Gospel: This Was Their Story – Frank Pearcey

As remembered by Paul Robinson

The marks of a true evangelist are a great appreciation of God’s grace in his own salvation, and his deep desire for others to enjoy it too. Such was abundantly evident to those who knew Mr. Frank Pearcey.

Our brother was saved in the “dirty thirties,” that period following the great depression when most of the saints had little of the world’s material goods, but enjoyed the best of God’s spiritual blessings. One of the things that marked their times of fellowship in the homes was an eagerness to recount to each other how they had been saved. The writer’s parents were of that generation, and I remember well later in the postwar period when believers would gather in our home for a social visit, the joy and happiness that marked those evenings as they would go over the stories of their conversions. One could not miss the deep booming voice of Mr. Pearcey (with a smile that would melt your heart), when his turn came. So from those times, and from his inimitable preaching, his conversion became well known.

In his youth, our dear brother lived in the west end of Toronto and chummed with a number of other young men whose ambition in life was to play professional hockey. His parents had been saved perhaps ten years earlier, and while Frank attended Sunday School for a while, and though he had great respect for the believers and what they had, he had a greater interest in sports.

In 1934, Mr. Herb Harris and Mr. Albert Joyce began a series of gospel meetings in the Brock Ave. assembly where Mr. and Mrs. Pearcey, Sr. attended. Young Frank began to attend these meetings, at first out of duty to his mother. Mr. Harris gave out that hymn “Eternity, time soon will end” every meeting, and the young man came under conviction of his need of Christ. The meetings continued for a number of weeks, and he said to himself, “If there is salvation for me, I’m going to get it no matter how long it may take.” Near the end of the series, he stayed behind one night, and Mr. Joyce read to him from Acts, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” This deepened his conviction and his longing to be saved.

When the meetings closed on Sunday night, he wasn’t saved and thought to himself, “I have missed it.” Throughout Monday and Tuesday he was depressed and desperate. On Wednesday, near 2 PM, he fell down on his knees in the kitchen and cried, “God, send someone to the house who can tell me how to be saved.” He had no sooner finished than there was a knock at the door. When he opened it, Mr. Harris was standing outside. He told him that he was about to leave the city but wondered if Frank had any further thought about getting saved. Frank told him that he wanted to be saved, to which Mr. Harris abruptly replied, “When? When?” The reply was “Right now.” The preacher sat down with him and told him the way of salvation. After some time he closed with, “Frank, I can’t tell you anymore. I can’t save you, so we’ll bow and I’ll commend you to God and hope the next time we meet on earth, you’ll tell me you’re saved.” “I certainly hope so too, Mr. Harris,” Frank replied.

About 3:30 PM, when Mr. Harris had gone, Frank was nearly overcome with despair. The meetings had gone, the preachers had gone, the Christians had gone. Knowing he was lost, he went into the front bedroom of their home where, falling on his knees, he cried, “Lord, I’m ungodly, every inch of me. I deserve to be in hell for my sins. But I want to be saved, and saved right now.” He later would say that it was the darkest hour in his life, but that is when the light of the gospel shines in. Immediately the Holy Spirit brought before him Romans 5:6: “Christ died for the ungodly” He rested on the fact that “ungodly” took him in, and, therefore, Christ had died for his sins.

Mr. Pearcey used to tell about his immediate desire to tell someone that he had gotten saved. The only one who appeared was the dog, to which he blurted out, “Snooker, I’m saved!!” The next one he told was his dear mother, who could tell by his very appearance that something marvelous had happened. As they stood together in the hallway, they shed tears of rejoicing over a son being gloriously saved.

Our beloved brother was an outstanding evangelist in the last half of the 20th century. His praise was in the gospel and God richly blessed his labors. His gospel preaching was punctuated by frequent references to his own conversion to God on Margarita Street on March 13, 1934.