In 1956, we had just had our second child and the sharefarm that we worked was about to be taken over by the owner himself. We were out of work and without a home. Fortunately, a nearby potato farm had an unoccupied house on it, and my husband, Bob, worked at various jobs, while waiting to find another share dairy farm.
With two little children on a farm, I began to worry over our future. It was somewhat lonely and I began to think, Oh dear! What if the owner should want this place? Where do we go from here?
I was feeling a bit discouraged and I took my burdens to the Lord in prayer. I had recently read of a woman receiving an answer to her prayer from a promise box, and so I decided I needed an answer to my dilemma. I prayed, somewhat tearfully, to the Lord to give me some assurance and an answer to my fears--then I pulled out a promise. It was Isaiah 52:12. "Thank you, Lord," I prayed. "You have answered my question and You will lead us out of this, in time." So I relaxed and made the most of the situation and hung on to the promise.
Two years passed and a third son was born. Although we were not on a high wage, we faithfully returned our tithes and offerings. Week of Prayer came along, and in those days it was suggested that people give a sacrifice offering of one week's wage. We needed a decent car, but decided we would sacrifice and so we gave 15 pounds--our wage. In those days 20 pounds was a reasonable wage.
Sometime after this, our Adventist neighbour came to the house and showed us an advertisement in the local paper: "Sharefarmer wanted." The farm was just one road away from where we were living.
The previous owner had purchased a fully stocked farm near Leongatha, Victoria, and had sold this farm to an Italian invalid, who said we could have the farm if we provided cows and machinery. At this time our bank account was slightly in excess of 300 pounds, thanks to saving and an inheritance.
When the owner knew we were coming onto his old farm, he came around and offered to sell us his cows and some machinery for about 1100 pounds. He went on, "You are Seventh-day Adventists aren't you? I'll tell you what, you make a down payment of between 250 to 300 pounds and you can pay me back each month when you get your milk cheque."
We were staggered. First, it almost seemed he knew the total of our bank balance! But he went on: "We won't need to draw up any legal agreement. Don't worry about interest. You just keep your record and I'll keep mine too!"
His generous and trusting agreement was prompted because he had once rented a house in Melbourne to an Adventist pastor, who--he declared--was the best tenant he ever had.
We felt it was the hand of the Lord: Thank you, God. You kept Your promise and through a stranger you gave us back our sacrificial gift many times over.
You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the Lord will go ahead of you, and the God of Israel will protect you from behind. Isaiah 52:12.
Joan Thomson is a mother of six sons, who lives in Cooranbong, New South Wales.