“You Teach Him!” — The Beginning of The Navigators

First published in The Compass, Volume 3 No. 4, July, 1980

Some years ago, there was a sailor on the U.S.S. West Virginia who had joined the navy with the idea of saving up enough money in order to enter Bible seminary after his period of service was ended. In the navy he lost track of his objective and drifted away from the Lord. A Christian woman who knew him prayed for him daily.

She knew another young man named Dawson Trotman, whom God was using in a great way. She asked Mr Trotman if he would speak to this young sailor about spiritual matters.

Dawson agreed to meet Les Spencer at the navy landing. From there they drove in Dawson’s car to the top of a hill near Long Beach, California, to talk. No sooner had they begun their discussion than a policeman walked up to the window of the car and wanted to know what they were doing. Dawson held up his Bible. The policeman first looked at the Bible and then at the sailor and began to ask questions.

For an hour Dawson answered the policeman’s questions by turning first to one scripture and then to another. At the end of that time the policeman knelt down and received Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour.

As they drove back down the hill, the sailor said to Dawson, “I would give my right arm to be able to do what you did tonight—just to lead a person to Christ.”

Daws told him, “You can do what I did tonight, Les. It won’t cost you your right arm, but it will cost you something by way of preparation, study, the memorizing of scripture and a strong prayer life.”

Les was invited over to the Trotman home a few nights a week for personal tuition and it was not long before Les, in turn, was used in another sailor’s life.

He brought the sailor to Dawson and said, “Teach him to do what you’ve taught me.” Dawson said, “No; you teach him.”

That was the beginning of the Navigators work—one man training another in order to reach yet another.

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