Mystery! Wonder! Providence! by Roberts Liardon
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“Mystery! Wonder! Providence! Here I was on my way to Australia to meet and travel around the world with a man I had only met once. How strange.” This excerpt is from Lester’s diary entry on the first day sailing on the R.M.S. Makura for Australia. Lester was reflecting with amazement on how the Lord had brought him to the place where he was. Although he had only twelve dollars to his name, he had faith to believe God would make a way. The pastor who had driven him to the docked ship had expressed concern, saying, “Lester, you will starve.” The young man’s response had been to suggest that if that happened, his tombstone should be inscribed: “Here lies Lester Sumrall—starved to death trusting Jesus.”
Roberts Liardon tells us that no church or mission society was backing or supporting Lester and Howard on their journey. However, Howard had told Lester that they needed to travel by faith and never ask for help or even mention to anyone but the Lord that they had a need. As the ship sailed out of the San Francisco Harbor and into the vast Pacific, Lester resolved that he would spend his lifetime adventuring for Christ. He looked at his finances and declared, “If God could feed Elijah by the brook of Cherith, He can supply our needs.” (See 1 Kings 17:2–4.)
The first great challenge to his faith for God’s provision came as the ship entered the port in Sydney, Australia, seven weeks later. The Australian government informed the passengers that they couldn’t disembark unless they had the equivalent of 200 English pounds to bring with them into the country.