n 1975, I was the captain of the Northern Light, a Seventh-day Adventist mission ship in British Columbia, Canada. My wife, Yvonne, and I lived on the ship as missionaries, ministering to the First Nations people who lived along the coast.
One day we were asked to visit the Kitkatla who lived in a village of the same name on Dolphin Island. Many of them had been listening to the Voice of Prophecy radio broadcast or watching It Is Written television programs, and they wanted an Adventist representative to help them learn more about God's Word.
I searched the marine charts for the passage into Kitkatla and noticed that captains were required to have “knowledgeable personnel” accompany them through this dangerous channel.
I searched diligently for someone with knowledge of the passage, but I couldn’t find anyone. Yvonne and I prayed for God’s leading and felt impressed to proceed to Kitkatla on our own.
We embarked on our mission on a calm day, and with one last prayer for protection, aligned the ship to enter the passage. Suddenly, we saw a fishing boat coming from another direction, also headed toward the passage. “Praise God!” I called out to Yvonne, slowing down the ship to let the fishing boat enter first. “Now we can follow him!”
When the two boats arrived in the port of Kitkatla, I noticed a berth along the wharf that the Northern Light could enter easily. I was afraid the fishing boat would take it, but it passed on by.
I docked the ship and immediately set out to find the fisherman to thank him for leading us in. But I couldn’t find his boat.
I asked several men at the dock where the boat had gone. They hadn’t seen a fishing boat, or any other boat, preceding the Northern Light to the docks.
How odd! I mused, as we made our way to the first home on our list for visitations.
I found the people to be friendly, and the day passed quickly as we went from place to place, studying the Bible with the adults and telling Bible stories to the children.
We were heading back to the ship after our last visit when a man invited us to come to his office. He wasted no time getting to the point. “When I saw your ship enter the harbor with no local fishing boat preceding it, I waited to see if you were accompanied by knowledgeable personnel,” he said. “I was not happy to see you step off the ship alone.”
The man had never seen anyone navigate the passage safely without assistance because there were so many rocks and gravel bars lying just below the water’s surface.
Then a woman in the office informed him that she had seen a local fishing boat leading in the Northern Light. When she discovered that I was the missionary captain of the ship, she was delighted that Yvonne and I had come to visit the Kitkatla. Her comments seemed to ease the man’s anger.
“Captain, I almost demanded that you never come back to Kitkatla, but God must want you here,” he said, smiling. “I expect to see you back regularly now.”
Obviously, Yvonne and I weren’t alone that day. Jesus had sent His angels to lead the Northern Light through that dangerous passage to reach the Kitkatla people with His love.