An unexpected phone call
Towards the end of September 1995 we had an appointment with our local pastor to make his recommendation and to sign our application to join Operation Mobilization to become missionaries. It was a roller coaster ride to get to this point. I experienced emotionally highs and lows as we tried to come to grips with the implications of what we believed were the clear call of God that we heard. At times the excitement of going to Turkey as missionaries was overwhelming, but at other times there were also the doubt. Was it God speaking? Did we hear right? How can I just turn my back on a promising career and financial security for the family? Why me, Lord?
Sitting in the study of our local pastor on that September morning, our choice were made. We were willing and ready to start the process to become missionaries to Turkey. Deep in thought, waiting on our pastor to arrive, my phone suddenly rang. I did not recognize the number and reluctantly answered the call.
The man introduced himself as the head elder at the Dutch Reformed Church Halfway House in Midrand. After the normal greetings and well wishes he apologized for the long delay in processing the applications for the position of Church Administrator, and contacting the candidates on their short list. They had more than 300 applications! I was not sure why he called me yet, but luckily I was seated when he said: "You are one of three candidates we want to interview for this position. Are you still available?"
I was dumbfounded. Is this really happening? Are we still available? I could not answer him immediately. I asked if I could call him back that evening. I had to talk to Magda and our pastor first.
That morning our discussion with our pastor took a different direction. We wanted to finalize our application to become missionaries to Turkey. Instead we talked about this unexpected call from the elder in Halfway House and how to respond to it.
We felt as if someone pulled the carpet from under our feet. We had just made up our minds to join Operation Mobilization and now this! After a long discussion our pastor advised us to go for the interview. "If you don't go for the interview, and things get tough as full-time missionaries you will always wonder, what would have been if you went for the interview. Trust the Holy Spirit to make it clear in that interview if the next step is Halfway House or Operation Mobilization." We left without the signed application form, and that evening I called the head elder at Dutch Reformed Church, Halfway House and made the necessary arrangements to attend the interview in Midrand.
Our only desire was to serve God in a different way than before and when we arrived in Midrand we were ready to trust God to show us the next step. I can't remember much of the details of the interview, but I remember saying afterwards to Magda, that I am ready to accept the appointment if they offer the position to me. On our way back from Midrand to Cradock I had another conversation with the head elder of Halfway House congregation. They offered me the position and I accepted.
This was not what we had in mind. If it was not for a strong sense of the peace of God surpassing all our understanding in that moment, we could not make that decision.