Whispering Eternity #15

Day 15.

I tried to sneak into the local church in town called Cambridge, Bible under arm looking like I had been a Christian all my life. They weren’t to know I was just checking them out. Would you believe it, but some nosy little member gave me the third degree. You know the “who are you and where are you from and what are you doing here and how about having lunch at our place so we can quiz you on some more stuff.” Were they trying to fix me up with one of their daughters or what? They found out I was a spy and the Bible studies were on again – twice a week! Twice a week Dave would do the studies and Marg would feed me. I got baptized into Jesus the week before I left that place. It had been 6 months since I had landed at Auntie Margaret’s. Doug and Margaret and a few others came to the baptism. They had traveled about 450kms to do so. My own family were right royal hostile about the whole idea, but my Heart was set. In a poem I wrote in 1974 called ‘A thousand Eternities’ were these words:

He built a bridge from a cross of wood
And there where time stopped, eternity stood.

I moved on. It was now November and also the spring of my life. What was I to do with my world trip? The gurus in the Himalayas weren’t needed anymore! Maybe now I would go back to University and finish my agriculture degree and use it to follow my dream of doing something significant for world poverty. Others began to talk to me about a theological College. Many were the promptings to go down the ministerial road. I also felt the urge strongly to share with others the answers to the questions I had found. But I was penniless – just Karla(my dog) and myself and our panel van. If theological college were going to be a happening it would have to wait until this vagabond saved a bit of money!

Everything I read, everywhere I went, everything I did brought me back to the same answer – Ministry. “But God I am broke! This is December and College starts end of February. I didn’t even have the airfare to get to Australia let alone one semester’s fees. Besides I was (and still am) one of the world’s worst savers. I know Jesus saves but I never could.(His superannuation plan is out of this world too!) An old minister said to me “if God is calling you, you will have to step out in faith son.”

It was January. I was at my brother’s farm taking time off. On this night I was praying before retiring and the subject of Theology and college came up in our discussion. The only way I can explain it, and it is an experience that I can never forget (Even 50 years later), is how this overwhelming, all consuming sensation came upon me and something said you have to go and you have to go now! It didn’t mean tomorrow or next week it meant now! This instant.! This incredible power came over me and I felt as if I had to get up right then and leave the house and go immediately. I got into bed but could not sleep. I am the world’s best sleeper (worst saver, best sleeper) – as in out like a light after any circumstance, but not this night. I tossed and turned until finally I said, “OK God, I don’t have the way or means, but I am going.” I then was able to go to sleep. The next day I left, penniless but determined that God had spoken and I had answered. God had called and I was going.

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