In the Fall of the year 1972 the Lord very definitely led us to leave the work in the Maritimes and return to Ontario to engage in a work among the thousands of Italian immigrants who were flooding the country at that time. This, of course, involved intensive study of that language to attain sufficient proficiency to help in all the activities of the Fairbank Italian assembly in Toronto and area, but open-air work in the parks there gave contact with a number of Spanish-speaking immigrants from Central and South America. In the course of a few years this work was amplified to include a large influx of Portuguese immigrants as well, involving the study of their language, enabling me to engage in a Portuguese work in the Kensington Market in Toronto.
In late 1988 the Lord gave definite direction to come here to El Salvador for some three months to help the Sawords who had a serious car accident the year before and were by no means fully recovered. And at that time they were more or less alone on the field. Before leaving for Canada after that visit, the Lord clearly indicated that it was His will for us to move to this country and to help further in the work here. Accordingly, in November, 1989 we moved to El Salvador, arriving just in-time for the beginning of the all out war with the Communist faction here. It was terrible.
Nearly two years ago, after the annual conference here in San Salvador, I came down with my third attack of deep-vein thrombosis, continuing for months on blood thinning drugs. No sooner was this over than I developed acute and crippling rheumatoid arthritis chiefly in hands, arms and shoulders, making the driving of my car almost impossible and making just dressing and undressing painful ordeals. After months of this my condition improved to the extent that the doctor says I am in “remission”.
When the arthritis took hold, our weekly trips to Izalco on Saturday afternoons had to be suspended, This meant concentrating our activities mainly in Apopa and Quezaltepeque, both much closer to the city here. For months now, I can honestly say I don’t have an ache or a pain, yet my hip surgery of 7 years ago still prohibits a return to Izalco. I can manage such a trip if someone else does the driving…and that is why a couple of months ago I was able to go with Bro. Tack to Acajutla for a ministry meeting there. I am still dependent upon a daily dose of a weak anti-inflammatory drug.
When we came to this country over 6 years ago, I was almost 76 years old. I must admit that I felt so sure that the Lord would be here before I reached 80, but He still delays His Coming in grace, and souls continue to be saved here and all over the world. Praise His blessed Name!
Ilda, though 10 years younger, and never in robust health, continues to give invaluable help in the work here. She seems to have inherited her father’s gift of counseling (the sisters, of course), and is a help in ways almost too numerous to mention!
For years the efforts of the Goatleys seemed to be mainly concentrated on the city assembly here of Scandia. They are now in New Zealand, and on their return expect to go direct to Nicaragua to commence a new work there. In keeping with our advancing years and diminishing abilities, our work is concentrated between Apopa and Scandia, and there is a great need in both.
At 82 and 72, to be able to continue in the work here, even in a limited measure, is cause for great thanksgiving to God…and we sure appreciate your prayers!
San Salvador, February 12, 1996.