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Watch 2022 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Appointment In Jerusalem

Derek Prince - Appointment In Jerusalem

Derek Prince - Appointment In Jerusalem
TOPICS: Derek Prince's Life Story

After a year in the Sudan I was drafted back to Cairo, and because I’d been three years in deserts I applied for a more humane posting, and eventually I was sent to what was then Palestine. So I was posted to a little place called Kiriat Motzkin on the shore of the Mediterranean, a little north of Haifa. I had heard about this Danish missionary that had a small children’s home a little north of Jerusalem in a place called Ramallah, which was then a small Arab village, and everybody I met in the Sudan and in Egypt said, If you really want a blessing you need to go to that little children’s home.

So I got on a Number 18 bus from Jerusalem and went out to the children’s home, and arrived and found Lydia with eight small girls all around her. And I was immediately impressed by the sense of peace which was a very rare thing in the Middle East at that time. We had strict upbringing but she was loving. And we were brought up with prayer and faith. Even I remember at very, very young at one time we had no food and Mummy said, Come on, girls. So we all had to kneel down and pray and ask God to send food. I remember it exactly now I can see it. In the morning we opened the door and a basket of eggs outside our door, with some milk. But we never knew who brought it. So it is how we brought up, to believe in that God would supply all the needs and He did, and He’s still doing it even now.

Mother had quite a ministry amongst the soldiers, because there was a missionary she was a Salvation Army missionary in Egypt and whenever they had leave, the soldiers that were in Egypt, she would say to them, You’ve got to go see Miss Christensen. She has a lovely home and children and she'll be able to minister to you. Quite a lot of them came. And Derek was one of them. And she made me very welcome and we prayed together and she gave me tea and so on. So when I got back to Kiriat Motzkin I thought, That poor Danish lady. She’s got all those children and nobody but an Arab maid to help her and very little money. So I said, I’ll pray for her. And I was praying and the Lord spoke to me as He did quite frequently at that time. I would get an utterance in an unknown tongue and then I would get the interpretation. And this time the message I got was, I have joined you together under the same yoke and in the same harness.

Well, I thought, that’s remarkable. Does that mean we’re going to work together? So then I applied for a posting as I didn’t get on well with my commanding officer, and he was glad to get rid of me and recommended the posting. So I ended up a little while later at Number 16 British General Hospital on the Mount of Olives. And there is where I ended my military career. Being now within easy reach of Ramallah, I began to take fairly regular trips out to the children’s home. And one day I spoke to Lydia and I said, on the basis of what the Lord had said to me, I said, I believe God would have us to work together. And her reply was characteristic. She said, He’ll have to work on both ends of the chain.

I really became more and more attached to the children’s home and to Lydia and it was like as we could say an oasis in the middle of a dreary military career. At that time Lydia had relatively little fellowship with other Europeans or other non-Palestinians, so my visits were very welcome and we used to read the Bible and pray together. And eventually I felt that God wanted me to be part of that children’s home which is a most improbable destination for a person with my background. So I can’t exactly remember, to say the truth, how relationship developed but one day I said to Lydia, Would you marry me? And very, without much emotion, she said, Yes. So that’s how we decided to get married. Most of the emotion came later.

I remember Derek coming, because we had a lot of soldiers coming to our home. Our home was home to the British soldiers and anybody who used to come in for prayer. And I remember Derek coming and he came again, and he came again. And one day Mommy said to us - and I knew there was something going on - I'd be about sixteen then. I thought, there's something going here. We often thought he was coming a lot to my older sister because she was a beautiful girl, very beautiful. And the shock of our lives is when we realized he was really coming to see mother! And one day Mommy said to us, Come on, girls, I’m going to tell you something. I said, What? Well, she said, there’s this young man. And I said, Yes, Derek. You know Derek, and he’s asked me to marry him. And I said, Mommy, you can’t. I said, We’ve been girls here all the time. I said, You can’t have a man in this house. You’ve never had one before. So what do you want a man for now? You’re managing good. We’re doing all right.

She said, Just think about it. I’m getting older and you girls one day will go and get married and have your own home. And we all said, Mommy, we’ll look after you, you know that. We’ll always look after you. That’s not the point, she said. I need a bit of happiness. So we said, Okay. We agreed. We liked Derek. He’s a lovely fellow; he is really a nice man. I didn’t care for him myself, if you want my real honest After all, he came and took mother away from us, from me. I’m talking about myself now. I was very, very close to mother. So when Derek came, it sort of kind pushed me to one side a little bit. And when you’re thirteen it’s not a very nice feeling. It was very hard for him. You think about it. I mean all women, no men in the house, eight girls and our mother. So I think he took on a very big, heavy job to have all those girls, to look after them and be our father. It was easy for him neither.

So we were adjusted very well. He was there for us if we needed him, we could go to him and he was always obliging in helping us whatever we asked. He opened up an awful lot more to us, especially in my reading. It was wonderful. I just soaked it up. You know, he was terrific on memorizing Bible verses, and we memorized something nearly every day. So we learned so much more. He opened up a completely different chapter in our lives. I’m glad he came to our home. I really am. It’s lovely. So he made a difference really so we had a Mom and a Dad then, not just Mommy, but we had a Daddy too. So it was good. But on their wedding day I remember I just sat in the church crying, I thought, My gosh, what’s going to happen now. I even told Mommy, You know what’s going to happen. I mean at one time we were all girls. You could just run out to the bathroom or whatever. We didn’t have to worry about anyone being there.

Now we had to dress decent and walk out of our rooms. You couldn’t just walk out. And she said, That’s right, but she said I need happiness too, Tikva, you know that. I said, Yes. So I’m really glad she had Derek in her life. The fact that I asked Lydia to marry me and she said yes was really rather remarkable, because she was born the same year as my mother. And yet we never had any problem about that, the difference in our ages. When I communicated the news that I was planning to marry Lydia, my parents were disciplined English people, so they didn’t display a lot of emotions. And I mean, I was their only son so all their eggs were in one basket, and my father did write back and ask how old Lydia was, and I wrote back to him and said, It isn’t customary to ask a woman’s age. And he wrote back and apologized for that. They were really, I have to say, wonderful in their response in many ways.

Well, then I had to get out of the army in Palestine, which was not normal. But by that time I’d been appointed the Chief Clerk of the hospital which was the job for a sergeant and I was only a corporal, so I protested to the commanding officer and he said, You are the Chief Clerk, so what could I say? But it worked out very well because when I had to deal with all the official documents to get my release, I was in charge of all my own papers. And after a certain amount of time I was permitted to obtain my discharge from the army in Palestine. Well, about the time I was discharged, just a bit before I actually came out of the army, on the 16th of February 1946, we got married with a religious ceremony. And it was one of those unusual days in Palestine when it snowed, so I heard later when Lydia woke up and found it snowing she told the children, It’s too cold to get married today. Then they said, Mama, you said you’re going to get married. You have to do it.

So we met and we got married by a Jewish believer in a very simple ceremony without any fanfare or anything really to make it distinct. So I came out of the army and then a little later, on the 17th of March, we had a civil marriage ceremony in the office of the District Commissioner in Jerusalem. So I was religiously married and then legally married. In fact I was married; that’s the truth of the matter. At the time we got married the whole personnel of the home consisted of Lydia, eight girls, and the Arab maid, Jameela. Of the girls, six were Jewish, one was an Arab from a Muslim background, and the youngest was English. Our life in the home was very simple. We lived in Arab style, and not a wealthy Arab style. Our main items of diet were very course bread, olive oil in which we dipped the bread, and then sprinkled with this thing called zaatar which was part of hyssop, and we had milk, we had some eggs, and plenty of bread and olive oil until it ran off the children’s elbows as they dipped.

And all that was amazingly cheap. You could fill a big earthen jar of olive oil for a few shillings. And a sack of Jaffa oranges cost two shillings at that time. And really it was a very healthy diet, in many ways, much healthier than what we came to later in life when we were more 'civilized'. The home was permeated with the spirit of prayer, because Lydia was a praying person. She was very busy. She’d be changing diapers, or filling bottles or cooking, but she’d be praying all the time. And really the children grew up, for them prayer was something absolutely natural, as natural as breathing. And when soldiers came to the home, which they frequently did, Lydia would get the children down on their knees praying while she ministered to the soldiers.

And I think many British and American soldiers never forgot the impact. Much later on I worked with John and Elizabeth Sherrill on a book about Lydia. They were very interested to know what kind of relationship we really had. But they concluded it was a real love relationship. We really came to love one another, with a very warm and lasting love. And she was such an unusual person. You can’t judge her by normal standards, really. And in a way she never got old. I mean she got old physically, but she was always full of vitality and never stodgy, never old-fashioned, although in many ways she was very old-fashioned. But I mean, she was so full of life that it made it easy. I mean, you know, God does extraordinary things if you’re prepared to let Him do them.

I think one advantage I had I was prepared to let God do some extraordinary things which otherwise He wouldn’t have done. Obviously, He wouldn’t have forced it on me. And I only understood this after we were married the same yoke and the same harness the yoke was marriage, the harness was serving the Lord together. And after all for thirty years we served the Lord together. You know thirty years of married life and service is not a little. And also I’d have to say that I was the instrument of God to save the lives of the family because probably without me they would have been just massacred by Arabs. And I’m not holding the Arabs accountable for that. That’s just the way the situation was, they were enemies.
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