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Watch 2022 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Refugees and Africa

Derek Prince - Refugees and Africa

Derek Prince - Refugees and Africa
TOPICS: Derek Prince's Life Story

I had mentioned previously that the four oldest girls went ahead of us. They were evacuated by the British military. It just shows God can do anything when He gets the British army working for you. They arrived in England without, I mean where were they going, but many British soldiers had come to the home in Ramallah and some of them had left their addresses. One way and another, the girls got in contact with these former soldiers and they were fairly well taken care of. Some of them ended up with my parents in Somerset. My father had just retired and settled in a rather grandiose mansion in Somerset. And he and the girls got on unusually well, as a matter of fact, which rather surprised me. And he appreciated the girls and one of them was very interested in gardening which he was.

So there was really a good relationship developed between my parents ... I have to say in many ways, my un-evangelical parents were really more kind to us in some ways than some of the professing Christians. We had a very difficult time. We were scattered, we were at different homes. I still had my income from Cambridge which was very small. But really we were just cast on the mercy of the Lord and He sustained us. So here we were in London. Now there were eight girls and Lydia and myself, and we were really refugees. It’s hard to be a refugee anywhere, I’m sure, but to be a refugee in your own country is very testing, and we went through some real tests. Many people were kind to us. Some of the Christians took us in. Some didn’t. Really the people who were kindest of all were my own parents which really surprised me, gave me a different view of my own parents.

Anyhow we prayed earnestly. I ended up in Cambridge for a while. I still had a right to live in King's college. And I think it was Lydia's prayers that prevailed. We ended up in London. And looking for an apartment, that would be big enough to hold the whole family which was 10 persons. Which was not very easy to find especially in central London. Well, I said to Lydia, let’s look in the phone directory and see if there are any house agents, which was what we called realtors in those days. Well there were no house agents listed, but there was a house agent whose name was House, so we got a hold of him, phoned him. He said, Well, I have a place which suits you but it’s already rented. Well, I said, if it falls through, will you please let us know? And we prayed earnestly and a couple of weeks later he said, The other people were not able to take it.

So that morning, I had in my Bible reading when Jesus said to the disciples just before the Passover, Go and follow such a man will take you to a large upper room furnished. And when we got to this apartment that’s exactly what the top floor was built on. It’s the only house in a row of houses that had an extra top floor, and there it was a large upper room furnished. So we began to settle down in London, and the girls were really more intoxicated with London by comparison with Ramallah, which was a different place. And I didn’t know but there was a place called Speaker’s Corner which all British people are familiar with, and in those days it was much more popular than it is today because there was really no television, very few people had money for cinemas, so you could get large crowds of people. And everybody had a right to proclaim his particular views. The only thing you were not allowed to do was criticize the royal family. If you did that you would be arrested by the police. But anyhow, I never had any ambition to do that.

So we were walking past that place once and I said to Lydia, One thing I’ll never do is preach in this place. A little while later we were back in Hyde Park and saw this crowd of men around a girl with long black hair, and they were really pulling her hair and not treating her right at all. So I went over to see what was happening, and it was our daughter Ruhammah, and she was preaching to them, I mean, to my astonishment! She had a very small little command of the English language. I remember her saying to one set of men, You’re all too selfishes, meaning you’re all too selfish. But she had such a burden for the people that she really got through to them. So I stepped into this crowd to tell them what I thought about their mobbing this girl, and I started to preach to them. I ended up preached three times a week for seven years.

So never say you won’t do anything because you’ll end up doing it. And really we unintentionally, without planning it, built a congregation out of those meetings. And there was amongst a few people a real hunger for God. Most of the people were callous and indifferent and disillusioned because of we’d won a war and lost so much, and won very little for the war. So at any rate we would preach in Speaker’s Corner, Marble Arch, and then invite people to Number 77 Westbourne Grove, which became quite a well-known place in those circles. Well, that meant getting on a bus and traveling at least a couple of miles, a little bit more. Then you had to get out of the bus and come to this private residence, climb five flights of stairs to this large upper room, which as I said the only house in the whole road that had this extra room, and that was where we held our meetings. And we held meetings there for probably seven years.

And during that time many people came to the Lord, many were baptized in the Holy Spirit, some received miraculous healings. We never grew to a large number of people, but God was always at work. One of the most remarkable things that I’ve never seen duplicated anywhere except in Scripture, was one evening a man came up with crutches who was lame, and been injured. we prayed for him and he was healed and threw away his crutches, and there was such an outburst of praise and worship. I say this very carefully and I have witnesses for it the whole room where we were worshiping was shaken with the power of God and continued probably for half an hour. Some of our neighbors in the street said to us the next day, What happened to your building up there? It was shaking.

So this was an objective experience. It was not something subjective. We saw many wonderful things happen there, but always on a small scale. And eventually I felt the Lord opened a way for me to go to Kenya to become a principal of a college for training African teachers in Kenya, which was where I ended up after leaving London. The invitation to Kenya came because a Canadian Pentecostal mission had a teacher training college which was approved by the Educational Department of the government of Kenya, but they couldn’t find a suitable principal anywhere in Canada who was willing to go to Kenya. So, because one of my daughters had already married a man and moved to Kenya, they heard about me and offered me the job and I accepted.

So at the beginning of 1957 Lydia and I and the two youngest girls flew out to Kenya. The rest of the girls had by that time launched out on their own. Several of them were married, and so we arrived in Kenya. And God has given me over the years a very special love for the African people. It was quite exciting to arrive in Africa, and for the first time I found people who really wanted to hear the gospel. You didn’t have to argue with them, you didn’t have to convince them. they just were hungry. And so I ended up five years as a principal of this college. And we enlarged the college, we doubled the size, we took in women students. And I think the first year that we had men and women students graduate, we had sixty students that graduated. Every one of them had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. And even today in Kenya many of them are serving the Lord in significant positions.

One memorable thing in Africa was we saw two people raised from the dead. Two of our students. One was a man. His name was Noah and later he became a headmaster of a school. Well then one of our girl students became desperately ill and Lydia and I went to visit her and by the time we got there she was dead, and quite definitely dead. So I did exactly what Jesus said. I put everybody out, and Lydia and I knelt on opposite sides of the bed and we prayed. She suddenly sat up and said, Has anybody got a Bible? So I said, Yes. She said, Read Psalm 42, so I pulled my Bible out and read Psalm 42. Well, she was healed but she was a little weak. So Lydia and I took her to our home for a few days to watch over her. I said to her, Why did you ask me to read Psalm 42? Well, she said and she didn’t say when my spirit went out of my body but that’s what she meant, she said: I was found myself walking in a very narrow path and there were two men in white on either side of me.

And I came to a place where there was a lot of bright lights and people singing, and there was a man reading the Bible and he was reading from Psalm 42. So I wanted to know what was in Psalm 42. And it’s really rather remarkable because each of these students, quite independent of the other, had the same experience when their spirit left their bod, that is, they were escorted by two men in white along a very narrow path leading to a place with many bright lights and many people singing. Then one other, we had many significant experiences in Kenya, but one of, I think, the most permanent in its consequences, one of our women students, her mother died. So Lydia and I drove out to the funeral. I had never seen poverty so vividly portrayed. They’d dug a hole in front of the African hut. The hut had been partly damaged by fire so its roof was incomplete. And the mother was buried in a dirty white night dress in a very inadequate sort of box, and lowered into the ground.

And there were these African women, all Christians, singing choruses in their own language which was Rigoli and these two little girls very scantily dressed running around crying, the two youngest daughters in the family. So the elder sister came to us and said, I’m going to have to give up my training because I have to go and look after my sisters. So Lydia and I talked it over and we said, We’ll take your sisters. You can complete your training. So we did, so we ended up with two little, I suppose one was about three and one was about five, a little younger. I received a beautiful letter many years later from the older girl which I have somewhere, and she said, For the first time in my life, I slept in a real bed, I had real sheets, and somebody took me in their arms and held me. So eventually the girl graduated and she could take her sisters back, so we let them go. But Lydia said, I’ll make you some cookies before you go, but we had to go to a meeting of the missionaries on the station, and very late.

S picked her up and took her to hospital and they’d kept her there for six months. Now the hospital tells us we’re not a children’s home, we can’t keep her. So we’ve been going around to every familyo when we came back the girls were asleep. I always remember Susanna saying to Lydia next morning, I think you forgot to make the cookies. So that we thought was as much as we would do. Well then, one day about five o’clock in the afternoon we were sitting in our house, and a rather strangely assorted group of people came up, a black African couple and a white woman, and the white woman was carrying a small, black baby wrapped in a very dirty towel. So we invited them in and they sat down. They said, This little girl’s mother died when she was giving birth, and the baby was found abandoned on the floor of an African hut. And they in this area, African, European or Asian and saying Will you take this little girl? And we went to the hospital and the hospital said they couldn’t take her. They said, Why don’t you go to the Princes because they take children.

So when they arrived we said, Well, that was true long ago. We couldn’t possibly do that now. We have our educational work, and we’re very, very busy. So they said, Well, may we sit down for a little while? We’re so tired. So they sat down and we gave them some water to drink. Then they got up to go, and as the white woman went past me with the baby in her arms, the baby put out her left hand straight towards me as if to say, What are you going to do about me? And I looked at Lydia, she was on the other side of the room. Normally we would never make such a decision without praying together. And Lydia said, Give me a week to get a crib and some baby clothes, and you can bring her back. So that’s how we got our ninth daughter, an African daughter. Well, we inquired about the little baby if she had a name and they told us, Yes, it’s Joska. So we all started calling her Joska. It was several years before I discovered that really that was the way the African’s pronounced Jesika. So I now call her Jesika, and most of the members of the family still call her Joska.

Anyhow, the time came for Lydia and me to leave Kenya on furlough, and the question rose, what’s going to happen to Jesika? And I said to the various authorities, I said, If you will get her on my British passport, we’ll take her with us. Well, they were completely without anybody else to take Jesika. So they wangled it and got her on my British passport. And she traveled with us to Europe, to Britain, and then to Canada where we spent a year. I was doing some bible teaching on what they call deputation work. Then I found the time came for us to leave Canada. I had an invitation from an American Assembly of God pastor, whom I'd known when he was in the forces in the Middle East. And he always said, If you're ever in North America come and visit me. So I got in touch with him and he invited us.

So we set off from Canada by train, which is a beautiful journey through the Rockies, and arrived at Winnipeg, then took the train south to the American border. But we must have been a strange looking group, there was me there was Lydia who was a lot older than I was, and this little black girl who was about three and a half at the time. So when we got to the American border, they said, What are you coming for? I said, I’m coming for a visit. And they said, How long? and I said, About six months. They said, That’s too long for a visit. So I had to deal with a lot of different people at similar situations, so I said, I know you never argue with them. So I simply said, Well, maybe you can help us. And they said, Well, come in to Minneapolis and we’ll help you to immigrate. I’d never even thought of immigrating to the United States, and it was an amazing response. Also I learned later that I had to immigrate under the Indian quota because I’d been born in India. So anyhow, I immigrated to the United States with Lydia and Jesika. And in due course we became American citizens, all of us.
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