Waiting for God to fulfill His promise

This is one in a series of daily excerpts from “The Legend of Morris Cerullo: How God Used an Orphan to Change the World.”

By Morris Cerullo

By the time 1955 came around Morris and Theresa decided that it made sense to have a home that would provide some stability for the children and perhaps even for the ministry operation.

After discussing the options they chose to seek a home in Theresa’s hometown, Newburgh, New York. They searched high and low before finding a home still under construction that would meet their needs. It was not a large home, but it was affordable — a modest eleven thousand five hundred dollars. They scraped together the six-hundred-dollar deposit and intermittently checked on the progress of their future home while they lived with Theresa’s parents (again).

In the meantime they continued to accept speaking invitations, which took either Morris alone or the entire family on the road while the house was slowly being finished.

On one such trip in Pennsylvania, Morris received a word from the Lord: “Son, get ready to go to Athens, Greece.”

At last, the Lord was about the initiate the international phase of the ministry He had promised Morris. The young father couldn’t have been more excited. Athens! Morris had no idea where in the world it was, but he knew it was overseas somewhere, and that was good enough for him.

Of course, the Lord had not told him how the trip would unfold, but Morris and Theresa waited expectantly, certain that a trip to Greece was coming in the near future. The Lord had given them countless promises over the years and had never failed to deliver on one of them. They had no reason to expect anything different now.

A few weeks after the initial revelation a letter was delivered to Morris that had a foreign-looking stamp on it. He excitedly tore open the envelope and pulled out the letter inside. Sure enough, it was from a Reverend Koustis, the leader of the Church of God denomination in Greece.

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Rev. Koustis wrote that he had been praying for guidance when God responded by telling him to invite Morris to Greece to hold an event. As soon as he finished reading the letter Morris sat down and composed an acceptance letter describing how God had revealed the coming invitation two weeks earlier. As he finished the note Morris shook his head in wonder at how God works. Here God was, orchestrating a ministry that was so reminiscent of what had happened nearly two thousand years earlier when God sent another Jew (the apostle Paul) to minister to the Greeks.

He sighed with hope, counting on God to allow him to have even a sliver of the spiritual impact that Paul had experienced on the historic island nation.

With the acceptance letter en route to his host, Morris and Theresa excitedly set about preparing for his first overseas ministry opportunity. There was a passport to apply for. He had never traveled outside the U.S. and Canada, so he had never needed one, and he found the application process to be slow and frustrating. He also had to get the required shots and take care of all the other matters that had to be done in advance of such a trip.

In fact, when he looked up Greece on a globe and saw its location, he was ecstatic. It was just a short flight over the Mediterranean Sea from Israel, the homeland of his ancestors. In his heart he knew that God was preparing him to reach into the Jewish culture and present the gospel of Jesus Christ to his people. After talking it over with Theresa, Morris decided that it would be an ideal time to hop over to Israel for a bit of reconnaissance — a chance to experience the nation so that he could pray and prepare himself more intelligently for an eventual ministry trip there.

When the couple spoke to a travel agent to lay out the trip and get an idea of the financial needs for this undertaking, Morris almost passed out. The least expensive round-trip airfare they could get was $961.80. (For the sake of context, an airplane ticket costing $962 in 1956 would be the equivalent of about $8,428 in 2015.) That was out of the question! Given the size of their ministry’s operational expenses, the cost of raising their family, and the yet-to-be-paid expense of their soon-to-be-completed home there was no way Morris had the funds to purchase that air ticket.

But they knew God had orchestrated the trip and was expecting Morris to be in Greece in August 1956. The cost of the airfare alone — $961.80 might as well have been $1 million; it was beyond anything Morris could hope to scrape together in the coming months. He laughed and shook his head as he thought about it; that was more than the deposit they had placed on their house! But God had never let them down yet, and Morris was confident that He would come through in some unexpected way yet again — and probably at the last minute. Morris put the matter on the back burner and waited expectantly for God to take care of the details.

All he had to supply was the faith to keep moving toward the goal.

Because the trip was still a number of months in the future, Morris had to keep up with his busy schedule in the meantime. But in the back of his mind, no matter where he was, there was a growing sense of excitement about the forthcoming trip overseas.