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The Perfect Plan

Flying to China would have been so much easier. Why take a boat? I wondered. Years later, I saw that God’s love was with us all along.

In 1959 my husband and I were dismayed when our mission board announced it was sending us to Taiwan by freighter, a long voyage that would seem even longer with our two children: Nancy, three, and Sammy, still in diapers.

Surely it would be easier to fly, we said. But we were told that the board had to send another couple with children, the Howards, to the Philippines via the freighter. Since children were not allowed as passengers without a doctor onboard, we were to go because my husband, Sam, is a plastic surgeon.

From the time we boarded in Los Angeles we had our hands full. One parent had to be with the children at all times for fear they’d fall down a ladder or into the Pacific. Then Sammy got the mumps, and one by one so did the other youngsters. On the twenty-third day we said goodbye to the Howards, and two days later, exhausted, we docked in Taiwan.

The years hurried by. Sammy returned to the United States for college. At school he was often homesick, wishing he had someone to talk to about life in Asia. Then one day in the library a tall girl came up to him. “You may not remember me,” she began, “but I’m Vicky Howard. About seventeen years ago you gave me the mumps.”

Three years later Vicky and Sammy were married. They moved back to Taiwan and now we have grandchildren right on our alley. Today whenever I recall that long, tedious voyage, I can see how God’s plan was unfolding, even on a slow boat to China.

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