My trips to the Ukraine and Crimea had a definite Impact on my life. It is one thing to witness human suffering and depravity through the media and photographs but it is entirely different to be up close in person and to experience these things. Two of the places we visited were a hospital and an orphanage that the mission sent aid to. Before we left them both they were asked if there was anything specific that they were in need of and to our surprise they both mentioned among other things a washing machine.
I don’t know why but I promised the Lord that I would undertake personally to raise the money for both washing machines. Sometimes we react to things and commit to things when we are emotional and may regret what we have promised. By nature I would say that I am emotional person, there is no doubt that my emotions were deeply stirred on these trips but without a doubt I had absolutely no regrets or second thoughts about promising God that I would try my best to raise the money for both of these washing machines.
If my bank account had been healthy it would have been easy to pay for the washing machines, the problem was my bank account was not healthy, in fact our account was empty. Any spare money we had I gave it towards my costs for the trips and my contributions came far short of the amount needed but the mission director very kindly helped me out. I was learning fast to ask my heavenly father to help me with things that were genuinely beyond my capabilities and I was finding out that in those circumstances my heavenly father did not disappoint. God will supply for need not greed. The need was genuine.
As I sought God concerning how to pay for the two items he gave me direction. Like most people when they get engaged and then married people give them presents. The Lord reminded me of some of the presents that we had received and were in boxes in the roof space. I talked with my wife about it and we agreed to gather up other stuff as well and put them in boxes and try and sell them to raise cash for the washing machines. We gathered up a Country Rose tea set that had never been out of the box, Waterford Crystal, Royal Dolton ornaments and some other stuff.
The Lord eventually directed me to ask a dealer who came regularly into the shop and who we had become very friendly with would he be interested in buying the boxes of stuff. He asked me what all was in the boxes and when I told him he asked how much I wanted for them. I had checked with the mission director how much a washing machine would cost to buy out in the Ukraine and he found out that it would be in and around three hundred pounds each. When I told the dealer what the money would be used for he took out his wallet and gave me the three hundred pounds without seeing what was in the boxes. He took my word for it that the value of the items in the boxes was worth over three hundred pounds. First washing machine bought.
That was relatively easy. Raising the next three hundred pounds was once again going to be down to God’s help. The second three hundred pounds was raised soon after the first but in a very unusual way. Our Mazda 323 with the cool pop up lights, better known as the poor man’s Ferrari was due M.O.T. and I took it to someone that I had worked with in the big factory to check it out and get it ready. The day after leaving it with him he called at the house and I thought that was a good sign that there was not much that had needed done to it, wrong, wrong and very wrong.
At first I thought he was winding me up when he told me that our car was not worth putting through the M.O.T. He was not joking and then he told me what was wrong with it. He told me that he had never come across it before in a Mazda but underneath the car was completely rotten by what he called creeping rust. He brought me out to the garage and showed me the problem. He could stick a screw driver straight through the floor almost everywhere under the car. I asked him what I could do and he told me to sell the car for scrap value. My heart sank within me, we had no money to replace the car and we could not get a loan because we were already paying one off.
As I reflect over my thirty nine years journey with Christ there have been many situations where I could not see a way out but I can honestly say that where I could neither see nor find a way out God always did. The story unfolds like this. The big man who worked with us new someone who bought scrap cars and sometimes fixed them up, we brought him to see the car and he offered me three hundred pounds. I felt insulted and angry at such a small offer. I told the man that the five alloy wheels were worth more than that and he just said take it or leave it. I took his offer for one reason only, it was the amount needed for the second washing machine. Second washing machine paid for, promise to God fulfilled and minus transportation.
During this personal drama the mission director had been away in England on mission business and when he returned someone had told him before I did about what had happened with the car. When I finally caught up with him he asked me what had happened to the car because it looked in really good condition from the outside. I told him the story and he said not to worry because he had some good news for me. My first thought was that it was ok for him to tell me not to worry but it was me without a car and not him, I had not considered that whatever good news he was about to tell me would not really help me not to worry. Wrong, wrong, wrong again. Getting things wrong comes easy to me.
I could not take in what he told me next. He reminded me that he had mentioned to me some time ago that he and his wife were thinking about changing their car and they had decided to do so within the next couple of weeks and they would give us their car. I felt like crying but thankfully the shock prevented me from doing so. Neither my wife nor I could really take it in that someone would give us a perfectly good car, and it was a good car. It was a Citroen 1900 Turbo Diesel.
We thanked them both profusely for their generosity and kindness once again. A few weeks after this the director and I were out in the van either collecting or delivering stuff , he said he wanted me to call with him round to his house as he wanted to show me something. When we arrived he reached me an envelope and asked me to read what was inside. It was an envelope from someone who knew them both and it said that enclosed was a cheque for two thousand pounds for him and his wife, I think it said for a holiday for them both but it was for them to spend on themselves. He then explained to me that was the exact amount that they had hoped to get for their car when they traded it in against the new one they were purchasing.
God is so good to his people. He delights in blessing his children.
The words of Jesus. “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”. (Luke 6:38)