The Exercise of Faith
Summary: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen...

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen...But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:1, 6

After the 1993 meetings with Walter Veith in the Massey Theatre in New Westminster, BC, Amazing Discoveries planned another series by Walter Veith for 1996. We planned to contact all the local churches in the area to participate in this Greater Vancouver outreach. But none of the churches would support this evangelistic endeavor. Back then, evangelism was looked at as a pastoral duty, not the laity's duty, and so opposition was high against this series.

CC Psychodaddy

After much prayer and sadness, we decided on a Friday evening to comply with the wishes of the Conference and churches, thinking that it must not be God's wish that we proceed. The next day, Sabbath morning, we went to church, and there was a guest speaker at our local church. Wenzel was very discouraged and sad about the decision we had made. His mind was filled with thoughts of doubt and despair. Was this really God's will that we stop the series from going forward? His mind was not on the sermon as he was deep in thought.

Suddenly, the speaker arrested his attention. He was telling the story of Winston Churchill who was once invited to give a speech at a school. When Churchill came up on the stage, he made a simple statement, "Never give up!" And then he sat down. The students were shocked at Churchill's short speech. So Churchill got up again, and went to the microphone, and this time said, "Never give up. Never give up." Then he sat down again. A third time, Churchill got up to give the same message, repeating it three times: "Never give up. Never ever give up. I say,never give up." Wenzel knew that this was a message from God for him. He became convicted that God did not want this series to be cancelled. And so, we went ahead with plans to have Walter return in January 1996.

This time Amazing Discoveries booked a hall at the Jericho School for the Deaf and Michael J. Fox Theatre in Burnaby—only ten minutes from the location of the original series. The school had fabulous closed-circuit TV facilities in every classroom.

At first, we only booked the 860-seat theatre. But a few days later, Wenzel Goubej had a feeling that he needed to contact the theatre manager to ask for more space. Upon hearing that there indeed was an overflow room available for 200 more people, he asked her to add it to our reservation. A few days later, he felt compelled to ask her for more rooms. This time he booked 6 classrooms that could each hold 50 people. The next day, to the manager's surprise, Wenzel called yet again, asking, "Do you have any more overflow room available?"

She said, "But you've already booked the hall, an overflow room, and several classrooms. How many people are you expecting?"

He replied, "I don't know, but I know I need more. Please, do you have anything else we can book for those dates?" She responded that there was still a cafeteria available that could house another 200 people with closed-circuit television, but that was all she had. He asked her to book that room too. Now we had enough seating for 1560 people.

A few days later, the manager called to let Wenzel know that the facility was not available on Sabbath, January 20—an important day of our series. The series ran every weekend— Friday, Saturday, Sunday—and a couple weekdays. To the Goubej family, still relatively new to evangelism and working for God, this was a distressing problem! Wenzel booked 3 whole weeks of nights and that surely our large number of nights should give us priority over the nights available. Surely some event on a single Saturday couldn't be as important as the events that were using up 3 whole weeks of this theatre's bookings! But the manager wouldn't budge. January 20 had been booked for quite some time, in fact to the Symphony Orchestra, and there was no chance that we were going to get that night.

We were not happy about it, but there was nothing further we could do. Opening night came, and Wenzel's premonition was realized. Every single seat in every single room was filled to capacity. Over 1500 people came to hear the Professor from South Africa speak about evolution and creation and truth that matters. We thanked God for the urging of the Holy Spirit on Wenzel's heart to go back to the manager three times to get every available space. Our faith had been rewarded. The manager was amazed, and asked Wenzel during opening night, "How did you know? You kept asking me for more and more rooms and I thought you were crazy!"

Wenzel replied, "God knew."

But there was still that issue of the unavailable date of January 20. We had our regular meeting on Friday evening, January 19, and all was well. But in the early morning hours of Sabbath, January 20, it began raining. By morning, the water that had fallen on the city streets became frozen solid in bitter cold. Even the churches were closed for Sabbath services that morning due to the poor road conditions. By evening, the roads were still impassable. The entire city was shut down. We were thankful we didn't have to go out in this weather on those slippery and icy roads. Sunday was our next meeting date, and on that day we arrived back in the theatre for our next night of presentations. The manager came rushing to meet Wenzel. "Do you remember, Wenzel, how you argued with me about getting the booking for Saturday, January 20, and how I told you that it had been taken by the orchestra? Well, God must have known about it and NEW made sure you didn't get that night, because the ice was so bad that the symphony orchestra had to cancel that night too. It never took place! Aren't you glad now that you never got that date for your meetings?"

The circumstances of this series show us that God was indeed involved and blessing this evangelistic series. As a result of the meetings, over 60 people made a decision for further study and possible baptism. I remember distinctly the last night's altar call. The auditorium had tiered seating and Walter Veith spoke on a stage with several ascending stairs. It was not easy to get to the front. But the first person who responded to the altar call was a young man not older than 20. He resolutely walked to the front, and his courage to do this in such a large auditorium touched my heart.

Many more responded that night, and tears of joy filled our eyes as we saw the fruits of God's Word not returning to Him void. It was heart-warming to see the podium filled with people wanting to commit their lives to Christ.

Amazing Discoveries faced challenges in those early days with these new converts, since no local pastors would support the series and follow up the interests from their area. But, God knows each and every one of those souls.

Those early days of evangelism were a learning experience for us as lay people. There were no schools of evangelism back then, and lay evangelism was not popular. That was reserved for only pastors and evangelists. But God blessed our efforts and recognized our desire to serve Him even with what little experience we had.

And the same goes for anyone who wishes to work for the Lord. Talents are helpful, but not essential. Whomever the Lord calls, He equips and makes able. Evangelism is the antidote to a lukewarm Christian walk and the privileged duty of every Seventh-day Adventist regardless of circumstance, occupation, gender, or age.

God can and will use your desire and efforts to tell others about Him. It just requires a little step of faith, like asking for more rooms than you apparently need. And perhaps too someone can learn from our story of Saturday, January 20—the date we will always remember as a sign of God's leading. Don't let ice, snow or apparently missed dates discourage you. God knows the end from the beginning. He will use situations you think are mishaps for His will. May God bless you as you step out to work for the Lord while there is still day. "For the night cometh, when no man can work."

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