An account of a work which God is doing amongst the Hutterites in Manitoba.
Having been asked to write an update on the Hutterite work, I find this a challenging task. There is no doubt that God is still working with those that are both on and off the colonies. My perspective of the work is only a part of the big picture that God alone knows.
Are there still opportunities with the gospel amongst the Hutterites?
Yes. We thank God that colonies are still open for personal visitation. While some preachers on the colonies have asked that we not come back, others are most interested and we are made to feel welcome. Personal visitation is still the most effective way of communicating the gospel with the Hutterites. Tent meetings this past summer were, in one sense, disappointing in that many Hutterites with whom we work and would have loved to see attend, did not. Fear of being seen in a gospel tent prevents many from coming. However, during four weeks of a tent effort we had conversations with over one hundred and fifty different Hutterite people. These conversations were normally engaged in after the meeting. We were able to position a loud speaker so that those who drove by and parked were able to listen from the security of their vans. The Portage la Prairie assembly has given themselves to a tape ministry. Gospel series as well as ministry on the local church and the family are freely distributed both on and off the colonies. During the summer months in the tents, we made these available, and they were quickly picked up. Where these tapes end up, and how many listen to them, God alone knows. Cassette tapes will reach some with whom we would never have made contact. Thousands of tapes have been duplicated, and we are confident that they are being used by God. Many who have left their colonies and have made a stand for the Lord shine as bright testimonies to the grace of God. Their consistent, committed lives speak louder than words. These now have opportunities with family members and others to share the gospel and to tell of strength and courage to live for God.
Are there still people leaving the colonies?
Yes. This is for a variety of reasons. Some leave the strictness of the colony to taste the world; others are just tired of the system. Others whom God has saved feel they can no longer be part of the system and long to be obedient to the Word of God, particularly in being baptized as a believer. For those who have left and have migrated towards the assemblies it has been our privilege to teach them truths of gathering to the Name of the Lord Jesus. This has resulted in the joy of having a number of them in the fellowship of local assemblies. Is there still opposition to the work? Yes. We ought not to be surprised that there is opposition to what God is doing. The devil would love to contain these people on a colony and have them submit to rules and regulations, keeping them in bondage. There is a measure of persecution towards some Christians who are still living on the colonies. For some, visits from us or saved family members are limited or forbidden. However, as opposition mounts, we pray that believers will be drawn closer to the Lord. Today there are many hurting saints living in the colonies.
Is the work of God finished amongst the Hutterites?
No. One only has to keep eyes and ears open to realize that God is still moving in the hearts of those both on and off the colonies. The present need is to keep up, without pressure, a friendly interest and to be available. When the Lord moves in hearts – and He is – we want lines of communication open so that we might help. The Lord is seen moving in that God is still saving souls. As for others who have left their colonies and have sought fellowship elsewhere, some have asked for teaching on the local church. Still others have opened their homes for Bible studies that they might be taught. The work must continue because Gods Word cannot be bound. There has been, and continues to be, a great joy in working with the Hutterites. Those who have left and responded to the teaching and been received into the assemblies bring us great delight. Often we are moved to tears as young men stand to give God thanks for His Son as together we remember the Lord. This little article would not be complete without mentioning that many believers share in this work. There are those who may be on the front lines making new contacts and spreading the Word, yet many believers have opened their hands, hearts, and homes. In this way we all work together. We deeply value the prayers of all the Lords people for the furtherance of this work.