November 20. The boiler at the new Orphan House No. 1 leaked considerably. We thought that it would last through the winter, although we suspected it was nearly worn out. For me to do nothing and say, "I will trust in God" would be careless presumption, not faith in God.
The condition of the boiler could not be known without taking down the brickwork surrounding it. What then was to be done? For the children, especially the younger infants, I was deeply concerned that they would suffer for lack of warmth. But how were we to obtain heat? The installation of a new boiler would probably take many weeks. Repairing the boiler was a questionable matter because of the size of the leak. Nothing could be decided until the brick-chamber was at least partially removed. That would take days, and what was to be done in the meantime to find warm rooms for three hundred children?
At last I decided to open the brick chamber and see the extent of the damage. The day was set when the workmen were to come, and all the necessary arrangements were made. The heat, of course, had to be shut off while the repairs were going on.
After the day was set for the repairs, a bleak north wind set in, bringing the first really cold weather of the winter. The repairs could not be put off, so I asked the Lord for two things-that He would change the north wind into a south wind, and that He would give to the workmen a desire to work. I remembered how much Nehemiah accomplished in fifty-two days while building the walls of Jerusalem because "the people had a mind to work" (Neh. 4:6).
The memorable day came. The evening before, the bleak north wind still blew, but on Wednesday, the south wind blew, exactly as I had prayed. The weather was so mild that no heat was needed. The brickwork was removed, the leak was soon found, and the repairmen set to work.
About half-past eight in the evening, when I was going to leave for my home, I was informed that the manager of the repair firm had arrived to see how the work was going on. I went to the cellar to see him and the men. The manager said, "The men will work late this evening and come very early again tomorrow."
"We would rather, sir," said the foreman, "work all night:"
Then I remembered the second part of my prayer-that God would give the men "a mind to work." By the next morning, the repair of the boiler was accomplished. Within thirty hours the brickwork was up again, and the fire was in the boiler. All the time, the south wind blew so mildly that there was not the least need for any heat.