I’m winding down. There will only be about 2 more blogs (explanation in the last
blog) but I thought at least one of these final blogs should be a bit of a personal testimony. So, bear with me.
You all know that I am an M.K (missionary kid). I grew up in Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) and my folks first term out there was a bit over 10 years in length – WWII intervened! Finally furlough was possible and when they returned to the field after their first furlough I was left with my sister in a “Home for Missionary Children” in South Carolina. It was a bit of an adventure when the Home closed but I ended up being enrolled in a public school in Philadelphia and was there through high school.
The Korean war was raging. As a fresh high-school graduate, I was classified 1A by the Draft system. To avoid being drafted into the Army, I tried to enlist in the Navy (for the SeaBees) [I was interested in construction]), the Air Force, the Marines and the Coast Guard. They all were not taking new enlistments at that time so, to be reclassified and avoid being drafted into the Army, I enrolled at a Bible School in Philadelphia and got my deferment as a “Divinity Student”.
Great things were considered (by others!) for me – “surely I would follow in my father’s steps, be a missionary and help the cause of overseas missions”. But no way was I going let pressure from others determine my life. No way was I interested in missionary work per-se. I was going to forge my own future.
I was accepted at Penn State, in their cooperative program with what was then E’town College, to take the Civil Engineering course. My uncle, who was a Lehigh grad, kept pushing for me to go to his school and offered to pay my way.
I have no idea what it was, but some message from the Lord during my final year at Bible School changed my thinking. I am sure it was God’s working in my heart. To my uncle’s chagrin I changed course. I applied to Moody Aviation and was accepted for their preliminary courses but finances hindered.
But I still had no definite “calling” to a Mission, a country or a ministry. Suddenly, reading of Moses objections to God’s commission and of God saying to him “What is that in thine hand?” (Ex.4:2), I was challenged to think of what I had – in this case my specific childhood experiences. I had a fairly good handle on a specific tribal language. I had some knowledge of cultural matters. I felt as though the Lord was telling me that those were entrusted to me and were the “things in my hand” and that He would use them for His Glory if I was willing. I went down to John Brown University for their Building Major, devoured SIM’s book “Mission Buildings”, applied to the Africa Inland Mission and was accepted for ministry in (then) Tanganyika. The Lord provided support needed and I was ready to go.
Draft Board re-classification after Bible School had put me into a “up for drafting” category and made it necessary for me to get their permission to leave the USA. Somewhere in my belongings I have a letter signed by, I believe, Gen. George Hershey granting that permission. The Lord provided my support through churches and individuals and I was on my way.
All this to say:
– Experiences of life, growing up, can have real purpose in your adult years.
– Trying to go your own way brings wrong decisions and lack of real purpose.
– Openness to God’s Word and leading makes clear not only what His will is but also gives a determination to fulfill what He ordains.
– And, God’s direction assures God’s provision. Our years in ministry underscores this.
And the young lady from Brooklyn NY, who joined me in ministry 2 years later, was a major factor in encouragement and ministry for 60+ years and continues in these years of retirement. PRAISE THE LORD!
Prov. 3:5&6 – “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”.
Phil. 1:6 – “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”