God works in mysterious ways
By Ellen Kersey
When Campus Pastor Dan Huber had to explain to the large group assembled for chapel last Wednesday, he said something like that. He was explaining that the Caulkins Lectureship speaker, Dr. Corne Bekker, had not appeared. They had tried to call him, Huber said, but hadn’t been able to locate him. Huber reminded those gathered to hear the speaker that God knew what would happen on this day – even if it appeared that things had gone awry.
Let me tell you what did happen as a result of Dr. Bekker’s non-appearance. Let me tell you how God works good out of bad.
While I was working at my desk in the adjunct office, Professor Shawn Hussey brought a gentleman into the office and asked where he might work. Assuming it was a new adjunct, I showed him a desk and computer the gentleman could use.
Sometime later, an entourage of business professors entered our office, walked over to the gentleman, and said in a cheery fashion, “Come go to lunch with us.” The gentleman stood, thanked them for their kind invitation, and insisted that he could not go to lunch.
“I couldn’t eat a thing,” he said. The group tried to encourage him, but he wouldn’t be convinced. “Nothing like this has happened to me in 20 years,” he said, referring to missing chapel.
About this time, I realized who he was. This “gentleman” was Dr. Bekker, the chapel speaker who hadn’t been in chapel. Being not as considerate as I should have been, I walked over to the group, looked at Dr. Bekker, and said, “I went to chapel, and you weren’t there.” Everyone laughed, including Dr. Bekker, and one of the group of business profs said, “We weren’t going to mention that.”
It seemed that Dr. Bekker had noted the wrong time for chapel; that was the reason he had missed the chance to speak to Corban students and staff. He was somewhat traumatized by the experience, and besides that, he said, he had many emails to read. The business profs left without him.
But I had a chance to talk to him, learning that he was from South Africa and was headed there the next day. I shared with him that I had two missionary friends visiting with me who had served in South Africa.
“In fact,” I said, “one of them is an Indian South African.” Perhaps, I said,” I could bring them to meet you.” He kindly replied that that would be a great idea.
A couple of hours later, I brought my friends Carol (a Californian) and Grace (the South African) to meet Dr. Bekker (after we had “googled” him and learned he has a prestigious resume). The three of them had a great time, talking about South Africa, some of the changes since the decline of apartheid, and the places they knew in common.
Carol and Grace, who ministered originally in South Africa – some 40 years ago — and most recently to Hindus in years in Fiji, came home to California to retire, but quickly realized that retirement was not what they wanted to do. In fact, their plan is to return to South Africa and continue their ministry to the Hindus.
In order to do that, they hope to connect with churches that have a heart for the Hindus, and this is where the “God works in mysterious ways” comes in. Dr. Bekker took their information, talked to them about churches he knows of that have a heart for missions and reaching Hindus, and he promised to make connections for them.
Had Dr. Bekker appeared on time for chapel on Wednesday, chances are slim that I would have met him. If I hadn’t met him, my missionary friends wouldn’t have met him. If my missionary friends hadn’t met him, they wouldn’t have made that contact that just may be what they need to continue their ministry with Hindus.
Now do you see how “God works in mysterious ways?”