The excitement of submitting my CV and application for the position of Church Administrator at Dutch Reformed Church Halfway House, soon gave way to the demands of daily living. We were deeply invested in our careers and involved in the community through the ministries of our local church in Cradock.
I returned to coordinate the EEIII outreaches with even more vigor than before. Turkey was moved to the back of our minds. We were also part of a missions committee organizing a World Mission Week in which all three local congregations took part. We were excited about the program planned for the week in August 1995. The key note speaker was the leader of Open Doors and all the missionaries supported by the three congregations were invited too. Some of them were working in Turkey and countries neighboring Turkey and with our new interest in Turkey we were looking forward to meeting them.
As the weeks passed the focus on the missions week took priority over the application submitted for the position of Church Administrator. During the missions week Magda and I took turns to attend the weeknight services with the keynote speaker, with one staying at home with the kids. I was in the service on the Wednesday evening when the keynote speaker spoke on Is 49:6: “…It is not enough for you to be My Servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the protected ones of Israel. I will make you a light for the nations, that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
This passage of scripture and the exhortation of the key note speaker washed over me like a wave. It felt as if I had swallowed something heavy as the words and the implications slowly engulfed my mind. I never before had an experience like this. I was uncomfortable but could not move. I looked around but it seemed as if I was the only one affected. I could not wait to get home and to share my experience with Magda.
What I heard that evening was a clear message that it was not enough for me to serve God and to do EEIII locally (“…It is not enough for you to be My Servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the protected ones of Israel.…”). I must be a “light for the nations, that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
In the next few days Magda and I were prayerfully searching our hearts and minds to make sense of this message. Come Sunday, we were certain that this was our call to become missionaries to Turkey. When the call came at the end of the sermon on that Sunday morning, we got up as a family and with others declared that “we will serve the Lord!”
After this commitment we spend many hours in the study of our local pastor, talking through our decision to become missionaries to Turkey. We requested application forms from the only mission organization we knew were working in Turkey, and by the end of September 1995 we were ready to submit our application to Operation Mobilization to be trained as missionaries to Turkey.
The application for the position of Church Administrator was long forgotten and our primary concern was to embark on this new adventure!