Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

In 2003 I lost my job in England, and was unable to find alternative employment. I consider this to be God's will.

In March 2004, whilst on holiday in NZ, my friend Bill told me one evening all about the Family Television Network - a local Christian-run TV station in Matamata. Local Christian TV - this was an absolute revelation to me. I had a really good feeling about this, and even found myself outside their studios one day, but at the time didn't have the confidence to go in.

In July 2004 I returned to New Zealand on a visitor's visa, which would allow me to stay for a maximum of 12 months. After that, I would have to leave for 12 months. In order to remain here longer, I would need either a Work Permit or a Student Permit. Both require an offer from either an employer or an educational body to be obtained.

Despite many applications, I have not been offered even one single job interview, except for voluntary positions. Except for one.

In October The Family Television Network offered me a very low-paying position with just one proviso - to accept it I had to believe that God wanted me there.

6 months had now passed since I had first heard of them, and for some reason I turned their offer down. Looking back now at how, in over a year, it has been the only paid position that I have been offered, either here or in the UK, combined with my film-making skills and how 'right' it felt when Bill first told me about the station, it certainly seems like taking it would have been the right choice.

In December I met a Korean family through the Salvation Army. They told me all about Fowey Lodge - a Bible college that, incredibly, charges no course fees. Their reasoning was that, just as Jesus never charged for his teaching, neither should they. Freely give, as freely you have received, that sort of thing.

In January, after an interview, I was offered a place at the college, again with the proviso that I had to believe that God wanted me there.

I prayed, and asked God for His direction.

Since then, I have continued to regularly visit the aforementioned Korean family, to whom I've been teaching English. When they moved into a bigger house nearer to the Bible college, they invited me to move in with them and teach them more regularly. Again I prayed, and my prayers became an alternative to doing something, instead of a part of it.

This week, God has taken me out of the hostel, and then had me stop. Considering a return to the hostel to be a step backwards, my Korean friends' offer suddenly emerged as my only path forwards. I also saw this as my cue to begin attending the Bible college with them.

Not only was God's plan for me to teach English becoming yet more solid, but now I knew I had a year of Bible college ahead of me. What could those 2 things possibly be foreshadowing?

This evening, as my new hosts treated me to a free meal at Club Bobos, we hammered out some sort of a deal.

What they really wanted, Mr Korea explained, was for me to teach English to their younger son. Apparently he's had other teachers, but seems to respond well to me. Mrs Korea: "You have spirit. You have spirit of God inside you." I honestly hadn't been aware of this, but was of course very keen to help in any way I could.

I then outlined to them my plan to head back to the UK in July for a few weeks, before returning here to study afterwards. Fowey Lodge Bible College is very close to their home, in fact Mrs Korea and Young Master Korea were both students there already.

They then exchanged some words in Korean, during which Mrs Korea began to look decidedly distressed. Oh dear. She looked as though some idiot had backed a truck into the side of her 4x4 over the weekend.

Mr Korea explained to me.

Since my successful interview at the college in January, the NZ Department of Permits (or whatever it's called) has, after 39 years, refused to issue any more Student Visas to Fowey Lodge students. Perhaps because of the free courses. Perhaps because the teaching is designed so that the Holy Spirit can guide each student individually. Perhaps because, with this in mind, there is no written exam at the end.

The most likely reason however is to stop people like myself appearing to take advantage of it.

And the moral of this story? Take it away Ecclesiastes 11:4...

If you wait for perfect conditions you will never get anything done.


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