Music and lyrics by Victor Nicholas Hafichuk
Dauphin, Manitoba, 1979, before going to Israel
It was April 1979. We were in Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada. The Lord was about to send us on another mission, one He had notified us of 1½ years earlier in the fall of 1977. On several other occasions, He had given us “mini-missions,” a sort of training, I suppose. This time it was a biggie. We were instructed to dispose of all our possessions, give my notice at work, and buy one-way tickets to Israel, telling nobody where we were going.
We advertised a sale at our apartment of all our earthly possessions. A lady came by with her young daughter. She had been a recent convert, presumably to Christ, and was attending the Pentecostal Truth Tabernacle in Dauphin, led by “Pastor Greg” Rathjen. We previously had met and talked with him and his wife.
This lady asked why we were selling. We told her we were on a mission of the Lord but couldn’t say where we were going. She wasn’t persuaded we were doing the right thing. Rationally speaking, her reaction could be understandable. We had witnessed other people stepping out on their own without consulting anyone, doing things they thought were of God but weren’t. But we knew God was directing us.
In friendly fashion, the lady repeatedly urged us to talk to Pastor Greg, saying he was a wise and loving man, and that it would be good to talk to him before we did anything.
But my antennae were up and sensing this was the enemy’s effort to divert us from God’s will.
Besides, I had long ago given notice at work and to the landlord. We had purchased one way El Al tickets to Israel. Though we were in prayer all along, why wouldn’t the Lord have warned us earlier? Why were there never two or three witnesses to correct us? How was it that Marilyn and I were in spiritual agreement all along?
We also knew that Greg Rathjen was not a loving man – he merely acted the part of a compassionate pastor. Besides, there was no witness of the Spirit of God from this lady. I recognized this event as a direct effort of Satan to cause us to doubt.
How did we escape Satan’s power to tempt us? If we had not heeded God’s Law and Word to us, both personally and by Scripture, we might have been persuaded to disobey Him. His Spirit and Word gave us more than enough faith and strength to continue the road He was leading us on, a very unusual and challenging one.
In retrospect, I see how things would have been so very different had we not believed and obeyed. When I consider what was at stake, it was a matter of life and death.
But God is Faithful and True.
He is our Savior and Lord. HE is the compassionate and wise one, and no pretentious man.
Some years later, the pastor was exposed as fraudulent, together with another Pentecostal pastor in Stettler, Alberta, who had also opposed and mocked us.
“No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper,” the Lord promised and reminded me many times. He has been True to His Word for close to half a century. Quite a record!