This a true story from the many that have occurred in the lives of my late husband and myself. I hope you will enjoy it. More than that, I hope the Lord will use it for His glory and encourage others who are sensing the Lord’s call to full time missionary service.
A YOUNG TEENAGER
It was 1949 or 1950. He couldn’t remember for certain. He just knew he was fourteen or fifteen years old. It happened during a Sunday morning church service – while the visiting evangelist was preaching – that the Lord invaded his thoughts, called him to preach and put a burden for Africa in his heart. Without knowing anything about Africa, he said, “Yes,” simply because he loved Jesus with all His heart. You see, when we love the Lord in that way we want to serve Him wherever and however He wants us to serve Him.
His life did not change after that except that he had a burning desire to preach. At age 16 his pastor began giving him opportunities to preach in the church. In fact, he jumped at whatever opportunity the pastor gave him to serve in the church. All he wanted to do was work in the church.
After college he became an evangelist. A few years later he became an associate pastor. By this time he was in his mid-20’s, but no opportunity to minister in Africa had come his way. He never told me that he wondered about this, but I know for certain he did.
AN INTERESTING EVENT
Now it was 1961. Hurricane Carla was in the Gulf of Mexico, heading straight for Galveston, Texas; an island just south of Houston.
The man I would marry two years later was living and ministering in Houston, and the storm peaked his interest. He had never experienced a hurricane before and was curious to know what watching one approach land would be like. The weather reports had said the causeway between the mainland and Galveston was still open, so he drove down to see for himself.
The catagory 3, then catagory 4 winds and waves of Carla had already pushed a lot of debris and larger objects onto the beaches of Galveston. A short distance away from him a crude little dugout canoe-type boat caught his eye, so he began walking toward it. As he got closer, he realized Carla had brought that little boat from a place far away from Galveston. It was roughly made from a large tree and roughly painted all over with bright colored emblems and words of a different language.
Once he reached it he began walking around it and running his hands along its sides. And praying. His prayer went something like this. “Lord Jesus, where did this little boat come from? Do the people in that place know about You? If they don’t, I pray You will send someone to tell them about You.” He stayed right there by that little boat, rubbing it, and continuing to pray for the people of the place where it came from. (The boat in the picture above is not from Ghana, but is very similar to it.)
After some time, loud speakers broke through his thoughts, announcing the causeway was about to close and everyone must leave the island. As he left he pondered what he had just experienced.
A few days later a picture of that little boat was in the newspaper along with some interesting information. It had been identified as a village fishing boat from Ghana, W. Africa! Africa! And he wondered…did God order his steps to that place to fan the embers of Africa in his soul? Was this an accidental event, or was it significant?
AN UNEXPECTED A DOOR OPENS
Now the year was 1979. Eighteen years after my husband saw that little boat from Ghana, W. Africa. By now, he had come to think we might never see Africa. We were in our early 40’s. We had three children, ages 14, 7 and 10 months. We were joyfully serving the Lord. My husband was the President and an instructor in a small Bible college he had been chosen to establish. I was also an instructor in the college. We were preparing young men and women for the call of God upon their lives for full time ministry. It was one of our most rewarding and fulfilling times of ministry up to that time.
In the Spring of that year, – at a time and place we would have never expected – an invitation was extended to my husband to go to Ghana for the purpose of establishing a Bible training institute. His first reaction was, “I don’t think I’m your man, but let me know when you find him and I will help support him.” Little did he know that God would disturb his sleep that night, telling him he was, indeed, the man He desired to send. After a season of “counting the cost” prayer, he accepted the invitation, and the rest is history.
HIS CALL – OUR DESTINY
All the years between 1949/50 and 1979 were not wasted, as one might think. We weren’t in Ghana very long before we clearly understood that all of it was necessary. God needed to shape us, mature us and give us extensive experience in every aspect of Christian ministry so that we would qualify for our assignment in Ghana. And, on the other hand, had we been younger and less experienced, the Ghanain people would have never received our ministry.
All of it was in His plan and purpose for our lives, and we had finally reached our destiny. And we happy!
TO TIE IT ALL TOGETHER…it was not an accident that the little boat on the shores of Galveston Island was from Ghana. Did God send us to Ghana because my husband prayed for that country? Or was God showing him the first African country He would send us to? Either way you want to look at it, it was not accidental. It was significant.