In 1987 I returned from a mission trip to Argentina. It was a important time in my life. And an impactful one. In fact, I believed that the next step for my life and that of my family was a move to Buenos Aires as a missionary.
It made sense – given my training in language (for my minor in Spanish I had studied under an Argentine professor), and the fact that the witness of a Wycliffe Bible translator had been an element in my conversion seven years earlier.
So while I was waiting for things to come together – certain things would have to happen if it were to come to pass, I was avidly reading biographies of missionaries and other historical Christian figures. One such individual was the British statesman and Christian, William Wilberforce – an important political figure in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He believed that God’s call upon his life was to bring an end to the slave trade. Something about this man as portrayed in the biography by John Pollock resonated deeply in my consciousness.
More people needed to know about him, his love for God, and how that motivated him.
I was sitting in church service, and thoughts were percolating through my brain about Wilberforce, like – someone should make a movie about him. A Voice said to me – No, it’s a musical.
What a great idea I said to myself (for Wilberforce had a reputation as a marvelous singer). But I was called elsewhere. What did it have to do with me? I was waiting for leading as a missionary.
That all ended when the Lord spoke through the Scripture in another Sunday service. The words of Ezekiel shattered the image of what I thought I was called to. I am not sending you to a people of another tongue [Ezekiel 3:5]. I know the word was directed at my heart, to tell me that my call was not as a missionary to a foreign land.
So what to do.
Another word came. Another sermon had a phrase that hit my heart too. What’s that in your hand? [Exodus 4:2] I had recently bought a fountain pen, with which I took down notes from the sermons.
I put it all together. And began to write a musical based on the life of William Wilberforce.
I have just completed the first draft this last week.
“Wilber – A Musical.”
It has been a long journey. And all in God’s timing. There were certain things I needed to learn and to experience along the way.
Now I am waiting to see what’s next.