We had moved to another station and I was involved in a lot of construction. Of course, being an “out area”, there was no such thing as electricity or running water – except what we generated or “ran” with!
Because I had been loaned a planer and table saw which, when used together at the same time, proved too much for my little gas-powered Briggs&Stratton generator, I decided a larger one was needed. Gifts for its purchase had been provided and held in my account in the Brooklyn Mission office pending my purchase.
Lehman Brothers was the company which sold Petter diesel stationary engines. I decided to purchase one and hook it up with drive belts to a larger army-surplus generator I had. Lehman’s had the engine in stock; my funds were in the USA. The manager of the company told me to take the engine and pay whenever the funds became available. Thank you; I did so – put the engine and generator on a strong skid base and it proved worth its weight in “gold” – tho I did have to stake it to keep it from moving while in use! Later I bolted it onto a concrete base.
BUT, the funds from the USA did not arrive as planned. First month; second month; third month! Still the Mission did not respond by sending the funds out. Since, over the months, I continued to purchase other things from that company, it became an embarrassment to go in there knowing I still owed them for the engine. Finally I decided I needed to speak to the manager. I went into his office and explained the whole situation. His answer stunned – and challenged – me. He said, “I have learned that any debt a missionary of the Africa Inland Mission has with me can be counted on it as ‘money in the bank’. Pay when you are able”.
Wow! A load off my shoulders but, beyond that, a testimony of the reputation of many missionaries over the years. No way was I going to fail. In fact, within about a week the funds arrived from the USA and I was able to deliver full payment directly to the manager. An incident like this, in the early days of my mission ministry, served to underline not only our Lord’s faithfulness and provision but also my need for integrity and openness in all my dealings with others. Our (MY!) testimony before others MUST honor the Lord my Saviour. Always.