Chapter 20 God’s Provision For The Summer
At the beginning of May the principle teacher called me into his classroom. “I applied for a summer training for you. It’s a special course for teachers of children who speak English as a second language,” he said, pausing. “And you have been accepted. It is in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California. Not only is it free, but you will be given a salary to attend. Are you interested?”
Interested? I was amazed, thankful–and very happy!
Later I learned that out of the thousands who applied I was one of the top choices, even though I didn’t technically qualify, not having a teaching degree. But the Lord of power puts us where He wants us to be! Another “God sighting” that proved to be significant in a number of ways.
When I flew out of the village in June, there was still four feet of snow on the ground, making for quite a contrast to the weather when I arrived in Seattle.
There I stayed with a teacher who had visited Savoonga during the winter. The following year he and his wife would come and teach for some weeks when the new principal teacher’s wife was out of the village having a baby.
My host lived in the same neighborhood as the Seattle church I’d visited on the way up to Alaska, so I was able to go to the Wednesday evening prayer meeting.
I came in late and when the pastor saw me walk in, he paused and said, “Welcome, Steve Wibberley!” My little old lady friend had made sure I got prayed for every week, so the memory of my visit was still fresh in the pastor’s mind.
How God works to move His people to join Him in His plan, foremost through prayer! I am so thankful for this lady and these people who faithfully prayed me away from suicide and into the Kingdom of God!
While in Seattle I also walked by a motorcycle shop and was drawn inside. I came out with a used Honda on-and-off the road bike. Two days later I left for California, ready for another adventure on the road–and the adventure part wasn’t long in coming.
After driving at freeway speed for 15 minutes or so, the engine cut out. When it had cooled down some, it started, only to cut out again.
I got off the freeway in Southern Washington, went into a small town, and found a motorcycle shop. The owner said, “I don’t have time to work on your bike, but I can tell you what is wrong with it. The paint on the inside of the tank is flaking off and the chips are settling over the fuel line opening, cutting off the flow. Just take the tank off, rinse it out and it should be ok.”
He turned away, then hesitated and turned back. “By the way, let me look at your spark plugs.” He leaned down and squinted at them. “Hah,” he said, “Just as I thought. These are plugs for off the road riding. If you continue to do high speed road riding, they could burn a hole in your pistons!”
So I bought new plugs and put them in, cleaned out the tank, and was back on the road by late afternoon. I was so thankful for the fuel problem, which resulted in my getting the right spark plugs, keeping me from ruining the bike and being stranded on the road. Another Jesus sighting as He watched over me.
By now I’d lost a good part of this day of travel and figured I’d have to drive through the night to reach Los Angeles in time. My night ride turned out to be one long marvelous adventure for the senses.
As I got down into California, the warm night air carried the scents of the farmlands. I could pick out the odors of hay, corn, and fruit trees, of cows, horses and pigs, of flowers, vegetable gardens and wheat.
The moon was full, the road was empty and time seemed to stand still while the countryside flew by. I reached Los Angeles by the next morning after a fourteen hour exhilarating ride.
“Tell me,” said one of my fellow students, a middle-aged woman who also taught natives in Alaska, “What do you think of those missionaries that go into native villages and ruin the culture?”
I hesitated, “Well, you have to first know that I am a born again Christian.”
“Aha! I thought so,” said Jewell, “I just wanted to make sure. I think we are the only believers in this class. How about if we pray together after lunch?”
That summer Jewell became my mentor, teaching me to pray conversationally, encouraging me in my growth and answering many of my questions about the practicalities of living for Christ. And when her husband came down to join her at the end of the summer, they took me to a seminar that turned out be a very important event in my life.