Instruct a wise man, and he will be still wiser. Teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. (Proverbs 9:9 WEB)
Some people appear to know everything. No matter the subject at hand they seem to be experts in the details and functions of the topic. When a problem comes along they always seem to have a solution. My children accuse me of this but I know it isn’t true. God has proven that over and over during my life.
When living outside your comfort zone it doesn’t take long before you find yourself with a problem you don’t understand. It might be a problem you quickly recognize but have never been asked for the solution. For me this applies to anything dealing with cars and car repair. I like to drive, enjoy it immensely. I love road trips and watching the countryside whisk by revealing God’s glorious handiwork.
This is great as long as the car works. Unfortunately cars are mechanical beasts created by the imperfect hands of men. Looking carefully at the inside of the engine compartment I’m in a quandary. I’m not sure whether the designer is a genius or schizophrenic. How they figure which wire goes to which place and which vacuum hose pulls from which nozzle is beyond my understanding. Give me a transmitter schematic diagram or modulator section and it makes perfect logical sense.
Cars and their internal combustion engines are a mystery. So, when things go wrong I’m in trouble. I never thought of Guam as a school for auto repair. The Lord had other things in mind. During our fourteen years on Guam I learned how to change brakes, universal joints, reseal an engines and replace a clutch. Repairing items such as radiators and air- conditioners were included as well as welding together a gear shift which fell off the car in the parking lot!
Rich was a great help. He actually knew how these things worked in a car and how to make repairs. If a mechanical problem appeared to stump everyone we would ask Rich to look at it. Sometimes he would say, “It can’t be repaired.” We would smile at one another, let an acquiescent “hummm” escape our lips and then say, “You’re right, no one could fix this.” That was the key phrase. It was like a bell to a Pavlov pup. Rich would take up the challenge and discover some new inventive resolution to the problem and have things running in no time.
But it wasn’t fair to have Rich fix everyone’s car, or dryer, or whatever. So, understanding this when I was suddenly the computer expert inundated with requests, I decided it was best to do the work myself and resort to Rich as an expert consultant. Putting my hands and back into the fray he would more than gladly provide me with the necessary instruction to get the repair done. He could do the task but preferred I learn how to work on my own car. He was right, it was good for me and for him. When I was really stuck he’d jump into the repair job with joy and demonstrate what needed to be done. After extracting me from the difficult situation, Rich would leave me to continue and finish the work.
Automobile repairs weren’t the only learning experiences on the mission field. Through the expert guidance of colleagues I discovered I can rebuild engines, drive tractors, operate a back hoe and even sit in a Boson’s chair hanging between the wires of an antenna to help with some high wire work. The last is a mere miracle with my fear of heights! Walking where God called us provided assurance as I stepped outside my comfort zone again and again.
Comfort comes in many forms and one is storage space in the house. This requires lots of closets or storage cabinets. We didn’t arrive with a large quantity of furniture. Our container held some keepsakes from our family and additional storage spaces were necessary. Furniture was available on Guam, for a price larger than our missionary bank account could accommodate.
I checked out the spare items available at the transmitter site I found old shipping containers from our shipment and others who arrived from the mainland. With the help of Kevin, another colleague in ministry, we started a small furniture factory. Well, maybe not real furniture but we made it useful! All the tools were available in the mission shop and long night shifts were a great time for cutting, hammering, and making a general mess when no one else was around.
We created a couple of nice entertainment cabinets complete with doors and curtains so they looked presentable. They’re still being used in our home fifteen years later! Not bad for left over shipping boxes. I was inspired by the work and actually purchased some good wood to build a couple small items for holding magazines and a doll house for Ellice.
As each necessity unfolded I surveyed my talents and knowledge to discover there was always something new to learn. In each adventure God provided the necessary skill, training and guidance through His Spirit and the Spirit led lives of my companions in the ministry. That’s the way God works in our lives. We don’t know everything at one time but receive what we need at the right time.