NOW OR NEVER
Losing his ministry under a false claim of discipline by the then chairman of his church group Bill was miserable. Fortunately he was working to support himself at the time.
Geoff approached him at work, “Why don’t we go to the Christian businessmen’s lunch?”
“I guess we might as well.” Bill replied. Bill was an honorary member as one of the founders of the Christian businessmen’s fellowship. He hadn’t attended in months.
As they took their seats at the lunch the Chairman of CBMCI stood and said, “I am so glad Bill is with us today. At our prayer meeting on Saturday morning we felt that God told us he should represent us at the first International Conference in Korea. Bill, will you go?”
Ordinarily the answer would have had to be “Pigs might fly”, but in his new circumstances Bill could say, “Yes!” and did.
It was decided that Bill should apply for a British passport as Rhodesia being under sanctions he would not be able to travel on his Rhodesian passport. When application was made there seemed to be numerous hindrances to obtaining a British passport. Again it seemed “Pigs might”.
Saturday came around and again Bill went to the businessmen’s prayer meeting. He asked them to pray about the passports and at the close of the meeting was given a name of a man at the Embassy in South Africa who he could ask for assistance.
Next Monday he phoned early and asked for the person. On explaining why he had phoned the voice at the other end asked, “Do you know who I am?”
“No sir, I do not.” Bill replied
“I am the ambassador to South Africa and have just returned from discussions in Rhodesia.”
(If you want results go to the top.)
“Oh, I am sorry to trouble you with so small a matter but I was desperate and someone gave me your name at a prayer meeting.”
“Leave it with me; I will get back to you soon.”
Within a few hours the ambassador rang back, “I am afraid that we cannot issue a passport for your wife but we will prepare yours and forward it to the Canadian Embassy for a visa.”
Bill thanked him very much and phoned his wife to tell her the bad news, it seemed she would not be going.
Two days later Bill phoned the Canadian Embassy to enquire about his passport’s progress.
“Yes Mr Stevenson, we have your passports and are processing them but it will take time because we need to contact Canada.”
“Passports?” Bill asked, “I thought there was only mine.”
“No. There is one for your wife as well.” (Fiona was going again)
All the while the members of CBMCI were trying to raise the fares without much success.
Bill and Fiona were to fly out on Monday night but on Thursday they still had no passports and no money. On Friday the passports arrived at lunchtime and Bill made an appointment with his bank manager for Monday morning. (Back to prayer on Saturday)
Monday at the Bank.
Manager to his Foreign Exchange officer, “You have currency approval for Mr Stevenson but not his wife?”
“Yes sir, Mrs Stevenson’s allocation was not approved.”
“Did you follow Bill’s instructions?”
“No! I thought he was wrong in asking for a holiday allowance for his wife.”
“Well go back and do as he said.”
The officer left the room to make application and was successful.
Turning to Bill the Manager asked, “Am I to understand that you want me to loan you $ 3000:00 without security to go out of the country for this conference?”
“I can’t do it. You may not return.”
“My children are staying while we go.”
“They can follow you later. I’m afraid it’s a definite no.” (“Pigs might fly”)
“That’s a pity. Will you join me at the next businessmen’s lunch? I know you will like it.”
Conversation about CBMCI and Jesus Christ followed.
“Well, I guess I must go and give my wife and friends the bad news. Thank you for your time.”
“No, wait.” The manger replied, lifting the intercom and calling his secretary.
When she came in, “I want you to draft a loan agreement for Mr Stevenson for $3000:00 right now and bring it in for signature.”
All done the money passed hands, foreign currency and all, and Bill and Fiona boarded their plane that night. (“Pigs did fly”) Just the beginning.
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