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Around The Sun: A Man On A Mission

Steve Harrison arrives in Lubbock, Texas, to begin his studies at a preaching school - and he is in for a surprise.

George, a young man studying at the Sunset School of Preaching, said he didn’t know if he wanted to be a preacher because God hadn’t called him yet. Cline Paden went late at night to the street where the man lived and yelled at the top of his voice “George, this is God. I want you to be a preacher.”


Ed Wharton, who had stayed with me while visiting Sydney, strongly encouraged me to study full time at the Sunset School. He had assured me that he would meet me at Lubbock airport and accommodate me at his home until I got myself sorted out. With my acceptance letter had come a school brochure outlining the course. On the back page was a picture of the man who had started the school. He looked austere and upright. Ed had informed me I would probably only get to meet him towards the end of my studies. He was an important and busy man.

Lubbock didn't look much from my aircraft seat: a bunch of suburban homes in the middle of a dirt brown desert. My heart sank as the plane touched down. After the lush tropical greenery of Sydney this was a total let-down.

I was the last person to drag my heels into the baggage collection area. I looked around for Ed's familiar face, or any face which looked friendly. There was a stout formidable-looking man who approached me.

With arms folded, he demanded "Are you the last one off the plane?''

"I guess so,'' I replied.

"Well I have had to leave an important party to come out here and meet you,'' he declared.

"Oh. What is the party for?''

"It's a birthday party, and in the time it is taking you to get your baggage I am sure it will be over.''

His face was as stern as that of a captain on the bridge of a sinking ship.

"I don't think it will take me long to get my baggage,'' I said feebly. "Who's birthday are you celebrating?''


I was thoroughly unsettled. I got my bags and we went to his car. There was not much conversation as we drove to his house. When we got there the place was deserted.

"See,'' he said accusingly "I've missed my own birthday party.''

This was the coldest reception I had experienced. I wanted to do a runner and catch the first flight back to Australia.

In time I discovered that Cline Paden, the head of the Sunset School - for he it was who had met me at the airport - was a prankster who loved practical jokes.

For two years he maintained that I was the one who had caused him to miss his own birthday party.


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