I wrote a “Wisdom of the Week” on June 23, 2014 entitled “You’ll Never Make It As A Missionary” about friend and missionary, Doug Nichols, who along with his wife Margaret, were classmates of my wife Kathy at Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta from 1963-1966. While Margaret (Jespersen) grew up as a missionary kid in China, Doug came from a very dysfunctional home. His step-father told him he was “worthless.” His three brothers died in prison and his sisters have been married five or six times. His own life was headed for destruction until a Christian classmate in college befriended him and introduced him to Christ. That friend went on to attend PBI and invited Doug to join him, but he struggled there and had to have special tutoring. Some even told him he was wasting their time and his money. When Doug told them he wanted to be a missionary, they said, “You’ll never make it as a missionary!”
But, with great effort—and the grace of God—Doug managed to graduate from PBI in three years (It’s a four-year school)! But, then he was turned down by some thirty different mission organizations to which he applied. Finally “Operation Mobilization” accepted him and he ended up as a missionary in India. Later, he founded “Action International Mission,” and now he and Margaret serve with “Commission To Every Nation,” as well as acting as “Global Missions” advocate and assisting “Christian Growth Ministries” and “Grow International Ministries” in the Philippines. The struggling PBI student that was told he would “never make a missionary” has been in missions now for more than 50 years and has been used mightily by God to spread the Good News of the saving power of Jesus Christ throughout the world! The life and ministry of Doug Nichols is a great illustration of the truth of I Cor. 1:26-31: “For consider your calling, brethren that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no one should boast before God. but by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification , and redemption, that just as it is written, ‘Let Him who boasts, boast in the LORD.’”
One thing Doug has always stressed in His ministry is the importance of God’s Word—keeping it the main thing. When he stayed in our home to hold a Missionary Conference at Faith Bible Church, we discovered one of his mottos is “No Bible, no breakfast.” He wouldn’t eat until he had some time in the Word. In a recent newsletter Doug told of an experience He had while battling cancer. I asked his permission to share it with you. Again, it shows the importance of making God’s Word our focus, of reading it and sharing it and letting it do its work.
“During my cancer treatment years ago, Margaret had to rush me to emergency one night. As the doctors worked on me through the night, not really knowing what to do, they called Margaret into the hall the next morning to explain my situation to her. About that time, a chaplain came in to see me and I thought, ‘Well this must be it.’
“As the chaplain talked softly to me for a few minutes, I finally opened my eyes and as tactfully as I could in my pain, said, ‘Is that the stuff you share with people all the time?’
“He said, ‘What do you mean?’
“I said, ‘Well, I’m dying of cancer. I do not want to hear talk about the sweet breeze blowing through the trees, the smell of flowers or the birds chirping. I am dying! You need to read the Word of God!’
“He said, ‘The Word of God? The Bible? Where do I get a copy?’ I said, ‘For Pete’s sake, you are a chaplain! Read from the Gideon Bible here on the table.’
“As he picked up the Bible he asked, ‘Where do I read?’
“I said, ‘Well, why don’t your start with Romans?’ (I forgot when you are dying you are supposed to read Psalms, not Romans!)
“So, he began to read Romans chapter one. In my pain I went to sleep just as he got to verse 16, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…’ What a great verse to go to sleep on!
“The next day, he came to see me again and asked, ‘Can we read the Word of God some more?’ As he read and we talked, I challenged him to use the Word with more patients because even in our misery, agony, pain and discomfort, the Word of God brings hope. The Scripture says, ‘So faith comes from hearing by the word of Christ’ (Ro. 10:17). So, let’s read the Word of God and share the Word and let it do its work!”
P.S. Doug is the one who had us compile 60 “Wisdom of the Week” devotionals and printed 1500 copies to hand out to pastors in the Philippines. 259 were given out at a Pastors’ conference in October. There are some 41,000 untrained pastors in the Philippines. They are in need of Bibles and study materials and cannot afford to purchase them, so CTEN, through the three ministries mentioned above, supply materials to these needy pastors. A special thanks to those of you who helped on the cost of printing the “Wisdom of the Week” devotional book to be part of that distribution.