I had just come home from The School of Missions, an annual school held by our church conference. My attendance was paid for by my local church, and the school was a learning scenario to promote evangelism in the local church.
The conference chairperson for evangelism was a lady called Ethel Johns. She was a member of a smaller church in our community,
but we all knew each other because the fellowship of our local churches was very strong.
Ethel was a very short of stature person, very friendly, very religious and very definitely strong willed. When she made up her mind to something God Himself couldn't change it.
Not too long after I returned home Ethel and I were among several attendees at a church meeting. At the close of the meeting Ethel approached me and told me there was to be a meeting at the Strattanville church and I was to be the speaker.
There I was, an introvert if there ever was one, still in my twenties and had never spoken to more than two or three people at one time since I had nervous laryngitis when I had given the valedictory speech
at the graduation ceremony from high school a few short years ago.
"Who? Me?" was my immediate reaction when Ethel dropped that piece of information on me. Then Ethel pulled herself as tall as she could in front of me, looked up at me and said, I can remember it like it happened yesterday, "Why did your church pay your way to the School of Missions?"
I had no response to that. I was stuck, and terrified. But I had no recourse. I called a friend of mine and asked her to go along for moral support, and waited until the night before to put my notes together, and said many prayers for deliverance to no avail and finally the date arrived.
I left the house early enough so as to not be late, picked up my friend, and we were on our way. I decided on the trip over, if I could make one person smile, the rest would be smooth sailing.
When we arrived I was escorted to the podium in the chancel area, I took my seat, and looked out at a literal sea of expectant faces.
Finally the preliminaries were over with and I was announced. I opened my portion with prayer. I don't remember what I said next, but I remember what I heard next - the comforting sound of laughter.
Then I knew God was in control and it was smooth sailing.
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