Never having met them, I remember being 22 and trucking all my stuff over to their house. An elderly man greeted me at the door with (literally) arms wide open... "Welcome home! Welcome home! Welcome home! This is your home now! Wonderful! Wonderful!"
I could not get through the door without first being completely enveloped in this. It was the beginning of something amazing. I have never been so welcomed into anywhere and I imagine this is what it might be like entering heaven someday!
Both now in their nineties, Oliver and Gene enthusiastically took me in, fed me lots of food (including waffles), prayed for me, and mentored me through some of the richest, most transformational time of my life. It was a time of being poured into and soaking in all that the Holy Spirit had for me. Living with these saints who spent much of their lives as missionaries in Madagascar and who were instruments in sparking massive revival there, was a total privilege and honor. I heard stories of faith and miracles and deliverance almost daily. Once in their home I even watched as a demon was driven out of a woman.
Oliver and Gene taught me the value of praying with a newspaper in one hand and a Bible in the other. I learned what unilateral forgiveness is and how to borrow the prayer of Jesus - Forgive them, for they know not what they do. "There is no copyright on that prayer! You can use it any time you need it!" Oliver would say. We had supper together every night and afterward Oliver would lead devotions and prayers that sometimes lasted 45 minutes. When company came we would sit around the formal dining table and after eating we sang two hymns - one in English and one in Malagassee. They taught me about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and their hands were upon me as Jesus baptized me in his Spirit! Gene also mentored me through my second year of ministry school and prayed me into the next unforgettable season of my life in Vermont. I have so much respect and love for these two and miss them a lot as I don't get to see them very often.
I remember coming home late one night and they were still up in the kitchen, busily making homemade applesauce together from their apple tree. Both in bath robes, they were arguing about whether it had just the right taste or not. How convenient it was that I should appear in the doorway just then, because what they really needed was a taste tester. I am not sure whose side I took... but I remember the applesauce was really delicious and we had it on waffles the following night!
This is a gluten-free adaptation of Gene Carlson's waffles.
1 3/4 c garbanzo bean flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp chia seeds
2 beaten eggs
1 1/4 c rice milk
2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 c canola oil
Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately, then combine.
Ladle onto a hot waffle iron.
With my waffle iron, if the light is on, it means the iron is hot.
If the light is off, it means the waffle is done.
We usually eat them with fresh berries and real maple syrup. Serves four.