“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” —Corrie Ten Boom 1892-1983

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Excerpt from Shiny Shoes on Dusty Paths, Vol. 1, chapter 17 Sailing Shoes Facing New Horizons

The Kingdom of Britain welcomed us in the manner that she customarily receives all her visitors—with rain and fog. The sun never came out to greet us the entire week we were there. We purchased raincoats and set out to investigate some of the interesting landmarks of London.

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“The biggest treat was hearing G. Campbell Morgan speak at Westminster Chapel.

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Afterwards we ate a picnic lunch in the park and roamed the streets, stopping to watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.

“Our last minute shopping was hectic. We chased all over London for helmets. In those days people going to the tropics were afraid of sunstroke. So they wore heavy, cumbersome pith helmets lined with a corklike insulatin and cloth.

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“The last day Mary wanted to pay one more visit to Woolworth’s. She felt she needed a last glimpse at civilization’s comforts and soft things. That evening she struggled with homesickness and depression. Life ahead would be crude and rough for a delicate woman like my Mary with her keen sense of beauty, creativity in dress, and skill in cooking and sewing. She knew there would be no stores where she could run in to choose a card or pick up some thread.

“The only comfort I cold bring was to kneel with her before our compassionate Heavenly Father who understands the struggles we face when we seek to follow His leading. Together we renewed our commitment to God and to each other. … When we got up, her eyes were smiling through her tears.

The next day we were most happy to get on board the Dunbar Castle, a 10,000-ton ship.

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“As we left the Thames River and entered the open sea, it was without a single ripple. We were looking forward—happy to be on our way to Africa at last!”

Joanne’s Comments:

Only those who have faced an unknown and frightening future can understand Mary’s emotional conditon. The last day before breaking the ties with one culture to enter another is often impacted by nostalgia, apprehension and a sense of insecurity. For Mary it also marked the end of the comforts of life she’d enjoyed. At the time of her commitment for missionary service her love for God and her husband had made the decision reasonably easy. The present reality, however had an edge that cut deeply.  Had she known the extent of the hardships that awaited her, she might have turned back.

The question of the unknown future is something we all face regardless of where we might live. How precious it is to know that God knows all that will happen and has promised that he would never leave us or forsake us.

For Mary—much later—and after many more tears she would stand beside Abe and say, “…It makes our coming here worth it!…” (See Shiny Shoes vol. 2 chapter 8: Chief Shoes in the Presence of the King.

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