|Chapter 2||SIX REASONS WHY I SHOULDN'T BE A MISSIONARY|
"How thankful I am for all your love and the thousands of prayers. A lot of letters have gone between us over these years. God has been so good to me."
Although my mother had always wanted me to be a missionary, there were at least six "good" reasons why I shouldn't have made it to the mission field.
One fellow missionary, who had known me as a teenager, said, "Corrine, it just amazes me that you, of all the young people in that church on Long Island, should be out here as a missionary!"
During a furlough, after I had finished speaking in a women's meeting, a former pastor's wife in the Long Island church said to me, "Corrine, I just can't believe that you've really made it to the mission field!"
I knew what both of them meant. There were a number of factors that made me a most unlikely candidate for missionary service.
I had not come from a good home environment. I can remember a time when my father served God. Then, "just one little drink" became one more, until alcohol controlled him. My mother, a devout Christian, did her best to keep our family together, but with eight small children, she seldom had time to go to church. That one of those children would become a missionary was highly unlikely except for God's intervention. And intervene He did, in a most unusual way.
There was also a shortage of money. Because of his drinking problem, my father lost job after job. What money he did make went for liquor. The situation deteriorated until our family was eventually forced to go on welfare.
Relatives and other agencies helped us as well. My aunt brought used clothes from my cousins and the Salvation Army provided food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas. All of our toys came from the Salvation Army. But God had something special in mind for one of those poor little children. I could never have imagined all that His plan would include.
And then there was my education - or should I say, lack of education. I liked school. But one day my father said, "Corrine, you are 16 years old now. It is time to quit school and get a job and help bring in some money." I remember crying, yet I had no choice but to quit.
Besides all those reasons, I had no obvious talents. I had no musical ability. I had not learned to play an instrument. I could hardly carry a tune. Worst of all, I found it very difficult to speak in front of an audience. A teacher once told me, "You'll never be a public speaker." I believed her.
A fifth reason why I should never have become a missionary was that I had no time to participate in church functions. I had never become involved in the ministry of the church. I only attended the services. Besides, I was shy and quiet and felt left out and inferior because of the reputation of my alcoholic father.
And, lastly, the weight of family responsibility rested heavily on me. I felt, rightly or wrongly, that I was my mother's "right hand" because of the way my father drank. She and my younger brothers and sisters needed not only my help, but my financial assistance as well. In fact, I pictured myself helping to provide for the family for the rest of my life.
But God, step by step, miraculously overruled in the difficulties I thought impossible to overcome.
As a young man, my father had been a sailor. When the U.S. government enlisted experienced seamen to help in the World War II lend lease program, he returned to the sea with the merchant marines. On his first trip back from Russia to the United States, a German submarine torpedoed his ship. Thirteen men lost their lives. My father was one of them.
In a strange way this event helped start a new life for me, for my father had taken out life insurance. That money, along with the monthly allowances for the younger children, made it possible for my mother to provide for the family and freed me from the responsibility. My mother was delighted with my decision to go to Bible school. She decided to tithe money from her income to send me. "If you don't take this money," she said, "I'll give it to someone else." I accepted her offer and off I went.
I decided not to be self-conscious and made a choice to be God-conscious. God needed my voice to tell the Thai people about Jesus Christ, and He needed my voice to acquaint the people in North America with the needs of the Thai people. Now I actually enjoy speaking and with each new assignment, I remember that I am God's voice for that occasion.
My six "good" reasons for not being able to go to the mission field were not important to God. What people thought was not important to God either. God had a plan for my life. He wanted me to be a missionary. With His help, I became His missionary.
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