Fremantle Wharf on that September day so long
ago, I could feel the pang of loneliness creep up
my spine. The streamer became tighter as the
young nurse on the wharf wrapped her end
around her hand. I leaned over the deck rail
hanging onto my end as long as I could. Finally
the paper snapped and we were reduced to waving until we could no longer make out each
other's face. What had I done? What had brought us to this moment of painful separation?
Only a few months after settling in Perth things changed a great deal in my family’s circumstances and I prayed “Lord I believe You have freed me to respond to your call to India, but when and where?” That night I received a phone call about a new venture (now called GLO Ministries) and a team was being formed to work in Madras, (now Chennai) India, to spread the Good News via literature and visitation. About this time two young Queensland girls had just finished their general nursing training. Deciding to qualify in midwifery they applied and were accepted at the WA King Edward Memorial Hospital. Both were keen Christians and turned up at my home church. We mixed socially and on one occasion with no thought other than to be polite, I suggested coffee while waiting for her friend to come off duty. It was over coffee in the El Calib Cafe in Hay Street, Perth that I fell in love with Daphne.
What a dilemma! I was committed to going to India. Daphne was committed to doing her training. Would I cancel my plans for India, or would Daphne quit her nursing course and come to India with me? We both believed that God was in control of our lives and that He had planned our future for us so we prayed in earnest. We reasoned together that God had led me to missionary service in India before I met Daphne and that God had led her to her present course of action before she met me. So we made the most difficult decision of our lives. I would go to India and she would complete her plans and then we would marry. For six months we prayed and planned and, yes, we had the peace of God about our decision.
On the lighter side, my workmates at the Kodak Company, were convinced that no girl would wait for me while I flitted off in some hair-brain scheme for two years and were prepared to “put money on it” They lost but I never saw the cash! As I think back, I realise that if I had gone to India earlier, as planned, I would never have met my Daphne. So, I learned that my disappointment was God's appointment. After two years and 1500 letters we were married, but the drama of that “near miss” is another story woven into the fabric of God's perfect will. And for 46 years God has remained faithful to us.
* Thanks Ken for sharing your touching story with us. Ken Harding is involved in an itinerant Bible teaching and evangelistic ministry.