Crawford Telfer, CTA’s Director of Programmes
To obey or not to obey?
I well remember waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat asking 'what on earth have I done?' I had just given notice to my employers, who for the past 15 years had provided a well paid, secure job. Being a BBC TV cameraman had been a dream I'd cherished since the age of 9. Now I was throwing it all away. Mad? To some of my friends and family - definitely. But the call of God presents us with only two choices - to obey or not to obey. And God had made it absolutely clear he wanted me in the CTA. If I refused, I knew I'd regret it for the rest of my life. If I obeyed, I was facing a totally unknown future - but what a sense of adventure! 25 years later, the adventure continues as CTA's Director of Programmes. 25 years later I've had the tremendous privilege of travelling the world and meeting amazing servants of God. 25 years later, I'm getting the message that 'God is faithful, and He who calls you will do it' - He will provide for you, He will guide you (though not always consciously). He will sometimes scare you to death, but always bring you through. He will stretch you beyond what you thought were your limits. He will not always makes things easy - but He will make them possible.
Too many to describe in detail, but here's a few: Directing the video coverage for Mission England in 1984 with Billy Graham. Making a documentary about Dr. Helen Roseveare's experiences in Africa - on location. My old employers broadcasting it twice, and it featuring on Points of View. Working with Joni Eareckson Tada on several occasions. She broke her neck and is now quadraplegic. I broke my neck in a similar accident, and am still walking. Filming for 'So Who Is This Jesus?' in Israel. The DVD has gone on to be the CTA's most distributed programme ever. Making drama documentaries about George Muller and Charles Spurgeon, and screening them to a packed cinema.
Malcolm Turner, CTA's Executive Director - without him and his fund raising, and distribution abilities, my work would be pointless. Malcolm went full time on the CTA staff 10 years after I joined. Pam White - our stalwart 'administrator' and our board of trustees, under the chairmanship of long time friend, David Gee. All essential to the existence of the CTA. We may still be a tiny organisation, but our bread has been cast upon the waters of the whole planet.
25 years ago we were thrilled if we sold 25 copies of one of our programmes. Our wildest and craziest imaginings just could not anticipate where we would be today: a world wide audience on DVD and satellite TV, many of our programmes dubbed not just into one or two languages, but many including Arabic, German, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian and even American. And, while others have come and gone, we are still here - perhaps the greatest 'miracle' of all, and that's definitely God's doing!
One lesson I have learned is that whatever God gives - we should hold it with a loose grip. Tomorrow, He may say 'time to move on - I have something else for you to do'. He hasn't said it for 25 years, and he may never say it - but my ambition is to always be in the place of His appointing - wherever that is, and for however long. One of our programmes was about a missionary pilot in Tanzania who described it as being 'the best place to be' because he knew that was where God wanted him. Those past 25 years of service in the CTA, for me too have been the 'best place to be'.