Thirty Six Years of Fruitful Service
We give to our God all the praise and glory for the various assemblies and many outreach works which are being carried on with the Lord’s help in this land. It was 35 years last November since the Lord led us here through the riches of His love and grace. At that time there was no assembly work being carried on in this land, so we raise our “Ebenezer” banner and say, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” Our fellow workers on the field commemorated the occasion by taking us out for dinner one evening, which we greatly enjoyed and appreciated. Brother Alan Clark gave an encouraging message from God’s Word at the end of the meal. This was a tremendous lift and we were very grateful. We are also thankful to the Lord for the three foreign couples we have laboring with us in this land: Craig and Corina Saword, Kevin and Patty Flett, and Shawn and Heidi St. Clair, as well as four single sisters commended from the States, Canada, New Zealand, and Venezuela. Helen Griffin and Minerva are in charge of the orphanage. Hazel Brownlie and Emily McCandless are involved in the school work. Emily went again to Canada in May seeking to get some help for her health problems, which we trust she will be able to achieve. Then we have the newest additions to the work, Alan and Diana Clark, commended last year to the work of the Lord in this land by the assembly in Kapuskasing, Ontario. They went North four months ago to attend to the need of disposing of their house and the goods that they were not bringing here. They returned here and it is good to have them back with us again. We also rejoice in the Lord’s having called three national brothers to full-time service for Himself; they have been a great help and joy in the work. We have to acknowledge, “What are these amongst so many?” We continue to pray that the Lord of the Harvest may send forth more laborers into this harvest field which is ripe and ready to harvest. But alas, the laborers are few.
With regards to a new outreach work begun almost three years ago in Santa Tecla (a large city adjoining the capital city of San Salvador), we continue to be encouraged in the numbers that have been attending. On Lord’s Day, the 9th of January, the Lord gave us the joy of seeing an assembly lampstand established there, which brings to 18 the number of local assembly testimonies in this land. There were approximately 32 believers who formed the assembly there, but several more have been added to the fellowship since then. The saints in the assembly are looking forward to the day when, by the Lord’s help, the debt pending on the property can be cleared. Then, they would like to start setting apart a fund towards the building of a more permanent and larger place in which to gather. The present temporary building borders a busy city bus route; this creates much disturbance during our meetings.
From the 4th to the 14th of January another Seed Sowers effort was held and was most encouraging this year. It was held in a new area that Craig has been exercised about since returning from the North. Some nights we had between 200 and 300 present, including some from different assemblies, who came to support the effort. A goodly number professed to be saved, for which we thank and praise our God and we ascribe to Him all the glory. Some like to give the number of those that confessed Christ, but I like to say what my father used to say when they asked him the same question after holding a special effort in which there were professions of faith made. He would say, “Ask me a year later and I’ll be more willing to give you some figures.”
On the 5th of April, a brother from the assembly in Alpena, Arkansas, Will Trowbridge, spent ten days here for the purpose of visiting the unsaved relatives of those who have gone up to Arkansas to find work. Some of these have been attending cottage meetings that he holds four times a week. The relatives here were very happy to see us as brother Will had news and photos to give them of their family members in Arkansas. It gave us the opportunity of communicating the gospel message to them and most of them listened very intently. Some want us to come for another visit. Lord willing, we trust to be able to do this.
I had planned to stay for a month but had to change my plans and needed to take an emergency flight back down here. Craig called me on Monday, the 30th of May, to advise me that my dear wife had suffered another bad fall and had broken the femur bone close to the ball. She was scheduled to be operated on the following day, so I had to return as quickly as possible. I wasn’t able to arrive before they operated during the morning of the 31st, but arrived that afternoon. She was already back in her room. The doctor seemed very pleased with the operation, as everything seemed to have gone well. The doctor inserted a self-threading bolt into the bone and a plate on the side. She still has the plate in her knee and leg from our accident in 1988. There is only a space of three inches separating the two plates, so she has a fair amount of metal in her.
We have been laboring in Chalchuapa for the past six years or more, before dedicating the greater portion of our time and energy in the new work in Santa Tecla. The assembly continues to make progress, even though the “enemy” has tried to make inroads. We are thankful to the Lord for His preserving hand over His own there. We are very thankful for the presence of brother Shawn and his wife Heidi, who have been dedicating much of their time to the work there, enabling us to help out in other areas, as there is such a need on every hand.
As for the work in Rosario de la Paz, where the Seed Sowers effort was held in January, we rejoice to say that the work there continues to give much encouragement. Just recently, the Lord opened the way to purchase a piece of property on which to build a temporary shelter from the heavy rains.