I REMEMBER THE DAY in December 1982 when my wife, Diane, and I stood on the beach in Mombasa, Kenya, where we’d struck up a conversation with a couple who were also enjoying a walk by the sea. We learned they were pastors who had come to work with the local Kenyan pastors, and the brief exchange that followed turned out to be life changing for Diane and me.
Curious to understand how they supported themselves, I asked, “Well, how do you live?”
“By faith,” the woman replied.
That was not the answer I’d expected. “What do you mean when you say that you live by faith?” I asked.
She just smiled and said, “By faith, God provides.”
I can still see myself saying to her, “I wish I worked for your boss.”
I don’t remember much about the rest of our conversation with the couple that day, but we exchanged contact information and promised to stay in touch.
Four months later, the husband, Frank France, visited me in Nairobi where, on April 5, 1983, I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Since that moment, my life, Diane’s life, and our family’s lives have never been the same. We truly became acquainted with Jehovah Jireh, God our provider.
As Diane and I purposed to learn everything we could about walking in faith, the Lord began to give new direction for our lives: we both felt South Africa was where He wanted us to be. When I told Frank France we were praying about a move, he said, “There’s an ex-bodybuilder named Ray McCauley who has a Word of Faith church there. When you get to South Africa, you need to join that church.”
Diane and I didn’t yet know what a Word of Faith church was, but we found Pastor Ray and his church, and we joined it. For the next fifteen years we learned about faith as we served at Rhema Bible Church, eventually becoming part of the pastoral staff.
It was during that time we first met Jerry Savelle when he came to teach at the church. He taught a message I’ve never forgotten: “Tishbites Unite—Elijah the Tishbite.” There was something about the man and his message that drew Diane and me to him, and we began to follow his ministry.
Walking by Faith
During our years at Rhema Bible Church, we learned to walk by faith and saw God provide miraculously in every area of our lives. Our entire family was serving God, and Diane and I were happy serving as pastors. However, in 1997, we began to sense the Lord was leading us to Australia. We didn’t know how or when it would happen; we just knew Jehovah Jireh would provide.
In November of that year, we had the opportunity to see Brother Jerry again at the opening of his offices in South Africa, and we shared with him that the Lord was directing us to Australia. (We don’t always recognize the ways of the Lord, but Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD.”)
When we left South Africa, we had no idea what we were going to do in Australia or how God would provide, but God knew. Step-by-step and day-by-day, the provision of God was evident upon our lives as we trusted God to reveal His purpose in leading us to Australia.
A few months later, in April 1998, our paths again crossed with Brother Jerry’s at Kenneth Copeland’s Believer’s Convention in Brisbane, Australia. Di and I had put out our faith to attend that convention, and as always, the Lord’s provision was outstanding.
After Brother Jerry finished preaching his session on Thursday, he invited us to come meet with him. We were stunned when he asked if we would join his organization as the directors of his ministry in Australia. Of course, we said yes.
Brother Jerry told us later that the Lord had told Carolyn and him there would be a divine appointment during that convention—and it turned out we were the divine appointment. What an exciting time it was for us as we experienced the fulfillment of our calling to Australia and God’s miraculous provision. The thing I remember most was what Brother Jerry prayed for Diane and me the last night of that convention. He laid his hands on us and said, “Lord, let the favor that is upon me be upon them.”
That divine appointment and our connection in prayer marked the beginning of a journey that has now lasted over seventeen years and is filled with a multitude of testimonies to God’s faithfulness.
Established in Faith
In 2006, at the direction of the Holy Spirit, we opened Heritage of Faith Christian Church on Australia’s Gold Coast. Since then, we’ve established three other churches in Australia and two churches in Papua New Guinea. In line with Brother Jerry’s vision, we also sponsor a division of Chariots of Light Christian Bikers Club, which is an awesome tool for outreach.
We give all the glory to God, whose provision has propelled us through our years here in Australia. He has provided visas (turning laws, rules, and regulations to our benefit). He has provided buildings, and He has provided divine connections with precious people all over Australia and throughout Asia. He’s provided wonderful partners, a great staff, and even live streaming for our church services. There isn’t a single area of our life and ministry that His provision has not touched.
It has now been more than thirty years since Diane and I first heard the words “by faith, God provides” on that beach in Mombasa. We have since learned to trust Him. We have learned to set our eyes upon Jesus. We look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and in everything we do, we give Him first place—for He alone is worthy.
Don’t let time be your enemy. You may not see everything come to fruition quickly in your life, but continue to believe. Keep your faith in God and continue declaring His goodness. Then as you walk through 2015 (the year of visitations, manifestations, demonstrations, supernatural increase, and breakthroughs), you will see Jehovah Jireh—God our provider—come through greater than ever before.
Ian and Diane Slack have served as the National Directors for Australia for almost eighteen years. They oversee JSMI’s Australian ministry, plus all outreaches in Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Pacific Rim Nations.