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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Can One Be Too Honest?, Conclusion

“I saw your sign there as I passed by and wanted to step in to ask you more about it.” The nicely dressed clerk at the counter of the ____Finance Company followed my gaze back at their Help Wanted sign. They advertised for a Junior Executive and said they would train the employee. “Can you tell me what the requirements for the job might be?”

“Well, a university degree is not required, exactly, but it helps if you have one. Do you?”

“Yes, I do and it’s given me a lot of trouble in trying to find a job. No one wants to hire someone with a university education, or so it seems.”

“Well, you’ve come to the right place, then. The top brass really like to see their junior execs with a university degree of some kind. It doesn’t really matter in what field of study.” Now, the smile on my face grew into a genuine show of joy. “Here is one of the applications. Fill it out and I’ll give you the test to do.”

“Test? Is this something I should schedule for later and go study a bit?”

“No, not at all. It’s not that kind of test. It’s a test of character, and nothing you can study for, really. You either have the right character to work here or you don’t. You’ll be fine. Here, take the application form. You can fill it out over there at that desk.”

I took the paperclipped pages and walked over to the spot in the corner, next to several student desks. Writing with the best penmanship I could muster, I completed the forms, happy that I had no other appointments for that morning.

Next, the clerk swapped my completed form for the test and ushered me into another small room. This one had no windows, no decorations of any kind, and only a couple of wooden, square tables with two straight-back chairs. Actually, it reminded me of the room I used to record the numeric codes of research questionnaires, hour-after-hour, as part of my job during my last year at university. The main difference was those tables had been piled high with thick questionnaire forms and these were clear of all papers or books.

There was no correct answer for the test questions, according to the clerk; I could take my time with each scenario presented. I prayed for the Lord to help me understand and answer the questions. I really needed a job!

Each set of questions began with a particular situation that might present at the finance office. Though there were many situations in the test, I’ll just give you a couple of examples here:

Situation 1: A little girl came into your grocery store to buy milk and a loaf of bread for her mother. In the process of paying for the goods, the child sees a piece of candy she would very much like to have. Her mother had told her she could buy one piece of candy if there was any change back after she paid for the groceries. The little girl’s face brightened as she opened her small hand to receive the change from the grocer.

The little girl pointed to the piece of candy she would like, but she was two pennies short of the price of the candy. What would you do, if you were the grocer?

A. Give the girl the candy, and forget the loss.

B. Take the two pennies out of your pocket, put it with the child’s change, and hand her the candy.

C. Tell the little girl, you were sorry, but she didn’t have enough money for the candy, and give her the change from the bread and milk purchase.

Well, that was a no-brainer to me. The correct answer was “B. Take the two pennies out of your own pocket.” I mean, the kid had walked all the way to the store, bought just what her Mom had on the list and would need to struggle with the sack all the way home. Why not get a little treat for her efforts? On to next scenario.

Situation 2: A couple comes to you with plans to add a detached, single-car garage at the end of their driveway. They present their plan, and include their financial information. They have a clear plan to pay off the loan they were requesting in only one year, though the actual construction should be completed before the winter snow. You can see that they have a well-thought-out plan, and even see how it may be paid off sooner than one year. As the loan officer handling this request, what would your counsel be to the couple?

A.    Grant the loan, and send them each home with a pen advertising your company.

B.    Show them how much less they would need to pay a month if they would spread the loan out over a three-year period, instead of paying it all off in one year.

C.   Grab your sketch pad and copy their single car garage on it. Now, erase the lines of the garage facing the house and extend the width of the garage to make it an attached garage with a door right into the kitchen. Mention the cold, wind and weather of their long winter months and the convenience of the attached garage. Next, draw out plans for an apartment on top of the now-two-car garage, explaining that renting out an apartment over the garage could help them pay for the additional improvements. The loan could be spread out over ten years so that they would only be paying the same amount that they had originally planned to pay for that smaller structure in only one year. Stress the increased re-sale value of their property if they elected to go with the larger garage and apartment.

This situation was harder for me to answer. I knew what I would want to do, but it was easy to see how the finance company would want me to answer. After all, they loaned money to make money; not because they were good Samaritans, right?

In truth, I would have answered A to the question, if this job was not riding on my answers to this test. The thing is, I figured the couple probably had some kids, or would have, and I didn’t want them to get bogged down with a three-year loan if they really could manage to pay it off in only one year. Nobody ever knows what will happen with a job or if health issues will surface to trash one’s finances. One year sounded really good to me and they would get what they had wanted when they came into my office.

I could also see how the answer C could, definitely, have its advantages on re-sale of their property. In this extra-bitter winter climate, an attached garage is a lot easier. I wasn’t convinced that the over-the-garage apartment was a good idea, though; but I did see where the company was going in making such a suggestion…more money in their coffers, as well as the potential for re-possessing the property if the couple defaulted on their ten-year loan. Could I really advise them according to answer C?

At last, I circled the A, hoping it was a test of my integrity or willingness to see that the company gets their loans paid back in a timely fashion.

At the end of the test, the clerk took it away and asked me to stay put. I waited for the invitation to enter the executive’s office for my interview.

“Good morning, Miss…uh…Sojourner, is it?”

“Yes, Sir.” I stood straight and tried to look serious but not desperate.

“I’ve taken a look at the scores on your test, and have reviewed some of the answers myself. I’m wondering…why do you want to work for____ Finance Company?” He was smiling, but he tapped his steepled fingertips together in that unnerving way executives have.

“Well, Sir, actually I just saw the sign as I passed by this morning. I have tried hard to get a job and find it isn’t as easy as the university recruiters led us to believe. Having a degree can be a hindrance, more than a help; or so it seems to me, at least. I just need a job, and I’m willing to work hard to learn the business. I’m an aggressive competitor, once I learn the ropes, and have my sights set on advancing in whatever field I gain employment. You won’t be disappointed, if you give me a chance, Sir.” The executive smiled, nodded, and pointed to one of the chairs placed in front of his expansive desk.

“I see. Well, there is just one problem with adding you to our Junior Executive team. If that hurdle can be overcome, we may be able to offer you a provisional position. It’s expensive to train people, so I would need to be sure that you really can make the adjustment.”

“Yes, Sir, I’m sure I can do whatever is asked of me. What problem do you see; is it from my test?” I was already sitting on the very edge of the chair. I needed to be careful not to move a millimeter closer to his desk, or I’d fall right off the chair.

At this point, he took out my test and paged through it. Stopping at the Situation 1 mentioned above, he asked me why I made my choice to pay the child’s debt out of my own pocket.

“Uh, tender-hearted, I guess. I mean, it was only two cents and I didn’t think the company would mind, because they got the full price for the candy. Was that the wrong answer, Sir?”

“There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. What it shows me, though, is that you may be sucked in by a sob-story, trying to decide how to get the money for a client, instead of just letting them know they cannot afford the payments on any loan at that time.”

Sadly, he was right and I knew it. My personality was a bit of a crusader for the down-trodden and if the amount of money was higher, I may still try to get the money for the client, though not out of my own pocket. “Yes Sir, I see what you mean; but isn’t that good for the company. You would still have the finance charges, regardless of how the client happened to come by the money, wouldn’t you?”

He didn’t appear to hear me and just thumbed the page to the next example he wanted to bring to my attention. Situation 2 mentioned above was repeated to me from the test paper.

“Why did you choose to just grant the loan for what the couple wanted and not try to earn more for the company?”

“Well, because it was obvious to me that this is what the couple could afford, and it’s also what they wanted to do. Isn’t it a good thing to have clients able to pay back their loans and not spread it out longer, in case something would happen and they couldn’t pay it back, Sir?”

 “No, Sojourner, it isn’t. We are in this as a business; we’re not a nonprofit organization. The longer it takes for the client to re-pay their loan, the more money the company makes. If something happens and they can’t pay back their loan, we get the property, which is worth much more than the interest on the loan. Do you see that, Sojourner?”

“Yes, Sir, I do but is that fair to the client, Sir? I mean, isn’t it a good thing to have a satisfied customer, who can tell others of the company and encourage them to apply here for their loans? I can see that dealing fairly can pay off, in the long run.”

“We’re not dealing in the long run here, young lady. We’re here to make money, as well as to loan it. Do you think that you can change your position to favor the company’s best interest; or do you think you would find it necessary to give the client just what they want and nothing more…in the interest of fairness?” His hands came down, palms flat on the desk. “Frankly, I don’t think you have it in you to be competitive in this business. You are just too honest for this kind of work, Sojourner. You’re not really ready to put the company’s interest first, especially if it conflicts with your personal integrity, are you?” The executive closed my test booklet and stood.

I stood, as I gave him my reply. “No, Sir, I don’t think I could ever put the company first, if it meant asking people to borrow well-beyond their means. I do think I could suggest some improvements in their home re-modeling plans that they may not have considered, but my suggestions would be in line with what I saw their financial statements could absorb, nothing more. Thanks for taking time with me today; I’ve learned that this is, definitely, not the business for me.”

I shook his hand and allowed him to lead me out of his office, his hand on my elbow.

I left the ____Finance Office that day with both disappointment at coming so close to a job, and relief that I would not be compromising my own beliefs to keep that job. I had asked God to help me answer the questions, and He had. God would find me the right job; I needed to keep looking.

In fact, God did lead me to a job for which I was much better suited. I had no idea, however, what darkness lurked in my heart that God had planned to expose. When I committed my whole life to God, He took me at my word. The new job would lead me right into the snare God had set for me, that His purpose in rooting out the darkness would be accomplished.

But, now, I’m getting ahead of the story. First, I need to introduce you to the new job, and you’ll see just how well God understood me…definitely, better than I had understood myself!

****Field Medicine: Humbling Introduction…Next Post

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Can One Be Too Honest?

With a year-old Bachelor of Arts degree in my top drawer and the brand-new, beautiful Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies from the school in Canada rolled up right next to it, I pounded the pavement in search of a summer job. My plan was to get a job, make enough money to pay for the second year tuition plus board and room and head back to Canada.

While the first-year course was complete in itself, including the Graduate Diploma at the finish, a second-year was also offered, culminating in the Masters Degree in Christian Studies. I had been accepted for that final year of study; I just needed the money. Since I was willing to work at any legitimate job I could find, it never occurred to me that it might be harder to secure employment with a university degree than it had been without it.

“Sorry, but we need someone who will be here all year, not just for the summer.”

“Okay, well, if my plans change and it turns out that I will be staying here, may I return to set up an interview for the job?” I figured I should, at least, plan for that possibility, just in case.

“Well, uh, to be honest with you young lady, we are looking for a more mature woman for this position.” I stood, and shook the proffered hand. “Good luck to you. Wish I could help but you’ll find a job more suited to you elsewhere.”

Maybe I would but he had been the third guy to tell me that I was, quite simply, too young. I’d check the ads again and find something that was, clearly, a job for a young person.

Everywhere I tried the result was no job, seasonal or otherwise. The problem was that none of them wanted to hire a university graduate, and now I even had a diploma for graduate study. Not a good thing, as it turned out.

Well, finally, I accepted the fact that the Lord was not going to open up employment opportunities for me to make the money needed to do the second year of study in Canada. Mom and I drove back to get the belongings I’d left there. I planned to focus on getting a fulltime, permanent job as soon as we returned from Canada.

Remembering that my youth had worked against me in my earlier attempts at gaining employment, I set out to apply for jobs that, obviously, needed a strong, young person. I may have gone a bit overboard with my first attempt, a Meat Packing Plant.

“So, have you ever fired a gun before, dearie?” The lecherous sneer of the middle-aged man sitting behind the desk made my skin crawl. I should have worn jeans, instead of a dress; mom was wrong with her always look like a lady and keep your knees together when sitting advice. My only consolation was that this would be the one and only time I should have contact with him, should I get this job.

“Yes sir, my father taught me to shoot when I was a kid.” He didn’t need to know that I only shot tin cans off the corral fence.

“Oh, he did, did he? Was your father a hunter? Or a law man?”

“My father was a company commander in the military, and yes, he hunted meat for our table in the winter with my grandfather.”

The man’s cigar rolled to the other side of his mouth. “So, have you ever looked straight in the big brown eyes of your prey and pulled the trigger point-blank?” He laughed and I felt my stomach twist and tighten.

“No sir, I haven’t. Do the animals usually look at you?” His deep belly-laugh embarrassed me.

“You bet they do, young lady. What do you think; we aren’t killing any blind beef on that kill floor.”

The gigantic lump in my throat made it hard to speak, but I managed to choke out a response. “Well, I really need a job, but I don’t think I could kill an animal that is looking right at me. Is there any other position you might have open?”

“Nope.” The man loosened his necktie and thumped my application. “Like the ad said, we’re looking for personnel on the kill floor, not to work in the office.”

I can truthfully say that I was not unhappy to have left that office, without securing employment at the well-known Meat Packing Plant. There was only one thing I could think of that would be worse than having to pull the trigger on any kind of weapon, while those deep-chocolate brown eyes of a Hereford looked straight at me, and that was working in the same office with this man. On to the next business.

“I’d like to help you, Miss Sojourner, but you’re too educated to work here. You’d be bored in a couple of days, or maybe last a week; and then I’d be right where I am, looking for someone to take your place.” Again, the interview ended without any hope of a call-back.

I lost count of the number of times this last excuse for not hiring me ended an interview. Actually, many times I didn’t even get passed filling out the application form before being told by some receptionist that I was too educated for the job. It didn’t matter that I protested I would work hard at anything I was given to do.

One morning, I passed a sign in a finance company window which read, Junior Executive Wanted. Will train. I hadn’t thought much about this kind of work, and wasn’t all that sure what a job there might entail. Maybe they had jobs other than dealing with applications for home improvement loans. Though not on the day’s schedule, I pushed open the heavy glass door and crossed to the high counter just inside.

Here in this finance office, I learned that having a tender heart and a conscience were not assets in every job!

****Can One Be Too Honest?, Conclusion…Next Post

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Study in Canada: In the Hands of a Serial Killer, Conclusion

On that simply gorgeous, unseasonably warm, January afternoon, I ignored our pact to never hitchhike out to the gates alone. I slipped into the passenger seat of the old Volkswagen, offering the driver a huge smile, along with my “Thanks!”

“You don’t thank someone who is about to kill you,” His right arm stretched across my lap, between my book-laden daypack and torso, yanking shut the door of his baby blue VW Beetle. What’s with the black leather gloves on this warm January afternoon? I felt the acceleration at the same time I heard the door lock click.

“You’re kidding, right? I’m just a grad student looking for a ride to the gates of the university.” The gates were about two miles from the School of Theology where my classes were held. It was the Canadian students who had clued us in to hitchhiking. Thumbing a lift was the usual way students went to the class buildings inside the campus.

“It’s your fault. Look at you, just standing there like that. You deserve to die.” What did this man with the long, single black, bushy eyebrow, frown deepening the furrows on his forehead, see when he looked at me? He was completely dressed in black. I wore worn navy blue leather waffle stomper boots, faded bell bottom jeans with a self-embroidered vine of greenery and flowers dropping from the side seam of my lower right pant leg and angling left at the hemline--just above the embroidered Jn 3:16. My jacket covered my flannel shirt. Provocative?

“Jesus loves you and Jesus loves me. He will not let you kill me.” I moved my daypack just a bit so that my right hand, gripping the door handle was hidden from his view. I tried to work up the courage to pull the handle and throw myself out of the speeding car, figuring whatever got broken in the escape could be fixed.

“You are just like all the rest of them. You are evil just as they were evil but they aren’t evil anymore.” At this point he was well into his description of just what he would do before he killed me. His speech was robotic, with a low, menacing growl. I feared he would hear the loud pounding of my racing heart. Had he looked at me for more than those quick glimpses every now and then as he raved on, he would have seen the throbbing pulse in my neck. I was ready to pull the door handle but, alas, my hand would not move; it was frozen in place.

“Sir, I don’t know why you are so upset with me but I can tell you, for sure, Jesus is not going to let you do those things to me. He loves you too much for that.” Is it possible for a person to be frozen with fear, yet confident enough not to even tremble when speaking? Yes, because that is exactly what was happening right there and then.

“Your Jesus is not going to save you. I will turn right at the light, at the end of that street I will enter the university’s undeveloped field and take you to the place where I killed the others. It is your fault because you were just standing there, waiting for me.” The sound of the turn signal verified his plan and indicated we were coming up on the corner. If I was going to throw myself out, I had better get to it! Still, my right hand gripped the handle but my arm would not move. As is my usual practice when stressed, I began singing softly of the Lord’s great love. It’s an automatic response, not at all intentional.

“Shut up! Shut up!” the killer shouted. I hadn’t realized that I was singing. Suddenly, the plan of escape opened before me like a rainbow in the dark clouds. I’d never seen a traffic jam at the corner because of the stop light but, this one mid-afternoon the lights had gone out. The traffic was jammed with no one knowing what to do next. Cars were inching out cautiously, first one side and then the next. The killer had to slow his vehicle to keep from hitting the car in front of us.

Now! I told myself and pulled with all my strength on the door handle. The car had not come to a full stop when I lunged out so I stumbled but did not fall. I was free of the car. Standing on the sidewalk next to the street, shaking like a leaf in my worn, blue boots, I released the breath I’d been holding. Just then the traffic lights returned and the line of vehicles next to me moved. The baby blue VW, right turn signal still blinking, moved on straight ahead and away from me.

Keeping my eyes locked on the retreating vehicle, I began to run. I ran home as fast as I could, fearing that the man in black would circle around and come back for me. Barreling through the kitchen door, a startled Mrs. Grant looked up from the sink. “Sojourner! What’s wrong? You look like you’ve had a terrible scare.”

“You can say that again! You’re not gonna believe what just happened to me.” Through trembling lips, I described the entire ordeal. “It was weird, because I wasn’t really afraid until just now as I tell you the story. Should I Call the RCMP’s, or what should I do?”

Mrs. Grant pointed to a chair, and set a steaming cup of tea before me. “Oh, how simply dreadful! Well, dear, you needn’t phone the RCMP’s. They are very acquainted with this man and all the description you’ve just given. He’s actually killed five students in just the manner you’ve recounted. They just can’t catch him. If you don’t have the license plate number, your description is the same as all the other witnesses who saw the girls getting into his car. I don’t know of any who survived the ordeal, though, so you’ve been very fortunate.”

In retrospect, I probably should have reported the episode, but I took her word for it and just went to my room. The evilness in that man had robbed me of that beautiful day; I stayed inside, afraid to leave the house. In fact, I never again left home, without a diligent eye out for the baby-blue VW.

Regardless of Cheryl’s prompting to return to the thumbing line, I refused to go, preferring to take the bus. Never again did I hitchhike anywhere. I had learned my lesson and just could not think of ever putting myself in such a vulnerable position again. It was this one point on which I could not be moved that convinced Cheryl that this horrendous experience had really happened. After all, I was the one who insisted we thumb a lift to class in the first place.  Now, she couldn’t get me to even talk about it as an option. Never again!

For the remainder of the school year, I feared going anywhere, constantly looking over my shoulder for the VW. God had, indeed, delivered me out of the hand of this serial killer that sunny day in January, but it took much longer to be healed of the fear it birthed deep inside of me.

Years later, while walking down a street hundreds of miles from this city, I caught a glimpse of a baby-blue VW rounding the corner at an intersection ahead. I froze, clenching my fists so tightly that my fingernails dug into my palms. Wait a minute, I mentally barked at myself, you have nothing to fear; just don’t get into the car, if it stops. God delivered you the last time; now, use your head and just keep walking. For once, I listened to the sound advice I was giving myself, relaxing my fists.

Exactly! Had I not voluntarily sat in that car, the whole ordeal would never have happened. That driver had no control over me now, unless I let his past actions and words take hold of me. I refused to do that and kept walking.

Of course, it was not the man in black, but a young woman, totally unaware of the struggle the presence of her cute little Beetle had brought to me on that Eastern Montana street. It was over, really over; God had delivered me, and God had healed me. I would not re-visit this experience, except to tell of God’s marvelous provision. The failed stop light caused the traffic jam, providing a way of escape from my horrible mistake. How grateful I am that God has His eye upon us every minute of every day!

****Blessed be the name of the Lord forever!***

Monday, February 18, 2013

Study in Canada: In the Hands of a Serial Killer

After moving to a lodging closer to campus, we still used the bus to get to class each morning. Our new home was only a few blocks from the main street where we could catch the bus. Since it took us into the center of the sprawling university campus, we still had a hike across the grounds to make an early morning class. Of course, the university had a sidewalk system, but it added a lot more time to the journey, so we elected to go the cross-country route. It was a fair workout for the legs, with its mounds and depressions, but faster than the peripheral sidewalks.

When the weather began to change, the ground became a bit more of a challenge to traverse quickly. When it was wet, our boots and pant legs were fairly well soaked by the time we made it to class. There just had to be a better way.

Soon after one slip-and-slide episode getting to an 8:00 AM class, another student clued us in to an option many kids used. Thumb a lift from the gates of the university. (There were no actual gates, but that border area was so named anyway.)The students, whose classes were scheduled in buildings on our side of the campus, normally just hitchhiked and skipped the whole bus-thing. Neither Cheryl nor I wanted to thumb a lift, since we wouldn’t know the person driving the car; it sounded too dangerous to us.

As the inclimate mornings accumulated, however, I began to pressure Cheryl. I mean, everyone did it, right? “C’mon, Cheryl; let’s just try it once. If you don’t feel comfortable, we’ll never do it again. The kids said that it is only professors and students that take that road into the university grounds anyway; no one’s gonna hurt us. Besides, we can make a pact: we will never hitchhike alone. It’s either both of us or neither of us. We’ll not get into a car that has more than the driver so there will be two of us and only one of him; that should be plenty safe, don’t you think?

Well, Cheryl was still hesitant but, at last, agreed to try it once.

I was so excited and nervous that first morning. The gates were just a few blocks from our home, on a parallel street from the bus route. Approaching the place the students said we should stand, we saw a line of students with their thumb stuck out. One-by-one the cars stopped, and the number of empty seats in the car soon filled with students. It was a fast stop-stuff-and-go procedure. Sometimes the cars did not appear to come to a full and complete stop, but I’m sure they did.

Cheryl and I took our places in line, hoisted our daypack onto one shoulder and stuck a thumb out. To say I felt self-conscious was a gross understatement. I was embarrassed that I was such a rookie at something that the others had done for the entire school term already. They so easily moved to any approaching vehicle, while we stood back and waited, until we were nearly alone on the side of the paved road. Well, that first morning, we were the last ones to move to a slowing vehicle.

The experience became easier with each passing day. Soon, we acted like the veterans of the thumbing the others were. Every afternoon, we reminded one another that neither of us left for home until we were both ready, unless we took the bus; no hitchhiking alone. Sometimes, one of us did take the bus, because we finished our work before the other and just wanted to head home.

Then, one super-sunny January afternoon, I finished my work in the library and wanted to just thumb a lift. “Yes, I know, we promised one another; it was part of the deal before we ever started thumbing a lift. But, its three o’clock in the afternoon; who’s gonna do anything to me in the middle of daylight?” I had my jacket loosely around my shoulders, and settled my daypack as I spoke.

“No, we promised one another. It’s a safeguard. Something might happen if we stand there alone. Besides, you are headed out of the university; how do you know where the guy might take you? Why are we even talking about this? Sojourner, we agreed to not do it alone. I won’t agree that you go alone.”

“But, how much longer will you be? It looks like you have a lot still you want to do. I’ll be careful and not get in just any car. If a black limo stops, for instance, I’ll not put my thumb out.” I laughed, attempting to tease my friend, who would have none of it.

“And, just how many black limos have you seen here so far? Why don’t you just take the bus like we said we would?”

“Uh, well, I don’t have a quarter. Really, I’m sure it’ll be fine. No one would dare do anything on such a beautifully warm day. C’mon, what do you say?”

“Okay, you’re an adult and can decide for yourself anyway, just do it, if that’s what you want to do. I don’t have more than one quarter with me anyway; and if you’re leaving now, I’ll need it to ride the bus home when I finish in a couple of hours.”

“Great! Hey, don’t forget; we have class at seven thirty tonight so don’t take too long here.” I was already walking away from the library table where Cheryl had books and notebooks spread out.

“Yes, I know. I’ll get home in time. Jan is picking us up for class; it’s in the theatre, I think. Anyway, it’s not here. Just be careful!” She was at the loud-whisper phase now, because I had my hand on the door, waving to let her know I’d heard.

My, but that warm sun felt good! I took a deep breath of the fresh air and turned my face up to the sun. “Okay, body, take me home,” I said out loud, not caring if anyone heard me talking to myself.

At the corner, I took the usual stance, just waiting for a car. At the first sound of a motor, my thumb flew out and a huge smile found its way to my weary countenance. One-by-one, the cars passed, full of students already. Maybe I needed to find a spot up the road a bit? Naw, I’d be patient. Someone would come by sooner or later.

I heard the clattering sound of the tiny motor before I actually saw the little, baby-blue VW Beetle. It was very familiar to me, because I had once owned a red bug just like it; only mine was a year younger than the one I saw headed my way. I noticed that the driver was alone in the car. His blinking turn signal let me know he planned to pull over to the curb where I stood.

I leaned down to the window with my hitchhiker’s best smile and he opened the door. I grabbed the door and slipped into the passenger seat. “Thanks so much, Sir. I appreciate the ride to the gates.”

Little could I have imagined just what the driver of this definitely-used but cute little baby-blue Volkswagen Beetle had in mind for me that gorgeous January day. He didn’t wait long to let me know.

****Study in Canada: In the Hands of a Serial Killer, Conclusion…Next Post

Friday, February 15, 2013

Study in Canada: Contemporary Greats

In 1972, a team of bible scholars from all over the world were in the final stages of a brand-new international Bible translation in English. The scholars used original texts from which to translate their assigned portions of Scriptures; whereas many other Bible versions on the market drew their text from another translation, rather than an original. Some versions used a French translation; others used Latin to produce their own specific English translations. Such was not the case for the New International Version of the Bible. The English text came from the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.

I had the incredible privilege of being taught by some of the members of the NIV translation team. These scholars were of such renown that original texts were handed to them from museums.

One such man was involved in translating several books of the Old Testament, and actually read the texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls! This is the professor who taught my Hebrew class, as well as a course in Psalms that is heads above any course I have ever taken on any Old Testament book of the Bible. Dr. M sat at his desk, reading to us from the Hebrew, translating into English as he explained to us the technical meaning of each phrase or line. In addition, his knowledge of the culture and specific nuances of phrases as they related to that period of time further enriched each and every class hour. The Psalms came alive as never before; the class time routinely ending before the students were ready to fold up their notebooks.

Did this contemporary giant of a man have any tidbit of advice that stuck with me? Indeed, he did; I use his quotation even today, as a matter of fact. The elderly man was of average physical size, so it was a wonder how his normal-sized brain could contain all that he knew. Many warm, sunny Friday late-afternoons, when it seemed that Hebrew class would never end, Dr. M reminded us of his motto by which to live. With that perpetual twinkle in his eyes and smile on his face, Dr. M gently closed his text and said, “Just remember class, as we dismiss for the weekend and you long to be out in that sunshine so grabbing your attention, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’” Seeing the smiles from everyone now released to go and enjoy the weekend, at the professor’s suggestion, he quickly finished the motto, “But, all play and no work, makes Jack even duller.” Okay, point taken and we nodded our understanding; balance is the key.

Dr. G was working on several books of the New Testament. He, on the other hand, was also a physical giant of a man. Even so, his heart was so tender; he longed for the students to really understand all that he taught us. He was my Greek instructor. To spice up the drudgery of learning the ancient language, Dr. G gave us a chance to try to translate the New Testament books on which he was working, too. It was very helpful to have his correction and explanations as we worked through the Gospel of John and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles together in class. Again, we learned much of just how the cultural practices of the people influenced the text, adding amazing depth to our understanding.

You might be tempted to think these serious, and well-known contemporary greats, were pretty boring guys, right? I mean, sticking their noses in those dusty volumes so many hours a day; no doubt, hidden away in some musky, moldy library basement. Ha, not at all! Yes, they knew how to work hard and did expect that of us; but they really knew how to have fun, and insisted that we learn that, too.

Hence, I will recount for you just one of the parties we had in the faculty homes that sticks in my mind the most. Likely, you’ll see why, and just what lesson it might have taught me.

The notice said that the party would be at Dr. G’s house. We were to bring a sauce into which we would dip strips of cooked chicken, shrimp, or some kind of protein…I can’t remember exactly what, for sure. No one was assigned any particular kind of sauce; we were instructed to be creative.

“I think I’ll make a sweet and sour sauce,” I announced to Cheryl, as we stood at the mailboxes.

“Have you ever made one before this?”

“”No, but how hard can it be? The notice says to be creative. I figure that means do something you’ve never done before, right?”

“I’m not so sure. I think I’ll work on something I know is a good dipping sauce. You go ahead and be creative.”

All the way home I thought about the sauce. Perhaps, our landlady had a cookbook with the recipe. If not, I’d just wing-it. I tried to remember what a sweet and sour sauce tasted like so I could figure out which ingredients I might identify by taste-recollection. It turned out not to be many. Cooking was, definitely, not my natural gifting.

Back at home, I scoured the cookbooks offered to me, and found one recipe I thought I might be able to do. I’d need to go to the grocery store to pick up a few items, but it sounded easy enough. That should have been my first red flag, but it wasn’t. I was not an experienced cook, but I was, certainly, a confident one.

The afternoon of the event, I measured and mixed ingredients, until I had a lovely tasting concoction. The only thing was that it was too runny for dipping. It’d make a mess on their table; I’d need to thicken it a bit.

“Best take the corn starch with us, Sojourner. That way you can add it as you heat it up at Dr. G’s house. There will be a time of praise and worship before the meal, so if we get there a little early, you can do it then.”

Thinking that a great idea, I put the box of corn starch in the sack with my bowl of sweet and sour sauce. Off we went, anticipating a fun evening with students and staff.

Dr. G’s wife, a talented artist, was happy to show me to their kitchen, handing me a saucepan and wooden spatula to use. I added the corn starch as soon as the sauce began to boil. Slowly, little by little, stirring all the while, I tapped in the powder to thicken the sauce. Boy, this stuff just would not thicken. More powder and stir.

“Okay, Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s gather together and take up the song sheets.” My breath caught as I heard Dr. H’s British accent calling us to the large room next to the kitchen.

The sauce was only slightly thicker at this point, but what could I do? I had to just forget it and take my seat in the other room. I turned off the burner, poured the sauce in the bowl provided and stuck the spoon in the sauce. After having quickly washed out the saucepan, I set the bowl of sweet and sour sauce on the serving table, as I made my way into the living room.

“Did you get it thickened?” Cheryl was whispering through the noise of the folks getting settled.

“Well, I tried but I can’t say it is thick enough for dipping. I just ran out of time. Maybe no one will know it’s mine.”

“I think that it thickens some when it cools off, so it’ll probably be fine. Did anyone see you put it on the serving table?”

“No and only Mrs. G knows I was trying to thicken a sauce. I don’t think she saw which one. I just hope it doesn’t ruin their tablecloth when it drips all over the place. I worried that I’d not be able to replace it, if my sauce ruined the cloth.

Soon, all thoughts of the thin sauce left me as the beautiful harmony of students and staff lifted high those familiar praises to the Lord. Such fun to sing with this group! Then, the prayer of thanksgiving offered to the God Who provided everything we needed, followed by Dr. A’s pronouncement.  “Okay, let’s try the creations you all have made.”

We moved over to the serving table, but before I got there, I heard Dr. G’s loud laugh. “Who made this sauce? I think we may need a chisel here, Honey.”

To my great horror, I recognized my bowl. Dr. G held it high for all to see. However, it was not in the normal position, resting in the palm of his giant hand. Oh no, it was being held by the handle of the spoon I’d placed in the sauce, upside-down! Not a drop of liquid left the up-turned bowl. The spoon did not move, regardless of how Dr. G moved it. The sauce had set like concrete; spoon captured by the sauce. Hmm? Well, no worry that it would ruin their tablecloth, but they might have lost their spoon.

My face and neck burned red-hot, so I knew the glow answered Dr. G’s question. Since I was the only one not laughing, my guilty silence gave me away. “Ah-ha, Sojourner. Well, thanks for your creative addition to our table. Uh, I think we will need to pass on this one for tonight, but maybe you could try it again another time? A bit thinner sauce would be better.”

The landlady had warned me to take care in how much corn starch I used, but having never done it before, I had no idea what to look for in the process. It was, definitely, the only time I tried this sauce recipe in my life. It was also the only time I brought something I had never tried before to a potluck gathering!

The students and faculty were kind in their teasing and agreed that being humbled would always be a part of learning. God was in the business of seeing that our pride not ruin our spiritual growth.

The contemporary greats and their wives were incredibly talented men and women, hard-working scholars and professionals, yet balanced in their personal lives. For them, fun and people were as important as translating Bible passages. My year of study at this new graduate school taught me to work as hard as I played; and to play as hard as I worked. I also learned that being humbled before friends is no more painful than my own pride lets it be. The discomfort lasts only as long as my pride resists humility. The same is true today!

****Study in Canada: In the Hands of a Serial Killer…Next Post

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Study in Canada: Dental Distress

On any university campus in the Northern Hemisphere, December is hectic for students and faculty alike. Voluminous written work of all kinds as reached deadline, and final exams are looming. Sleepless nights and chaotic days described life before Christmas break. To top it all off, a left lower molar began throbbing. I had no time to search for a dentist and no money to pay one, so I tried to ignore it and trudged on.

Canada had a tablet, known simply as 222, which contained a bit of codeine for pain relief. The prescription-strength version 444, needed a doctor’s order, but the 222 sat on pharmacy shelves for over-the-counter purchase. And, purchase I did! By the end of the final week of the semester, I consumed them like candy. It dulled the toothache, but gave my head a bit of a delayed reaction feeling. Not ideal for writing exams, but I made it through okay.

One of the students planned to drive to Nebraska for Christmas break and offered a place in his station wagon for all headed in that direction. I was thrilled, since I had expected to spend my first Christmas away from family. Definitely, God was still hard at work providing for me. I’d get the tooth taken care of as soon as I got home.

What excitement and rejoicing filled the station wagon when we pulled onto the road taking us all home for Christmas! Initially, the chatter reflected the nervous tension we’d lived under to meet first semester deadlines; all of us relaxed as the miles passed.

However, with that relaxing came the frank awareness of my toothache. No longer distracted by happy conversation and laughter, the throbbing of my tooth took front-and-center attention. By the time we’d looped around Seattle, I feared I’d not be able to make it all the way home.

I remembered that my instructor for “Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries” had told us to always think cold whenever an athlete got injured. Ice it! Became our battle-cry in the locker room. Something cold was just what my tooth needed. “I know we’ve already had lunch, but my tooth is hurting. Can we stop for something cold to drink at the next drive-up place? We don’t need to go in; I can take it with me.”

“Sure; I’ll pull into the first drive-in I see in the next town.” It had not been long since we’d stopped for lunch, so I really appreciated the accommodating driver’s response.

As we approached a soft-serve ice cream stand, I tried to figure out what might be best. The heater worked well in the car, so I thought I should get something a bit more dense than ice in a Diet Coke; I wanted the cold to last as long as possible for my tooth.

Driving away, it only took a couple swallows before the glaring error of my choice screamed out. A chocolate milkshake had been a really bad choice. The cold sugar resting on my painful tooth had intensified the pain, not eased it. Consequently, I had no other option; I needed a dentist…right now! Unfortunately we had already made our way back to the highway so I’d need to wait for the next exit.

The ache was nearly unbearable by the time we headed down the off-ramp. I felt like holding my head in my hands, turning it from side to side, and moaning, but I restrained myself with great effort. My wrong choice had made us lose even more time, so all of us were feeling a bit miserable.

Entering the city limits, the first building we encountered actually boasted a dentist office above the hardware store. Great! We won’t lose time searching for one. My friends decided to look around the little shops in the area while I saw the dentist.

I located the door marked Dentist Office, just to the side of the building. Opening the door, a steep flight of narrow, wooden steps greeted me. Okay, well, it’s a wooden building, so why wouldn’t they have wooden steps? It’s just that the creaking sound of each and every step heralded the sad truth…this is a very old building. I only hoped that the dentist was a bit younger than the building.

At the top of the stairway, I saw only solid, light-colored wooden doors in both directions. No door stood open; no signs indicating where to find the dentist. Perhaps, I’d been mistaken; or maybe, the office no longer functioned, and no one bothered to remove the sign on the outside door. Well, I needed help, and I needed to be sure none awaited me here before leaving.

The echoing of my footsteps on the old, somewhat warped floorboards, made me feel terribly self-conscious. The place was so eerily quiet that I startled and froze when a door creaked. My fight-flight reaction kicked in, and I spun around, sprinting back to the stairway before whatever came out of the door grabbed me.

At the top of the flight of steps, however, reason took over. What in the world are you doing, girl? You’re looking for a dentist. Now, get over there and see what’s behind that door! Reason was right, of course, so I withdrew my foot from the first step and gingerly made my way over to the door that appeared slightly ajar.

Again, each time my foot hit the wooden board, a loud sound echoed through the empty corridor. “Is anyone here? Is there a dentist up here?”

The door swung open and an elderly lady, dressed in a simple cotton dress barreled through. “Oh, I didn’t hear you, honey? You been out here long? I thought maybe that old cat had got back in, and I was a fixin’ to run him right out.” Indeed, she had nearly run me down.

“Uh, sorry, I, uh, didn’t see a cat.” Her shoulders relaxed, which was when I noticed the broom in her hand. Boy, that was a close call. “Actually, the sign on the door down there said there is a dentist up here, but I don’t know on which of these doors I should knock. I’m just passing through town, but I’ve a tooth that is really hurting me.”

“Oh yeah, he’s here alright. Come in here. I’ll go get him.” The kind, though somewhat brusque lady took hold of my arm and pulled me over to the dentist’s chair. “Sit down. He’ll be here soon. Just relax.” Hmm, not likely, and I prayed I’d have the courage to wait.

In the middle of my slowly breathing out phase of the relaxation exercise, I opened my eyes to see the dentist standing in front of me. I fought to keep my eyelids from slamming shut.

The dentist, still chewing on something that dripped out of the corner of his mouth, tried to smile at me. Apparently, the elderly man realized he’d lose more of his mouthful if he carried through with the smile, because he sobered up and swiped the back of one beefy hand across his lips. Next, while finishing the chewing and swallowing, he flip-flopped his hand, scrubbing it back and forth across his less-than-clean sleeveless under shirt. At that point, the dentist glanced down and snapped up the suspenders attached to his trousers, still hanging loosely at his sides. My attention returned to his scruffy face, because he began to speak.

“Okay, little girl, the wife tells me you got a bad tooth in there. Open up and lemme take a gander at it.” Had my sudden clenching of jaws not shot a searing pain through my tooth, I’d have bolted from the chair. Instead, I closed my eyes and opened up. “Uh-huh. You got a real bad un in there, Missy. Wife’s says you’re a passing’ through our fair city; that right?” I simply nodded, since both of his hands held instruments still in my mouth. “Well, doncha go worryin’ ‘bout this little job. I’ve taken out plenty of teeth in my time and you’ll be a feelin’ a mite better once we’re done here.”

The dentist called for his wife to bring him some numbered instruments. Each number called out tightened my muscles a bit. To say that his reassurance to just relax fell on deaf ears was an understatement. Since my eyes were tightly closed, I didn’t discover that one of those numbered tools was a syringe, until I felt the deep insertion of a needle. Sometimes certain nerves will automatically elicit the tear response; but then, they might have just been my body’s reaction to the terror I felt. I have no memory of this being a painful experience.

“There, there dear; I’ll be done in a minute and then you’ll not be a feelin’ anything. You’ll see; it’ll be just fine.” The hands left my mouth, as the dentist straightened up. “Okay, now it’ll just take a few minutes. I’ll leave you here until the medicine begins to work. You just sit right here and relax.”

Relieved to be alone, I began to exhale slowly. Unfortunately, the contents of my stomach preferred to just rid itself of its marinating burden. I flew out of the chair, open palm covering my mouth. Propelling myself through the office doorway, I pulled up short, realizing I had not a clue where to find a restroom.

The dentist’s missus heard my muffled cry for help and grabbed on to my elbow. In tandem, we fairly flew to the far end of the long hallway. She flung open the door at the very moment I lunged for the open toilet and let go of my lunch.

When I had finished, the dear lady was nowhere to be seen. Oh well, I knew the way back and she probably had something else to do, right? I cleaned up and, on wobbly legs, slowly made my way back to the still open door.

Soon enough, the dentist returned.”Okay, well, that should about do it. Let’s get started so you can be on your way. Open up wide now.”

I did as commanded, closing my eyes to picture myself in some verdant meadow, filled with colorful flowers and chirping birds. The fantasy left me, however, when I felt the pressure of his knee on my chest. With my mouth full of his hands, I could say nothing. I sincerely hoped that his rickety old, black dentist chair had the arms bolted down, because I was pulling on them every bit as much as the dentist was pulling on my tooth.

Crack! The sound exploded in the room, breaking the tense silence that had been punctuated with only occasional groans as the dentist struggled with my tooth. The flow of warm, sticky liquid verified he’d won the battle. Satisfied, he returned his leg to the standing position, and reached for the wad of cotton on his tray.

“Go ahead and spit into the thing-a-ma-jig there. Then I’ll stuff this cotton in the hole and you can be on your way.”

I was trembling, but relieved that the ordeal had finally ended. He gave me no prescriptions for pain relievers or antibiotics, the absence of the latter causing me some concern, due to the conditions under which the tooth had been pulled. I wasn’t going to ask him; I just wanted out of there.

I recounted my mini—nightmare in the dentist’s office to my friends as we resumed our journey. It wasn’t long before I joined in with their laughter. It really was a hilarious situation, and now that it was over and my tooth no longer hurt, I could find the humor in it. I was also grateful that it was not likely I’d ever repeat this experience in this little town.

To this day, passing this familiar off-ramp brings back vivid memories of my trip to their dentist, though I am quite certain he has long since left this world behind.

The familiar road sign also reminds me of a simple truth. God was never afraid for my life on that day; He knew exactly what was happening and that I’d be fine. The dentist was not the spit-and-polish variety professional, and his equipment far from up-to-date; nevertheless, he did know what he was doing. Plus, I could afford the less than five dollars that his services cost me. God used this man to show me that He would provide for me just what I needed, when I needed it, regardless of how His provision might appear on the surface. Having left the pain behind with the extracted molar, I was truly grateful for God’s emergency provision. There was never any pain or infection following the procedure.

****Study in Canada: Contemporary Greats…Next Post

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Study in Canada: Timely Provisions

While having a lot of spending money or ignoring price tags had never been a part of my life, neither had wondering from where my rent money would come. I always worked hard and budgeted carefully. I did the same this first year in Canada, too, but I still never knew from where my provisions might come. I found it unnerving, at first; but then, I saw it as the adventure it really was. Ruth had been absolutely right! God does have other ways to provide for me, when I am not allowed to hold a job.

Receiving money I hadn’t earned hacked away at my pride, a hard lesson for an independent twenty-three -year-old. When second semester fees loomed on the horizon, I thought I’d come to the end of my time at the school. I prayed my usual, “Father, it’s time for another bit of cash…and this is a big lot I need just now…so I’m here; tell me what to do, please.” I prayed, but tried to prepare myself, mentally, to pack my bags, in case Father God had planned for only one semester.

Then, out of the blue, Dr. G., the professor in charge of the bookstore, approached me. “Sojourner, I’m in need of someone to help manage the bookstore second semester. I have one student, but it is taking more time than she is able to give this coming semester. I wondered if you’d be interested in being a co-assistant manager.”

Wow, would I! That’s like asking a ten-year-old if he’d like to be the candy store’s taste tester. Of course, I would! “I’d really like to help; I just love books. The only thing is that I’m an American, and not allowed to work in Canada.”

A hearty laugh escaped the giant of a man. “That works out just fine, then, because we don’t have  it in the budget to pay you any money. However, I’m authorized  to offer you a scholarship for second semester fees. If you’ll help with the bookstore, you won’t need to pay tuition. How about it, interested?”

And, that’s how the Lord chose to provide the huge sum of cash I needed right away. Of course, as was the case for the entire year, there was still the money needed to live.

All-too-many times, the provision came as the month drew to a close…the eleventh hour, the Bible calls it. Located in one corner of the lounge area, known as the Student Commons, was a large, rectangular structure, full of student and faculty cubbie holes. It was here that mail from home was received, as well as notes from other students or faculty. I had not mentioned any financial need to the folks back home, but a check was occasionally included in a letter of encouragement. Naturally, I diligently checked my cubbie hole for mail, at least, once a day…and more often during the last week of the month. One just never knew if a stray letter from friends or family may show up, you know? A few times an envelope bearing my name only, had a single Canadian bank note enclosed with a Scripture or “God asked me to give this to you,” written on a small slip of paper. The handwriting was always different; I never knew from whom the gift had come.

I hadn’t realized how much I’d come to count on this one avenue for provision, until the month it didn’t come. God is so much more creative than I gave him credit for, really. If only I’d grasped that truth, I’d have saved myself a lot of anxious hours and sleepless nights!

At last, it happened. The rent was due. We’d moved from the meals provided home after the first month in order to be closer to campus, and now we needed to buy groceries. Where was the money? Every day that last week of the month, I checked the mailbox in the Student Commons. Between classes, during every break, I reached into an empty box. My prayers went from fervent to desperate.

Distractedly ambling down the corridor, I noticed Dr. H. leaving his office as I approached. “Good morning, Dr. H.” My greeting was returned as I passed the President of the school.

A few seconds later, I heard the accented call of my name and froze. “Sojourner, would you please step into my office?”

The voice was, very clearly, that of Dr. H. What in the world could he want with me? Of course, my first thoughts were of something I might have done wrong, like any kid called to the principal’s office, right? I tried to smile as I crossed the threshold to his functional but not elaborately appointed office. Naturally, I found breathing a bit more difficult than I had the previous moment, as my heart rate accelerated.

“Yes Sir, you wanted to see me?” I stood before his desk, only taking a seat when indicated to do so.

“How are you finding things here, Sojourner?” Dr. H. tapped his steepled fingers and leaned forward as he awaited my answer.

“Oh, it’s great, Dr. H. Well, it’s a ton of work, of course, but I’m really learning a lot. The faculty makes a real effort to see that we understand, and they’re available outside of class, too.” Okay, so maybe I’m not in trouble. Maybe he’s polling the students to see if everything works for them, or changes are needed?

“Splendid, splendid. And, how are you managing with your funds just now, Sojourner?”

I tried not to gasp at his question, but it’s hard to disguise the automatic tensing of body muscles. The question was so totally unexpected. Had I missed a payment of some kind? Silently, I mentally scrolled through the possibilities, but came up blank; I had not a clue why Dr.H. had asked. The gentle, British man of dignity relaxed his hands and leaned back into his chair, waiting.

“Oh, well, uh, I can say that God has always supplied what I needed this year. I’m sure He will now, too, but…things are a bit tight at the moment, Sir. You see the rent is due, and we are in need of groceries.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out an old penny. “I still have this penny, though, so I’m not totally broke.”

A slight smile spread across the President’s kind face. I watched as Dr. H. slid his chair away from the desk so he could open the center drawer. I tried to sort out the real reason for this unexpected meeting. Out came his hand, holding a white business envelope, which he laid before him on the desk.

“I had finished asking the Lord something but hadn’t an answer to my question. When you saw me just now, I had decided to walk over to ask Ruth, who knows all of the students quite well.” I nodded, intrigued by the President’s words. “However, when I saw you in the corridor, I sensed I had my answer. A benefactor of our program for graduate students gave me a bit of money, asking me to pass it along to a student of my choice. I know little of the financial situation of individual students, of course, so I simply waited on our Lord to show me to whom I should give this gift.”

My heart was really racing now! I was dumbfounded and couldn’t have spoken, if he’d asked me anything. Dr. H. lifted the envelop from his desk and handed it to me.

“Here you are, Sojourner. Pay your rent, buy some groceries, and take a bit to enjoy yourself.” Dr. H. smiled as I took the envelope from his hand. Tears welled up and toppled over onto my heat-filled cheeks.

“Thank you, Dr. H. I…I…I don’t know what else to say. Thank you.”

“There, there now. You’re most welcome.” Dr. H. stood and it was apparent the meeting had ended. Taking his outstretched hand, I shook it and left the office.

I wanted to find Cheryl to share the great news with her. She’d been longing to go to a recital of the very man whose name appeared on all of her lesson books as she learned to play the flute. He’d be in town in a couple of weeks but, until now, it was a dream we could not afford.

We carefully, calculated what remained after our household budget needs had been met. To my great joy, there was enough for two tickets to the recital, plus a hamburger supper at a restaurant.

It was a fabulous evening out. Cheryl delighted in the after-recital, personal visit she had with the famous flutist, as he allowed time with the audience.

For the entire school year, my Heavenly Father God provided just what I needed, just when I needed it, and a little bit more just for fun. Little wonder I trust Him and love Him so!

At that time, I had no idea that God was preparing me to be a fulltime, career missionary in a foreign land. The reminder of this precious year of His provision was all I needed to say Yes to God’s call on my life. I’ve lived just as described in this post for the past twenty-nine years. God has never, ever let me down. As Ruth said when I met her the first day of school, “God is faithful to do His part; you be faithful to do yours.” I have and so has God!

****Study in Canada: Dental Distress…Next Post