CHRISTMAS DAY, 2002 I knew this would be a special day. For the first time ever we would sit down for Christmas Dinner with our enlarged family. Our daughter Debbie with her husband and their two children were on furlough from Venezuela. Our two sons, Stephen and David, had flown from Johannesburg with their wives and brought my mother. We would all be together for the day.
At the end of a glorious day, I downloaded my messages from the Internet. There was an e-mail that was to change my life . . .
It came from Lisa Wiener, moderator of CWG, an online Christian Writers’ Group to which I belonged.
From: Lisa W
Sent: Wednesday, December 25, 2002 6:21 AM
Subject: CWG’s THIRD SCHOLARSHIP WINNER!
I want to announce a “first” on CWG regarding our scholarship. You see, we not only have a winner, but we have a “runner-up” as well.
So . . . you know how it goes . . .
I HAVE to announce our “runner-up” FIRST . . .
This person will be awarded the scholarship in the case that the winner would not, for some reason be able to go.
So . . . our FIRST RUNNER UP . . .
for CWG’s THIRD CHRISTIAN WRITER’S SCHOLARSHIP IS . . .
(drum roll, please . . .)
Congratulations, Shirley!!! 🙂
Two months back, I had co-led a study on the Prayer of Jabez. Each day I dutifully prayed the prayer. “Lord, bless me indeed and enlarge my territory.”
Each evening I downloaded e-mail. At that time, Lisa was inviting people to apply for the CWG scholarship to enable some fortunate person to attend a Christian Writers’ conference in the United States. There was no point in me applying. I live in South Africa. I couldn’t possibly afford to travel to America.
“Lord, bless me indeed and enlarge my territory,” I prayed each day. Every night a number of e-mails promoted the scholarship. Every night I deleted them all.
“Lord, bless me indeed and enlarge my territory.” Delete.
One evening, as my finger bobbed on the delete key, I sensed the Lord speak to me. “Will you make up your mind? Do you want me to enlarge your territory or not?”
I paused, then read the e-mail I was about to delete.
From: Lisa W
Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 2:50 AM
Subject: CWG’s SCHOLARSHIP
Are you still praying?
Is God NOT calling you to take your work to the next step to a conference?
Are you feeling a tug at your heart, but are afraid God WON’T provide?
I challenge you, if the last one is you … be brave and take that step of faith! Please don’t miss an opportunity God may have for you just because you are afraid.
Was this meant for me? Surely not. Why would God provide for me to go to a writer’s conference? Just reading the message made me feel afraid. Lisa didn’t understand. There was no way I could afford it. But . . . “Lord, bless me indeed and enlarge my territory . . . “
I went to my husband, Rob, knowing that he would tell me to forget the idea. Then I could hit “delete”.
Rob didn’t tell me to forget it. “If the Lord wants you there, He will supply the funds!” assured my husband. I didn’t hit “delete”. I went ahead and submitted my application, and here, on Christmas Day, was the result.
From the moment I read that e-mail, I knew I would be attending the Sandy Cove Christian Writers’ Conference in October the following year. I didn’t understand how. I didn’t need to. The Lord was going to do it!
Lisa challenged the CWG list to help me reach the goal of attending the Sandy Cove Christian Writers’ Conference. On the 10th. January, just over two weeks later, I received notification from Lisa.
From: Lisa W
To: Shirl Corder
Sent: Friday, January 10, 2003 6:30 PM
Subject: Re: Sandy Cove
YOUR SCHOLARSHIP HAS BEEN PAID FOR.
She continued —
So you see, Gal . . . NOW the REAL test begins because your final possible “out” has been removed.
A wonderful person had stepped forward and supplied a scholarship, covering all the conference fees and accommodation. One miracle followed another. It had to. There was no other way. As we met one challenge, another reared its head.
“Lord, bless me indeed and enlarge my territory.”
I sold my little car to raise funds for the air-ticket. Other money came in from all sorts of unlikely sources. On Thursday, 2nd. October, 2003, I stuffed the last article into my suitcase and made my way to the Cape Town International Airport. My Sandy Cove Adventure was about to begin.
I invite you to come with me as I recap the first part of God’s answer to the prayer that changed my life. Enjoy with me a few of the 650 photographs I took to record the adventure.
Continue the story as depicted in the words of my journal as I head off for America . . .
“Lord, bless me indeed and enlarge my territory!”