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Stories of Faith for Inspiration and Proof that God can be Trusted Completely

In My Darkest Hour–Elisabeth Elliot Spoke

     Posted on Tuesday, July 7, 2015 by NN
Elisabeth Elliot Pic

Elisabeth Elliot 1926-2015

Dead in the shallow waters of a sandy river beach deep in the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador lay Elisabeth’s husband, Jim. Along with four other missionaries, they had approached the Auca Indians with hearts full of love to tell them about Jesus. Instead, their hearts were pierced by spears from the angry Aucans.

The Aucans were a remote and isolated people, and the missionaries’ previous brief encounters with the Aucans had appeared friendly. It would not be learned until later that the attack by the Aucans on the five missionaries was precipitated by a lie told by one of the Aucans to cover up his own indiscretion.

But on that day in 1956, the young wives with their little children waited anxiously around the radio at the communication station for contact from their husbands. None came. They huddled in prayer, weeping, fearing the worst but still believing God was in control.

They knew the dangers their husbands were facing as the Auca Indians had a fierce reputation as killers. The very act of continuing to trust in the LORD while waiting for news about their husbands showed the wives’ unwavering belief in the lines Jim Elliot had previously written in his jungle journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Somehow during this time, news had gotten out to the media in the United States, and folks all across the nation and the world were waiting to hear what happened to the missing missionaries. A pilot friend had gone searching for them and from the air spotted their small, bright yellow plane on the beach.

The Aucas scattered through the jungle as the assemblage of members of the Missionary Aviation Fellowship landed on the remote river beach accompanied by U. S. Military personnel and a photographer from LIFE magazine.

When the hacked up yellow plane was found along with the five dead missionaries, news of the massacre flashed around the world. In their jungle compound, the wives wept and grieved for their husbands and fathers of their children.

This was Elisabeth Elliot’s darkest hour.

On a day in 1992 I stood by my kitchen window listening to the radio sitting on the window sill. The fifteen-minute radio program, Gateway to Joy, by Elisabeth Elliot was about to start. I knew her amazing story chronicled in Through Gates of Splendor, and how soon after the killings, Elisabeth and another missionary widow bravely returned to the jungle and lived among the same Auca Indians who had killed their husbands.

Through these young, brave widows, the love of Jesus came to the Aucans and transformed them from a tribe of hate and murder to a tribe of love and peace! So much forgiveness had invaded the tribe that years later the grandson of the martyred pilot Nate Saint would call the man that killed his grandfather “Grandpa.” And grandson and adopted grandpa loved each other dearly! It was all an amazing story of sacrifice and miracles.

But at that moment, I could hardly hear what was being said on the radio as I was dealing with my own darkest hour. After seven years, my environmental consulting company was falling victim to the recession of the early 90s; however, God was using the recession and business failure to call me back from my focus on making money to my focus on Him!

My clients included a well-known international research firm, several Fortune 500 companies, and state, and local governments. But I was small potatoes in their books, and as the recession set in, instead of paying me in 30 days like usual, they started paying 60 days out, or 90 days, or not at all! This forced our family to live on credit cards till my customers paid so I could pay the card. However, this all quickly snowballed, and soon I was in over my head in debt.

As I stood looking out the kitchen window with the radio quietly squawking in the background on the ledge, I thought about the recent visit from the sheriff serving me papers and that the loss of our house to the bank was imminent. The house my wife and I had built in a good school district in a nice neighbourhood at the end of a road in a cul-de-sac so our four young children could play safely outside . . . would soon be gone.

Two credit card companies were suing me and setting up court dates. A well- known law firm in our area was forcing me into bankruptcy—something I never ever wanted to do! Our church started giving us food, which was very humbling to receive, but much appreciated. I never dreamed my life could ever end up in such a mess!

This was MY darkest hour.

In my heart I prayed, “Father, in the name of Jesus, help me! Thank you for using this mess to get my attention back on you, but right now I am lost, confused, and surrounded by deep despair, I’m trusting you to rescue me, but at this moment, I don’t even know what to do.”

Suddenly I heard a voice piercing my dismal gloom, and it felt like someone was speaking directly to me from the radio . . . and Elisabeth was! “When things are so dark and confusing, and you don’t know what to do, then you just—Do the next thing!”

It was an instant answer to prayer!! God had spoken to me through Elisabeth and her dark-hour experience! So….I thought to myself, OK, the dishes need to be done, so I washed the dishes. The next thing to do was to mow the grass, so I fired up the mower and mowed the grass!

Doing the next thing became a mantra for my wife and me for the next two years as we passed through this dark hour. Often during that time my heart would pray, “Thank you, Father, for speaking through Elisabeth Elliot!” Then, I’d go do the next thing!

Today, twenty-three years later, my wife and I are serving the Lord in Southeast Asia. All four children are serving Him in other parts of the world. The Lord completely restored the years the locusts had eaten.

Perhaps you’re reading this, and it’s YOUR darkest hour . . .

We encourage you to trust God in prayer and follow Elisabeth Elliot’s advice that when things become so dark and confusing, and you don’t know what to do–

Then just . . .

“Do the next thing.”

 

 

“You are loved with an everlasting love.  

And underneath are the everlasting arms.” –Elisabeth Elliot

~ ~ ~

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,

For the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”   –Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

 

 

Elisabeth Elliot: Through Gates of Splendor
“The true story of five young missionaries who were savagely killed while trying to establish communication with the Auca Indians of Ecuador. The story is told through the eyes of Elisabeth Elliot, the wife of one of the young men who was killed.” To see the book, follow this link: Link to Gates of Splendor Book

“Gateway to Joy”—Previous Broadcasts Provided by the Bible Broadcasting Network   Link to Past Broadcasts by Elisabeth Elliot

Copyright (c) by William D. (Nick) Nichols

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Big Bug Big Bus

     Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2015 by NN

Big Yellow Tour BusThe following story happened while living in Penang, an island off the west coast of Malaysia south of Thailand about one-third the size of Singapore.

One ordinary day in October . . .

Barb: Returning to our car after having finished our weekly shopping at the local grocery store, we found an advertisement tucked under our windshield wiper promoting a relatively new restaurant in the area, Grumpiez, specializing in hard-to-find Mexican cuisine. Since we had seen many local eating places here one day and gone by the next month, we decided to try to catch it while we could since we both loved Mexican food, had heard favorable reviews about it, were hungry, and were wondering where to eat. After quickly talked ourselves into it, we jumped in the car and headed in its general direction.

Nick: Mexican food works for me day or night, so I was more than ready to try a new Mexican restaurant since authentic Mexican food in Penang is a rarity!

Barb: Once we reached the street and located the house restaurant, it was time to find a place to park—no small task on the two-way, narrow street that turned into more like the size of a one-way street that had cars going both directions as cars slowed enough to squeeze past randomly parked cars that were situated every which way along both sides of the road! Technically, there were not really any official “parking spaces” for the house restaurants that had sprung up on the street, but there were plenty of “No Parking” signs in front of driveways. There was no parallel parking and certainly no apparent organization that would even make one think there was a plan, but, in fact, NO plan was the plan! Park where you could at your own risk!

Nick: And to add to that confusion, cars are driven on the left side of the road in this formerly British colony, so what Barb just described is in reverse from the way traffic/parking is handled in the United States. It’s a whole different ballgame when it comes to parking over here.

Barb: But, with no problem at all, we fell in step with the locals and maneuvered our little three-cylinder car in a spot near the front of Grumpiez so that our car was hugging a large tree while making sure it didn’t block the motorcycle that was parked on the left of the tree and still leaving room for the car on the right of the tree to get out. We were good to go so proceeded to carefully maneuver ourselves out of the car——Nicky on his side that was close to the tree and me on my side that was close to the traffic.

Nick: Barb calls me her “hefty husband” . . . so, hefty me squeezing out my car door smooched against the big tree trunk was like a whale emerging from a cocoon! It definitely would have caught the attention of any passersby had there been any at the moment.

Barb: Nicky got out first and went around the back of the car to lock the back door on the road side of the car while I got out on the driver’s side on the right, pushing the button down to lock my door before slamming the door shut. I walked to the front of the car to get away from the close traffic since we were parked with our wheels right on the edge of the road. I turned and watched as Nicky finished locking the back door.

At this point, the traffic congestion in the road was, well….very congested and the attempts that cars were making to get through reminded me of traffic on an old-fashioned one-way bridge where cars had to give way to other cars and let them pass before they would get their turn. In this case, however, though not really stopping completely, the cars were slowing down to a snail’s pace out of sheer necessity.

Then, suddenly a gap in the traffic opened up beside our car where Nicky was standing, and a very large, brightly colored tour bus stomped on the gas to fill the void. In this country where cars and motorcycles have right-of-way over pedestrians, large vehicles also seem to take on the accepted mentality to bully normal-sized cars, and drivers assume folks on foot will just get out of their way—that is….IF they see them coming.

Since the bus had suddenly appeared and was now to Nicky’s back, he had NO IDEA there was a bus seemingly on a path to unintentionally mow him down, so I went into rescue mode. Seeing how quickly a dangerous situation was developing, with a loud yell and wide eyes that tried to communicate “DANGER,” I shouted, “BIG BUS!” while I pointed to the approaching speeding bus that was now within about ten feet of my husband.

At that moment in time, he was straddling the edge of the blacktopped road and the gravel at its edge and had just finished closing the backseat car door. With my yell, I expected him to move in tight against the car and wait for the bus to pass. However, I found out later that instead of hearing, “BIG BUS,” he heard, “BIG BUG!” As a result, he moved AWAY from the car into the street to get a better view of where the big bug might be so that he could kill it for me. The major problem was that his move away from the car moved him directly into the path of the bus…..that he had no idea was barreling down on him!

Nick: In the tropics we have some big fearsome-looking bugs that I think are really cool, but Barb gets really, really excited about them, so given that mindset, I stepped back to see if the Big Bug she was so frantically yelling and pointing at was on the side of the car door or the roof. I thought it must be a BIG ONE since she was yelling so loudly and looked so distraught!!

Barb: That split second froze in time. The flying bus was now right beside our car just a couple feet away from the obstacle on the side of the road—Nicky’s body.
Time for action had run out! There IS such a thing as a bus driver physically not being able to change his bus’s course of direction due to something unexpectedly moving into its path. I thought this was just such a time, and since the steering wheel is on the right side of vehicles here, that put Nicky on the blind side of the bus driver. I gasped and held my breath, helpless to do anything but fearfully watch. My blood pressure spiked and my heart pounded wildly.  With no time to pray, it was definitely an instance of the Holy Spirit interceding for me when I literally could not. It all happened in a flash, so unexpectedly.

Nick: Unknown to me, at the moment of near impact, I found myself SUDDENLY flattened against the side of the car. I felt the wind on my back sucking at my shirt from something very big, very close, moving very fast behind me, and then turning my head, saw the end of the BIG BUS flying by barely missing me. Now it made sense—THAT was the BIG BUS, not BIG BUG, my wife was screaming about! The bus was big and fast, and had it hit me, I’d have been either in the hospital or history!

Barb: The bus passed, and my husband was still standing—miraculously and by nothing but God’s grace. Total relief passed over me as blood pumped to my head in an attempt to stabilize my body’s rebound. Once I saw that he was uninjured, I turned into an animated half-crazed wife as I blasted him with, “WHY DID YOU MOVE A-W-A-Y FROM THE CAR??” Of course, I wasn’t expecting an answer—I was just thrilled that I could unleash my emotions on a fully alive and uninjured husband!

Nick: When I found myself flat, hugging the side of the car, I was wondering to myself, “Why am I hugging the side of the car!?” because at that moment I wasn’t even aware that I was in extreme danger!! What I know is that when the Lord says He will put His angels in charge over us, He means it, and I had given Him the perfect opportunity to do so!! Somehow God flattened me against the car because I sure wasn’t thinking about it!

Barb: Recovery took a few minutes as the horrors of what could have happened replayed in our minds. We stopped right then and there and thanked the Lord for His protection and in no way took for granted that we were still able to head into the restaurant rather than be rushed to the hospital in an emergency vehicle…..or worse….a hearse!

Nick: Once again, the Lord’s strong hand of protection broke into an ordinary day, saving me from unknown, imminent danger, and by the way, the Mexican food was excellent—I hope they stay in business!

 

“He will put his angels in charge of you to protect you in all your ways.”

–Psalm 91:11 (GWT)

 

(This simple true story has been written to encourage you in your walk of faith, or if you want to know more about how you, too, can also experience a walk of faith with this loving God, follow this link >>> My Hope)

—Best Regards! Nick & Barb Nichols

 

Copyright © 2015 by William D. (Nick) Nichols

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Sold Our Home on the R-A-D-I-O

     Posted on Monday, October 20, 2014 by NN

Green HouseWith my first real job after graduating from college, my wife and I purchased an old farm house in a low-income neighborhood–a great buy, or so I thought at the time. I figured it would go up in value…it never did. It was an original homestead in the area and was over a hundred years old with two floors and a huge attic that made it three stories tall. It had a very large yard with a century-worn old red barn in the back.

The first house on the street corner beside our driveway was painted a bright fluorescent green—so bright, in fact, it almost hurt your eyes to look at it. New to the neighborhood, I wanted to find out what kind of “nut” would paint their house that color. It seemed capable of glowing in the dark!

The sound of the doorbell brought my new neighbor into view. He was a tall and very elderly dignified looking gentleman with a cane and was wearing large dark sunglasses. Introducing himself as Ernest, he invited me in and in short order was telling me all kinds of stories about the area, especially about the great flood that hit Columbus, Ohio, way back in the year “nineteen-O-and-six.” Later I learned the flood was actually in 1913, but at his age, being seven years off didn’t mean much. Anyway, we quickly became friends. Then the question.

“Hey, Ernest, why is your house painted such a bright green color?”

“Wel-l-l,” he drawled, “I’m legally blind, but I can still see some. As my eyes got worse, I started having trouble finding my house when I got off the bus. Then I got the green idea, and I haven’t had a problem finding it since!” he said with a grin.

Soon after, I discovered that Ernest loved Jesus like myself, and during the five years we lived there, we really had some good talks about the Lord. In fact, Ernest had such a passionate desire that others come to know his Savior too that he gave my three toddlers each a little green Gideon New Testament–he really had a thing about green!

His bright green garage bordered our driveway with just a few inches between the two; our drive went up a little hill, which put the drive on a diagonal about three feet high from the bottom of Ernest’s garage. One day while working out in the backyard, I heard a loud “BOOM!” with crunching metal following. Running around to the sound, I saw this big old bronze-colored Buick half in our driveway and half into the side of Ernest’s empty garage. The front end was suspended in midair, filling the emptiness of his garage. Bright green concrete blocks were laying everywhere.

Running over, I yanked open the door and shouted over the motor, “Are you okay??”

Reaching across the elderly woman, I turned off her car’s engine.

Her voice quivering, “Yes, I’m fine—just a little rattled; I have a cast on my right foot, and when I went to hit the brake, my foot slipped off and hit the gas, and I guess my cast got stuck under the brake pedal!” And that’s when she shot up our little driveway hill and through the side of Ernest’s garage.

The squad came, checked her out and took her home. By this time, Ernest was standing by me beside his garage. Knowing he couldn’t see, I said, “Hey, Ernest, you got a big ole hole in the side of your garage!”

Smiling, he said, “One of the good things about being blind is–the garage looks fine to me!”

When we bought the old farm house, we bought it on a land contract that ballooned in five years. That meant in five years we would have to pay the old German man who we bought the house from the balance we owed on it. Being young, that seemed far, far away; I had no idea how quickly time would pass and land us in a financial mess.

During those five years, sadly the old man passed away, and the house went to his wife. Soon after, she, too, passed away, and the house went to their two daughters. One was nice; one was nasty. There was such a fuss between the two sisters about our mortgage payment that we literally had to send two checks with half the amount to each sister separately—neither sister trusted the other to handle the money as a single account.

Reaching the end of our land contract after five years, the two sisters understandably wanted their money for the farm house. For many months prior, we had been trying to sell the house; however, there were two major strikes against the property. First, it was “atypical” of the area because nobody else had a barn, so the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) would not approve a loan on the house.

And second, it was considered a fixer-upper…being so old, it still needed a lot of work. We even brought back the original realtor who sold it to us to help us try to sell the place again. Nothing…those that were in the market for buying a house didn’t want a fixer-upper, and those that were looking for affordable housing couldn’t get an FHA loan because it was atypical.

We were stuck.

We were now in the week before the loan was due and things looked mighty grim.

On Wednesday before the last week, the nasty sister called and said, “If you don’t get me my money by next Friday at noon, I will sue you for all you’ve got!!” That’s when I got out my big old rickety wooden ladder, climbed to the top of our three-story roof, laid hands on the house and prayed that the Lord would make a way for us to be able to sell this old farm house.

The next day, Saturday morning before that final painful week, my wife and I prayed, “Lord, we certainly don’t want to be sued, but we don’t know what to do. We really need Your help!”

Sitting on the bed watching our twin daughters play with their baby brother in our large farm house bedroom on that summer Saturday afternoon, my wife had the radio tuned to a Christian station. A program called, “Trade-E-ola,” was airing at the time. Folks would sell or trade things like used vacuum cleaners, cookware, toys, bicycles, etc. My wife suddenly looks up at me as I walk into the room and says, “I wonder if they would accept a house for sale on Trade-E-ola?”

She calls the show. “Lady, we’ve never sold a house over the radio before, but we’ll give it a try!”

We prayed and waited, listening for my wife’s recorded message about the house. She had called near the end of the show, so we weren’t sure if it’d even make it on the air or not, but we prayed it would since the show was only broadcast on Saturdays. As we saw it, this was our last hope. Then, like music to our ears, we heard her recorded message loud and clear on the good ole R-A-D-I-O! In reality, it seemed pretty crazy to us that we were resorting to trying to sell a house on an old pots and pans radio show, but we certainly were!

The weekend passed, and the clock started ticking down to Friday when the money was due in full.

On Monday a lady called; she was looking for a house with some storage area for her son’s drywall business and had heard my wife’s message on Trade-E-ola about the house with a barn on the property.

Tuesday, nothing.

Wednesday morning the nasty sister calls once again with a vivid reminder, “If you don’t have my money or a buyer by 12 o’clock noon Friday, then you can plan on seeing me in court!!”

On Wednesday afternoon, the lady that called on Monday calls again and wants to look at the property. That evening she comes over.

Soon after opening up the conversation about the house, my wife finds herself saying to this complete stranger, “I believe in ‘zaps’ from the Lord, and we are trusting Him about the sale of the farm house.” To my wife’s complete surprise, the lady echoed, “I believe in ‘zaps’ from the Lord, too.”

A nice chat continued briefly about the Lord and their families. Then, my wife explained the difficulty of getting a loan on the house, to which the lady replied, “I don’t think that’ll be a problem; when my husband died, he left me a large tract of land (in a wealthy section of town we found out later). I can use that for collateral with the bank if I decide to buy.” (In actuality, her “collateral” was such that buying our property was like her buying a loaf of bread!)

Thursday, nothing. Friday’s coming.

Friday arrives. This is it. We feel like it’s our D-Day or rather Dread Day in our “Oh ye of little faith” moment. We really did not know what this Friday would bring. We had prayed and had done what we could. I was at work and continued to pray while waiting and doing my job.

At home, my wife went about her duties with our three small children…8 o’clock….9….10 o’clock. The clock seems to be in slow motion racing toward 12 noon, our deadline when the nasty sister was going to pounce on us. My wife remembers the deafening silence of that morning well…..

Then, at 11 AM the silence was broken by the sound of the ringing phone. With anxiety and excitement, my wife says, “Hello” and doesn’t remember much else except the words, “I’ll buy your house.” ZAP! God rescues us!

We call the nasty sister and tell her we have a buyer.

We give loud praises and thanks to the God of the Bible who heard our cry for deliverance, chuckling a bit that He could even use a Trade-E-ola R-A-D-I-O show!

There was no mistaking it, LITERALLY, at the 11th hour the Lord rescued us!

We would have preferred more of a time buffer, but it seems like it was our turn to experience the old saying, “God is rarely early, but never late.”

And so it was.

 

 
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.     —Psalms 27:14 (NIV)

 

 

(This simple true story has been written to encourage you in your walk of faith, or if you want to know more about how you, too, can also experience a walk of faith with this loving God, follow this link >>> My Hope)      —Nick & Barb Nichols

Copyright © 2014 by William D. (Nick) Nichols
[Dedicated to JoEllen H., who revived my memory for this story.]

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