I was translated
“And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.” (Acts 8:39, 40)
In the story of Phillip’s translation, we aren’t told what transpired during the time that Phillip left the Ethiopian eunuch and his arrival in Azotus; how long it took or what he passed through between leaving the eunuch and his next destination. The experience I am about to share with you was just as supernatural as brother Phillip’s and like the account in the book of Acts it will leave you just as mystified as to what I passed through, how it was accomplished or what took place in that time warp or lapse that I entered when I was translated from one town to another in rural Germany in 1998.
Our team of four adults and seven children had come out of Russia two months previous to my amazing experience. We had left Russia after spending over two years in a northern Siberian town preaching and teaching the gospel to the people in the district where we lived. At the time of this adventure we were staying in rural Germany with an ex-marine whom we had never met before, but who testified that the Holy Ghost had inspired him to take us in for what turned out to be 3 months…there were 11 of us!
We were on our way to Liberia in West Africa and had been led of the spirit to pass through Germany where we were directed by prophecy to raise funds for the second leg of our journey. Having never been in Germany we were at a loss as to how we should go about raising the large amount of money needed to get 4 adults and 7 children to Africa. To add to our dilemma, we had left Russia for all practical purposes, insolvent.
Being missionaries who had lived by faith for many years, we had learned to not analyze the voice of God and in so doing had never lacked a meal or a place to stay. Yet here we were a little over two months in Germany not having raised so much as a bus fare to the airport 300km away. Our faith in His supply was being tested, our faith in our ability to hear from Him in prayer was being tested and our 3 month visa was coming up way too fast. As the leader of our team I can honestly say that I was anxious and even a bit fearful.
I was translated
We were staying in a small town on the outskirts of Frankfurt making plans, by faith, to set up a missionary base in Liberia West Africa. We were moving ahead as if already possessing the promise the Lord had made to us in Western Siberia six months previous to this time. I had produced a letterhead for the project we wanted to start in Liberia and had arranged for a print shop to print 500 copies on A4 paper and had just received a phone call telling me that the job was done and I could come and pick up the package. The print shop wasn’t in our town but was in another rural village type town approximately 20 minutes by bus north of where we lived. The bus soon left our town and was making its way through the very beautiful countryside to the town where the printer was. During the journey the bus passed through a very small town between our village and the printer’s village. Upon arrival I quickly finished my business and walked out of the print shop and turned left down a long slightly inclined street looking for a bus home. It was quite early in the morning, and the idea came to me to walk home.
Rural Germany is quite beautiful, and the sun was out with a few scattered clouds. I had nothing doing that day, so I decided I liked the idea and immediately began looking on the map I had with me for the best street heading south in the direction back home. I had with me one of those numbered map books (page U3 continues on page K12 arrangement). As I really had no idea how to get home by foot I began assiduously following the map as I began walking directly south out of town. Very soon the page I was on directed me to another page where I was able to pick up the street I’d left on the previous page. Again I started following it. About one and a half hours and 3 or 4 pages later I was still heading in a southerly direction and came upon a corn field. The corn was full and ripe and a picture came into my mind of Jesus and his disciples picking corn by the roadside on the Sabbath. I thought “Well, Jesus did it so why not?” I strolled into the field and picked about 10 or so cobs of corn, shoved them into my pack pack with my print job, thinking to myself how cool it was to do something like what Jesus did. I made my way back onto the country road I was following and kept walking.
After another 40 or 50 minutes, I came to another small town and running through the middle of it was a huge 4-lane motorway. The street I was on turned right along the motorway, but very soon I found a foot tunnel that led under the motorway, and took it. Everything seemed to be going quite well, and I was very happy with myself; presently I came to a bicycle path that ran beside a small stream.
Now the kids and I had had many walks in the area where we were staying, and we often passed by a bicycle path that ran beside a small stream on those walks. The thought came to me to follow this path because this may very well be the path I’d seen on those walks and according to the map I was getting pretty close to home base. So I turned right on the path and off I walked; this is where things started getting a bit queer; after about 10 minutes the very scenic bicycle path suddenly entered what seemed like a suburb type setting. I was a little puzzled by this, so I pulled out my map book and sat down at a nearby, covered bus stop. For the next ten minutes, I tried without success to find where on the page I was. After a while, the frustration grew and a few superlatives escaped from my mouth as I was rapidly becoming upset with the “stupid map” and the “obviously ignorant map makers, or printer who clearly misprinted the page I was on”. As I said, about 10 minutes had passed, and I was looking dumbly at the map saying to myself, “I’m lost…how did that happen?” Looking up, I saw some young locals on the other side of the street waiting for a bus. I crossed the street and excused myself and rather asked them rather sheepishly if they could help me find my location on the page I had open in front of me. They were very happy to help the poor, lost, befuddled tourist; but the first thing they said took my breath away. “You are on the wrong page,” “Not possible.” I said, “I’ve followed this book page by page for the past 3 hours or so.” Admittedly, I couldn’t find the street name on the map; which by the way was in clear sight of me just 20 meters down the street. So then I asked them to find the right page, which they did, saying, “You are on this page here”, pointing to the spot. I thanked them, “Now let me see where I went wrong’, I mumbled to myself as I quickly crossed the street in order to avoid any further embarrassment. I sat down and it took another few minutes to get my bearings again. Ahaa…ohk…now all I have to do is…..What?! Wait a minute! This street here leads to the next street south of my point which is running parallel to the street I’m presently on….but that street has the same name as the one that the print shop was on. It took me no more than 2 minutes to walk to the street I had my finger on only to find that it was indeed the exact same street I’d left over three hours previously! I had walked over 3 hours directly south, and made only one turn after the motorway, which was to the right, and had only walked 15 minutes in that new direction to find myself entering on the left side of town 2 minutes’ north of my original starting point.
Let me tell you, I made a direct route for home this time – in the bus. After arriving home, I looked in my bag, and there were the cobs of corn sitting as testimony that I had not dreamed up the whole mysterious adventure. I had certainly walked out of town and into a cornfield in the middle of nowhere. It was now late afternoon. I was tired, but I just had to hear from the Lord about this enigma. The Lord simply said: “I wanted to show you that nothing is impossible for Me; if I can translate you from one spot to another, then I can supply all the money you need to get to Africa. Please stop all your worry and lack of faith. This happened to show you that I can do anything, but you must put all your trust in Me.”
Well, did He keep His promise? Of course! Approximately two months after the miracle, the Lord, through prophecy, laid out a very simple plan that raised 10,000 Euros within a three day period. And only two or three weeks after the money was in our hands, half of our team was on its way to Africa by ship. As for the other half….well, that is another story that perhaps we may get to tell at another time.
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