My Uncle, Charlie Case, just shared this little anecdote on Facebook. Today, at his Church in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Bill Santos, who is the speaker for “It Is Written” Canada, shared this story in his sermon. It’s inspiring for many reasons. Here’s my uncle’s explanation of it:
The story you are about to read is true, and I only knew 1/2 the story until I heard the other 1/2 today. In 1972, a Henry Feyerabend began working the city of Toronto to begin a church ministry among the 250,000 Portuguese speaking people living there at the time. In a series of events too lengthy to tell here, he stepped out in faith and paid $4,000 for 5 minutes per week for 13 weeks on Toronto’s big TV station. After signing the contract, he got cold feet, because his church at the time only had 6 members. But, he felt impressed to wait for 2 days before canceling this ridiculously high contract.
He arrived back at the church where this little group was “renting” and had only been there a few weeks. Upon arrival, there was a letter addressed to him personally at this “rented” church’s address. Struck by the “coincidence” of this since no one knew they were renting there, he opened the letter. Out fell a check for $1,000 from a “Dr. Ed Latimer” with a note that said: “Felt impressed to send this to you; thought it would come in handy.” Within 2 weeks, this pastor had all the money needed to meet the TV obligations from people he did not even know.
On the 1st TV broadcast, he offered free Bibles written in the Portuguese language, and when 1 such Bible was delivered to one of those requesting this free offer, it was to the parents of our speaker this week-end. Long story short, this family did not believe in God, but after a number of Bible studies, began attending church. All as a result of Dr. Latimer acting on faith that ultimately inspired a doubting pastor that God indeed had a future for this TV ministry. Today, “It Is Written” is the largest TV religious ministry in Canada.
Apparently, Bill Santos tells this story frequently – as an illustration of God’s providence and how his family came to the faith. But what he didn’t realize today as he shared the story is that the daughter of Dr. Ed Latimer (who is now deceased), as well as some of his grandchildren, were sitting in the audience today. My Aunt Lori is a member of the Church he shared the story in today. And Dr. Ed Latimer is my grandfather.
So he went through the whole story, not realizing that the daughter of the man who was largely responsible for the ministry that brought his family to Christ, was sitting in the audience. When he was subsequently told the news, apparently he broke into tears.
Growing up, what my grandfather had done had always been legendary – and we didn’t know all of the details (since he passed away when I was only eight). But not only did Bill Santos confirm what we had often heard about (without even realizing that he was sharing the story with some who already knew about it), but the news of his own experience because of the gift is just another beautiful part of the way God works. And I’m sure we will hear thousands of stories like this throughout eternity.
But what an awesome illustration of God’s goodness! And yet another illustration of how a simple act has amazing ripple effects that will reach into eternity. I know that my grandfather, who was one of the most generous men to ever live, never probably imagined that his humble gift would be so far-reaching, and that the future speaker of the largest religious TV ministry in Canada – which he helped establish – would some day be preaching in his home church, honoring his memory while his own family listened.