It was Christmas 1969. William, his wife and their five sons loaded a trailer with their effects and crammed themselves into an elderly Ford Zephyr. It was time to begin their long journey south where William was to take up his first full time pastorate. It was the beginning of a new season in their lives; a new town in a new country. There were moments of excitement and of apprehension.
The church was small but well established. The small house rented by the outgoing pastor, a young man with two babies, bulged with the invasion of five boys aged between six years and thirteen. The church house already in the planning stage was revised and plans re-drawn to accommodate a larger family.
The well established evangelism programme continued to flourish and grow with mid-week Bible studies added to meet the needs of new Christians and interested friends. In the second quarter of the year a Sunday afternoon outreach programme began in a country town an hour’s drive away. The work was busy and fulfilling, with enough challenges to keep the prayer warriors busy, but no real hindrances to the progress of the church plans.
Then the Ford Zephyr broke down on the way back from outreach to home late on a Sunday afternoon. It was before the day of mobile phones. The minister was late. The evening meeting was well advertised: William was to speak about the prophetic fulfilment of Scripture in current events. The musicians kept the people singing, and singing, and singing. The clock ticked inexorably. It was with great relief that an anxious elder greeted an oily pastor who asked as he rushed by to clean his hands, “Where do I find such and such a Scripture?” There had been no time for him to collect his notes from home. It was a time to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit. The shocked elder interceded no less anxiously while the pastor preached and answered questions.
God always answers prayer, and makes the ends to meet.
As a corollary, the Zephyr was an import and the law required that it not be sold within twelve months. But the car was old and the needed parts for the repair were unobtainable. Through the Automobile Association of which he was a member William made application for the legal requirement to be waived. He was loaned a car by one of the members while saving to buy a replacement vehicle and waiting for a reply to his application.
The replacement vehicle, a Peugeot, became available before the reply came. The purchase price matched the purchase price of the Zephyr. The amount saved between the pastor and the church matched exactly the costs needed and the car was bought.
Now the church required that the amount they had contributed must be repaid. It matched the pastor’s monthly stipend. After prayer, William’s decision was that the monthly stipend due should be taken in repayment of the debt. When he was asked how he would meet his needs for the month he replied, “I can trust God to take care of my family and myself.”
The pantry emptied. A non-Church farmer contributed a bag of onions. Another farmer brought the carcase of a sheep. The taps still had water. There are a limited number of ways in which to cook mutton and onions, but the family did not starve.
At this time Dorothy was ill. A member of a non-Church Bible Study group sent her a lemon meringue pie – welcome, as a visitor was expected. When Dorothy took the pie from the container she found a Rand note underneath – and raced to the corner store for tea, sugar and milk! The visitor was unaware of the need or the answer to an unspoken prayer!
At the end of 1970 William was asked to return to his home country to serve another church. This was in accord with the church policy. Just in time the letter waiving the legal requirement concerning the Zephyr came. In taking the Peugeot back through Customs, because the value was equal to the value of the Zephyr, no charges were made for export or import.
God sees the end from the beginning, and He makes the ends to meet.
This is a true testimony of God working in the lives of a family who have experienced many instances of His love and care for longer than fifty years.
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