Title: Strands of Gold
Author: Laura Smucker
Major Themes: Great Depression, Mennonites, Oregon, World War II
Synopsis: Though Truman and Ellie raised their family some 70 or 80 years ago, they faced the same challenges that parents and church leaders face today—how did they cope?
I found Strands of Gold a fascinating story. The author has researched the lives of her grandparents thoroughly and woven all the stories and facts together to create an inspiring account.
The story begins with Ellie’s family as they moved from Iowa to Oregon when the little girl was only five years old. As she neared 16 years old, Truman, a boy slightly older, began noticing her. He knew, though, that she would not be interested in anyone like him; she had just joined the church, and he was living for pleasure. Eventually, however, God got through to Truman, he committed himself to Jesus, and went to a Bible college for a year. When he got home, he wondered—would Ellie still be unattached? If so, would she be interested in a friendship with him?
A few years after their wedding, Truman was ordained a minister in the local Mennonite congregation to which the young couple belonged. Soon, he was faced with severe challenges as the church continued drifting away from Biblical principles. What should they do? Stay and try to make a difference, or withdraw and join a more Biblical group for the sake of their children? Meanwhile, the Depression and World War II brought their own set of challenges to the family and church. As Truman battled depression and illness, could his family stay together and be what God wanted them to be?
This is a very inspiring story of a man and woman committed to following God wherever He led them. Truman spent his life trying to carry out the calling he felt God place on his life when he yielded himself to his Savior, and God was faithful to care for the family and enable them to do His work.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults