The Mysterious Phone Call
By Esmé Ross
We were happily married with two small children when my husband felt convicted to leave his excellent paying job to train for pastoral ministry. It was a call that he had felt as a schoolboy years earlier, but had never followed. After four years of theology training, graduation was finally approaching, and we were excited to launch into full-time ministry for the Lord. As it turned out, my husband’s graduating class was so large that there were not enough positions available to provide for all the new graduates. There was no future job on the horizon for us.
To make matters worse, as graduation neared, the college administration let us know that as soon as graduation was over we needed to move out of the student housing to accommodate another married couple needing to start summer classes. There would soon be no place to live!
The week before graduation, I was driving our only car, a little red Cortina, up the long hill to the college when it suddenly caught on fire. I was unharmed, but our car was completely destroyed. Now we had no transport. Our situation appeared more and more hopeless.
We prayed earnestly. “Lord, what do you want us to do? We need you to provide a way. We don’t believe we’ve left the secular working world just to have to go back after you’ve provided this pastoral training. Please help us!”
By the evening of the following day, we had the offer of two vehicles at our disposal for an unlimited time. God provided transport.
A week later, someone who had an empty house asked if we would be willing to stay there, rent-free, just paying utilities, as the owner did not want the house to stand unoccupied. Our God provided a home.
We took up a difficult job called Harvest In-Gathering. We went to businesses and solicited funds for projects such as “Meals on Wheels” for the aged, Camps for the Blind, etc. We received a very small percentage of what we collected and this was our only income. There were no perks to this position at all, and with two young children in church school we weren’t sure how we would make it. But we kept praying. Just then an anonymous donor came forward and offered to pay our children’s tuition to go to the church school.
A few months after we started working with the Harvest In-Gathering program, my husband became extremely ill. He could not work—thus no money. We prayed and cried out to God to help us. During the second month of his illness, things were looking very bleak. It was then that a strange miracle happened.
One morning at 6:00 a.m., while still dark outside, the telephone rang and a voice that I did not recognize said, "Read Isaiah 58." Then the phone went dead. We were utterly bewildered. I went to the bedroom and picked up my husband’s Bible next to his bed and turned to Isaiah 58. We read it together, closed the Bible and said, "What could this possibly mean?"
The next day the same call and the same message came again. The third morning it happened again.
As we pondered why were getting such a strange call, my husband said, "Bring the large family Bible to the bedroom." We kept the large Bible we used for morning and evening worships on a low center table in the living room. Since my husband had been in bed with his illness, we had not been using this large Bible. I went and collected the large family Bible and placed it on the bed. Together my husband and I turned to Isaiah 58 and to our utter astonishment we found a large number of 10 rand notes (South African currency) within the pages of Isaiah 58. This was enough money to take care of our immediate needs until we were able to go back to soliciting funds for the needy projects.
What about the mysterious telephone caller? Never again did we hear that same voice with the same message. Was it an angel? Was it a deeply caring friend? We will never know on this side of eternity.
Several months after this incident we received a call from the Union to go to Swaziland, which was considered a mission field and part of the South African Union territory. This was the beginning of nearly 40 years of pastoral ministry. These have been rich years, full of precious, direct interventions; years full of God caring for His children and ever standing at the back of His promises. Over and over again we have seen that God hears and answers prayer.
Esme Ross is married to Pastor Robert Ross. Today they serve the Triadelpha Seventh-day Adventist Church in Clarksville, MD. Both of their grown children also serve the Lord in full-time ministry.
World Church Prayer Requests for
February 25 – March 4, 2018
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray that many would be blessed and drawn closer to the Savior during “Women’s International Day of Prayer” this coming Sabbath, March 3rd, 2018. The program materials were written by Chantal J. Klingbeil, associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. (Chantal is the daughter of Robert and Esme Ross, who authored the testimony above.) To access these materials, click here: https://women.adventist.org/international-womens-d...
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for the General Conference Global Youth Day and Global Children’s Day events, which will occur March 17th, 2018. Pray for many young people to get involved in being the hands and feet of Jesus to a world in need. To learn more visit: http://youth.adventist.org/GYD
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for the Youth Rush Ministry/Student Literature Ministries Program currently underway in Japan. About 20-30 high school and college students are in the program and will colporteur through the rest of February and March. Pray that the program will expand and God will send more young people to join this program. We pray that many doors will be opened to draw people to the upcoming Total Member Involvement events in Japan this May. Pray that many books will be sold, and that those who buy the books will read them and be converted.
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for God’s blessing on centers of influence across the Inter-European Division. Please pray especially for a center of influence in Milan, where refugees are learning about Jesus, and for plans to expand this type of program throughout the region.