In the late 1940s, I answered an advertisement in Record for bindery workers at Signs Publishing Company. I decided to apply and was accepted.
I had never left my West Australian "homeland," so was excited and apprehensive at what lay ahead for me. I began work and I loved my work, but toward the end of my eighth year I got homesick for my large family. The late Pastor C F L Ulrich was manager of the Signs at that time, and he tried to persuade me to stay on when I told him I was going home. He laughingly teased me about having a boyfriend back there.
"No," I said. "My heart just yearns for home and my loved ones." "We'll see," he replied. I returned to Perth, and went to live with an older sister and her husband. After several weeks, they informed me a "Best Saturday night in town" was coming. This program was run by Pastor Kenneth Mead and I "just had to go," according to my sister. Not knowing many of the young people, I really didn't want to go, but my sister and her husband were insistent, so I went. It proved a "best Saturday night." I met David, and six months later we were married. David was working for a telephone company as a linesman. He wanted to work his way up in that department but exams came on Sabbath. We prayed about it--but God had other things in store. David ended up working for the Sanitarium Health Food Company in Carmel. He shoved Weet-Bix in and out of awfully hot ovens and longed for something better. He hated the heat. Again, we prayed about it. I had a secret longing to go back to Victoria, but kept that to myself. But one day, David mentioned he wouldn't mind living in Victoria. He had liked what he saw when he had visited for a youth congress years earlier. He thought about work. I mentioned Pastor Ulrich telling me there was a job waiting for me if I returned. Perhaps a job could be found for him. I wrote to Pastor Ulrich, telling him I was returning--but not alone. "Was there a vacancy for a man willing to learn?" I asked.
Communication between the states was slower in those days. Weeks and many prayers went by. One beautiful morning, the conference president came to visit--and offer his congratulations. We wondered what this was all about. He simply said, "You've been accepted by the Signs Publishing Company."
Wheels had been set in motion, and David was able to work as a guillotine operator, a job he held for more than 30 years. I went back to operating a machine that stitches the pages of books together, and many soul-winning volumes passed through my hands.
There was no mention of assistance in the shifting process and we had no idea that it was a Signs policy. We arrived safely, having motored across the continent in our Morris Minor utility, but our bank balance was almost zero.
It was a Friday when we arrived. Between us we scraped up enough coins to buy a few necessaries, but it would be more than a week before our wages came in and I had to work some "magic" to get meals together. We didn't know many people, so kept quiet about our needs. On Monday, our first day at work in the Signs, we were called into the accountant's office and given the wonderful news that our relocation expenses were being paid.
Like two missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, our new life had fit together. We were right where God wanted us to be, and as the years have rolled along, His promises continue to mean much to us as we face each new day.
Give all your cares and worries to God, for he cares about what happens to you. 1 Peter 5:7.
Jean A Bakker, now retired, still lives in Warburton, Victoria.