Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Call to Peru or "How to Find the Will of God"

During 1926 Dr John R Mott, founder of the Student Christian Movement, made a visit to New Zealand in an endeavour to enlist Student Volunteers for missionary work in India and the East. I was one of those volunteers at a meeting for students held in the old Choral Hall in the northern end of Latimer Square next to what is now the YWCA building. Due principally to my previous contacts with men like Frederick Glass, who distinguished himself as a colporteur with the Evangelical Union of South America in Brasil, and George Allen, Founder of the Bolivian Indian Mission, which is now known as the Andes Evangelical Mission, I felt particularly drawn to South America but up to that time had received no leading as to where or in what capacity. Dr Mott did not know anything personally about the continent but he was able to put me in touch with a friend of his who was well informed in this field.

He was Dr John A Mackay, founder of the Colegio Anglo Peruano in Lima, Peru. Since Dr Mackay had recently been appointed pravelling (sic) secretary for the YMCA in South America, he referred me to the Free Church of Scotland under whose auspices the Colegio functioned. They were looking for a teacher of my qualifications at that time and, since [none] was offering in Scotland, offered me a position on the staff.

The net result was that I received a cable at the beginning of the following year asking me to proceed immediately to Peru. Since it was impossible for me to leave without giving due notice of my resignation, it was arranged that I should assume my duties in the Lima College at the beginning of its second semester in August. 1926 was a critical year in my life. I had received a good initial training and preparation and had taken advantage of all the opportunities available in order to achieve this. Now I was seeking definite guidance as to my future. Just at this time I read "The Life of Henry Drummond" and was impressed with a note he had made in the fly leaf of his Bible. It was entitled "How to Find the Will of God" and these were the points he enumerated:
  1. Pray for guidance
  2. Think
  3. Seek advice from those more experienced than yourself but don;t accept that advice as final because you have to make the decision yourself.
  4. Take into account your own inclination and don't be too much afraid of it as God may wish to use your talents
  5. In the meantime get on with whatever job you have on hand because doing God's will in small things is the best preparation for discovering His will in larger issues.
  6. When the time comes for decisions, act for the glory of God in the light of all the foregoing and it may seem that God has left you completely alone to make your own decision
  7. Once you have made your decision, act on it and don't reconsider or turn back.
This was the line I took.  I do not agree with all that Henry Drummond taught but I have been greatly indebted to him for this bit of practical advice. As soon as I received that cable from Edinburgh, I knew that my call had come. I remember to this day how I broke the news to my mother. She was washing up the dishes and I was drying them for her. I told her that my call had finally come and that I would be leaving for Peru about the middle of the year. This was the answer to my parents prayers and my own, and we all recognised it. Neither then or at any time when we were called upon to part, were there any tears, for each parting was an answer to prayer. And God rewarded my parents in a remarkable way. Each time we returned on furlough, which was five times, the whole family was reunited at Christmas and this was the more remarkable as this involved the return from India on four of these occasions of my sister, Dorothy and her husband, Dr A. Bramwell Cook, who were missionaries with the Salvation Army. When we parted for the last time, my father was in his 91st year and my mother in her 89th. That was Goodbye to the best parents one could possible have and I thank God for every memory of them.

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