The Best of the Story: June 2017

Special Note: The Best of the Story: Miraculous Answers to Prayer (published 1993, reprinted 2001) was written by WGM retiree Burnis H. Bushong. The purpose of the book is to share miraculous answers to prayer experienced by WGM missionaries over the years. We hope these stories inspire you to pray for missions activities around the world. A new story from the book is posted each month.

A Dream Divinely Delayed

Monthly excerpt from The Best of the Story
By Burnis Bushong, Retiree

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Among present World Gospel Mission personnel, Merne Harris and I were perhaps the first to be recruited as summer missionaries [now the Volunteers In Action program]. Before beginning our senior year at Vennard College, we spent a summer working among Spanish-speaking people on the Texas/Mexico border.

Cattle had to be driven from a temporary adobe house before we set up residence. Later, we lived in a tent while conducting revival services in a newly constructed church. We helped to build an evangelical grade school and quickly learned that cross-cultural missionary endeavor was extremely difficult, even for college seniors.

For me, the summer confirmed my call to missionary service. For Merne, the summer was different. He struggled, and he even placed on the altar his developing relationship with Sue Reid and his plans for a stateside ministry. As Dr. Harris later wrote, “The only problem was there was no sense of call, and without that call I was not willing to consider missionary service.”

The night before our departure by train for the north and another school year, I walked into the backyard and found Merne standing in the light of a beautiful full moon. I sensed his struggle and inquired accordingly. His response was, “I wanted to become a missionary, but tonight God has made it clear I am to remain in the homeland to train others.”

And that he did! Following two years in a Michigan pastorate, he was invited to return to Vennard College. A Ph.D was earned from the University of Iowa, and Dr. Harris was soon elected to the presidency of Vennard College. Thirty-nine years, nineteen as president, were spent in training others. Hundreds have gone into Christian work with many becoming missionaries.

Dr. Harris served as chairman of the WGM Board of Directors. Following his retirement from college administration, the WGM Board appointed Merne and Sue Harris to serve the Mission as international pastors. Forty-two years after the short-term missionary experience, God gave to Dr. and Mrs. Harris the fulfilled dream. They were now missionaries.

Pray for short-term missionaries. Pray that God’s choice for their lives will be made known through definite and divine calls.

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