This article contains a report of recent gospel work in Alberta.
This place has the dubious reputation of being the capital of the “Southern Alberta Bible Belt.” Its 75,000 inhabitants, however, have little interest in the Word of God. Mormonism abounds. Charismatics, with the only “Christian” TV station in Canada, claim the place as their stronghold. Yet, five years ago, in spite of such confusion, Ross Vanstone was encouraged by a good response to a Seed Sowers distribution and subsequent gospel meetings.
We arrived 18 months ago. After securing a mall location, we distributed texts and literature for more than a year. Hundreds of people were contacted and many homes were visited. We were encouraged by the response to four mailings to the 35,000 homes. Copies of Via, newsletters and Seed Sowers were used for this.
Over the months, a number have professed. Some of these have been disappointing. Others, however, have given us a lot of joy. One such case is that of a 38 year old lady who was delivered from a terrible life of Satanism in which she was raised. Another is a mother of teenagers whose husband also shows interest. There is a widow in her sixties, a man in his sixties, a 38 year old single mother, a handicapped 34 year old man and others. Several unsaved come regularly to our gospel meetings and we see new faces almost weekly. Meetings usually have 30 to 40 present.
Many of those who have been saved have habits that are deeply imbedded. Ministry each Lord’s day has helped. Also, my wife and I have eight home Bible studies each week, giving personal teaching.
I thank the Lord for a wife who is committed to the work and has an excellent gift with children. These children range in age from 3 to 13. They know little, so simplicity fits all. She also takes a sister into the class, teaching her how to teach and spends time with her through the week preparing lessons. This sister had never looked inside a Bible until she was saved nine months ago. She doesn’t know much more than the children but she is eager to learn.
After meeting in a store on a main street for a year, we decided that payments would be better than renting. Renovations were done. Much more is still needed. Lord willing, we plan to begin breaking bread shortly.
After helping for a year, Brent and Mary Walterhouse had to leave for employment and Ross Vanstone is increasingly involved in Seed Sower work. Centuries ago, our Lord Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest” (Matt 9:3738). We pray that a suitable couple will come to help.
The work here does not necessarily need full-time workers. It needs a couple with love, patience and a good measure of common sense. Paul wrote, “Ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers” (1 Cor 4:15). We need fathers! We may see a few saved, but teaching them is a far greater task. It’s one thing to see some added to an assembly, but altogether different to gather a spiritually immature group, many from troubled backgrounds, and form an assembly.
Yes, to help will involve leaving comforts of family, home assemblies and may entail financial loss. But the rewards far outweigh the difficulties, disappointments and discouragements. And the greatest reward will be the joy of seeing a testimony bringing glory to God in the midst of a world permeated by religious confusion. It is well worth the sacrifice.