It was on the evening of March 15, 2022, when elder John Boar arrived at the compound of Banban Seventh-day Adventist company church to continue with the third night of the Vanuatu Mission Youth Week of Prayer program.
In the absence of the church deacon, Mr Boar decided to ring the church bell. After the final toll, still, no one arrived at the church compound. Sitting alone in the church compound, thoughts troubled his mind. Should he continue with the worship program or postpone the worship service. “As I sat alone looking at the empty pews, I can sense a stronger conviction deep within me that I must continue with the worship program, even though no one is present here with me. I strongly believe that it was the voice of the Holy Spirit,” Mr Boar admitted.
Being faithful to the church’s call of duty is an act of faith. After saying a silent prayer, Mr Boar approached the pulpit and commenced the worship service he had thoughtfully prepared. He gave a special welcome to the unseen guest then he proceeded with hymn 359 “Hark the Voice of Jesus Calling” from the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal.
After the opening prayer, Mr Boar preached the assigned reading for Day 4 entitled, “Beauty and the Beast: The True Story” based on Revelation 12:17. He preached with power and enthusiasm as if he was preaching to his church members. As the sermon ended, Mr Boar announced the closing hymn 456, entitled “I have a friend so precious”. After the closing prayer, the preacher exited the church compound with a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that he had done his part and the Lord would do the rest.
After exiting the compound, there is a junction where Mr Boar had to turn left and head for the main road. As he was turning, he heard a call from the distance behind him. As he looked back, he could see a stranger with a dim torch chasing after him. The stranger tried to catch his breath, before starting a conversation with the preacher.
“Hey friend, I really loved the singing tonight. The song was very clear with beautiful harmony. I was so blessed to hear this special song,” said the stranger. “Please convey my words of thanks to the church members who sang tonight.“
“This must be a joke,” replied elder John Boar.
How can he hear from a far distance a harmonious hymn sung by some church members when I spent that whole evening worshipping alone, Mr Boar asked himself.
Mr Boar decided to test the words of the stranger.
“So, what song did you hear the church members singing?” the preacher asked the stranger.
“I do not really know the song but the words I can recall by memory say something like . . . hmmm . . . ‘I have a friend so precious and so very dear to me’.”
Mr Boar was shocked when he heard the stranger recalling the exact words of the song he had sung at the end of the sermon he had just preached.
“I found it very difficult to explain myself to the stranger,” explains Mr Boar.
“All I could say is when we are faithful and committed in our worship services, we are accompanied by heavenly angels who are always present with us,” he smiles, with a great sense of affirmation.
Chris Keleb is an Intern minister serving in Vanuatu Mission.