Asked to Leave

(This story is taken from a fantastic biography about Brother Andrew, called The Narrow Road)

One year after he joined us, Marcus too got married. So now we were seven: Corrie and I, Rolf and Elena, Marcus and Paula, and bachelor Hans. Then Klaas and Eduard and their wives came to be part of our work.

Klaas and Eduard were teachers in a public school in the south of Holland; Klaas taught French, and Eduard mathematics. They came with their wives to the house, one day, after hearing a talk about the work, and asked many questions. They did not tell us that they wanted to join us. They kept their motive a secret, wanting to give the Lord a chance to open the door for them in an unmistakable way.

And at precisely the same time I was going through the same thought pattern. Just as soon as I met these four, I "knew" that they belonged with us. Yet how could I ask them to leave their good positions to take up work that had no salary, that was dangerous, that meant long separations, unless I was absolutely certain the Lord Himself had caused our paths to cross? So I too mentioned my hope to no one but Corrie.

There we all were, then, praying for exactly the same thing yet not sharing our desires lest one influence the other.

God's answer came, several months later, in such an unexpected way that at first we almost missed the guidance. One day Klaas and Eduard each discovered a registered letter in his mail at school. The directors of the school informed them that unless they stopped using their French and Math classes for evangelization of students, and unless they agreed to stop holding prayer meetings for students in their homes in the evenings, they would be asked to leave at the end of the current term.

At first Klaas and Eduard were upset, and so was nearly every parent in the community, for their reputation was excellent among pupils and parents alike. When they wrote us the news I was upset too and was wondering how Christians might fight such a decision: their "evangelization" during school hours had consisted only of mentioning the evening meetings to be held away from school property. And then suddenly, I got it!

"Corrie!" I called, "Corrie, look at this great piece of news!" Corrie came running from the kitchen. "What is it?" "Klaas and Ed may lose their jobs!"

Corrie looked at me as if I were joking. And then she got it too. Of course! Couldn't this be God's way of saying that Klaas and Ed were intended to join us? That same week we drove down to the school and shared with the two couples our long prayers that they might be part of our team.

Klaas and Ed looked at each other and began to laugh. Then they told us that for months they had been asking God to show them whether or not they were intended to leave school to join our teams. Then, for me, came the best news of all.

"There is just one thing I would like to ask you," said Eduard.

"What's that, Ed?"

"What I should like most to do is help with the correspondence and administration." And then, talking rapidly as if to persuade me: "I am precise and accurate, and it's the kind of work I love to do. Do you think there is any chance that I might be able to help you in the office?"

I looked at Corrie. She was having a hard time keeping a straight face. The letters even at that moment were stacked so high that one of her coffee cups had been missing beneath them for weeks. And here, handed to us without our even asking for it, was God's solution.

"Why, Eduard," I said, "I think perhaps that could be arranged:"

Open Doors, Brother Andrew with John & Elizabeth Sherrill, The Narrow Road, Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 2001, p. 318-320.

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