From very early in my Christian life I had a desire to serve the Lord in evangelism. I was involved in various outreaches through my single years and often spent my holidays doing mission trips or gospel meetings with other full time evangelists. After I had graduated from high school I moved to British Columbia and became the caretaker at a missionary home. Many missionaries and evangelists would come through that place on furlough and it was great getting to know them. Some even invited me to join them on the mission field but the time was not right.

In 1981 I met and married my dear wife Karen. She had come from a family who often entertained the Lord’s servants and missionaries when they came to speak at their assembly. This interest became her interest and she had wanted to marry someone who shared her vision.

Early on in our married life we were blessed with three sons. Life was becoming quite full. The mortgage for the house, the car loan and various responsibilities at work and the assembly all seemed to diminish any thought of going to the mission field.

One day and elder in our assembly had asked me if I had ever thought of serving the Lord in missionary service. I said that I had, but could not see me going anywhere now. I thought that I would be content to just see my boys saved and going on for the Lord.

After that brother’s enquiry I started to become very unsettled in my spirit. I felt the Lord increasingly burdening me with the challenge of giving up everything to serve Him, my house, my job, my friends, my family, my culture.As Karen and I prayed about this we began to ask God where He would have us go. We of course had our own ideas and we thought it would be nice if He sent us to some exotic place that spoke English. We had not been getting any clear direction and we continued to bring this before the Lord.

One Sunday morning before heading out to the morning meeting we had prayed and we told the Lord that where ever he sent us we would go. When we arrived at the meeting one of the elders gave me an envelope and said that this was for me. After the meeting I opened it and it contained a brochure from a missionary in Turkey who was appealing for young couples to come out and work with him.

Wow! Of all the places on earth that least appealed to me Turkey would be near the top of the list. Why did we pray that prayer that morning? Why did that brother give us the envelope that morning? Well we had to get before the Lord and really seek His mind on these things because I did not want to go to Turkey.

After several weeks of praying and some research about the country we started to slowly warm up to the idea. We began to write to the missionary who had sent out the invitation and also discuss the idea with our elders. After several months we had pretty much decided that we would go to Turkey if the Lord opened the door. Shortly after coming to that conclusion we received another letter from the missionary. He had just been kicked out of the country and was writing to advise us that it was not a place to take a young family. It was a bit of a roller coaster of emotions, first not wanting to go then wanting to go. The Lord used that experience to bring us to the point of willing to go where we would not naturally choose.

It was about this time that we started to receive the C.M.M.L. Missions magazine. The very first article was written by Jim Legge who was serving the Lord in the country called Botswana. The article described the assembly work in the country and we immediately felt it would be a type of work that we would want to be associated with.

After corresponding with Jim and Irene for some months, Karen and I decided that I should go and visit the missionaries there and explore the possibility of joining them in their work. So in January of 1988 I made the journey to Botswana and spent three weeks there. I spent a week with each of the three of the missionary families and enjoyed my time immensely. Near the end of my visit I was staying with Clark and Hazel Logan in the capital city of Gaborone. Clark said to me that he was not in the business of inviting people to come as missionaries but if the Lord had called us they would be glad to work with us. We took that as a green light from the field and we went back to Canada with great memories of my first visit to Botswana.

In 1990 the company I was working for had transferred me to Burlington Ontario, this was also the place Karen’s folks were so we came into fellowship at Shoreacres Bible Chapel and enjoyed the company of the believers there. We shared our exercise for missionary service with them and in Nov 1991 we were commended to serve the Lord in Botswana.

 

Crawford PaulOur Call