Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Brian Booth

As I entered full-time ministry in 1995 I read a book compiled by Dr Bill Bright entitled, "The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned". It was a collection of stories from Christian leaders. It inspired me to ask various Christian leaders in Australia that I knew (or, mostly, knew of) for their story. These have been sitting in my computer for 10 years waiting for publication, but I didn't collect enough to warrant publishing them. So, I am now posting them as blogs so the stories can get out there. I trust you enjoy them as much as I do.


Brian Booth

Brian Booth is one of Australia’s most successful sportsmen. He represented Australia in the gold winning hockey team in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and played for Australia in cricket - including the Ashes tour in 1960s.

Brian was a secondary school teacher until his retirement.

He takes an active interest in developing young Christians in their sport and their faith. He also assists with the Christian Businessmen’s meetings in Sydney.


It was the Olympic Year - 1956.

I had been invited to tour New Zealand with a New South Wales Hockey team. I was keen to go as I had never been outside Australia before. Also the experience would be valuable for the Australian Championships to be held in Melbourne later in the year, when the Australian Olympic Hockey Team was to be selected. This was the first time Australia would be represented at Olympic level in Men’s Hockey. What an honour it would be if selected as a member of the “Original Team”? However, I could not afford to go, as I was committed to monthly re-payments on my first motor car ( a two door Morris Minor), and as a teacher I would be on leave without pay.

My father came to the rescue. He dipped deep into his meager savings and loaned me the money needed for air-fares. I resolved to pay him back when my finances improved. I made the tour, played in the Australian Championships and was selected in Australia's first Olympic Men's Hockey Team. I was a member of the “Originals”.

Months passed. The debt to my father was still unpaid. It nagged at me. I always seemed to have other financial priorities. A year went by. I knew that Mum and Dad were struggling financially. My father was a farmer - and a good one. He knew how to make things grow - especially cauliflowers, but market prices for vegetables were very low and fluctuated week by week. I made the re-payment of the debt a priority.

It was with a sense of relief that I drove to my parents' home at Perthville, near Bathurst, for the Christmas school vacation. In my wallet was the cheque for my father. The amount was a little more than he had loaned me, but I was glad that at long last the outstanding debt would be paid.

I arrived home and immediately handed my father the cheque.
“What's this?” he asked.
“It's a cheque” I replied.
“Yes. I know it's a cheque, but what's it for?” said my father.
“It's for the money you loaned me a year ago for the New Zealand trip”, I answered.

My father paused for a moment and then tore the cheque in half. I stared open mouthed in disbelief. Not being a “financial genius” my immediate thought was that he had literally destroyed the amount on the cheque. Seeing my uneasiness, my father looked me in the eye, smiled and handed me the pieces of paper.

I thought long and hard about this incident. As a trained teacher and through my experience of the “ups and downs” of cricket and hockey, I had learned to ask such questions as “What happened?”, “Why did it happen?” but more importantly, “What could I learn from the situation?”

As a boy I had spent considerable time with my father. He taught me many valuable lessons. Sometimes he had to get to the “seat of the problem” to make sure the lesson was understood. I had often scored a “hundred in the back yard at Mums” under his experienced observation. He had taught me much about respect for the hard work that went into earning it. But why had my father torn up that cheque? He was not a wealthy man. Relative poverty was the pattern of my parents' living, as it was for most of the people living around the village of Perthville at the time. What lesson did he want me to learn this time?

As I reflected on what my father had done, I realised that his practical action of tearing up the cheque finalised the matter. He had cancelled my debt. That money was now a free gift. I sensed his motivation was that I was his son and that he loved me. Yes, my father was a farmer and he knew how to make things grow, but he also knew how to make people grow, especially his own son! It was from his action that I learned the important lesson that “people matter more than things”. Yes, even more than money!

However, that was not the only lesson I learned from my father's action. At the time I was young and inexperienced in the Christian faith. In a far deeper sense it made me realise that when Jesus died on the Cross He cancelled my debt of sin. In the Bible, sin is not so much doing wrong as being wrong. In cricket terms it means being short of the crease, batting down the wrong line or falling short of a standard. God’s standard is Jesus Christ. I knew I fell far short of that standard. It was a debt I could never re-pay. Jesus tore up my debt of sin just as my father had torn up my financial debt. As the hymn writer says, “He (Jesus) paid the debt and made me free”, and in return offered me the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life

The most important lesson I learned, however, from my father tearing up the cheque was that eternal life is not a matter of money, luck or chance. It is a matter of choice - of taking God at His Word and resting in utter confidence on his promises.

When Jesus said, “God did not send His Son into the world to make its people guilty but He sent Him to rescue them”, He meant it. He meant that Jesus cancelled our debt for all time, not because we deserve it or because of what we had done, but because of His love and what He had done. That's God's grace to you and me.

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Liz Hentschel

As I entered full-time ministry in 1995 I read a book compiled by Dr Bill Bright entitled, "The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned". It was a collection of stories from Christian leaders. It inspired me to ask various Christian leaders in Australia that I knew (or, mostly, knew of) for their story. These have been sitting in my computer for 10 years waiting for publication, but I didn't collect enough to warrant publishing them. So, I am now posting them as blogs so the stories can get out there. I trust you enjoy them as much as I do.


Liz Hentschel

Liz Hentschel could be described as fun-loving, and passionate about bush walking, climbing trees, vegemite on toast, an intimate relationship with the Lord, God's heart for unreached people groups, and prayer.

Having grown up in country New South Wales she moved to Sydney in 1970 for nurses training. It was here that she met some Christian nurses and soon became a Christian herself. After further training in midwifery, and at WEC International’s Missionary Training College in Tasmania, she moved to Spain at the beginning of 1979 to engage in a church planting ministry with WEC (Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ - an interdenominational missionary society with approximately 1,600 members working in over 50 nations).

Liz describes church planting as going to an area where there is no evangelical church and "hanging around with people talking to them about Jesus". The "hanging around" meant going where the people were - to the parks, the sidewalk cafes, and so forth. Heroin addicts were often the ones most open to listen to the Gospel. Converts were then formed into little study groups/churches for teaching.

In 1989 Liz moved to the Netherlands to be part of the rounding faculty of WEC's European Missionary Training College. She is currently teaching "Missions" and "Old Testament Survey", (While working at the college Liz has completed a Masters degree in Missiology.) Liz is not one to not be involved in the lives of non-Christians and forms part of an outreach team to prostitutes. Furthermore, she has "adopted" the Kazakh people group (a Muslim ethnic group living in part of the former Soviet Union) and regularly prays for them. Her heart is very much involved in the Central Asian/Middle East region of the world, a predominantly Muslim area. Her longing is to see Islam crumble, and for the Gospel to penetrate the lives of those held for so long in deception. Her contention is not against Muslims, but against the evil powers that keep Muslims from seeing that Jesus is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world.


November 1982 is indelibly etched in my memory. The damp, dark winter sky hung low enveloping Kent, England. Having grown up in sunny country Australia, and recently lived in central Spain renown for its sunshine, this was indeed miserable weather.

Some friends had taken me into their home for a few days of rest and recuperation. What bliss. Walks by the sea, despite the windy and chilly weather. Piping hot cups of strong English tea. Love expressed. Warm fuzzies. This was like Heaven on earth. Peace. Enjoyment.

Four years before I had landed on Spanish soil as a young, enthusiastic, new missionary. With a Bible school diploma in hand, and following a commissioning service in my home church I had set off to make an impact on Spain for God. I'd studied all the appropriate subjects, and had experience in a number of different ministries. Ahead of me lay my missionary career. What exploits I would do for God! After all, I had obeyed the Lord. I had understood His heart for taking the Gospel to the unreached. Hundreds of towns, even larger ones, had no evangelical witness to speak of. My job brief was to evangelise and disciple with the aim of planting churches. Yes indeed, my work was going to make a difference to this country of bullfighters, flamenco and sangria!

And so I toiled. First came the learning of the Spanish language. Easier said than done I discovered. And I toiled. Why were relationships with some missionaries so strained? And I toiled. Young people that we met on the street, in the plazas, and at sidewalk cafes during the hot summer months came to our church coffee bar. A good number of them became Christians. What gregarious people these Spaniards were. We enjoyed the plain simple fun of "paella" cooked on an open fire in the bush, with everyone eating from a common dish. It wasn't exactly your typical Aussie BBQ. For a start, the blowfly population of Spain is nowhere nearly as high. Deep down, however, there was a niggling unease. Why were some missionaries such pains in the neck? Life would have been so much easier if it weren't for them!

And so to Kent ...

Over a bedtime drink my friends looked at me with smiles that reflected wisdom. "Why not take some time to be quiet with the Lord, Liz? Stay in your room tomorrow. Ask Him if He has anything to say to you. Reflect on your time in Spain. Let Him do the talking. You be quiet." Now, this was something new for me, your compulsive activist whose prayer life consisted of long lists and much talking. But this idea of listening to God... well, "I'll give it a go", I gingerly replied.

A new day dawned. Another day of dark clouds and fog. This was my day to listen to God. Still feeling rather proud of myself for having learned Spanish and discipled new converts, that is, the picture of success, crawled out of bed to start my listening.

Blow me down if I wasn't surprised by the first thing God said!
"Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?" Surely He didn't mean ME. After all, I had obeyed His missionary call and gone to Spain. That was at some sacrifice I'll hasten to add. "Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?" Oh that plaguing question! Now where was I? Oh yes. I had given up a good nursing career. I had left family,
friends and country. I had even survived without Vegemite! I had introduced some Spaniards to Jesus. I had... "Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?" I had driven through large areas of the country and given out hundreds of Gospel tracts. I had even visited door to door and suffered rebuff for the sake of the Gospel. Then there were the times when in pouring rain and skillfully jumping puddles I had stuffed tracts in hundreds of letter boxes. "Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?" I had... I had... I had not forgiven when hurt. I had blamed others for making my life miserable. I had harboured resentment in my heart. I had kindled that resentment until it became a root of bitterness. I had layed in bed at night unable to sleep and churned the resentment around in my stomach inventing conversations in which I rebuked, and condemned others. But did I confront them face to face? Never! These were not dirty rotten sinners I was hitting out at - these were my missionary co-workers! I had called Him "Lord, Lord" and not done what He told me to do.

Unforgiveness had become like a big ball of barbed wire inside my stomach. The slightest movement caused the barbs to jab. Ouch! Unforgiveness had found expression in barbed comments about others. It ate away at me, agitating, thrashing. I had held onto reactions which in turn bed bound me up inside.

Turning to Luke 6 I pondered verses 37 and 46. "Do not Judge. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." My heart was exposed. It was stony, cold, hard. I had judged others. I had failed to forgive. But, they had hurt me. Why was I the one that ended up with the problem? In the midst of trying to justify my position, my defences crumbled. I had failed to be open. I had failed to support those whom the Lord had sent to be my co­-workers.

Slowly, deliberately I expressed forgiveness to the Lord. "Now pray for them," He said. What? Hurts from the past threatened to bind me up again. "How can I pray for them when they have done this to me?" Fortunately I recognised the subtle tactics of the enemy who so quickly was trying to rob me of inner freedom. I began to pray. "Now get on your knees as a sign of submission to me", the Lord challenged. Down I went and poured out my heart on behalf of my co-workers whom I now saw as dear not only to the Lord but to me.

Forgiveness means to release another from judgement. I had indeed stood in judgement of others. That day I was confronted with a choice. Feeling somewhat painted into a corner by the Lord I made my decision. Yes, I would forgive. It slowly dawned on me that it was in fact I who had caused many of my own problems, simply by clamming up and being too self­protective to talk openly with my colleagues. To release someone from judgement brought tremendous freedom. No longer would that resentment rule my life.

A couple of weeks later I found myself back in Australia, shut away for the day to continue the forgiveness process. (I was prepared to stay longer if that's what it took.) Out came a big sheet of paper. "Lord, who else do I need to forgive?" Down went the names, one after the other. Tears coursed down my face as I remembered the pain that some of these people had inflicted upon me. That day I chose to forgive, and told the Lord so.

Two of the names stared hack at me as I peered at my list. These ones were impossible to forgive. The pain was too great. The damage too deep. A number of days later an older Christian friend who had become somewhat of a mentor to me sat beside me on the river bank. The smell of gum trees. Pink and white galahs chattered with white cockatoos in the branches overhead. My friend... and me. "I cannot forgive," I blurted out. My wise friend drew breath and quietly admonished, "The word is not CANNOT. It is WILL NOT." My heart raced. The adrenaline pumped. "I have my rights! They hurt me! I was the innocent party!" "Do you choose to forgive?" came her gentle yet firm reply. Here was a choice that would mean release from bitterness, or perpetual inner turmoil and a missionary life that would be continually hampered by the fact that I was refusing to do what God had told me to do. A battle raged in my heart. My friend said no more. Time ticked slowly by. Yes, I would choose to forgive. I did not feel like it, but I made a deliberate choice with my will. One of those that I struggled to forgive to this day knows nothing of that battle at the river bank. Others have remarked that this man took on a sudden spurt of growth as a Christian from that time on. A coincidence? I don't think so. He was released from judgement and therefore was free to grow.

And they all lived happily ever after? Don't you believe it! Unforgiveness/resentment is my area of weakness. The potential is there for me to be bound up by it again, and to bind others up in the process. Reconciliation is the message that threads its way through the whole Bible. Matthew 5:23,24 and Matthew 18:15 both speak on the issue. Whether I know someone has something against me, or I have something against someone else, the responsibility is on ME, not on the other person, to go and talk openly - not attackingly, not defensively, but humbly. From time to time seemingly small issues become a big deal and I am hurt. What I do with that hurt is my responsibility. I am the one who can turn the situation into one which is sweet through forgiving, or I can keep it sour.

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Rev. Geoffrey Fletcher

Geoffrey Fletcher

After war service as a flying instructor in the R.A.A.F. Geoffrey Fletcher was ordained, served in several parishes, and was for ten years the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society.

He set up the Department of Evangelism of the Anglican Church in Sydney and launched Life Ministries in Australia (now called Campus Crusade for Christ Australia) through a Church-based lay training evangelism programme.

He was a foundation member of both the Australian and International Boards of World Vision and was for a number of years the Chairman of the Australian Board.

He is Chairman of the Council of the Mount Tamborine Christian Convention and has travelled extensively for over thirty years as both a speaker and international conference member.

He enjoys living at Maleny on the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia.


I learnt a great lesson from two Africans - one a simple village mother- the other one of the first East Africans to be made a bishop in the Anglican Church.

There had been a very moving grand service in the Anglican Cathedral of Kampala in Uganda. After the service which had seen the consecration of Erica Sabiti as bishop many of the Africans had walked some miles out of town to the home of old Mondo who was a leading light among the revival brethren. There the brethren together with a number of missionaries and other locals rejoiced that one of their number was so honoured. In response the new bishop told a story about a woman shopping in India who encountered for the first time the custom of "bucksheesh" - the giving of a little gift by the shopkeeper. She had bought some expensive cloth and had received a specially prepared box of matches by which to remember the occasion. She was so taken by this custom that she departed excited about the box of matches and forgot to pick up the expensive cloth. The bishop applied this by remarking" that God had given us his only Son - a priceless gift - for me" said the bishop, "he has thrown in a box of matches 'bucksheesh' and made me a bishop." This really tickled the fancy of the lay brothers and sisters who, one by one, made light of things by agreeing that being a bishop was just a "box of matches". It almost got to the point of what the Scripture refers to as "making light of dignitaries". Then one dear old lady in very simple village garb and needing to be interpreted before many of the Africans understood her, and of course twice so I knew what she was saying, stunned us all! She said "Our dear brother has been made a bishop and we are all thrilled with that - he says it is only a box of matches - but I am asking God that with this box of matches he will light fires of love for the Lord Jesus all over our country of Uganda."
It was so moving that after swallowing a lump in your throat either tears or laughter would seem to be equally appropriate. However a quiet reverent silence prevailed and one of the number led all in prayer to that end.

For me the lesson was clear. But it is further clarified by a letter from another African bishop - Yohana Omari. He was invited to six months deputation in Australia and New Zealand with Festo Kivengere. As he planned he wrote to me as the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society. "Geoffrey" he said, “I come to your country only as a donkey praying that my precious Lord Jesus will ride through the streets of your city on my back." And that is precisely what happened!

I can remember a very grand occasion in Albury when a liturgical Episcopal welcome had been organized. Midst all the grandeur and ceremony the bishop shared a simple testimony as to how as a lad he was nurtured in a faith that denied the deity of Christ. The fact that the Bible was forbidden aroused his interest and he read of Jesus' claim to be the Way, the Truth and the Life. He related how he had responded and then challenged all at that service to personally consider their own response to Christ's claim. After the service, in a large group gathered around the bishop, the wife of a church leader, with tears coursing down her cheeks, asked that he consider sending missionaries to Australia. "Oh," said the bishop, "you don't need missionaries from us, we heard the gospel from you." "True," said the weeping woman, "but we have become so confused with ceremony and tradition that we have forgotten the simplicity we have in Jesus."

From the woman in Uganda and the bishop in Albury I learnt that when the focus is on Jesus himself the messenger is not as important as the message. In fact when I thought that the message from God was conveyed to the great prophet Balaam by a donkey I felt at home in the ministry so long as I allowed the Spirit of God to keep me focussed on the Lord Jesus.

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Dr Keith Farmer

As I entered full-time ministry in 1995 I read a book compiled by Dr Bill Bright entitled, "The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned". It was a collection of stories from Christian leaders. It inspired me to ask various Christian leaders in Australia that I knew (or, mostly, knew of) for their story. These have been sitting in my computer for 10 years waiting for publication, but I didn't collect enough to warrant publishing them. So, I am now posting them as blogs so the stories can get out there. I trust you enjoy them as much as I do.


Keith Farmer

Keith Farmer is Principle and Lecturer of Pastoral Studies at the Churches of Christ in New South Wales Theological College. He received his Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Los Angeles, USA. Keith’s ministry has allowed him to speak at many conferences around Australia and occasionally in such places as the USA, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

Keith ministered at Canley Heights and Epping Churches of Christ in Sydney and Doncaster Church of Christ in Melbourne over a period of 13 years. He has spoken to Churches of Christ Ministers Groups around Australia and in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

Keith is a registered Psychologist in New South Wales. He is married to Margaret and has two sons and a daughter.


I had been involved in local church ministry for twelve years following my graduation from the Churches of Christ Bible College of New South Wales. This pastoral ministry had involved two suburban churches in Sydney, New South Wales and a suburban church in Melbourne, Victoria. I was in the second year of an Associate Ministry with the Doncaster Church of Christ and a lecturing role at the College of the Bible, Glen Iris. Each of these ministries was half time. At the college I lectured in Pastoral and Counselling areas.

During the time of my training for ministry I felt very strongly that I was being equipped biblically and theologically, but not pastorally. My relationship with God was really important to my developing ministry and so also was my relationship with people. I therefore undertook, concurrent with my Theological studies, courses at the University of New South Wales which led me to major in Psychology and eventually complete (three years after graduation from the College) a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology.

The pastoral ministries I had been involved in were characterised by a strong emphasis on pastoral care and counselling as an interest and area of specialised training. I received sufficient feedback from those with who I counselled and cared for pastorally to convince me that one of my areas of giftedness involved pastoral care. It was therefore not a difficult decision to make when I was asked to teach in these areas at the Federal College of Churches of Christ in Australia. My job description for my ministry at Doncaster Church of Christ involved considerable responsibility in pastoral care mid the development of pastoral care programmes within that church. This also was not a difficult job description for me to accept and in which I could feel very comfortable and relatively confident.

The first year of this dual ministry responsibility I enjoyed very much. The students at the College seemed to respond positively to having a "pastoral type" person around the place to whom they could talk formally and/or informally. The Doncaster Church was a relatively large, vital, growing church in which there were many people who had experienced or were experiencing hurts for which counselling could be of some help. I was busy and to some extent torn between two 'full-time jobs" but feeling happy and fulfilled. I enjoyed the team context in both of my ministry situations.

In each situation my counselling load had gradually increased.

It became apparent to me and to my wife that I was being considerably drained emotionally by the amount of counselling I was doing and the nature of some of that counselling. I prided myself on being available to people at the time that they needed me. Some of the people with whom I was counselling began to need support and help more and more. I found it very difficult to say no to any request for help no matter when, where or how I felt at the time. It felt as if I would be letting them down. It became apparent to me that I needed to set limits and that my unwillingness and inability to do so related to needs that I had within myself; to be needed by and to be the rescuer of others. When I "hit the wall" and began to experience strong anxiety and sleeplessness about how I would cope with the next day, I knew that I needed to do something. But how does a person who is teaching counselling admit that they are not able to continue? How does a person who needs to be needed and who finds it difficult to experience other peoples' disappointment and anger, communicate "I am not available today"? When I began to communicate such to some who had become quite dependent on me, they expressed the anger and disappointment of which I was scared. In order to appear still to be a caring person, I said that I would only see people by appointment once a week, except if there were crises or extreme difficulties. During the next week three people made an attempt at suicide, indicating that I had let them down badly by not being available. I wasn't available because I was quite close to a nervous breakdown. That was the only basis on which I could justify not continuing.

How does a person who is supposed to be the teacher admit that he is unable to cope? It was embarrassing to talk to my seniors in each ministry situation and let them know that I needed help. I began receiving help myself on a regular basis from a Christian Psychiatrist who was willing at some stage for these regular appointments to become times in which he supervised me in my counselling. I had never had any supervision. or support to that time.

Coincidentally I was scheduled to continue some courses in a Doctor of Ministry Programme I was half way through with Fuller Theological Seminary in the USA I was to attend these courses in Pasadena just after the time when I became unable to continue my counselling role. Fortunately, one of the courses for which I had enrolled was "The Minister's Personal Growth and Skill Development" with Dr. Arch Hart from the Psychology Department of Fuller Theological Seminary. In preparation for the course I had filled out personality questionnaires and other indications of temperament. Part of the two week course involved being a counsellor to another of the students on a daily basis and being counselled by another student, also on a daily basis. These pairings were randomly allocated. I was ten thousand kilometers from home, an anonymous person in the Fuller context and therefore grasped fully the opportunity to talk at length with a "counsellor". A Canadian minister whose name and background now escape me, became the unwary recipient of a lot of pain and hurt from me. But it was very therapeutic. The major paper for the course asked each student to look honestly at their own personality and character development; to pinpoint areas of difficulty, struggle and need and outline a programme for healing and rehabilitation. During the night time following each day of input from Dr. Hart I worked with great pain and anguish on putting together a programme for rehabilitation. I remember vividly the remarks from Dr. Hart on my paper when it was returned to me. They indicated that what I had written was what the course was meant to be all about. The pain and anguish of being so far from home made it almost unbearable to address the issues. However in that very difficult period of time there was one major thing that became gradually more and more apparent to me.

I had always been a relatively able, competent person in almost any area of life that I had undertaken. Although I was not outstanding in any area, it is reasonable to say that relative effectiveness in most of the pursuits of life, including vocation, had not required too much “blood, sweat and tears”. Even as a local church minister over almost a decade and a half, I had been able to hold things together through my relative competence. But I had run out of resources.

I remember vividly calling out to God and saying something like, "I haven't needed you too often, but I need you now, desperately. Please work a miracle; please help me and get me out of this dilemma." No easy solutions or quick miracles happened. I learned however the greatest lesson of my life: that any day of any year, if I rely on my own strength and capacity, I could come unstuck.

Since that time (which is now fifteen years) I have lived life quite differently. There probably has not appeared to the observer to be too much different, but from my insider position the basis of my ministry has changed from previously feeling quite competent and confident about what I could do compared with others for God, to a recognition that without God's strengthening and guiding I have no hope of living effectively today and tomorrow.

I therefore greet each day with the clear understanding that unless I rely on God, this could be another day in which "I hit the wall".

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Robyn Claydon

As I entered full-time ministry in 1995 I read a book compiled by Dr Bill Bright entitled, "The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned". It was a collection of stories from Christian leaders. It inspired me to ask various Christian leaders in Australia that I knew (or, mostly, knew of) for their story. These have been sitting in my computer for 10 years waiting for publication, but I didn't collect enough to warrant publishing them. So, I am now posting them as blogs so the stories can get out there. I trust you enjoy them as much as I do.


Robyn Claydon

Robyn Claydon is an evangelist and Bible teacher whose ministry takes her throughout Australia and overseas. As the Lausanne Movement’s Honorary Senior Associate for women in world evangelization she has developed a international network of over 2,000 women who are committed to telling others about Jesus in a variety of ways and ministries. She has travelled to many countries leading seminars, preaching in churches, speaking at missionary conventions and generally encouraging, motivating and training Christians in evangelism.

Robyn's ministry in Australia includes chairing the Australian Lausanne Committee with its particular focus on training emerging Christian leaders; establishing a younger women's network for encouragement and sharing, leading a fortnightly women's Bible Study at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney; preaching from time to time at the Cathedral and in other churches and speaking at conferences and conventions throughout the country.

Robyn is also a licenced lay reader/preacher with the Anglican Sydney Diocese and a member of the Council of Moore Theological College.

As an educator for over twenty five years, Robyn Claydon is a Member of the Australian College of Education, has been a contributing author to books and journals on education, was one of the pioneers of Personal Development as a subject in schools, has written a text book to encourage teenagers' self esteem and, until the end of 1990, was Deputy Headmistress of Abbotsleigh in Sydney.


I will never forget my visit to a small church in Nepal one Saturday morning. Saturday is the only free day in the Hindu kingdom of Nepal and is the day when Christian believers meet for worship.

I had been invited to preach at the morning service in a small church many kilometres from the capital, Kathmandu. Some of the mountainsides in Nepal are carved out to form terraced rice fields and here people live and work. The view as one flies over these mountains at certain times of the year is breath-taking as one sees snow-capped peaks merging gently into the lush green of the rice fields.

There were about fifty people at the service that morning and some had walked quite a long distance to come to the small building that was their church. Their dirty, dusty feet indicated a difficult walk. As I approached the door I noticed piles of shoes outside, so I added mine to the collection. On entering the room I quickly discovered that there were no seats, so I joined the people on the floor.

The service was all in Nepali so, since I was not able to understand anything that was said, I found myself looking around at the people. They were mostly local villagers and the age-range was from tiny children who wandered in and out, to quite elderly people. There was one woman, however, who caught my attention for a special reason.

Whenever a hymn was announced and the people reached for their Nepali hymn-sheet, I noticed that she never picked hers up. I assumed that she knew the hymns by heart and therefore did not need the words. I found out later, that my assumption was only partly correct. Whenever she sang, her face was transformed by the most beautiful smile and, with her eyes closed, she lifted her hands above her head.

My attention was directed at her hands. Some fingers were completely missing and others had joints missing. I then looked at her toes and discovered that they too were disfigured. This woman was a leper!

Although she was now recovered from leprosy, the results of the disease were very apparent in her hands and feet, but on her face was a clear indication of radiance and joy.

The only words I understood in the whole service were my name, and when I heard it I assumed, correctly, that it was time for me to speak. As I stood and came out to the front, an interpreter did likewise and my sermon proceeded. I was speaking that day about the Good News which was announced to the shepherds and I drew attention to the fact that after 'the shepherds had seen Jesus for themselves, they "spread the word" (Luke 2).

After the service, I asked my translator if I could meet each of the people and speak to them for a moment. When we came to the woman whom I had been watching throughout the service, I discovered that she had so much she wanted to say to me. My translator was rather worried about the time she was taking to talk to me as we still had several people to greet, but I was fascinated by what she was telling me.

The woman said that she had never read the Bible; that she was illiterate, never having gone to school, but that she had been coming to the church for several years to "listen". I realized then that there was another reason why she had not picked up the hymn-book. She was not able to read the words. She said that she always listened carefully to the sermons and Bible readings and knew that God loved her and that she belonged to Him. She then said "I want so much to share the Good News with others, but it is against the law here to tell anyone about Jesus. But there is one thing I can do. Now that I am too old to work on the rice fields, I spend the week walking in the fields and talking to the people. I say to them "would you like to come to the church next Saturday at 10 o'clock and hear about God?" I ask as many people as I can.

If they come, then like me, they can hear for themselves about God's love and forgiveness and of the special place God has for each one of them in heaven. It's not against the law to invite people!"

I later asked my interpreter if people did come as a result of her invitation and she replied, "Yes, there's always someone new at the service and we don't know where she finds them all!"

Since that day, the words in Isaiah chapter 52 verse 7, have taken on a new significance for me:
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings
who proclaim salvation.

That leper woman has such beautiful feet! They may be disfigured; they may be dusty and dirty; but they take her through the rice fields of the mountains of Nepal doing what she can for God: inviting others that they might come and hear for themselves that God loves them.

In the course of my ministry I have met many people who have beautiful feet! There is Hoda, a gynaecologist, who works amongst the garbage people of Cairo; Luisa who visits the prisoners in Lima jails; Maria who has planted a church in Mongolia; Elizabeth, who edits a Christian magazine in Germany; Ruth, who lives in Sydney and invites the mothers of her children's friends to coffee to hear about Jesus; Olga who helps with Bible distribution in Uzbekistan; and Sai and Mere in Fiji who meet every week to pray for their country.

I wonder where our feet are taking us and how deep is our desire to share the Good News of Jesus with those around us? We too, like the leper woman in Nepal can visit neighbours and friends and invite them to come to church or to someone's home so that they can hear for themselves about God's life-changing love.

What I learnt from that special encounter was that God can use each one of us, just where we are.

Our feet may not be much to look at, but if they take us anywhere for God, they are beautiful!
Robyn Claydon
Sydney 30.8.95

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Dr Barry Chant

As I entered full-time ministry in 1995 I read a book compiled by Dr Bill Bright entitled, "The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned". It was a collection of stories from Christian leaders. It inspired me to ask various Christian leaders in Australia that I knew (or, mostly, knew of) for their story. These have been sitting in my computer for 10 years waiting for publication, but I didn't collect enough to warrant publishing them. So, I am now posting them as blogs so the stories can get out there. I trust you enjoy them as much as I do.


Barry Chant

Dr. Barry Chant is a regular speaker at church services, seminars, conferences and conventions. He has written over a dozen books, ranging from theology and church history to family life and children’s stories. He has degrees in arts, theology and a diploma in education. He has over 30 years experience in pastoral and educational ministry. He is founder and president of Tabor College, a multidenominational Christian Education Centre with campuses in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. He is married to Vanessa, and they have three adult children and eight grand children.

{Dr Barry Chant is currently the pastor of Wesley International Congregation}


Sadly, my memories of my mother are rather shadowy, although there are glimpses that shine like patches of sunlight in the covered walks of my childhood years. Of the little black compact she used, inlaid with mother of pearl, with its distinctive aroma of inexpensive, but not cheap, perfume. Of sitting at lunch with her and two of her sisters, Auntie Gwen and Auntie Pops, in the cafeteria in the Myer store in Adelaide, eating flapjacks with raspberry jam and cream. Of standing at her knee while she helped me memorise Psalm 121 for a Sunday School examination. (I still cannot hear the words, ‘I will lift up my eyes to the hills . . . ‘ without thinking of her.) Of crying out for her in the middle of the night in the blistered pain of a bad case of sunburn. And then of visiting her in the busy ward of the Royal Adelaide Hospital where she lay, although I did not know it, fighting a vain battle against the cruel, networking cancer that would eventually take her life at the young age of 40. In my childhood innocence and ignorance, while she and my father talked, I used to sit listening to the radio on the primitive headphones they used in hospitals in those days.

In the last few months of her life, I lived with the next door neighbours so that my struggling father could cope a little more easily with his job, with running the house and with caring for Mum. Finally, in November, 1948, my mother fell asleep for the last time.

In September of the following year, Dad desperately needed a holiday and, with plenty of encouragement from me, asked Neil Adcock, the minister of our local Finsbury Park (now Woodville North) Baptist church, if he could somehow get me into a Crusader boys’ camp, run by Scripture Union, for a week or so. Technically, I was too young. I was just ten years old (‘almost eleven!’) and the minimum age was twelve. Because of my family circumstances, they allowed me to go.

The camp was at Victor Harbour, a South Australian country town. We were accommodated in a corrugated iron building, divided up into dormitories with four double bunks each. The meetings and meals were arranged in marquees. I must have enjoyed the camp, for the memory of it is vivid. One afternoon, we had a treasure hunt which took us all around the nearby sand hills and beaches. The final item was a note which told us to run back to camp and tell the cook we wanted snails on lettuce for tea! I was the first one to return. I was really proud of myself. It was only in later years that I realised the other boys had allowed me to win.
And then there was a stalking game at night in the sand hills, where each team wore a coloured piece of wool around the wrist. When your bracelet was broken you were either a prisoner or ‘dead.’ Here they were not so kind. I was despatched in the first ten minutes!

The speaker at this camp was a wonderful children's evangelist named A.H.Brown. His story-telling ability was legendary. If I live another fifty years, I shall never forget his breath-catching, heart-stopping narration of the tale of Nebuchadnez­zar's fiery furnace. And I am sure I shall never hear anyone tell it better.

My first encounters with Mr Brown were not promising. One night we were all sitting around a camp fire and he related an African fable in which a rabbit climbed a tree. Protected by the half-darkness, I turned to the lad next me and exclaimed smugly, 'How long since rabbits have been able to climb trees!'

I was not as well hidden as I thought. Mr Brown stopped short, turned slowly, glared at me, and said sternly, 'I told you when I started that this was only a fable.' My embarrassment was acute.

On Sunday morning, one of the lads went down the street and bought a newspaper. I didn't know it, but we had been expressly told that going to the shops on Sunday was forbidden. I picked the paper up, sat on a seat outside and began browsing through it. Suddenly, a voice called urgently. 'Quick! Bring it in here!' I looked up somewhat puzzled and began to wander into the dormitory. Behind me, the others could see what I could not see -- the figure of Mr Brown looming awesomely upon me.

Before I reached the door, he caught me. 'Well,' he said. 'Not only do you break the rules and buy a newspaper, but you try and hide the fact by running inside when you see me coming!' He gave me no chance to explain. The paper was confiscated and I was then unpopular with its owner as well!

That night we all went to the Church of Christ for the evening service. Mr Brown was the preacher. He spoke on John 3:14-15 --
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
He told a dramatic story about an old medieval manuscript which depicted people trying desperately to save themselves from the desert snakes. Some fought them; others prayed; others worked to save their friends; others relied on medical care -- and all failed. But those who simply looked at the snake on the pole were saved. And so he invited us to look to Jesus.
I sat at the end of one of the church's unusual slatted pews, stirred by this simple, vivid message. Young as I was, and out of favour as I had become, I felt impelled to stand to my feet. I did. I looked. And I was saved. It was 8 September 1949.

I learned that night that Jesus Christ was my Saviour. That by Him my sins were forgiven. That in Him I had everlasting life. That through Him every need of mine was met for ever.
On the way home from the camp, in the swaying carriages of the old, rattling steam train, we sang choruses. It must have been pretty tuneless and some of the songs were rather banal, to say the least. But their words left an indelible impression on me. One of them said --
Happy is the boy who believes in Him,Happy is the boy who is freed from sin,Never to a boy did the Lord say, ‘No,’Let us every one to the Saviour go.
The poetry was pedestrian but the message was profound. It was this lesson, of our wonderful redemption in Christ Jesus, that was being bored deep into my spirit.
As I continued in Crusaders, I learned the theme song --
The Lord has need of me,His soldier I will be,His life He gaveMy soul to winAnd so I mean to follow HimAnd serve Him faithfully.And though the fight be fierce and long,I’ll carry on,He makes me strong.And then one day, His face I’ll see,And Oh! the joy when He says to me,‘Well done, my brave Crusader.’
In this song there was a clear recognition that both salvation and strength to serve came through Christ alone. It was only through the merits of Jesus that I was acceptable to God; it was only through the merits of Jesus that I could serve God. Since those days, I have found myself coming back over and over again to those wonderful themes.

Four years later when, as an early teenager, I had a life-changing encounter with the Holy Spirit, I knew that this, too, was a blessing from the Lord Jesus. To think that my body was the temple of the Holy Spirit was almost too wonderful to conceive. There was no way that I could ever be worthy of this. But through His atoning death on the Cross, Christ had made me worthy.

In the years that followed, I continued to attend our little Baptist Church. I was also greatly helped by Scripture Union, Christian Endeavour and other evangelical groups. I am always thankful that through these agencies I was brought back again and again to the foot of the Cross and the centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Baptist Youth Group regularly attended Youth for Christ rallies. Month after month in the Adelaide Town Hall, hundreds of young people would gather to sing great hymns and choruses and to hear the finest evangelistic preaching in the land. Our group always seemed to finish up in the balcony. I clearly recall standing there, looking over the large crowd, singing my heart out, my spirit thrilling with the joy of ‘this so great salvation.’

At high school, for the first time in my life, I encountered students of strong Catholic faith. In later years, I have developed friendships with many wonderful Catholic people, whose sincerity and spirituality is beyond question. In those days, however, the lines of demarcation were very clear. One young man named Paul was a brilliant intellectual and a fervent Catholic. We debated long and hard the issues of the gospel and the authority of the Church. T.C.Hammond’s invaluable book The One Hundred Texts gave me plenty of ammunition. And I found myself for the first time burrowing deep into the letter to the Hebrews, digging out its profound, yet simple, treasures -- especially the phrase ‘once for all.’ Christ died for sin once for all making a complete and perfect sacrifice for sins. And so, ‘we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10). It was the same great truth yet again.

When I was nineteen, it came about through circumstances largely beyond my control, that I left the Finsbury Park church and joined the Christian Revival Crusade, founded by the late Leo Harris. Here again, the focus was always on the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, I had never heard people so open and fresh in their expression of love for the Lord. I remember one lady, in particular, standing in a Sunday service, her arms raised high, her face lifted up, tears running down her cheeks as she sang of her love for her Lord --
I love Jesus, hallelujah!I love Jesus, yes, I do.I love Jesus, hallelujah!Jesus smiles and loves me too.
Again, it wasn’t great poetry, but it was beautiful sentiment.

At that time, we were often criticised for focusing too much on the Holy Spirit and not enough on Christ. I guess there were occasions when this was valid. But my experience was that I had never seen or heard the Lord Jesus so openly honoured.

In the thirty five years since then in which I have been involved in Christian ministry, I have seen many trends and fads come and go. Some have been exciting; some have been alarming; some have been intriguing; some have been damaging. I’m grateful for the greatest lesson I ever learned - that more important than anything else is the fact that Christ died for my sins and that He is the only way of salvation.

A few years ago, ‘dancing before the Lord’ was the latest charismatic phenomenon. Some people were teaching that if you didn’t dance before the Lord you weren’t really free. Amazing as it seems now, there was a fair degree of acrimony over this. Some agreed; some disagreed - and often with an unwarranted level of vehemence. Personally, I refused to dance. It wasn’t just my two left feet. It was a matter of conviction. There was no doubt that true liberty was in Christ: it was only by faith in Him that we could ever be really free. Eventually, when the fuss died down and such claims were no longer being made, I danced with the best of them!

Knowing the great, central truth of the gospel has helped me over and over again to decided between truth and heresy. I am so grateful for the grounding I had in my early years. In fact, I think I can fairly say that I tend to measure everything by how closely it adheres to the message of the Cross. If there is even a suggestion that there is some other way to gain credit with God or to achieve grace, I am suspicious.

In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle tells us that every spiritual blessing in heaven is already ours in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). Over and over again, he labours the fact that God’s grace is only given through Christ. He details God’s blessings -- predestinated, chosen, adopted, forgiven, redeemed, lavished with grace, saved, made alive, raised, seated in heavenly places -- and every one is ‘in Christ.’ In particular, it is through the work of the Cross that God’s grace reaches us. To the Galatians, Paul writes --
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14).
This is our only boast, our only glory. The moment we begin to try to experience blessing by any other means or in any other way, we are on dangerous ground. I thank God that He showed me this at the beginning of my days. It is certainly the greatest lesson I have ever learned.

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Tom Treseder

As I entered full-time ministry in 1995 I read a book compiled by Dr Bill Bright entitled, "The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned". It was a collection of stories from Christian leaders. It inspired me to ask various Christian leaders in Australia that I knew (or, mostly, knew of) for their story. These have been sitting in my computer for 10 years waiting for publication, but I didn't collect enough to warrant publishing them. So, I am now posting them as blogs so the stories can get out there. I trust you enjoy them as much as I do.


Tom Treseder

Tom Treseder (was) State Director of the Bible Society in Australia (NSW). This responsibility has the dual thrust of providing Scriptures to the people of Australia and the world.

He has ministered in many countries in: Europe, Asia/Pacific, Middle East and the Americas.

Tom had an itinerant evangelistic ministry with an accompany team over a period of 20 years.

He is a diocesan Lay Reader Emeritus with the Anglican Church.

He preaches Sunday by Sunday in a wide range of pulpits and has a strong evangelistic ministry to men and couples.

He is on the advisory board of the Muslim Awareness Fellowship. Founding member of Fellowship of Christian Sportsmen. Member of the Olympic 2000 Network.

His industrial design profession and his creative gifts have opened many doors of opportunity to find new ways to get God's Word into the hands and hearts of people worldwide.

He is seen as an encourager and a releaser of gifts in other people.

He is a man of The Book.


He was an attractive man to me and I waited my chance to speak with him.

Dr. Paul White, known globally as; The Jungle Doctor, was showing slides of his pioneering missionary work in Tanganyika.

This dynamic, ground breaking ministry was, in my teenage eyes, only equalled by his gaining his University blue as a middle distance runner.

I had blurted out my desire, as a Christian, to be; a good designer, leader, friend, and a world champion rower/sculler.

Fixing his eyes upon me he said, "let me give you a prescription",

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5,6)

This beautiful, humble man's dedication and achievements, continued to inspire me right through until his death.

So too, God's Word had been unlocked as a constant source of inspiration and practical know how, applicable to the daily affairs of my teenage life.

When the inner battle raged over my Sunday rowing and my eventual submission to not row, God gave me that mighty verse;

"My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus"
(Philippians 4:19)

Within two weeks, I was sitting in a beautiful, cedar sculling boat. A man had been "moved" to give me this $10,500 gift.

My training schedule changed to five nights and Saturday and has remained that way ever since.

It was later when I had excelled somewhat, that I was given the opportunity to row in the Olympic trials for eights.

It would mean rowing on Sunday.

However, the very day I needed to make the decision, a dear Sunday school teacher sent me an encouraging letter. The crux of it was the verse made famous by Eric Liddell of the film, Chariots of Fire; "He that honours me, I will honour". This too has dramatically marked my life.

Many people felt I had "lost out" by my stand and therefore never having the opportunity to become Olympic or World Champion. However, not just in sport but also in my design profession, and as a husband and father, God has continued to work out these verses in my life.

The secret has been to be obedient to His leading and be whatever He wants me to be. He means what He says, "He is no man's debtor". There is no sense of loss, only benefits.

So, there is a hope and energy generated through: reading, soaking in God's Word and letting Him work out its message in my life.

I am also given increased determination to "hang in there", when life's pressures threaten to crush and overwhelm me. The fact that He has made me His own, a new person, filled with His Spirit, linked inseparably to Him, a Son of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is releasing, humbling - yet powerful. To read of other sinful men like: Nehemiah, Gideon, David, Abraham, Daniel and yet see how God in His graciousness, touched and used them, produces fresh enthusiasm and sparkle to my life.

To learn how God worked through them, to accomplish what can only be described as miraculous achievements, is motivational stuff of the highest order.

God has used these examples to energise within me the determination to achieve in the last decade many State, Australian and 11 World Masters Championships. It's that same inspiration which He supplies as I lead the ministry of the Bible Society here in NSW.

It's this same passion which produces love and gratefulness for my wife Merriel and my children.
It's out of the desire to lead people to Christ that God enabled me to create the world's first electronic book and Megavoice, the talking book. With others, I am now challenged to find an extra $30 million to provide additional Scriptures for people in the former communist countries and those under the domination of Islam.

Of paramount importance is a wonderful group of God's people who love, accept and encourage me.

A well known quotation which seems to characterise my life is:
"Some people see things as they are and say why,
I see things which never were and say why not".

Let me add to that:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

Tom H Treseder

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Bob Stokes

As I entered full-time ministry in 1995 I read a book compiled by Dr Bill Bright entitled, "The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned". It was a collection of stories from Christian leaders. It inspired me to ask various Christian leaders in Australia that I knew (or, mostly, knew of) for their story. These have been sitting in my computer for 10 years waiting for publication, but I didn't collect enough to warrant publishing them. So, I am now posting them as blogs so the stories can get out there. I trust you enjoy them as much as I do.


Bob Stokes

Bob Stokes has spent sixteen years on the mission field in both India and the Fiji Islands. His radio talks over the FBC were warmly appreciated and he has had considerable experience as a youth leader “down under”. With Dr. Billy Graham’s recommendation to the churches in 1959, Bob travelled extensively in evangelism and Bible teaching, eventually becoming a recognised convention speaker in that part of the world. He also shared a “Keswick” ministry in Zimbabwe, South Africa and India. In 1964 he linked his ministry with that of Trans World Radio, and his weekly talks Gems of Grace were heard by many thousands of listeners in many countries. Bob is also author of a number of books, and his latest daily pictorial devotional To God be the Glory received a mention in Australia’s national TV program Sale of the Century and a write up in Photoworld magazine. Now a widower, and 80 years of age, Bob has a world-wide ministry - regularly visiting the USA where he assists in “pastoring” a church in Boulder (Colorado).

{Bob has since passed into the presence of his Lord Jesus Christ}


It happened over 50 years ago while my beloved wife, Cynthia, and I were serving the Lord in India. We were on an annual visit to the Nilgiri Hills to get away from the extreme heat of the plains when I met up with an Indian Christian friend who greeted me and said "The Lord has blessed me this year". "And how has He blessed you?" was my question, thinking that he had perhaps come into a fortune. "HE TOOK MY BABY GIRL TO BE WITH HIMSELF" was the calm and unexpected reply. I was staggered. As I walked away I said to myself "CouldI possibly say that if my child was taken? With few earthly possessions besides, our children meant so much to us. Could our faith reach the heights of this young Indian Christian who called his bereavement a blessing?

A few months after our return to the plains, our little daughter Rosemary Ann took sick and was rushed to the nearest hospital sixty miles away. While every attention was given to our child, I visited the wards with a message of hope in a living Saviour. To those whose minds are blinded by sin and idolatry, even to those in our own country who set up their array of chromium plated twentieth century idols and worship them, such a message is often strange and bewildering. How do we know that Christ rose from the dead? What is the proof of immortality? Within a matter of days the little life began to flicker, and before we could realise it our baby daughter was with us no more. It was indeed a shattering blow.

As we stood together over the little mound wreathed in pink oleander, we knew the biggest test was yet to come. How could we face the Indian community back at the Mission station? How could we show to those around that Christ had risen from the dead? Where was our faith now? Would it stand the test? Did we really believe the message preached in those very hospital wards? Turning to God in our human helplessness we took the journey back. wondering if we would fail Him. Upon arrival, crowds were there to greet us and the tears flowed freely. This made it all the harder but looking to our Lord we were enabled to lift our heads high, and strengthened by His power we were prevented from breaking down as we made our way back to the bungalow. This triumph of faith had its own amazing sequel.

It happened the next day at language study. Our tutor, a Brahmin, threw down his books and said "It's no good: I can't work today - I might as well tell you that I believe." "Believe what?" we asked. "I believe that Jesus Christ is the true and living God" was the amazing reply. We could scarcely take it in. "What makes you believe?" we asked with growing wonder and joy. "Well, it's like this" answered the Brahmin. "I've been telling you about my gods for some time, but something you said about Jesus Christ has worried me a lot. You said that He rose from the dead, and I worked it out that if Jesus Christ rose from the dead then he must be the living God - He must be the truth. But I wanted proof. How could I know for sure? When I heard about the death of your little daughter I said to myself, 'Ah, this is the acid test. If Jesus Christ rose from the dead I shall see it in their reactions. I shall see their faith at work.' So when you stepped off the train yesterday I was hiding behind a banyon tree, watching to see what would happen as you walked along the road with your weeping friends. The radiance in your faces broke me down, for He did for you what my gods could never do for me. I believe He is indeed the living God". In the midst of our deep sorrow we were beginning to learn one of life’s greatest lessons.

Another year passed. It was in the same Nilgiri Hills that I met the same Indian Christian. It was my turn this time. "Brother" I said as we greeted each other, "The Lord blessed me too this year". "How is that?" asked my Indian friend. "Well, He took MY little girl to be with Himself" was the answer. And the two of us shared our experience as only two can who have been the same way, learning another of life's great lessons.

The years rolled by and God gave us another little girl whom we called Joy, in place of sorrow. She was a beautiful child with blue eyes and auburn locks, the joy of our hearts. It was some time later while we were serving the Lord in the Godavari Delta that something happened which for ever changed our attitude and outlook toward others. It was like this.

A fellow missionary loaned us her houseboat, an ideal way of travelling with our family from village to village along the many canals in the Godavari Delta. At the time I employed a young married man to care for the many odd jobs on the compound, and this involved thoroughly cleaning out the boat before embarking on an evangelistic tour. Flies are more dangerous than tigers in India, and where such diseases as cholera, typhoid and dysentery abound, cleanlinessis imperative to secure adequate protection. When I examined the boat it was in a filthy condition and I was livid. Seizing the young man by the shoulders I shook him in my anger, and in so doing I tore his flimsy shirt.

Instantly I knew that my reputation, as far as he was concerned, was finished. He would never listen to me again, and it would not stop there. I had to do something about it quickly. I heard voices. One said "Have it out with the Lord", and I was determined to do that. Another said "Buy him a new shirt" and I would have gladly purchased half a dozen. It was the still small voice that whispered, "Before you bring your gift to the altar first be reconciled to your brother...". All my pride rose in protest, but there was no other way out. I placed my arm around his shoulder and simply said "Sorry, brother!" I really meant it too.

The miracle happened. Slumping down on his knees at my feet he cried in agony to the Lord as he confessed sins that I knew nothing about. His sorrow accompanied mine. In a few moments we had our arms around each other, and I never had a more faithful friend and brother in the Lord. My ministry, instead of being ruined, was even enhanced. I was learning another great lesson in God's marvellous school of faith.

That is not all. On this trip my wife contracted typho-malaria and was taken to hospital in a critical condition. Our two children came down with violent dysentery and Peter was at the point of death. Little fifteen month old Joy was seriously infected and for some unknown reason, although hospitalised, she suddenly passed away in my arms with severe dehydration.

I had to break the devastating news to my seriously ill wife who was tearing her hair in a semi-delirious state. It was an agonising time for us both. I will quote from my booklet "More Precious Than Gold" ...
"The trial of my beloved being shut away from ministering to her babes was hard, but the spirit of resignation to the will of God in the removal of her second cherished baby girl within three years was a magnificent triumph of grace. When the little body was brought into the ward, dressed in white, her sweet face set in a mass of golden curls seemed to radiate the glory into which she had entered. I shall never forget the most beautiful smile I have ever seen cross that young mother's face as she looked for the last time at the earthly form of the joy of her heart. At the little service held at her bedside, it was a tower of strength to see that frail emaciated form propped up in bed leading in the singing of "All for Jesus". Oh, the matchless power of the sustaining grace of God! Then we laid the wee body to rest with many a saint of God, our voices echoing with songs of praise and thanksgiving as the twilight swiftly closed the day."

One who attended the ceremony was none other than our previously mentioned Brahmin friend who had taken a long train journey to be present. My dear wife and Peter slowly recovered, but the Lord was teaching us perhaps the greatest lesson of all. Let me explain.

You see, if I had not been willing to say "sorry" to my brother whom I had wronged and if I had not freely forgiven him for his seeming negligence, where would I be today? I could have laid the death of my precious little daughter to his charge. I might have left India a disillusioned man, never to return to the mission field again. I could have even blamed the Lord for it all. But do not think for one moment that l have been without deep distress. desperate devastation and the detrimental depression that inevitably accompanies such deep dealings with God. This has enabled me to enter into His sufferings, a necessary requisite to glory.

As it is, although my dear wife passed away five years ago, increasing and compound­ing any loss and loneliness to a frightful degree, God had graciously given us three more wonderful daughters, and I now rejoice in four remaining children, thirteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Spiritually speaking, after recent shattering bereavement, I am learning to walk again, (this time with a limp) and amazingly enough at eighty years of age I continue to enjoy a fruitful world-wide ministry full of the Lord's richest blessing - largely the outcome of tearfully battling through with the Lord and sharing His victory with others.

The greatest lesson I have learned is to trust the Lord implicitly in the midst of life's trials and tribulations, when He will undoubtedly transform tragedy into triumph and bring blessings out of buffetings, as we humbly submit to His claims and seek to obey the promptings of His Spirit in accordance with His precious Word.

"For our light affliction, which is for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal". (2.Cor. 4:16-18).

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Earl Roberts

As I entered full-time ministry in 1995 I read a book compiled by Dr Bill Bright entitled, "The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned". It was a collection of stories from Christian leaders. It inspired me to ask various Christian leaders in Australia that I knew (or, mostly, knew of) for their story. These have been sitting in my computer for 10 years waiting for publication, but I didn't collect enough to warrant publishing them. So, I am now posting them as blogs so the stories can get out there. I trust you enjoy them as much as I do.


Earl Roberts
Earl Roberts was a successful property developer/entrepreneur. He sold his business in New Zealand and travelled extensively in the UK and South Africa. After arriving in Australia at the age of 33 he was introduced to the person of Jesus Christ. Within 18 months he was accepted on full-time staff with Life Ministries/Campus Crusade for Christ.

Earl originally ministered as an itinerant evangelist, travelling around Australia in a van towed by a P76. He then started the work of Life Ministries in Victoria, planting a church at Warrenwood. Earl was the National Director of Campus Crusade for Christ in New Zealand for 5 years before returning to Australia and being seconded as a pastor to develop a discipleship program at Wesley Mission in Sydney.

Earl was the Australian National Director of Life Ministries/Campus Crusade for Christ - an international organisation of over 25,000 full-time staff in over 190 countries around the world.

Earl was a co-founder of NATIVE (Nationals Training Institute for Village Evangelists) in Hyderabad, India. NATIVE has an extensive church planting ministry in central India.

Earl is a keen sportsman and enjoys a game of tennis, cricket or squash.

He is married to Robyn and they have a son and a daughter.


When I was young I set myself the goal of becoming financially self-sufficient by the time I was thirty. I achieved this by the age of 29 and yet still felt a frustration in my life. I sold my real estate business, left New Zealand and travelled for a few years, setting up new businesses in the UK and South Africa before arriving in Australia at the age of 33.

It was then that I finally found the only thing that would satisfy my longing - a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I discovered that this relationship was not based on anything I had done or could do, but was based solely on what God had done for me through the death of His Son on the cross at Calvary. This grace was not just a “pie in the sky when you die” promise of heaven, but a “steak on the plate while you wait” promise of abundant life. I was saved because God’s grace did not affect just a moment, but impacted a lifetime and all eternity. This truth has been foundational to all that I have learnt ever since.

Soon after becoming a Christian I attended a Life Ministries camp and learnt about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I learnt that it is only through God’s empowering moment by moment that I am able to live the life that He has called me to live. I learnt that although sin short-circuits the power of God in my life. By the process of “Spiritual Breathing” I am able to confess my sin, accept God’s forgiveness and continue in His enabling to walk in His Spirit. I learnt that we are like the balls used for lawn bowls - we all have a bias in us that draws us off the straight path, but God has put His Spirit in us to overcome the bias and enable us to live for Him.

Within 18 months of being introduced to the person of Jesus Christ I was caught up in His program. I discovered God’s heart for the lost in this world and committed myself to helping fulfill His Commission to go into all the world and make disciples.

It was during a trip to India in 1980 that I learnt my greatest lesson since salvation. Our team had arrived in Hyderabad and I was preaching at my first Indian church that morning in a dusty village where they packed about a hundred people into a little hut. I arrived a half hour early, at 8 o’clock, to be sure I was prepared and I met an Indian man called Isaiah.

“What do you do, Isaiah?” I asked.
“I’m an evangelist,” he replied.
I said, “Good to see you’re here early”
“I came 2 hours early to pray for you, a fellow evangelist,” he responded.
I was intrigued, so I asked him what he did as an evangelist.
“Six days a week I visit villages. I leave home at 7am and walk to the village for that day. I talk to the people, hand out tracts and then walk home by 9pm.”
I asked where he lived.
“I have no house. My wife, 4 children and I live in a shanty, under a tarpaulin with corrugated iron for walls.”
“How do you support your family?” I was compelled to ask.
“I have this ‘blessing bag’,” he said showing me a canvas bag slung over his shoulder, “it has two halves. In one side I put the tracts that people like the Bible Society supply for me to give away. In the other side I put the food which people give me as I travel. Sometimes people invite me in for a meal as I visit But everyday when I come home at 9pm my family gathers for our meal of the day comprising of what God has supplied that day. I always come home with the food side full and I am blessed because God has given me a small stomach.”

“How long have you been doing this for?” I queried.
“Six years” Isaiah replied.
“And how long will you do this for?” I asked.
“Oh, Mr Roberts” Isaiah exclaimed, “you know that when God calls you to His service its total commitment for life! Not only in living, but in sharing the wonderful news of Jesus.”

I was to be preaching on commitment at the service that morning, but here God had taught me the very lesson I was to teach.

When I became a Christian I staggered at the wonder of God’s grace for me at Calvary. As I grew I discovered His empowering was sufficient to climb the hills and walk through the valleys. I discovered God’s heart for the lost. God’s program flows out of who He is. Our commitment to Him will be reflected in our commitment to His program. Like God Himself, His program is big enough to capture our vision for our whole lives. It demands the commitment of all our heart, all our soul and all our strength.

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Jean Raddon

As I entered full-time ministry in 1995 I read a book compiled by Dr Bill Bright entitled, "The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned". It was a collection of stories from Christian leaders. It inspired me to ask various Christian leaders in Australia that I knew (or, mostly, knew of) for their story. These have been sitting in my computer for 10 years waiting for publication, but I didn't collect enough to warrant publishing them. So, I am now posting them as blogs so the stories can get out there. I trust you enjoy them as much as I do.


Jean Raddon

Jean Raddon was born in England and is now an Australian citizen. She is a trained nurse, and served in the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service during World War II, and had tours of duty in both the European and Pacific zones.

Jean then felt God's call to missionary service, and attended Redcliffe Missionary Training College in London for two years. She was privileged to join the first Christian medical team to enter Nepal, where she stayed for seventeen exciting years.

Jean was invited to Australia by Christian Women Communicating International to speak at conventions all round Australia. She was their first international speaker. Later Jean was invited to become their first full-time staff worker, and came to Australia in 1970.

In 1971 Jean introduced Bible Study Fellowship to Australia and began a work which still has a great following there.

However, being very conscious of the needs of the Australian women in the outback, C.W.C.I. felt it necessary to run their own Bible study course. Jean pioneered the work of 'Know your Bible', and there are now over two thousand classes functioning in Australia, and the courses are used by women in at least twenty other countries.

For eight years, travelling in a Toyota Coaster converted into mobile home, Jean, accompanied by a friend, journeyed thousands of kilometres around Australia. Her friend sold Christian books and Jean taught the Word in various outback situations arranged by Christian Women Communicating International. Openings came to speak in the States at the Winning Women Conferences, and in Canada at the Women Alive Conferences.
Jean's involvement with C.W.C.I. was to take her ,to many different parts of the world, sharing her faith in the Lord Jesus and teaching God's Word in depth. She has written three books and many of the Bible Study Courses used in the 'Know your Bible' series.


I was eighteen years old. The most wonderful thing that ever happens to anybody had happened to me. I had come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as my very own Lord and Saviour.

I sat on a bus in London next to a man who seemed to me at that time very old. To my amazement I saw he was deeply engrossed in reading the Bible. Plucking up courage, I asked him if he really enjoyed reading the Bible. The twinkling blue eyes looked straight into mine as he said: 'Dear child, I have read this book almost every day for seventy years. It never ceases to fill me with wonder and feed my soul.'

That was the beginning of the greatest lesson of my life as I look back over fifty five years of reading perhaps not every day - the wonderful book God has given us. So, the greatest lesson I have ever learnt, the wonder of the Bible, spans those years and I continue to learn.

It was my privilege to be in the first medical team to go into Nepal. For many years the leaders of the mission I worked with had taken hold of God's promise for that little land. For sixteen years they worked on the borders, standing on that promise in Deuteronomy: 'The land whither ye go to possess it is a land of hills and valleys, a land the Lord thy God careth for, the eyes of the Lord thy God are upon it all the day long.' I continued to learn the greatest lesson of my life! God makes His promise, but He is never in a hurry.

Then came added assurance of the power of His Word in so many different ways. An all night prayer meeting was held on the roof of a house in Nautanwa in North India. At about one there was a lovely sense of God's presence on that roof top. Then two quotes came to us very clearly encouraging us to step out in faith that God was going to open Nepal to His Word. 'I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.', 'Be strong and of a good courage, the Lord God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.'

My greatest lesson was taking root!

Nepal was closed to the outside world, and when it seemed to be opening, the whole situation seemed impossible. We were not to be allowed to proselytize, and by law people could not change their religion.

I began to learn that our God is the God of the impossible, and His Word had to be taken by faith. I was learning.

A whole book could be written on the ways I continued to learn this greatest lesson of my life.
We were six women forming a medical team. We explored the beautiful valley on Pokhra looking for a place to settle and build our hospital. One day as we walked we came onto a most beautiful piece of land, a wide green stretch from which one looked out onto the whole Annapuma range. As we stood, silenced by the amazing beauty of it all each of us had that 'gut' feeling that this was where God wanted us to build.

Praising the Lord, we went to the authorities, only to be met with a complete refusal. They want that land for so many things school, university, barracks etc. We returned to our base rather flattened. We had felt so strongly that the piece of land we had stood on was to be ours. As we settled together in our mud hut for the delightful time of fellowship and prayer we enjoyed, our hearts were heavy. We were reading through the Bible together and had reached the last chapter of Proverbs. Remember we were all women! One verse literally jumped out at us: ‘She (it was the 'she' that got us) seeth a piece of land and taketh it.’ We never moved from that room, but began to praise, God for giving us that land.

The hospital I worked with for seventeen years still stands on that piece of land.

Oh, yes, I was beginning to understand that the biggest lesson of my life was to realise the power of the Word of God. However, my seventeen years in Nepal was just the beginning of realizing the power of His Word!

I was invited to Australia in 1968 as the first international speaker Christian Women Communicating International had used. As I moved around I began to be increasingly conscious of the need the women had of Bible teaching. However, my work was in Nepal, and I returned there never dreaming of what was ahead. The C.W.C.I. invited me to join their staff in Australia. I was petrified, but again His lovely Word caused me to realize He was leading me out of Nepal: 'If you do this, and God commands you, all these people will go to their homes in peace.

So, in 1970 I came back to Australia and began afresh learning the biggest lesson of my life. This was learnt and still is being learnt - the amazing power of God to change lives through study of His Word.

For many years the leaders in C.W.C.I. had been concerned about the follow up of the hundreds of women who were being touched by God through the Convention movement. Many of these women came from churches which gave good Bible teaching, but many did not have a clue about the relevance of the Bible to their ordinary, everyday lives.

Grace Collins, founder of C.W.C.I. had heard Miss Johnson of Bible Study Fellowship speaking of her Bible studies, and Grace felt excited as she saw the answer to their prayers. I was just about coming to Australia, and Grace and I went to the USA to see what it was all about. To see six hundred women week by week, studying the Word together deepened the reality of the greatest lesson I had ever learnt.

What really impressed me as we started our work in Sydney was the way the Word works quietly in lives. One husband rang to say his home had been hell. He was either screaming at his wife or she was screaming at him. Then a neighbour had taken his wife to the Bible class. His voice broke as he said: ‘ I don’t know what happened to her, but she has become so nice.’

I saw the power of this amazing book working in so many different ways. Homes were changed, marriages put right, faith was deepened and this, of course, affected all the children.

However, change was to come. The need of the women in the outback really began to burden my heart. The structure of B.S.F., wonderful as it was, needed fifty women to start a class. In many, many parts of Australia this would be impossible, so we brought into being the Know Your Bible courses.

Again I realized this was the biggest lesson I had ever learnt. The power of the written Word to change people's lives, to bring them to a knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and to mature into what Christ wanted them to be became overwhelming. I had loved and served the Lord for many years, but to see His Word changing lives, changing attitudes and changing thinking was incredible.

There was no pressure brought to bear (except by the unconscious working of the Holy Spirit) but I began to see if only people would study the Word, think about it, discuss what they thought and share it, God was able to do mighty things.

As I continued to learn this great lesson of the power of His Word, I remember with joy story after story of changed lives. Learning this lesson was to have an even wider impact upon my life. I was coming up to that lovely age when the government pays you for doing nothing. My friend, Mary Miller, with whom I shared a home, was also coming up to that time. She was retiring from teaching and with me she wanted to do something with what we both felt were the best years of our lives. We had both experienced the joy of learning that His Word is the answer to the difficulties and problems of life. So we began to pray. How could we do it? What was God trying to show us?

The vision of a mobile home in which to travel around the outback became firmly fixed in our minds. His Word came over and over again to assure us we were walking in the right way. Coupled with this assurance there came into our lives a man who was enjoying fitting out Toyota Coaster buses as mobile homes. Although the Lord had promised to supply everything we needed, the money for the whole venture was a bit short. We decided to ask the Lord for a seal of a thousand dollars to assure us we were doing the right thing. We told no-one; not even our closest friends or our minister, and we did not pray aloud in front of wealthy friends!

Out of the blue came a letter from a friend in England. She was making her will and wanted to leave me five hundred pounds. However, she said she had a strange feeling we could use the money now, and attached to the letter was a cheque for five hundred pounds - which in those days was approximately one thousand dollars! So, with great joy, longing to share His Word with others, we bought our bus. For eight years we travelled thousands of kilometres. Mary sold thousands of dollars of books and I shared the Word with thousands of women.

Increasingly I learnt, and am still learning, that God's Word is the answer to life and to death. Yes, that is the greatest lesson I have ever learn. That God's Word if read, studied and believed will make men and women by the power of the Holy Spirit into the holy people He means them to be.

The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned - Ian North

As I entered full-time ministry in 1995 I read a book compiled by Dr Bill Bright entitled, "The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned". It was a collection of stories from Christian leaders. It inspired me to ask various Christian leaders in Australia that I knew (or, mostly, knew of) for their story. These have been sitting in my computer for 10 years waiting for publication, but I didn't collect enough to warrant publishing them. So, I am now posting them as blogs so the stories can get out there. I trust you enjoy them as much as I do.


Ian North

Ian North is an Australian evangelist and teacher with who ministered for many years in India.

Ian works with Ambassadors for Christ in Sydney.

Ian is married and has four adult children who are actively serving the Lord in various parts of the world.

{Ian has since passed into the presence of his Lord Jesus}


It was January, 1960, the place was Calcutta, India. This was my first experience of a large gathering of Indian Christians as the Evangelical Fellowship of India held its annual conference. My curiosity was aroused when a friend, pointing to a large tent, said, “You should go over and hear the man they call 'The Weeping Prophet Of India.'”

We had arrived in India the previous year to assist Dr. Akbar Haqq as he developed a wide-spread evangelistic ministry in India and Pakistan. Dr. Billy Graham came to India in 1956 and Akbar Haqq had been invited to be his translator for large meetings in New Delhi. As Principal of the Henry Martyn School of Islamics in Allahabad, Dr. Haqq's approach had been more the intellectual and apologetics method rather than the direct preaching of the Gospel. It was through his contact with Billy Graham that he caught the vision of evangelistic campaigns conducted in the context of the largest democracy in the world.

One year after meeting Dr. Haqq in the New York 1957 Graham Crusade, I received my call to India. With five years of seminary education and a further year of special Islamic studies behind me I felt well equipped for the task of preaching and teaching. Of course we knew very well that 'without Him we could do nothing' and that our equipping would not be complete without the empowering of the Holy Spirit. But there were many basic lessons to be learned before I could become "broken bread and poured out wine for the feeding of multitudes." One of those was the lesson of brokenness, of weakness, of tenderness, of what the older generation used to call "a burden for souls." This is where Augustine Salins comes in.

On the advice of my friend, and never having heard a 'weeping prophet', I turned my steps in the direction of the large tent to which he pointed. It was crowded with eager people singing worship songs accompanied by the tabla, a hand beaten Indian drum, and the harmonica so typical of such gatherings. I was getting used to the semi tones and quarter tones of Indian tunes and was beginning to feel that this was my land and these were my people. My grandfather served in East Bengal as a medical missionary in the old days of the British Raj, establishing a hospital in what is today Bangladesh. My father, born in India, was the medical superintendent of the Welsh Presbyterian Hospital in the mountains of Megalaya among the Khasi tribal people. And now here was I, by no planning of my own, one of a new generation of missionaries, working under the direction of an Indian leader as part of an Indian evangelistic team, learning as much as possible to be an Indian in culture and in thought. What new lesson would I learn in this big tent?

There is a story from the early years of the Salvation Army in England. A young officer was sent to a town to preach and establish a witness for Christ. He took his stand and preached on the street corner, calling upon the people to repent, threatening them with the wrath to come, seeking to "pull them out of the fire." But there was no response. Frustrated and disappointed at the hardness of this place the young man sent a message to General William Booth requesting that he be reassigned to a place where the people were less resistant, less hard hearted. The good General sent a brief reply. "Try tears!" In the days that followed the discouraged missionary realized that the hardness was not out there but in here, in his own heart. On his knees he asked God to give him tears! And He did. Was this the lesson for me in the big tent?

Augustine Salins was born in a fishing town on the south west coast of India. His mother was a godly praying lady and his father was the headmaster of a school for orphans. Augustine was the fifth of twelve children. It was through the prayers and example of a godly mother and the witness of a faithful German missionary that Augustine came to saving faith. Some weeks later, after commencing studies in a distant college, Augustine was invited to give his testimony to a young people's group. Naturally nervous and shy he trembled as he walked to the front but as he began to speak his nervousness vanished. With great power he gave his testimony and "because these words came from the depth of his heart, they were charged with emotion. He could not hold back the tears that rolled down his cheeks." The impact was such that early next morning two young men under deep conviction came to Augustine, their fellow student, seeking salvation. From these early beginnings, through times of great inner trial and nervous illness, into many years of marvelous ministry God lead this humble, broken, weeping man.

As Augustine Salins stood to preach that day in the tent in Calcutta he first requested us all to pray for him. Then, beginning in a slow soft voice, he opened the scriptures and preached with clarity and power a biblical message beautifully illustrated from his own experience. As he spoke of the grace and love of God he was unable to restrain himself. His voice, tremulous with deep emotion, and his tears conveyed the passion of his heart for Christ and souls. Any doubts that I may have had about the reality of these tears was swept away. I understood that day something of the heart of Jeremiah, another weeping prophet, who said, "Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people." Or the passion of Paul who reminded the people from Ephesus, "I served the Lord with great humility and with tears... Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears."

It was not until the next January, again at the EFI Annual conference, this time in Lucknow, that I met "the weeping prophet" personally. He invited me to speak in an annual retreat attended by hundreds of believers in his home town. It was here that I cornered him one day and asked him, "Brother Augustine, I have been hearing about your ministry everywhere I go in India. What is the secret of your spiritual power?"

My question embarrassed him? He hung his head and replied, "It's nothing in me. I'm so weak. You can ask my wife! In myself I'm just a big zero." I had the answer to my question. The secret of the turning of thousands of people to Christ under his ministry lay in the fact that here was a man physically and nervously so very weak, and so totally dependent on the grace and power of God, that the Holy Spirit could work through him with unhindered freedom.

To me this broken man has always been a living demonstration of 2 Corinthians 12: 9,10. "He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you and my power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather boast about my weaknesses that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak then I am strong."

It has been my privilege to sit under the preaching of this servant of God as he preached to simple village folk, to university city people, in other lands to those with such diverse cultures as are found in India, England, Australia, and USA, and to see the same Holy Spirit moving with deep conviction upon all. Only eternity will reveal the abundant fruit of his poured out life. We give glory and praise to the Lord who delights to take the weak and to show forth His strength. "When I am weak, then I am strong."