Gold for Iron
Nestled inside a musty velvet jewelry box from among the belongings of her late aunt, Adele Flower Dalton, Kathryn Flower Ringer found a curious antique – a lady’s pocket watch. The scrolling, elegant numbers and hands were real gold; but the face and the case, a steely black.
Kathryn discovered the watch’s significance immediately, as wrapped tightly around the jewelry box was the following article, written by Adele and clipped from the July 1985 Pentecostal Evangel International Edition:
Gold-for-iron for JESUS:
Around the turn of the century, Mary Alice Reynolds heard of an irresistible deal: she could give up her gold and get iron in its place!
Crazy? Maybe. But to her it made good sense, because giving up her gold would help advance the cause of foreign missions…and that was something she wanted to do.
In the early days of the Pentecostal revival over 80 years ago, Mary Alice and her husband, Charles Reynolds – my grandparents – were members of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. From the C&MA an appeal went out: “Gold-for-iron for Jesus!” Those who brought their gold and possessions would be given iron and the proceeds from the sale of the gold would be donated to missions.
So Mary Alice Reynolds brought her gold watch and, much to her husband’s consternation, her gold wedding ring – her two most prized possessions. A jeweler replaced the gold case with gunmetal, and the watch was returned to Mrs. Reynolds.
If the watch was precious with its gold, it was even more so after the exchange. Now I have fallen heir to it and love to wear it because of its priceless value.
It is not the monetary value that makes the watch priceless; rather, it is the memory of the gift and the cause to which it was devoted.
The memory of the gift presents a challenge to us as Christians today. What are we doing for missions? Have we sacrificed? Is our love for Jesus so full and sincere that we would obediently give up our dearest possessions at His request? He may not be asking for gold jewelry, but He does ask for our lives.
Adele was certainly familiar with sacrifice for Jesus. The second of six children of early AG leaders J. Roswell and Alice Reynolds Flower, Adele devoted her life to missions work, first for 15 years as a single woman throughout Latin America and then with her husband, Roy Dalton, in Ronda, Spain. Together, Roy and Adele ministered for 10 years in Ronda and throughout Spain. After Roy’s untimely death in 1968, Adele stayed on until 1976 before returning to the United States to care for her parents. She served as senior editorial assistant for what is now AG World Missions.
Kathryn — daughter of Adele’s youngest brother, David W. Flower — was inspired by her aunt’s life of missions ministry and the compelling story of Mary Alice Reynolds’ sacrifice of material treasures. Because Roy and Adele had no children, Kathryn and her husband, David, had inherited the Daltons’ wedding rings. The thick gold bands were engraved with the Daltons’ 1957 wedding date.
Kathryn says, “I looked at my husband and said, ‘What good are those rings doing, sitting in a strong box?’ Let’s sell them and let the money continue Aunt Adele’s work.”
The Ringers were unsure of exactly how to go about “continuing Aunt Adele’s work,” but proceeded with selling the wedding bands and other family treasures. With the assistance of AGWM Archives, they got in touch with veteran missionaries Scott and Marisa Smith, who have served in Spain since 1975 and as fully appointed AGWM missionaries since 1984.
Marisa’s acquaintanceship with Adele dated back to 1968 and Scott’s to 1983, so they were surprised and excited to hear from her niece Kathryn.
“We loved Adele,” they wrote. “Neither of us, unfortunately, were able to get to know Roy, but he is a legend in the Spanish AG. The church in Ronda is doing well. One of the first converts there was a man named Manuel Bernal who later pastored the church. The current pastor, Ezequiel Bernal, is his son. Ezequiel and his wife, Mari Carmen, are doing an excellent job. They are in the process of remodeling the building and developing vital social outreaches to the community (including a food bank and breakfast program for needy children). The church is growing; the pastors are maturing. The future of the congregation and its influence in the community looks very, very good. Adele and Roy would be so pleased!”
The gift was sent. Mary Alice Reynolds’ missional act of nearly a century ago and the Daltons’ missional lives of half a century ago continue to bear fruit.
“It’s hard to describe the impact of Mary Alice Reynolds’ sacrificial act on us,” the Ringers say. “Her legacy is challenging, stimulating, thought-provoking, requiring a response: the call not simply to give but to give in a way that included and honored Aunt Adele and Uncle Roy. May the fruit of their labors in Spain continue to increase.”