All of this was preparing me soon to consider two successive and unsolicited calls back to the U.S.A. The next chapter shall record how that came about.
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First Round-the-World Lecture Tour
One day in Winterton, I received a letter from Rev. Professor Dr. Morton H. Smith in the United States. I had never met him, but he had received his Doctorate under Berkouwer at the Free University of Amsterdam, and was the Founder of Reformed Theological College in Jackson Mississippi.
One of my Ex-Students from Shelton College in N.J., Gene Knight, had just been interviewed as a prospective Theology Student by Dr. Smith. Somehow, during that interview, Gene had mentioned my name.
So Dr.Smith now wrotemeto find out if I had any interest in returning to the U.S.toteach theology there. If so, he proposed an all-expenses-paid round-trip for me — to come and give three weeks of lectures at Reformed, and to take it from there.
When I asked whether I might at my own expense pay in the financial difference, and fly round the World on my way to and from lecturing thus at Reformed — Dr. Smith readily agreed. Only later did I learn that my good friend Dr. George Nitshe had underwritten this trip for me to and from the U.S.A.
Right afterthat,Iwas struck by aboltoflightninginathunderstorm onmyway home after visiting a parishioner on a farm near Winterton. I was unharmed, though very shaken up.
Realizing that if I had died thus, I would never have seen Mississippi — I saw my survival as the hand of God. So, still very much alive, I decided I should go to give the lectures.
Taking my vacation leave and with the approval of my Session, I then flew off toward Australia and then via Los Angeles to Jackson — planning to return, after the lectures, by way of the Caribbean and South America. That was my very first Round-the-World trip.
First stop from South Africa, was Mauritius. Apart from seeing a stuffed extinct dodo in its museum, I also remember denouncing Mao in the shop of a Chinese merchant there. I was also horrified by thegrossidolatry ofaHindutempleIvisited; andIurgedtheimam ofamosque in its capital city to study the Bible, as urged by his own Qur'an (5:71).
Leaving Mauritius, I overnighted in a Perth hotel, and flew out of Australia over a more barren landscape than any I had earlier seen in the Near East. Evangelizing the Australian businessman next to me on the plane and also in Indonesia, I then flew on to Hong Kong.
There, I was amazed: at the industriousness of the folk; the multiplicity of churches and Christian hospitals; and the paucity of Buddhist and Confucian places of worship. I did, however, manage to get a picture of Marx & Engels & Lenin from the Communist Party Bookroom there — which picture I later used for my book Communist Eschatology.
Then to Taiwan, where I bought a plastic sheet of butterflies still adorning my wall above my computer. President Chiang-kai-Chek was still doing all he could to promote Christianity there — despite Nixon's then-recent visit to Mao-tse-Tung on the Red Chinese Mainland.
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Going on to Korea, my namesake Rev. Professor Dr. Kun Sam Lee met my plane. He showed me the sights of Seoul, and then had me speak at his Seminary in Pusan. All he wanted to do was talk about South Africa and Calvinism! He wanted me to arrange for Christian Missionaries from South Korea to go and work among the Bantu in South Africa to warn them against Communism. I am very grateful that my visit to him later led to him (and me) being invited to be a Delegate at the World's first International Conference of Reformed Institutions for Higher Education at Potchefstroom during 1975.