The voice of God or an old man?By John E. Sharp
— One Sunday morning while Miller was speaking about needs in Africa, “Mary Yoder” felt a call to go to Africa as a medical missionary. Then Eastern Mennonite Missions asked her to go to Central America, where she felt no call. Miller pressed her. They talked long into the night.
The next morning, Miller wanted an answer. “Mary” said, “I’ve said yes a thousand times and no a thousand and one times.” When he tried to impress upon her that God was the one calling her, she retorted. “But you aren’t God!”
An unhappy Miller asked what she wanted to do instead. When she said wanted to go to college, Miller made it happen. He called the president. The next Monday, “Mary” was sitting in a classroom.
— After World War II, C.J. Dyck spent three years with MCC in Germany working with refugees. After that he planned to do graduate work at the University of Basel. But then Miller came calling. He wanted to send Dyck to Paraguay to help refugees get established. When Dyck said no, and added that he had already registered at Basel, Miller said, “Well, Cornie, if you can say no to the Lord and live with yourself, that’s your problem.” Dyck went to Paraguay.
— Omar Eby served as a teacher of English under EMM from 1957 to 1960. Then Miller came calling. He asked Eby to go home, get a graduate degree (and a wife), then return to Somalia to build the mission education program.
Eby said, “Brother Miller, whenever I receive an invitation like this I never know whether I am hearing the voice of God or that of an old man.”
Immediately, Miller replied, “I’ll have you know, Omar, God uses old men like me to tell young men like you what to do.”
— Orie Miller did not always get it right. Nevertheless, he called a multitude of young men and women into mission and service ministries around the globe. Who is doing the calling today?
John E. Sharp is an instructor in history at Hesston (Kan.) College, on leave in 2011-12 to write a biography of Orie O. Miller.
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