Heart of the Wilderness Online - Janette Oke

Janette Oke

Heart of the Wilderness

Copyright © 1993

Janette Oke

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Published by Bethany House Publishers

11400 Hampshire Avenue South

Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

www.bethanyhouse.com

Bethany House Publishers is a division of

Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ebook edition created 2011

ISBN 978-1-5855-8741-4

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

To those I lean on

throughout the writing process—

Mrs. Katherine Hamm,

who never ceases to assure me

that she is praying for me

Bethany House Publishers’ Staff,

who gently prod me

through each new endeavor

My family members,

who understand and encourage

And especially Edward,

my constant supporter,

companion and friend.

JANETTE OKE was born in Champion, Alberta, to a Canadian prairie farmer and his wife, and she grew up in a large family full of laughter and love. She is a graduate of Mountain View Bible College in Alberta, where she met her husband, Edward, and they were married in May of 1957. After pastoring churches in Indiana and Canada, the Okes spent some years in Calgary, where Edward served in several positions on college faculties while Janette continued her writing. She has written forty-eight novels for adults and another sixteen for children, and her book sales total nearly thirty million copies.

The Okes have three sons and one daughter, all married, and are enjoying their fifteen grandchildren. Edward and Janette are active in their local church and make their home near Didsbury, Alberta.

Contents

1. For Love of Family

2. Belonging

3. A Difficult Decision

4. An Exciting Adventure

5. Nonie

6. Wilderness Child

7. The Ugly Side

8. Acceptance

9. Fire

10. School

11. Pain of Separation

12. Adjustments

13. Home Again

14. Plans

15. Visitor

16. Hard Winter

17. More Trouble

18. Going Out

19. Stirrings

20. Amy

21. Encounter

22. A Meeting

23. Back to the Wilderness

24. Change of Plans

25. A Heart at Rest

Chapter One

For Love of Family

“Where is she?” The question seemed to pull from the depths of his anguished soul.

The gray-haired woman opening her door to admit the tall, dark-bearded man standing on her step felt tears form beneath her eyelids.

“Come in, George,” she said softly, waving her hand at the simple room behind her. “You look worn out.”

She sensed his deep impatience and feared for a moment that he would refuse. Then with a sigh, he nodded his head and moved past her into the room.

She closed the door, stopping first to look out on the busy street already bustling with the activities of another day. The world seemed to be going on as usual—yet she knew things would never be the same again for the man who had just come.

She turned to him. She had known him for many years. Had seen him suffer before. Yet she had never seen the strong, manly face so tightly drawn, the broad shoulders so slumped, the clear, dark eyes so filled with pain. Today he who had never shown his years looked much older than the fifty she knew him to be.

He was slumped in a chair across the room from her. Head lowered, he brushed at his beard with a large calloused hand, a habit she recognized. He always brushed at his beard when he was anxious or agitated.

“She’s fine.” She answered his question as she moved toward him. “She’s in that little Home on Park Street.”

His head came up, his eyes darkened. Was he angry? With her?

“I tried to get them to let me keep her here, but they wouldn’t allow it. Said that with things like—like they are here—and such . . .” She paused, shrugged, then hurried on when she saw his eyes burning intensely, though not with accusation. “They said they could do nothing until—until they had been in touch with kin. I—I got word to you in the quickest way I knew. Isn’t a very good way of communicating—”

“How long has it been?” he cut in.

She stopped for a minute and did some mental calculation. “Almost three weeks since—”

“Three weeks? Terribly long time—for a child.”

She nodded at the grief and anger and frustration in his voice, feeling his pain.

He stood suddenly, his dark eyes shadowing more deeply. “I’ve got to get on over there, Maggie,” he said brusquely.

“You look worn out,” she hastened to repeat, wanting to keep him from doing anything rash. “You’d better take the time to eat some breakfast—rest a bit. They won’t open for another couple of hours anyway.”

She was afraid she had lost the argument as he took a step toward