Incidents in Travel and Soul Winning – By Elmer & Julia Shelhamer

Chapter 20

The Stolen Motorcycle

In a certain home in South Africa lived a boy whom we shall call Tom. He was the black sheep of the family. One, time he disappeared from home and, though his father was a policeman, he could not succeed in locating him. Many an hour did his dear Christian mother spend in agonizing prayer for her wayward boy.

A theft occurred in the city, but evidence was not sufficient to convict any one. In the meantime Tom sought God and seemed to become a Christian, but did not hold out long. Again and again he tried, but failed. Later, he attended a convention to which husband and I had been invited as speakers. The light began to shine and conviction settled upon hearts.

One day this young man came to our room. Feeling that he had something important to say and that it might be easier for him to say it were I not present I slipped out and left him alone with husband.

He told of his efforts at seeking salvation, of a call to preach, of his entering a theological school; then added that it seemed he could not keep his hold on God. There was a pause. Just why his failure, was the question. Was it a lack of faith, or of obedience — which? He knew, but, oh, must he now disclose what he had for year’s so carefully concealed?

A shudder went over his spirit, and as he sat with bowed head, he trembled and wrung his hands. He must proceed for to go back meant perdition and here was his opportunity. He must, he would obey the inner voice.

Cautiously he proceeded and told of his wanderings from mother and from home; of his temptation to steal, how he saw a motorcycle — almost new — mounted it and sped away. Later he sold it for a mere pittance.

He had told his father, but the latter refused to let him tell his mother as he feared it would kill her. Neither would he allow him to make restitution, his reason being that this was Tom’s second offense and it might go hard with him.

After, husband had prayed with Tom, the boy decided to tell his mother all. Later she came to see us — was glad Tom had confessed, for she had feared that he was guilty. He must make this awful wrong right and she would help him. Just how to manage she did not know as her husband would not consent to it.

The motorcycle was stolen from a man who later bought another one and while riding it was killed. His poor, old widow was now living in a distant. city where my husband would soon be holding a revival. So it was agreed that he should look her up and act as a go-between, find out how much she would ask for the machine and secure from her a written statement that on receipt of the money she would forever release Tom from punishment. Husband did all this without disclosing any names.

He found the woman miserably clad and needing nourishment. When she saw over $200.00 she was dumfounded. A more grateful person I think I never saw. She sent word by husband of her gratitude to the one who had sent it, praying God to reward him.

Tom says he hopes some day to see the one he wronged and tell her all, but until that time he is very happy, feeling that he has done all that he should at the present.

A few months later, Tom came to Capetown to see us off as we sailed for U. S. A. He had a radiant face and was victorious in the Lord. Since making restitution, he has had no trouble in keeping true to God, for he has made a clean breast of everything and realizes the truth of that promise, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — 1 John 1:9.