In order to get speaking opportunities, we started writing to churches we knew. One of our first positive responses came from Pastor Burchett, with an invitation to come and share at Quidnesset Baptist.
The folks there showed great interest, pledged support and began praying for us. Pastor Burchett also put us in touch with Craig Noll, a member of his congregation who had worked in T as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the 1960’s, teaching English.
Craig and his wife, Anne, not only became our fast friends, but also helped us to begin language study, giving us very useful material on learning T.
Quidnesset was a growing church and planted others in the area. One of these other churches, Exeter Chapel, also became a strong supporter of us over the years, with both prayer and finances.
Looking back, we can see how God used my weaknesses and problems to initially get me into contact with Pastor Burchett so later we could partner over the years with these faithful congregations to reach the unreached. This is certainly at least a 3.5 star God sighting!
Another connection came from befriending a fellow who was working in our area while his family remained in New Jersey. When he was able to find work again near his home and moved back there, he got us an invitation to speak at his church.
“Come down and we’ll give you ten minutes to share about your vision,” read the invitation. Ten minutes! We would have to drive six hours to share for only ten minutes? I almost decided not to go, but the Spirit pointed out that my reason for not going would be nothing more than pride and that I needed to humble myself. So we went.
This church, Windsor Chapel, proved to be another group of faithful friends who provided much prayer and financial support over the years.
By this time His Mansion had moved from Connecticut to New Hampshire and had started a church there. They invited us to visit and speak and this church has supported us faithfully to this day.
Then from IMI we got a list of churches in New England that had had contact with them and we sent a letter to each asking for the opportunity to speak. A few replied, so we began to travel on the weekends through the fall and winter to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire as well as to some churches in Connecticut. The Lord slowly provided the support needed, moving us along towards our leaving the States for the adventure God had for us.
In early 1979 the Lord clearly displayed His sovereignty and totally changed our future. The Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran, led the population into an overthrow of the government and set up an Islamic state with himself as leader.
All foreigners had to leave; Americans were especially despised because they were part of the “Great Satan.” The door that had been open for us to work in Iran was now closed.
The leaders at IMI told us that one of their members on furlough would be going to work in T and that we could join him and his family. So we switched our field, changed our prayer card and forged ahead with contacting churches to present the work God was calling us to, trusting that He knew what He was doing.
Then in early spring I got a phone call from my brother Sam. “Tell me,” he said, “what does this job of running the tire business entail?”
We had a long talk as I laid out for him the many responsibilities I had: managing, buying, selling, repairing and mounting tires, road calls and advertising. It was a bit overwhelming. He said he’d pray further about it. So did we, seeing this as an emerging answer to our prayers.
Pictures: our older boy washing dishes on the well cover with his grandmother. And with our goat, Grover