayer and interceding for others in her room. Speaking in that heavenly language that to me sounded so mysterious and yet so wonderful.
There were times I was so fearful and I would sit and talk with Nan and she always had the words I needed to lift me up and replace that fear I felt. She was not perfect as none of us are, but she was one shining example as to why I serve Christ today. I love many of the old hymns of the church because I had first heard her singing them.
As I grew into my teenage years I lost that closeness I used to feel with her and began to resent her and her faith in God. But she never gave up on praying for me and every opportunity to tell me how much Jesus loved me. Her persistence paid off and I gave my heart to Christ for good in 1981.
My grandmother used to tell me often the story of the two sisters she had led to Christ. I liked her telling it to me over and over. She had lost all contact with the family after the farmer had kicked her off his farm. In 1988, almost 60 years afterwards, one of the sisters finally contacted her. They had been searching for her for years. She came to tell her that because of her faithfulness in leading them to Christ, that eventually the entire family came to Christ, including the farmer. Everyone of them became involved in ministry even to the third generation. (After I wrote this piece my mom called to tell me tell me something I didn’t know. One of the sisters married George Beverly Shea, the great singer who ministered for many years with Billy Graham.) What a testimony to God’s faithfulness and why we need to share our faith with others no matter what they think about us.
My Nan went home to be with Jesus peacefully in 1990 but she left a legacy. Many of her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren know and love Christ because of that faithfulness she showed in praying for us and the light that shone from her life. I still miss her and can’t wait to see her again in glory.
What about you? What kind of legacy are you leaving? Do those around you know you are a Christian? Do you look for ways to share your faith? Does Christ and living for Him consume you? If not pray this prayer, "Lord help me to be the witness you want me to be. Help me to leave a legacy to everyone I meet, never being ashamed of who you are. I want to and I need to be more like you Jesus. I want to lay down my life in service to you. Giving you my all and not holding anything back. I want to hear those sweet words, "Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord."