With ease, John stepped into the lumbering company’s need for an accountant. He was comfortable with, and quite capable of becoming the sole accountant. He was further amazed at God’s timing, and His faithfulness to meet the needs of His servant. Even before John faced the necessity of an automobile to get him to and from his new job, a car had already been part of the job offer.
Attendance at the little English-speaking church continued to grow. John loved the people and he loved preaching and teaching them God’s Word. One day it occurred to some of them that their pastor needed a larger home; so they build one that would adequately meet the family’s needs.
John and his family had adjusted to the cold climate; there was no complaint, so when a letter came from the Unites States…a letter from an institution he’d not heard of, inviting John to come to Chicago and become the assistant accountant to their Correspondence school, John read the letter and threw it into the waste basket, never seriously considering the offer.
A year passed, and another letter arrived from the U.S---a country foreign to John, and it asked simply, “Have you prayed about our question?” His answer was definitely “No!” He had a secure job and he liked it; he was free to pastor the church God had given him; his family was contented, and his wife happy. But this time, goaded by the Holy Spirit, he prayed. It meant nothing to him that the letter had been sent from the Moody Bible Institute, but his curiosity was stirred.
He had a strange sense that his father was somehow involved in the invitation, but in no way did it fit—to him at least! He knew that his parents had been falsely led to go to the West Indies as missionaries, only to see that they were not needed. Furthermore, their youngest daughter almost died from asthma attacks in the damp weather. A year later, after they returned to Wales, John’s father had a serious squabble with his cousin over the Phillips’ home which the cousin had rented and now refused to vacate, being encouraged by new legislation passed by the Labor government. They now had no place to live. Adding to their heartbreak was the fact that they had been rejected by their church because they had “failed in their efforts to be missionaries to the West Indies,” despite the fact that the whole venture had been so highly and falsely touted by a preacher visiting their home. John also knew that this parents, as loyal British citizens, had moved to Canada, but he did not understand why they later had moved to Chicago.
He did not know that there were men on the staff of Moody Bible Institute attending the same church as his parents, and they had become good friends. John’s father kept telling his new friends that they needed his son as the assistant accountant for their Correspondence School. Seeing with the eyes of faith, his father prayed for God’s will to be done, and said nothing about the subject to his son.
As John prayed, truly wanting the will of God to be done in his life, he felt more unsure of himself. Finally, he decided that he needed wisdom from someone wiser in the ways of God than himself. He dared not confide in his wife, but spoke to his father Leonard Phillips, and told him of his decision to go to England and to seek the counsel of Stephen Olford, who had been his youth leader in the church they both had attended when John was only a boy. Stephen, born on the mission field in Rhodesia, had been sent to Great Britain by his parents to complete his formal education. He had remained in England, and was recognized as a very wise and godly man.
John’s father asked permission to accompany him, and his son was delighted that he would not have to make the trip alone. So they purchased tickets on the Queen Mary, and sailed to England.