Back home from Nigeria
We are back home at last after 9 weeks overseas, during which we have travelled 12,000 miles, setting foot in Germany, Italy and Nigeria, have ministered to multitudes and witnessed extraordinary things.
It feels strange that little more than 24 hours ago we were still in Nigeria and that this morning we were in Spain. We left Lagos at 7.30pm last night by Flight BA254, seats H1 and 2, and flew at 21,000 feet to Kano where we landed at 9.25pm. We took off from there about 10.15pm, the Britannia flying over North Africa and the Bay of Biscay at 23,000 feet before landing at Barcelona, Spain, at 5.00am; this part of the journey took 6¾ hours. We took off again 45 minutes later, flying at 24,000 feet to Heathrow where we landed 20 minutes early at 7.30am; this final lap took 2¾ hours. The Midland Red coach left Victoria Coach Station at 9.30pm, we caught the 37 ’bus on arrival at Digbeth, and we were back home in time for lunch
It was lovely to see all the family again, but the house feels so strange, everything immediately familiar but somehow surprising us that it is still there. But for the moment we feel too tired for anything, simply relieved to be home again and to sleep in our own bed for the first time for 64 nights.
Clarice and Noel are married
Clarice and Noel were married today at 12.30pm at Camp Hill Seventh-Day Adventist Church [formerly a Presbyterian Church and later Christian Science]. Julia and [ ] were bridesmaids and Allan Evans was Noel’s best man. They had Wagner’s Bridal March, then The Lord’s my Shepherd followed by a prayer and an address by Pastor Denys Baildam, after which we sang O perfect Love. Handel’s Largo was played during the signing of the Register, and Mendelssohn’s Wedding March to conclude with. The organist was Mr C. Hill.
I tape-recorded the service and took some colour slides [00401–00413, in the last of which Denys Baildam, a life-long friend of the family, appears; he will officiate at Noel’s funeral in 1998, and at the marriage of Rebecca — Clarice & Noel’s daughter — to Neil Dyson in 2002.]. Afterwards we all went to the reception at Shirley House Hotel, Westley Road.
First thing this morning I went round the corner to buy the Sunday Pictorial. Our article was on page 4 under the title “The miracle tale of his shirts” [In another, presumably earlier, edition it reads “My old shirts work miracles”]. My picture appears at the top, and there is one sub-title, “Gifts,” underlined, towards the end. It is much shorter.
than the full-page article by Anthony Hancox in the Sunday Mercury [6 December 1959], but with the same innuendo. Not only is this house “large and luxuriously furnished,” but I am soon going to employ my own business manager and publicity agent, and have my own recording studio!
Tonight I took the service at Balsall Heath [The Homeland Assembly Hall, 219 Mary Street] and preached on The Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16), drawing upon our experiences in Nigeria.
Vindicated on television!
We were on television tonight, interviewed by Leslie Dunn on Midland Montage at 7.00pm. [Leslie is Paul in The Archers] We had to be at the Gosta Green studios — which used to be Aston Hippodrome — an hour early for a run-through of the show. Freda and I were interviewed for some 5½ minutes, Freda being asked about the hundreds of prayer-requests which are still coming in as a result of the Sunday Pictorial article.
Mr Dunn told viewers that this week he has been to see several people who have been miraculously healed under my ministry — the same people whom Tom Driscoll interviewed — and confirmed that a miracle really had taken place and that each has lasted at least 15 months. They also showed a photograph of our house and invited viewers to draw their own conclusion about the accuracy of the Sunday Pictorial report. Jimmy Howard drove us to the studios and was also interviewed; he said that he had been in several of our meetings and confirmed that he had seen miracles take place.
At the close of the programme Mr Dunn suggested to viewers that the newspaper article was probably “not worth the paper it is printed on. Three days ago, I set out, I must confess, to expose what I had been led to believe was a religious swindle, but I find myself firmly believing in the sincerity of Mr Williams and his work.” So we do praise the Lord for this vindication on T.V. and for millions more people being appraised of His power to heal.
It was a wonderful surprise to find that Joe Mercer and Gilbert Merrick were also in the programme, interviewed about the prospects for Villa and Blues in this weekend’s matches. I said hello to Gil after the programme.
We received another pile of letters and prayer-requests this morning, and 14/6d in love-gifts, 10/-d from Mrs P, 2/6d from Mrs A.O. and 2/-d from Mrs C.L. I spent a further 1/-d on stamps in addition to 4/6d yesterday and 5/-d on Tuesday.