In 1991 when Cathy and I made our first overseas trip with The International Congress on Revival we had no idea of the wonderful, Godly people we would meet, and with whom we would bond. I have recently written about meeting Mia and Costel Oglice who were our Romanian translators for the conference, and how our friendship resulted in many Romanian and eastern European pastors and their wives coming to El Dorado for some much-needed medical care. (“In Need of a Russian Translator“).
The conference we attended was held in Salzburg, Austria and the American team was scheduled to have a few days in Innsbruck to rest and recover from jet lag. We were then to go to Salzburg to begin the meeting which had attendees coming from eighteen different countries. While in Innsbruck I was given a copy of Wesley Duewel’s book, Ablaze For God and was told there were a number of accounts in the book of great revivals of the past. I was told the accounts would be an encouragement to pray for revival in Salzburg. One of the accounts in the book was in Chapter 10 entitled. “God’s Power in the Ministry of Duncan Campbell.” I had never read anything about Duncan Campbell prior to this.
One of the first of many manifestations of God’s power in Duncan Campbell occurred when he was seriously injured in 1918 during World War I. He was taken to a casualty clearing station where he said he felt an unusual presence of God when he prayed aloud Psalm 103 in his native Gaelic tongue of the Scottish highlands. He said seven wounded Canadian soldiers who understood Gaelic were lying nearby were immediately born again. Several other examples of the unexplainable power of God through Duncan’s life were given. Years later while Reverend Campbell was preaching throughout the Scottish Hebrides, a huge movement of God occurred resulting in most of the people on the island chain being converted to faith in Christ. Duncan Campbell spent the last years of his life as Principal of Edinburgh Bible College.
When we arrived in Salzburg two days later I was enthused about the possibility of God’s power being manifested in Cathy’s and my life and in all the conference attendee’s lives. On the first morning as Cathy and I got on the hotel elevator to go for breakfast there was an older, well dressed couple who appeared to also be attending the ICR meeting. I noted their name tags only stated their names, Colin Peckham and wife Mary Peckham and their native country Scotland. Following introductions I told them of the book I had just read, and asked if by chance they had ever met Duncan Campbell. Both smiled and said they knew him very well! Reverend Dr. Peckham said he had followed Duncan Campbell as Principal of Edinburg Bible College and had in his possession all of Duncan’s papers from the college. Mary said she was a young woman on the Island of Lewis when converted to faith in Christ while Duncan Campbell preached during the Hebrides Revival of 1949! I was speechless, but asked if they would join Cathy and me for breakfast. They gladly accepted our invitation.
They had never attended an ICR Conference, but had been invited to share the ministry of Christ through them in Scotland. They were excited to have the opportunity to speak to such a diverse American and European group. They asked us to tell them about Christ’s ministry through us in South Arkansas, and how we became involved in ICR. They had met the founder of ICR, the late Brother Manley Beasley years before in Switzerland, but had never met Brother Bill Stafford the current president.
During breakfast I told them of the account I had read of Reverend Campbell while critically wounded praying Psalm 103 in Gaelic, and the conversion of the wounded Canadian soldiers who heard his prayer. I asked if they would mind quoting all or part of that Psalm in Gaelic. I didn’t mean to embarrass them, but certainly caught them off guard. Dr. Peckham said he was born and raised in South Africa and was not fluent in the Gaelic tongue of the Scottish highlands, but Mary certainly was fluent. He said, “What if Mary quoted Psalm 23 in Gaelic, and I quoted that Psalm in Zulu?” I said, “That would be awesome!” Neither Cathy nor I had ever heard those two languages spoken, but we knew what they were saying, and I thought while they were speaking, “what a wonderful way to begin our time and meeting in Austria!” There was certainly a spirit of revival beginning in our hearts that morning.
The time spent over the next five days in Austria was life changing for Cathy and me. We met and had fellowship with Christians from all over the world and heard and shared stories of God working through all of us. As we returned home I remember praying, “God set me ablaze for your Glory and let it continue until I meet you!”