“SO, this is the man with the black heart!”

It was my first time receiving such a greeting – from anyone – much less a distinguished organizational head.
Wednesday chapel ended, the guest speaker had found his way from the platform to the early row of students gathering up their textbooks.

Stepping before me he had seized my shoulders and studied my face for every bit of two seconds. Before I could respond to his “black heart” salutation Carlton Spencer took me in a bear hug. He thumped my back as though he’d run into an old friend from the past. A rich shock of silver-white hair complimented his mouthful of gleaming teeth. Carlton Spencer. Instantly I liked him, this Elim Missionary Assemblies president.

Black heart. . .

Ann and I had already agreed to seek out an Africa-focused agency. While IBC did champion missions, its out-of-country vision centered on Far East lands and on Mexico – an obvious short hop from this Alamo City. Indeed, a long weekend in our third year of college had found us and fellow students dust-laden and mesmerized – immersed in Spanish-language culture – the school’s traditional Easter outreach south of the border.

We had also found the Lord refining our focus within the African continent – stirring us much toward her eastern regions – Uganda and Kenya. Elim Missionary Assemblies had pioneered there, starting in the 1930s.

Welcomed by Rev. Spencer to visit Lima, New York as missionary candidates, we detected our stride toward Africa picking up pace. My Bible College commencement had come and gone and Ann was now a certified LPN.

With a letter from David Coote recommending us to a few pastors we hoped could get behind our vision, we set out. Painfully conscious of my inexperience in fund-raising, I was both sobered and assured. Our dependency must be in one supremely wiser than ourselves.

Seated in our freshly-loaded Pontiac, Ann and I faced each other. Excited. Nervous. Joining our hands we prayed. I slid the key into the ignition.

“Lord, here we go.”
©2017 Jerry Lout



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  • Lin Brister says:

    I think we all have those “formative moments” we will never forget. It’s great you are putting them down and sharing them, bit by bit.

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