An Unforgettable Trip to Scotland...
...and a surprise visit with the Muggeridges
In August, 1969, Becky was three months old. Experience had taught us that babies are less trouble
traveling than older children, so we decided to visit our friends, Ken and Kathy Bender, in Scotland.
We met Ken and Kathy Bender while students at Bob Jones University. Our friendship grew as God began
to burden them and us for Europe. After graduation, we headed for Austria and they went to Scotland.
Soon after their arrival, it was discovered that Ken had muscular dystrophy, but Ken and Kathy
remained faithful to their calling for many years.
We packed our little Renault and drove more than 2,000 kilometers to Eyemouth, Scotland, where the
Benders had established a small church.
We also looked forward to visiting our only other friends in England, Len and Sylvia Muggeridge. Len
was the son of the late Malcolm Muggeridge, a well-known British foreign correspondent, author and
television personality. Len was converted as a youth and much to the chagrin of his famous father,
enrolled in London Bible College. After graduation, he became a German teacher in the public school
system. In order to keep his German polished, he came to Austria and helped with youth and children's
camps. After his marriage to Silvia, both of them came to help.
Shortly before our trip to Scotland, Malcolm Muggeridge startled the British nation with the
announcement of his conversion to Christ! He was the keynote speaker at the Edinburgh Festival and gave
a clear testimony of his faith, blasting the rampant immorality in Great Britain. We heard the speech
on our car radio and were eager to discover what Len would have to say about his father's conversion
(Malcolm Muggeridge wrote several books after his conversion, including,
Jesus Rediscovered, Christ and the Media, Something Beautiful for God and his multi-volume
Chronicles of Wasted Time).
After crossing the English Channel and arriving in Dover, we realized with dismay, that we had not
brought Len and Sylvia's address with us. We couldn't even recall the name of their town, so planned
to call missionary colleagues in Austria to get the information
upon our arrival in Scotland. We could still visit them on the return trip.
We had a lovely time with the Benders and rejoiced to see first hand, how God was working in their
young church. They showed us around
the area where they lived, viewing the spiritual decay in a region which had once experienced great
revival. Large stone churches with ornate stained-glass windows had been converted into truck garages
and chicken coops. It was a sad sight to behold, and it encouraged us to pray even more for Scotland.
We also visited the Edinburgh zoo, where we had a memorable experience. A workman was attaching a
sign to the bars of the monkey cage which read, "Keep your Distance!" While the worker was thus
occupied, a monkey sneaked up and stole his eyeglasses! It quickly climbed to the top of the cage and
began taunting the workman! For nearly half an hour, hundreds of exuberant spectators alternately
cheered the monkey and then the keeper until the worker finally retrieved his undamaged eyeglasses.
We visited the Scottish Highlands, Edinburgh Castle and watched colorful fishing boats dock in the
harbor to auction off their day's catch. We even witnessed a storm on the North Sea, which whipped
up gigantic waves like nothing I had ever seen on the Atlantic coast of New Jersey.
The Benders told us that this area had experienced a great revival many years before. For centuries
before the revival meetings, fishermen had always lowered their nets on the left side of the ships.
After reading John 21, where Jesus told the disciples to lower their nets on the right side, they
decided to do the same. Few fishermen darken the door of a church today, but their boats have biblical
names and they still lower their nets on the right side!
When Sunday came, we attended the morning worship service in Benders' church. They had not yet begun
evening services in Eyemouth, so they took us to a church about twenty miles distant. Ken introduced
us to the Pastor, who greeted us from the pulpit.
Following the service, a young man and woman walked up behind us and tapped us on the shoulder; I
turned and could scarcely believe my eyes! There stood Len and Sylvia! "What on earth are you doing
here?" we exclaimed in unison.
We told them about the purpose of our trip and how we forgot their address. They would not have
been home if we had stopped to see them on the trip north or the return trip. Len and Silvia
explained that they had seen much of Europe but had never been to Scotland. With no definite plans
or reservations, they found someone to care for their children and simply drove until they were tired.
They found a bed & breakfast and decided to take an evening stroll through the town. They saw a lady
carrying a Bible and followed her to the church. The big surprise came when the pastor introduced
special guests from Austria!
Before we parted company, Len and Silvia insisted that we stay in their apartment on the return trip
to save motel costs. They gave us the keys and told us where to find clean bed-sheets! We could give
the keys to their neighbor when we left.
Excerpt from the autobiography of Ralph V Harvey, "Chips and Crumbs"
(over 500 page downloadable Word document).
Ralph V Harvey