That month I had a bad report on the state of the [Mission] hall floor. It was very old, full of dry rot, and had to be replaced. It was most unsafe. Five hundred pounds our builder quoted. What could we do? We didn’t have that sort of money.
As I discussed the problem and the need for urgency with the builder, the Deaconess who opened the mail came to me with a cheque made out to the Kensal Medical Gospel Mission for five hundred pounds. I was bowled over and could hardly speak and the builder who knew I had heart trouble said, ‘Miss Howland, what’s happened? Is somebody there with you? Have you had a bad turn?’
"No,’ I replied, ‘but you just told me that the floor might cost five hundred pounds and I have just been sent five hundred pounds in the mail, but I don’t know who sent it to me.’
‘You know,’ he said, ‘that’s what I can’t understand about you. If I had nothing in the bank I’d feel really weak. But if I suddenly found I’d got five hundred pounds I’d feel mighty strong. With you it’s the other way round. Nothing in the bank and feel ok. Five hundred pounds in and feel all weak. I don’t know: the stories you girls can tell about God supplying everything you need.’
Where had this money come from? Early on I had an idea but couldn’t understand what had motivated the gift. It started with the relieving nurse who got caught in the rain and seemed to be as poor as a church mouse. One Saturday night after being out for the day and returning to our Mission she passed numbers of public houses still open. Children were playing the streets waiting for their parents to finish drinking and fighting at closing time. When she got home a voice said to her, ‘and you are prepared to take Dividends from those breweries that cause this sort of thing to happen.’ Immediately she got down on her knees and prayed, ‘Lord, if those shares that my aunt left me when she died are in a brewery I will give them all to you.’
It turned out they were brewery shares and she kept her promise. She gave our Mission five hundred pounds, which helped pay for the floor, and five hundred pounds also to Adeline Wallace of the Mission of Hope.
From chapter 7 of Walking by Faith, published by the author, 2005