Published in 2004
Everyone has a testimony; history is our testimony. There are many people in business and other things declaring what their history has been. But our testimony is about God in our life and what He has done and what He means to us. This will be a joint testimony on the part of me speaking for my wife and for myself.
God brought us together; we became one and moved together in His will as He revealed it to us. It is very important for me, and for any Christian, to recognize that our testimony is only of value in the measure in which the Lord has His place. In the Scripture we read about God appointing pre-eminence to His Son and so it is important that whatever we call our testimony, if it is going to be of value to anyone, must have the Lord in His place.
Meg’s early years
I would like to begin with my wife’s testimony. I will just refer to her as Meg, because that was the name I always used for her and what she called herself.
Meg Sprackett, Marjorie, as her full name was, was born on 5 April 1907. Her parents were separated and as a result Meg had a very miserable childhood. Her father was in business in Burma, from which country he exported silk and ivory. At the age of six she was sent home under the care of a captain of a boat, and back in England she had to be accommodated by aunts and uncles. None of these people really wanted her and therefore her school holidays were miserable occasions.
When she grew up, she had education in the highest grades. Her mother was very zealous that she should have the best education, and therefore she sent her daughter to one of the best schools in England. Meg, however, was not so much interested in her education; she always wanted to explore new things. She was a bit of a bother because she got into mischief and was a nuisance to some of the people she stayed with.
She read the story of Mary Slessor—a missionary who was called ‘queen of Africa’. Meg had always been ambitious and being deeply impressed by that testimony, she aspired to be like Mary Slessor. And so it happened that one day she went to a missionary secretary in London and said that she wanted to be a missionary. The secretary, naturally, very soon discovered that she was not saved; she was not a Christian. He advised her to make preparations either in nursing or in teaching, because either profession would always prove useful overseas. So she took up nursing and was in nursing training in Saint Thomas Hospital, in London. There she met another student nurse, Hilda Bennett, and they became close friends. They finished their training together and Meg said to her friend, “Let’s get out of this institutional work.”
They decided that they would rent a nice property and furnish it, so that they would be able to offer holidays to children whose parents were working overseas, to give them a nicer holiday than Meg herself had ever enjoyed. They rented a property, at Chute Magna, near Bristol, furnished it and opened it up to children. The children were told to bring their bicycles and pets and had a really wonderful holiday with them. Meg and Hilda continued in that way for about two years. Unfortunately, the parents of these children did not pay, and since they could not get money anywhere else, and could not carry on without, they had to close the holiday home down.
Now, what would they do? They could not decide, but one day they saw an advertisement in a magazine: ‘Home-made Cake Shop available in Ilfracombe, Devon’. So they simply thought, “Oh, that will be nice; we will take that.” They did not know anything about cooking, but they had a cookery book and they set out on their way to this nice shop in Ilfracombe. They established a restaurant with cakes, breakfasts and dinners. Ilfracombe was a summer holiday place so they had to earn enough in six months to carry them through the year. They did it so well, that they could afford to go to Austria skiing for the winter season, which they did for about two to three years. Then, because of the success of that business, they thought of opening a second shop. So they took another shop in Barnstaple which was not very far away from Ilfracombe. That meant that they would cook in one shop and take all the pastries and cakes, or whatever they produced, to the other one. They bought a little Austin 7 for five pounds. But it would only go uphill in the reverse gear, so there they had a problem. Nevertheless, they were not going to be defeated by problems. They started taking their cakes from the one place to the other. It was Meg’s responsibility to do that. She had trays with various cakes and pastries on the back seat and a dog on the front seat.
The AA man
One day, the car broke down and Meg knew nothing about what was under the bonnet, so she just sat there with the dog and waited for an AA man to come to help. It happened to be a route assigned to an AA man with his motor cycle and he came along in due course. He asked, “Are you in trouble, Miss?” “Yes, I am.” And he said, “Are you a member of the AA?” “Oh no,” she answered, “but my father is.” She thought that was good enough. He said, “I will mend your car.” When he finished, he asked, “Have you anything for me to wipe my hands on?” She thought that the AA man was very inefficient! He should have had his own rags to wipe his hands on. However, she picked up a piece of paper, which was on the floor of the car, and gave it to him. He looked at the paper and then looked at her; it was a gospel tract that she had offered him. There was a man in town, who used to go around and put these tracts in cars. And since that tract was the only thing she had, this is what she gave him to wipe his hands on.
He asked, “Are you a Christian?” “Of course I am!” she answered, “I was born in a Christian country, we do not have idols and my father is reasonably rich; of course I am a Christian!” Then he said, “Are you saved?” She did not know what that meant. “Well,” he continued, “if you had had an accident and had died today, you would have gone to hell!” That straightforward remark made her very angry. She pressed the button, started the car and left him standing.
Well, that car broke down thirteen times on that same road during that year. And every time she had to wait for the same AA man. Of course he preached the gospel to her before he mended her car. He brought her all kinds of booklets and books for her to read and said, “Do read them.” “Yes, I will read them,” she politely said. Whenever she gave them back to him he asked, “Have you read them?” She always responded, “Yes, I have read them,” but of course, she hadn’t. She was just leading him on. Yet he was so persevering every time, that eventually she began to wonder why. Perhaps she was on the wrong side and he was on the right side of the fence. She began to lose her sleep and became irritable. She quarreled with her friend, which she had never done before.
Invited by strangers
She decided to write to her mother and tell her that she intended to go home to her. She knew very well that her mother did not want her, and, besides, she was living in a caravan in Surrey. However, she did write a letter and took the dog out for a walk to post it. Then she thought, “Well, this is a stupid thing to do. I am earning my living and doing pretty well at it. Why should I run to mother?”
She went around town to calm down a bit, and as she was walking there she heard people singing. Meg had always been very fond of singing; her family were all musical. She discovered some steps up to a flat in a big building; the door was half open where the singing was. She took the dog under her arm, went in and found a small group of people sitting there. At once she recognized she was in the wrong place. All the ladies were wearing hats and stockings and all people gathered there had Bibles. She decided she must get out of this room as soon as she could! So she made ready to escape quickly. But the man in charge caught her and said, “Are you in trouble, Miss?” “No, no, I am not in any trouble.” He whispered something to his wife and then said to Meg, “Come home with us and have some supper.” “Oh,” she thought, “that is very strange. They don’t know me; why should they invite me for supper?” Nevertheless, she was a bit down and so she agreed to join these complete strangers for supper.
While the wife was getting the supper, her husband brought out a little black book and started to read the fifteenth chapter of Luke—the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. Then he said to her, “Why do you think the woman in the parable was so anxious about that lost coin?” “Well,” she answered, “she could not afford to lose it; she was poor.” And he said, “I think God is looking for you!” “Oh,” she said, “I don’t believe in God, anyway.” The wife finished preparing supper and they ate together. Before she left, the husband said, “Well, before you go, we will speak to Father.” “Speak to father? Why had they not asked the old man to supper?” But then she understood what her host meant; they knelt down and he prayed. She had never heard anybody praying before. She had a lump in her throat, but she hardened her heart, said “good-night,” and with that she left and went home.
Second invitation and conversion
The next day, when she went to the common market of Barnstaple, she saw the AA man up at the other end of the market. She did not want him to see her and therefore she hid herself. She thought he had not seen her … but he had! So he came down to her and said, “Good afternoon, Miss! Good afternoon!” She did not bother to greet him. He told her, “My wife said the next time I see you, I should invite you for supper.” “Why does she want me for supper? She does not know me!” “Well,” he said, “if I told you why, you would not understand.” “Give me a chance anyway. Tell me why,” she insisted. “Well, we have been praying for you. We have been getting up at four o’clock every morning to pray for you since I first met you and repaired your car,” he answered. “Oh, how foolish,” she thought. “Well, I ought to go for supper.” So she accepted his invitation.
At the appointed time, she made her way to their little house. They had two small children and the five of them sat at the table for supper. Before they started the meal, he took out a little book and started to read it. It was the book called, ‘Safety, Certainty and Enjoyment’, a little gospel tract written by George Cutting with a very nice, clear message. Suddenly, she stopped him and asked, “How can I find God?” He said, “Well, I can’t help you.” “You can’t help me? You have been chasing me all this time and now when I want to find God, you say, you can’t help me!” “No,” he said, “you get down on your knees and talk to God yourself.” She had never done that! She did not know what to say. Yet she managed to get down on her knees and looked at the children who were looking over the table at her. Her tongue was too big for her mouth and so dry. The clock went tick, tick, tick. She was confused. “You must say something!” he said. So eventually she blurted out, “Oh God, I am sorry, I have given you so much trouble. Amen.” And the Holy Spirit came down upon her and gave her life and baptized her. Immediately she knew that she had become a sheep on the Shepherd’s shoulder.
On her way home she asked everybody she met on the road, “Are you saved, are you saved?” Of course they were as bewildered as she had been before, and she did not get any answer from them. On coming home she went to her friend and said, “Oh, I have become a Christian!” “Oh, dear, have you become a Christian? Have you joined the happy band of pilgrims? Well, I don’t know if we will be able to get along together. But anyway, let’s see…”
First Christian experiences
Meg purchased a Bible the next morning and whenever there was an opportunity between serving the customers, she turned over a few pages. It was like a love-letter to her, so wonderful! Soon she learned that there was a morning service at the Brethren Assembly and she looked forward to the following Sunday when she would be able to go to the meeting for the Lord’s Supper. At this point, the AA man and his wife invited her for the weekend: “Come and spend the weekend with us.” She accepted this kind invitation and told them about her desire to join the Sunday meeting. He told her, “I am very sorry we will not be able to take you with us, because the people there would not receive you; they are Exclusive Brethren so they do not receive ‘strangers’. But I will give you a letter for the Open Brethren and you can go there.”
Before she went to the meeting, Meg saw that the wife was worried about something. She looked at Meg and said, “I have something to tell you.” And she said, “Oh, tell me what it is.” She answered, “Well, you can’t go to the Lord’s Table without stockings on.” “Oh, what have stockings to do with the Lord’s Table?” “Well, young men will look at your legs.” “Oh, is that what they do at the Lord’s Table, young men looking at the girls’ legs? Well,” she said, “I have no stockings anyway.” The wife said, “I will lend you a pair.” So she found a pair of woolly, prickly stockings. “How am I going to keep them up?” “Oh, haven’t you got anything to keep them up with?” “No.” “Okay, I will make you a pair of garters.” She made her a pair of garters and now she was ‘equipped’ to go to the meeting.
There she went with the letter of introduction and the woolly, prickly stockings. There were three steps to approach the meeting place. At the top of the steps there was a young man saying, “Good morning, Sister!” “Sister?!” It certainly would not have been music to her ears before, but now it was. She felt welcome. It was going to be heaven on earth to be there with these people. However, about halfway through the service, one stocking slipped down. Now, what was she to do? She could not pull it up and, making the situation even worse, the other one slipped down also. Now both stockings were at her ankles. How was she going to pull them up? This spoiled the whole thing for her. She had thought it was going to be heaven on earth, but how disappointed she was. There and then she learned never to tell people what to wear when partaking of the Lord’s Table, but to leave it to the Holy Spirit. That was a good lesson she learned early. She continued to attend the meetings there on Sundays.
After three weeks, her friend said to her, “Where do you go? You are so different, Meg. Of course, I am not interested; I am just curious “Oh,” she said, “come with me then.” So, the next Sunday, she took her friend to the meeting. But now, Meg saw everything through her friend’s eyes. The place was not very wonderful; the hymn books were a bit torn; there were no flowers; there was no music. In addition, the believers found it difficult to start the hymn on the right note. Meg thought she should have taken her friend to a parish church. However, they were there now; they could not go out. Therefore, they sat down and Meg was all the time wondering what her friend was feeling about it all. At the end, a fisherman stood up, saying, “We have had a lovely time with the Lord today!” Meg had not had a lovely time. He went on, “We have had a lovely time with the Lord today. Let us sing, ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’.” They struggled to find the right note and eventually they got it going. Meg looked at her friend as they were singing the second verse and saw tears streaming down her face. So she asked, “Hey, what’s the matter with you? Do you have pain?” “No. I am just seeing what Jesus has done for me.” Hilda was converted at the Lord’s Table. That was a very unusual occurrence at the Lord’s Table, but there Hilda was born again that morning.
A business for the Lord
Now they both knew the Lord. And what could they do for their Master? The Lord had done so much for them. They decided they would give their business to the Lord. So they took out all the worldly literature they provided for the people while waiting for their food and put in gospel literature instead. There was one booklet at that time called ‘The Traveler’s Guide’. People on holiday referred to this guide to see where they could go. There were also some exciting testimonies in this book, which Meg and Hilda read out loud, so everybody would hear. But then they found out they were losing their customers. The holiday-makers continued to come, for they did not know what they were coming in for. But the local people knew that this shop had become too religious; they were passing by, but not coming in.
Meg and Hilda thought, “We cannot afford to lose our business. What should we do? We will have half a night of prayer.” It did not take half a night of prayer before they knew what they should do. After ten minutes in prayer they knew they could do nothing else but to witness and continue as they had done. And that is just what they did. At the end of the year when the books were audited, they were not a penny down. They had taken less, but had also spent less. Joyfully they wrote across the book in red ink: “The Lord is no man’s debtor.”
On Fridays, they usually kept their shop open until after the last session at the cinema. But now they shut their shop at eight o’clock and then had a gospel meeting. They had notable men like Rendal Short coming from Bristol and Captain Carrie, a very famous captain in those days. They had such precious times with these notable men coming to speak. Criminals were converted. Meg would be out on the pavement pumping her little harmonium. The place would be packed with people; some of their guests even had to sit on tables and stairs, and anywhere. In this way they continued until World War II.
Because they were both registered nurses, they had to be available for call-up. They had to close down the shop and were directed to a large office block, to care for government personnel.
A help meet
After the war, Meg and her friend were invited to a place called Honor Oak Christian Fellowship Centre, in Forest Hill, London. They went, but Meg did not understand a word. She could not gather what the speaker was talking about. So she thought, “I will never come here again.” But the friends, who had taken her the first time, persuaded her, “Come again, try once more.” So they went the second time. And this time it was so different. It was like heaven opened to them.
Mr. T. Austin-Sparks was preaching on the “Lamb in the midst of the Throne,” from the book of Revelation. Meg was spellbound and she did not notice when the meeting had ended; she was just sitting there. Mr. Sparks came down from the platform to meet her and said, “It is finished.”
There and then she learned that, truly, if she was a Christian, she was a member of the body of Christ; that every member would have a gift, just as our physical body has different members, with different gifts suitable to their position. Fingers will do the work of the fingers and the toes the work of the toes. Meg realised that if she was a member “baptized by one Spirit into one body,” then she should have a gift. So she prayed, “Lord, what is my gift?” In her prayers the only answer she could get was, “Help meet, help meet.” That was what God told her. That was what Eve was to be to Adam, for it is not good for man to be alone. He should have a help meet. This is why Eve was given to Adam. This is all the answer that Meg could get from the Lord. However, she did not want to be a help meet; she did not want to be married. She had had a miserable childhood and she could not imagine being married. Yet, she could not get any other answer to her question.
One day, she heard there was to be a Bible Study with some of her friends in Scotland. Meg wanted to go, but she was told, “No, you must get a job.” So she went down to Malvern School, which was for missionaries’ children. She was going to be a matron or something like that. It was all new to her and she felt miserable not having been allowed to go for this Bible Study. So when she was unpacking, she got down on her knees again and said, “Lord what is my gift?” And He said, “A help meet.” “Alright, Lord,” she eventually agreed. Intending to go into a dining-room, she went into the wrong room, where there was a text on the wall, “I have heard your prayer.” That settled the whole matter once and for all. She knew for sure that she had to marry. “Well,” she wondered, “who is going to look at me?” Nobody looked at her for two years; yet she was always mindful of her commitment and wondering who was going to be her husband.
Sometime later Hilda and Meg were in charge of a house in Glasgow, connected to a meeting place there. One day, they received a phone message from London that a certain Mr. Flack, home from India, would be coming up to Glasgow. They were asked if they had accommodation for him as he would be there for a period of ministry to those who met in that house. Of course, they had accommodation and so they were now expecting Mr. Flack.
It was a dirty, foggy night in Glasgow. The bell rang, so they said,”That must be Mr. Flack.” Meg went down to open the door. “Oh, no, not him, Lord!” was her first reaction. I was not wonderfully dressed. I had a worn-out suitcase more cardboard than leather. I stayed there for three months, taking the ministry for those who gathered there.
My early years
It was during that time that I began to believe that Meg was the girl for me, but I did not consider myself suitable for her. I was born on 11 July 1907. I was a country lad, my father being a farm manager in Loughton, Essex. I worked on the farm when I left school at the age of fourteen. After three and a half years, I became an apprentice to joinery at a local building firm and spent seven years there. One morning—I had not been working there very long—when some of us were sitting together for breakfast, one man said, “Oh, these Christians, I worked with six of them on a building and every one of them was a dud.” And this man looked straight at me. He may have thought I was going to be another dud, because I was a Christian. I had come to believe in Jesus as my Saviour and they knew that. So I was expected to be a dud. However, I prayed morning by morning with Exodus chapter thirty-one in my heart, where it says that Bezaleel was cunning in all craftsmanship. He was the man who really did the major decorative work for the tabernacle which was constructed in the wilderness. So I prayed, “Lord, give me skill that I may not be ashamed of my work.” The Lord did answer my prayer. In that workshop, I was entrusted with the best work there was to be done, even before I finished my apprenticeship.
Unlike Meg’s parents, mine were believers. However, none of us were liberated to speak about the Lord as we do now. We lived a full mile away from the church building where we used to go three times on Sundays: for Sunday school and Sunday services. I learned to love the Lord Jesus when I was a child and when I learned to read I loved to read the Bible. I wanted to be a Christian, but not too good. I thought that to be good would mean I could not do all that I wanted to do, and that I could not go where I wanted to go.
I always had a sweetheart when I was a boy, a girlfriend. Not necessarily chatting or talking or walking together; just saying, “Oh, she is my girlfriend”! Later on in my teens I did have a sweetheart. We went out together for walks and so on.
But when I realised my sin and the punishment there would be, I understood my need for Jesus as a Saviour. When He came into my life everything was changed; according to His promise He gave me a “new heart” and put “a new Spirit” in me (Ezek. 36:26).
I started to read my Bible regularly and from the age of twenty—I think it was that age—I read it through from Genesis to Revelation, every year. It became more wonderful and helpful each year. I cannot tell the benefit and blessing it has been. As the Bible itself tells us, “I have more understanding than all my teachers” (read Ps. 119:97-100).
I became a Bible class teacher and secretary and was selected a deacon of the church when I was twenty-two years old.
Called to work overseas
In August, l931, on a Sunday afternoon, at the age of twenty-four, I was reading my Bible and the Lord spoke so clearly to me that the whole course of my life was changed. I had been very open to the Lord regarding my future, and the Lord met me in the words of Jeremiah 1:4-8a: “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid …” The message of God to me that afternoon was so clear that I never doubted from that moment that I was set apart by the Lord for His service overseas.
Several years before—I was just a boy of seventeen—while sitting at home, I once said to myself, “If God ever called me for missionary service overseas, I would not want to have a missionary bungalow and be a man in charge of the work. I would rather want to identify myself with the local people.” That was my feeling at that time.
So, I had thought about missionary work before, but I was never confronted with the actual, clear, concise call for His service overseas. Now, I did not know what to do; what was the next step to be taken? Because I had led a sheltered life, hardly moving beyond my village, I was quite fearful.
A new experience
During that year, two to three months before, I had attended a meeting in Forest Hill, South London called ‘Honor Oak Christian Fellowship Centre’. The spoken word was anointed and I had never heard anything like it before, nor had I ever been in such a place. It was wonderful! They met in a big tent in the garden. There were crowds of people and on the platform were three to four fine looking men. There were beautiful flowers and the singing was lovely. When somebody prayed, I thought, “Where is this coming from?” It was someone from the congregation standing up to pray. I never heard a man pray like that before! I listened to the message, but I could not understand. It was language I did not know before.
The message of that weekend was based on Galatians 2:20. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” The speaker was talking about the objective and subjective aspects of the cross. I did not even know the meaning of the words, but at the tea I said to somebody, “I did not understand anything, but there is something here for me.” And indeed there was! Before it was through, the Lord was through with me and I discovered what Christ did for me. He did not die in my place. I was put in Him that I should die with Him to the old and live with Him in a new way of life. It became very real to me. I had been a believer for ten years. I believed in Jesus, for the forgiveness of my sins, but I neither knew the victory, nor the victorious life at all. There were besetting sins still troubling me, like Paul, when he says, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” He discovered it and tells us that God put us in Christ. That which is true of Christ will be true in us. When Christ was crucified, we were crucified. And when Christ was buried, we were buried. We were all buried and we are now with Him in newness of life, resurrection life. Oh, how wonderful!
It was a turning point in my Christian experience from which I never went back. I was not at all perfect at that time; I still had to reckon myself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God.
Well, that was the start of my new experience as a believer in Christ.
At the Missionary Training Colony
I knew that God had laid His hand upon me for service overseas, but, as I said before, I did not know what to do. I decided to go to the brethren in that place where I had been blessed and ask their advice. One of the elders there was a tutor in what was called the ‘Missionary Training Colony’ (MTC). It was not a Bible Institute, nor was it a theological seminary. It was a camp, run in army camp style, having a link with C.T. Studd. Studd had a ‘Timothy’ like Paul had and his young servant and fellow worker was called Alfred Buxton. Buxton had a vision of a camp with practical training, as well as Bible training, for men who would be pioneers to unevangelised areas in the world. The MTC provided two years of basic training for pioneer missionary work. Each student was expected to find out from the Lord the country to which he was being called, and by what Mission he was to be sent out. Those in charge of the camp did not at all decide where their trainees should go from there. They had to find out themselves from the Lord where He wanted them to go and how they would get there. So if someone felt a burden for South America, he would find out about the missionaries or mission society’s work in South America and ask for their help to go there.
The elders at the fellowship in Honor Oak advised me to go to this camp as a preparation. I applied, but the first response from the people there was for me to learn English. My English was bad and my punctuation was hopeless. My Bible class leader, who was a good woman, helped me to polish up my English a bit. Finally, I was accepted and went there on 1 March, 1932, to begin a period of two years in MTC.
Immediately I was tested as to my calling. I was suddenly plunged into a new atmosphere among a bunch of young men much more advanced in spiritual experience than I, and I felt I knew nothing; I was out of my depth. I found it difficult to pray.
The Bible instruction and the practical training were good. The latter part included hair-cutting, shoe-mending, cooking, carpentry, gardening as well as devoting every morning to Bible reading or Bible study. A part of the training were two long marches through Scotland and England; the students would go on foot for several weeks and preach the gospel on their way.
During my first year at the MTC, in 1932, I joined a ten weeks’ march through Scotland, known as the Scottish Track. We took a boat to Aberdeen and from there we walked along the east coast to Stirling and then to Glasgow. We went up to Ayr and next back through Bathgate to Edinburgh. We spent these ten weeks preaching the gospel in many places and everywhere we were received by saints with great hospitality. We never used our tents once. The next march, under my leadership, was in 1933 in East Anglia, starting from London. On both occasions we covered around 400 miles. I am afraid we were not very efficient in our preaching and we were quite tired after the first few weeks. However, it was an excellent training for our future work.
A companion and a church
I was praying, asking the Lord where He would send me and I thought it would be to Africa. There were two things I asked the Lord to do for me before I could go. The first was that He would give me a companion, because, during His days on earth, He sent out His disciples two by two.
The second was that He would provide a church like the one I had read about in Acts chapter 13:1-3; the church in Antioch where the elders were men of God who prayed and fasted. There, at Antioch, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” I was not against missionary organisations, but I believed that Acts 13 was the Lord’s pattern for me.
God would have to choose my companion. I would not choose myself, because I had a friend at that time who was ready to go anywhere with me. However, I was not sure if he was going to be a partner suited for the call that I had from the Lord. So the Lord must choose my partner and He must bring me into the fellowship of the church, like that one in Antioch.
From the MTC it was only walking distance to Honor Oak, the fellowship centre in London where I had been so blessed. It was about a one-hour walk and when we were free, some of us would go there for fellowship. One day, Mr. Sparks, one of the leaders, said to me, “How are you getting on, Fred?” So I said, “Oh, I am getting on well. However, I feel I belong to the church here, but I don’t know how to join.” “Oh,” he said, “there is nothing to join. If you are in, you are in; if you are not in then you are not in.” Well, I felt I was in, for this was the place where I always found blessing and refreshing. So now, I was really expecting that the church at Honor Oak would be the church from which my companion would also be. Then I would be thrust out to the work.
In 1933, another young man, who lived in Godalming, Surrey, named Raymond Golsworthy, came to the MTC. I thought he was a fine young man. He was so keen and spiritually- minded. He felt called by the Lord to go to the Eskimos in the Arctic, a people called the Inuits. I felt called by the Lord to go to the Tuaregs in Sahara, a particular tribe of nomads. So our callings as we supposed, were a long way apart.
I had to wait three years before I found the companion God had chosen for me to go with me wherever I went. Because I was expecting to go to Africa, the brothers in Honor Oak advised me to go to Switzerland first, to learn French. So I went to Switzerland and tried to learn French, but I did not do very well at it. While I was there, one of the elders of the fellowship at Honor Oak wrote and said they had been speaking with Raymond Golsworthy and perhaps I would be hearing from him. I did not know what they had talked about, but I had a registration, “Is this the man that God is going to join to me?” I did not receive the letter from Raymond Golsworthy, so eventually I wrote back to the elders and said I had not heard anything from him. Still, I had a kind of registration that this was the man God was going to join to me. Two days after I posted the letter to the elders, I received a letter from Raymond in which he said that the Lord had shut the door on his going to the Eskimos. He believed that God was joining him to me. Wonderful! I could not have imagined such a partner; I could not have chosen a man that I responded to more fully, a man who really loved the Lord and knew the Word of God. He would be my partner!
Called to go to India
When I returned from Switzerland, I had not really learned French. I went back to London, where Raymond and I were able to join up together in the fellowship at Honor Oak. There we were getting ready for Africa. However, the elders of the church did not have any registration about our going to Africa. So we were waiting and praying and hoping that they would get freedom about our going. We did not believe that we should go as ‘freelancers’, nor that we would be joining a missionary society. We were convinced that it should be a church matter like it had been in Antioch (Acts 13).
The elders at the Fellowship had no light about our going to Africa, but eventually they said to me one day, “We believe that you can find the Lord’s will for yourselves, so go ahead. We will pray for you.” That was not what we had asked the Lord for. We did not want them to just send us and pray for us. We wanted rather the Holy Spirit to say to them, “Golsworthy and Flack for Africa.” So we were a bit desperate. We gave the Lord a deadline and said, “Please, say yes or no to Africa within eight days.” On the fifth morning, one of the elders was leading the family worship. He knew nothing about our request to the Lord. He read Deuteronomy chapter three, where the Lord says to Moses, “Come up into the mountain. You shall see the land. You shall not go in. Speak no more to Me of this matter.” Could it have been plainer than that? “Speak no more to me of this matter of Africa.” We had to tell the elders, “Well, Africa is cut off for us. We will not go to Africa.” They were not surprised, but we were a bit nonplussed. So we said, “What will the future be? We do not know.” We continued to pray about future.
One day, one of the elders’ wives said, “Oh, I see you two boys in Calcutta.” “Calcutta?” I did not want to go to India, much less Calcutta. In my opinion Calcutta was the worst city in India. I thought of India as a land with so many idols. What should I do with so many idols there? However, the words of that sister did register with me. A day or two afterwards I read in my daily reading a question that came to Jeremiah (Jer. 37:17), “Is there any word from the Lord?” Yes… the answer was yes. So it made me think, “There is a word from the Lord.” A few days after that we had the word, “How can you be quiet when God has given an order?” (Jer. 47:7, R.V. Marg.). If the Lord has spoken, should you keep silent? “Cursed is the man that doeth the work of the Lord negligently” (Jer. 48:10). Now we had been bombarded with messages of God, we felt it was to be India. We had made a mistake before, thinking the Lord wanted us to go to Africa, and we thought that perhaps the elders would make a suggestion to us. But now we had to tell them that we believed the Lord had called us to India. The opportunity came for us to speak to them.
Mr. Sparks asked me to go down to his house to do some job in the garden, or in the house—I do not remember. Anyway, this was our opportunity. So we said, “We believe the Lord is speaking to us about India.” He smiled and said, “Well, two weeks ago when we were in prayer”—the elders used to pray every Monday morning— “the Lord said to us, Golsworthy and Flack for India.” There it was! The church at Honor Oak had been praying for a testimony of Christ in India for a long time and they had a burden that we should go there and pray on Indian ground.
The church prayed over us and the elders laid their hands on us. Within eight weeks, we were on the boat. Before we left however, we went to see an old lady, who was in the fellowship at Honor Oak at that time. She had been to India for a few years as a missionary and she had a great burden. Her name was Miss Cowie. She had a great burden for Indian leaders who had seen the spiritual nature of the church and who knew the overcoming life. Such was her burden that she would grab people and say, “Come, pray with me.” We went to see her. She was retired and lived down in Worthing. When we arrived she was sitting on a chair, with a hat on and an umbrella with her. She said, “Boys, what is Jeremiah 1:12?” I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” “That is verse 11; what is verse 12? ‘I will watch over my word and perform it,’ “ she said. “You go to India with that. God is watching over His Word to perform it,” indicating He was raising up men who had seen the spiritual nature of the church.
First years in India
During our trip to India we met the American missionary Stanley Jones. We gave him our testimony and he told us it would be good if we could work together with his good friend, Mr. D. Samuel.
On 1 April 1937 our ship reached Bombay and from there we made our way to Coonoor, to the ‘Soldiers Home’. Lady Ogle was in charge of that home and gave us a warm welcome. We had not been four or five days in Coonoor before an Indian leader, a good Bible teacher whom she prayed for, came to stay in the same house where we were staying. His name was… D. Samuel!
He was in circulation for ministry among most of the mission stations in South India. He took us with him to share the ministry and we did that for a year and a half.
When Brother Watchman Nee came and visited us in India, he asked us, “What are you doing?” We said, “We have been going with this man D. Samuel around the mission stations for ministry.” He said, “I don’t think God sent you to India for that.” Well, neither did we. We went to India believing that God would join us to something He was already doing. We did not have to start anything. We did not have to try and reproduce the fellowship which we enjoyed in London.
In 1938, while in Madras, we received an invitation from D. Samuel to minister for two months to a group of about fifteen young people who wanted to serve the Lord. We would give them instruction for two months, which would help them to be ready for full-time service. In the meantime, D. Samuel had invited a man named Bakht Singh, a Punjabi from the north of India. He had heard him in the Sialcot convention. He was a real evangelist with gift and vision and purpose. Bakht Singh was invited to Madras and he came in 1938 for three weeks of gospel preaching.
The city was stirred¾huge meetings, long processions of witness, love-feasts and a great awakening and hunger for the word of God. Bakht Singh majored on the Bible: “You must have a Bible, you must read the Bible, go by the Bible and not by your church constitution.” There was such a great stir and awakening at that time that you could not even buy a Bible in second-hand bookshops in Madras.
We were not in Madras in 1938 at the time of Bakht Singh, but our invitation to go to the group of fifteen young people did occur in October and November 1938, just following Brother Bakht Singh’s visit and this awakening. We had responsibilities among soldiers in the Soldiers Home in Coonoor, so we could not both leave our station, and go to Madras. For that reason I went first and Raymond Golsworthy was to follow after.
I went to Madras by train and at the railway station I was met by some senior men, who had really been stirred and already jealous for the Lord before, but they had met the Lord in a new way as a result of the visit of Brother Bakht Singh. They immediately asked me, “What are you coming here for, for only fifteen people?” They obviously knew my purpose for coming and they said, “We want the Bible too. You must teach us about the Bible also.” Well, I didn’t know what I was in for, but they insisted, “We will come before we go to the office and we will come again after. You must give us the Word of God.” So we decided to have two meetings everyday, except on Mondays. From seven to eight o’clock in the morning we had Bible studies and from six thirty to eight thirty in the evening, there was ministry of the Word. They were so hungry. I never had two meetings in a row before, but the Lord was in it. God opened up Paul’s epistle to the Romans to me, to share with them in the mornings, and for the evening meetings we had ‘The New Creation’ for our topic. It was a new experience—wonderful hunger for the Word of God.
With Bakht Singh
The next year, 1939, I had jaundice, rather severely. I was in the Nilgiri Hills and Lady Ogle at that time was in charge of the Missionary Guest House. I was staying there and while being looked after and recovering, Brother Bakht Singh came to Coonoor for a gospel campaign at the YMCA. I was well enough to go to the meetings. I thought, “This is it. This man has an astonishing knowledge of the Bible and a true basic ministry—this is the man that God is going to join us to.” Raymond and I met with him and had a chat. We told him what we believed. He said, “Yes, I believe God has sent you; we shall work together We did not have a big discussion; in fact, we did not discuss anything really except that. From that time, we started to move with him. There was no local church or assembly at that time. We started to move with him to different places all over India. He would take us along during his gospel campaigns and, after these, leave us to follow up his ministry by Bible teaching for the new converts.
After some time, the pastors in Madras, whose buildings Bakht Singh had been using for his big meetings, became jealous. They felt something was happening that was not quite under their control. There were by now several groups of keen believers within the various denominational churches, who wanted to pray, even pray all night, and evangelise. All this was a direct result of the ministry of Brother Bakht Singh. So, a crisis had now arisen. Since they could not use their buildings, the local people decided they had to find a building of their own.
Brother Bakht Singh came up to Coonoor, the hill station where Golsworthy and I were at that time. We had opportunity to pray together. The people from Madras said, “We will get a building, but you must fulfil the ministry until we are able to stand on our own feet.” We had to face up to that, because it meant that all other doors would be shut if we appeared to be starting a new work. We thought, nevertheless, that we had an obligation to those who had responded to the Word. That was not just our feeling; it was Bakht Singh’s feeling too. So in 1941, Brother Bakht Singh and Brother Golsworthy went back to Madras. There was a building the local believers had found; a big bungalow with a large central room and several other rooms in it. However, it was declared unsuitable for human habitation, and the tenant was moving out. So these believers asked the Muslim owner if they could rent it. I am not sure if they introduced Brother Bakht Singh to the owner at that time, but he agreed. Whenever he met Brother Bakht Singh later he had to pray with him on his knees. He realised there was something special about him and he was very respectful toward him. One day he said, “I will build you a baptistery if you like and you can put the place in repair and deduct the cost from the rent.” We agreed on that and now there was a local church in that building. The local believers called the place ‘Jehovah Shammah’.
The place was packed night after night. We had an intense program—everybody was keen to hear from the Bible—from five o’clock in the morning until eleven o’clock in the evening. We had private prayers for ourselves, and next we would have what we called ‘family prayer’. After that we had ‘tiffany’ (breakfast), as we called it. After breakfast we had Bible study from eight to nine o’clock, followed by one hour of street preaching and one hour of prayer. After lunch, during the hottest part of the day, we rested, and met again for Bible study from five to six o’clock. Evening worship was from 6.30 to 8.30 p.m. Our evening meal would follow after this meeting.
I said to the Lord, “Lord, I don’t think I can stick it”; because we were not used to having long gaps between meals, such late nights and early mornings. I was used to early mornings, but not to that extent. So I said to the Lord, “I don’t think I can stick it.” But He said to me plainly, “If you are in My will, it will be alright.” And it was.
First Holy Convocation
We soon adjusted and we were able to fit in fully and fulfil what ministry we had. We took the property in July, 1941, and in December it was decided to have a Holy Convocation in Madras. Brother Bakht Singh always preferred biblical words for Christian events. In Leviticus chapter 23, we read about the seven convocations when Israel as a nation came up to Jerusalem for special events.
So ‘convocation’ was the word instead of ‘convention’ or ‘conference’, which was chosen for special meetings—to which people came from all parts of India. They even came from far away places for that first convocation in December 1941, because Brother Bakht Singh was already very well-known in Northern areas as well as in the South. So, for that first time, about four hundred and fifty people came and the convocation went on for nineteen days. Of course nineteen days was a long period, but it gave us a wonderful opportunity to give good, basic teaching to these early converts. Many of them were from nominal Christian life, or experience, but their new birth made all the difference and they were hungry for the Lord.
I had the opportunity at that time of conducting Bible study every morning, for nineteen days. I tackled the story of ‘the tabernacle in the wilderness’ among God’s people; a very good series of lessons from that incident, or part of Israel’s history. In it we are shown the way to salvation through the outer court, and the purpose of salvation by the holy and most holy place. We had a wonderful time with God’s Word. People had come from long distances. One brother traveled two thousand miles to Madras, without a train ticket. Well, we told him that was not the thing to do, but in India it was not uncommon. If you wore a saffron garment, you were looked upon as a holy man and they would not charge you for traveling by train. Anyway, many people did come long distances at their own expense.
No charges at all were taken. All people had three free meals daily. They could give some money if they wanted to, but there was only one occasion for giving each week: every Sunday morning at the Lord’s Table, when they could make an offering in the box which was at the front of the pandal (tent-like temporal extension of a hall).
From that time the ministry of the Word opened up for me into all parts of the subcontinent of India, because the work grew so fast. The work was truly indigenous (born in the land, their work) and it grew and spread like a prairie fire. As the work grew and as the churches multiplied, so also my travelling increased. I used to visit each church for about five days for ministry; one meeting in the morning and one each evening. Next I would move on to the next church. Everywhere believers were awakened. They were so eager and hungry for the Word of God. It was not a matter of trying to interest them in the message. Their hunger and thirst ministered to me and drew the Word out of me. (How different it would have been if I had gone, as I had thought, to the nomadic Tuaregs of the Sahara.) How blessed we are if in all our ways we acknowledge Him “Who will direct our paths” (Prov. 3:5,6).
All my travels were by public transport, by train or bus. As a matter of interest, for one year, in which I expected to travel much, I kept a record of the distances and the expenses. The total distance amounted to 26,000 miles at the cost of 800 rupees. In those days that equalled about £65. It was wonderful. I was so blessed in it all. Sometimes the churches I visited were young and small churches, others were large and growing companies.
At the Convocation gatherings which developed in the four or five more central areas the numbers rose to thousands. In Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, which proved to be the main centre, 6,000 people came for a nine days’ period the last time I was with them, in 1975. Whoever wanted to come, came at their own expense and were welcomed. I believe these Convocations contributed tremendously to the spread of the gospel and the establishment of the testimony to the fact of the church. For those coming from the villages or from small groups of believers these Convocations were a help to see the church more easily in its character and function.
Of course feeding the thousands three times daily was quite an exercise. First of all there was the cooking of so much rice and keeping it hot until the appointed time of serving. Then there was the serving of all the food to so many. Everything was well organized and completed quite quickly. I became responsible for that. Some fine young men were available, who were organized in teams of five after the people were seated in their rows on the ground. First the leaves were served, then the rice, next the curry , after that the tumblers and finally the water for drinking. The arrangement worked wonderfully. The whole meal from start to the end was completed within one and a half hours. The leaves were thrown away, so there was no washing up; only the hands had to be washed and it was done. The big meeting pandal was filled to overflowing for all the ministry meetings. The men sat on one side and the women on the other.
From those convocations the people went back to their villages or towns renewed. Many of the messages were put into song, so the believers went home singing the messages. In that way they took the Word of God to their neighbours and friends. The result was that over the years little churches, like mushrooms, sprang up all over the land. I was told—I did not count, I could not count, I did not want to count—there were three hundred and fifty local churches scattered in nine provinces, over the continent of India. We continued now moving out to those little churches, ministering to them locally or in larger centres where more people would come together. We were privileged to be involved thus for thirty-five years.
I must now stop to pick up threads of events in the years intervening.
My dear companion, Raymond Golsworthy, married an Australian sister, Joyce White, on the 29th November, 1941. They left for Australia in the spring of 1942, to meet Joyce’s family. However, they were captured by a German raider in the Indian Ocean and handed over to the Japanese. They were interned in a Japanese POW-camp for the next three and a half years. World War II had also begun in our part of the world.
I was called to military service from 1943 to 1946 and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in an Indian General Hospital in India, Assam and Burma. I was so happy to remain within the Indian ranks and I had access to the Indian troops in their lines. This was not usually allowed; British and Indian ranks were kept apart. But my Commanding Officer gave me permission.
My unit reached Rangoon just after the Japanese surrender. The Bible Society premises had been destroyed by bombs. No Bibles were available anywhere. I started ordering Bibles in English and other languages from the main centres overseas. As a result I was summoned to my sergeant-major’s office one day, for there in a corner of his office were seventy-six large parcels of Bibles and gospels. As sergeant-majors usually do, he roared at me, “What are you going to do with them?” I was rather embarrassed, but I said, “I will remove them sir.” There were two YMCA Centres in Rangoon to which I went and asked if they could keep them for me. I told them they could use them as they liked. I, being a private, had only bed-space and no place to keep the parcels. They readily agreed and the Indian YMCA said they would lend me a truck to bring the Bibles from my hospital in Rangoon. So, my problem was soon solved. In the course of my eleven months in Rangoon I had 1,100 Bibles and 18,000 gospels to distribute, which I did. How gladly they were received and how happy I was they should have them. There were five hundred very nice, small pocket Bibles in English for the English boys.
Our engagement and wedding
I was twelve years in India before I was married. That came about in this way. It was reported to me that if I were married, the Indian sisters could talk to me more freely. That was quite understandable, because the men and the women in India had little communication with each other, unless they were husband and wife. However, although I was unmarried at that time, I had been asking the Lord for a wife of His choosing. In fact I had been asking the Lord for His choice for about sixteen years.
I came back to England in 1948 and I was asked to go to Scotland, the occasion when Meg looked at me and said, “Oh, Lord, not him.” So, here I continue where I left off ear.
In the course of time, it seemed to me that Meg was the choice of the Lord for me, and I was ready to ask her to become my wife. Meg and some others were asked by the elders at Honor Oak to go to the house on the Clyde in Scotland, called Kilcreggan, to go down and open it up and get it ready for the summer season conferences and other meetings. So they said, “Shouldn’t we take Fred?” They decided to take me with them and so we went together, to Kilcreggan. They did the jobs to be done and we had a picnic lunch. Since there was an ice-cream shop in the village, it was suggested that one of us should go to get some ice-cream. When Meg was about to go I said, “I will come with you.” I thought that this was my opportunity. So we went down and purchased the ice-cream and coming up the hill back to the house, I said, “I suppose you would not marry me?” She said, “Yes, I will.” I said, “Don’t you want to pray about it?” She said, “I have already prayed.” So, there was our engagement: no palm trees, no moonlight, nothing dramatic at all. It all seemed to be a matter of fact. But that was where the step was taken. She had prayed about it and the Lord had spoken to her, so she immediately could say yes when I asked her.
She had read in Genesis twenty the incident of Abraham saying of Sarah that she was his sister, not his wife, because he was afraid. Sarah was beautiful and he might be killed by a heathen king, who might want to take Sarah. But, Abimelech the king was a virtuous man and he had no intercourse with Sarah. He discovered that she was not Abraham’s sister, but his wife. So Abimelech came back to Sarah and he rebuked her and said, “He (referring to Abraham) is your covering!” Well, this was the Lord’s word to Meg regarding me, and that is why she could say she had already prayed and was willing to say yes so easily at that time.
I was supposed to return to India in a few days and we agreed that she would follow me six months later, and there we would be married in Madras. And thus it was arranged. I have to admit to my shame it was not the right time to ask her to come to India as it was then the hottest part of the year. It should have been later on in October, November or December. That would have been a better time, but I suppose I was in a hurry. We had the wedding in Madras on June 23rd, 1949. Brother Bakht Singh solemnized our wedding.
The wedding service lasted for three hours and everything was in Indian style. Poor Meg¾I had purchased for her a lovely silk sari and a satin petticoat. Of course that was the last thing in the world that I should have done. But I did not know what women should wear, especially in the heat and, poor Meg, she was not perspiring properly, so all body heat built up inside; she did not have a safety-valve. The wedding day was a disaster for her. In addition to that, she wore a lovely pair of sandals for the wedding. But in India our brothers and sisters did not take sandals into the meeting; they would leave them outside, because everybody was sitting on the floor. After the meeting we discovered that her sandals were stolen! So that was another experience on our wedding day.
We had eight hundred guests. They all sat on the floor, eating rice and curry from banana leaves. We all ate the same food, all the sisters kissed Meg on both cheeks and most of the wedding presents were wrapped up in newspaper. It was all a little bit different, but anyway, we were married.
The Lord gave us a word at the time of our marriage. It was 2 Corinthians 4:5-7: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” This was how we felt and how we expressed ourselves among them, not as masters but as servants.
Our life together in Madras began in those terms. We literally did live with the people, for although in the beginning we were in a little flat at the entrance to the property that was being used for the meetings, afterwards we were almost always living with the people who were responsible in the various local churches.
I was speaking with great liberty twice a day, everywhere. It was easy for me, but it was tough for Meg because all was new to her. She was a bit disillusioned actually when she came to India to find things as they were. But she was a brick; she was so faithful and so true.
Shortly after our wedding, we received an invitation from brothers and sisters in Borneo. In full agreement with the elders in Madras we went over and spent seven weeks in Sarawak under rather primitive conditions. Then in 1951 and 1952 we were in Singapore to help a local church there.
In 1956, after much prayer with the elders in Madras, we paid a visit to England. Meg had been in India now for nearly six years and needed a break. During our stay in London we enjoyed the fellowship of the church at Honor Oak. While we were there the elders received an appeal for help from some Christian leaders in the Philippines. Again, after much prayer we all agreed that the Lord wanted Meg and I to go there. I went ahead of Meg and she followed me one month later. We spent eighteen months in Mindanao, the large Southern Island of the Philippines, where we ministered and made many friends.
In 1959, we spent eight months in Australia, to follow up the ministry Brother Bakht Singh had had there.
For the next fifteen years in most cases I traveled alone for the ministry in India, Meg only accompanying me to several places like Guntur, Bangalore, Vellore and Hyderabad. Usually I was away from her for one or two weeks for such visits.
Back to England
When Meg’s mother became weaker because of old age, Meg felt it was her responsibility to look after her. So in 1965 she returned to England to care for her old and unconverted mother, while I continued my ministry in India. She bought a cottage in South Ireland for the price of £1,600. In 1968 I spent some time there to make several necessary improvements and to enlarge it. We rented it out during winter. Early in 1970 when we were together in South Ireland we received a police report that Meg’s mother had collapsed and was in hospital. We went there immediately. Soon after, she passed away. Meg inherited her cottage, in Abinger Common, near Guildford, and so we sold our own cottage in South Ireland. For the next four years we lived in Abinger Common. After that we sold the cottage and bought a house in Guildford. Again five years later, in 1979, we bought a lovely cottage in Sidmouth, where we stayed until Meg’s home call in December 2000.
From 1971 I used to work in India for nine months a year, while Meg stayed in England. We continued like this for four or five years, until in 1976 I knew my time in India was over and I returned to England, where we continued to live in Guildford. However, we felt the Lord wanted us to go to Israel to a new area of work and after having received two invitations we decided to go to Joppe. Later on we moved to Jerusalem, but after six months we were not able to renew our visa, although we tried several times. We concluded the Lord wanted us back in England and therefore we returned to Guildford.
Meg’s Home call
Before Meg went to be with the Lord she had said, “When I die, I want to have trumpets, a fanfare of trumpets, to celebrate the Lord’s victory in taking me, or bringing me through to take me home.” So there was a fanfare of trumpets on the day her body was buried.
I have to say of Meg, she loved the Lord more than she loved me, and that was the right order. Because of that there has always been a blessing for me, her husband. If the Lord is first in a wife’s life, her husband gets the benefit. If the husband has the Lord first in his life, the wife gets the benefit.
When we went to the burial-ground, it was not to bury but to plant; to celebrate the coming of the Lord and resurrection from the dead. That thought was given to us long before by Brother Watchman Nee. At the memorial service I said: “This is my testimony concerning my wife. I prayed for all you men that are here this afternoon—not by name because I did not know who would be here—I prayed for all you men here this afternoon, whether you be married or not yet, that you shall have a wife like my wife, who loved the Lord more than she loved her husband.”
This is our testimony. We were one in body and we were one in spirit. God did not bless us with physical children. We were both forty-two when we married. Meg was a sensible girl. She said, “Oh, I can’t expect to change Fred when he is forty; I will have to accept him as he is,” and that is what she did. She accepted me as I was. We had fifty-one years together; she went to the Lord when she was ninety-three. But she went with trumpets and we expect likewise to be welcomed with trumpets when we go, when our turn comes.