In His Presence: A Tribute to Vernon Markle

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This remarkable servant of the Lord passed into the presence of his beloved Lord on the 26th of November 2004. Had he lived to the 25th of December he would have reached the ripe age of 91. He served His Lord and Master for 56 years. His wife Ilda predeceased him in 1999. They had the joy of seeing all their family saved and salvation has reached out to their grandchildren as well.

Our esteemed brother was saved in 1938. Ten years later, he, his wife Ilda, and family arrived in Cuba. With fellow laborers, they faithfully served the Lord in that difficult land until the missionaries were expelled in 1960. Mr. Markle and his family relocated to Nova Scotia in 1961 and labored for twelve years there and in Newfoundland. The writer met Mr. Markle in the fall of 1963. Through the years I learned to appreciate his warmth and heartiness. I never heard him speak of the saints in a derogatory or critical manner. He moved to Toronto in 1973 and worked among the Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese until 1989. The fruit of his labors still remains in all these areas of devoted service. In 1989 he was deeply exercised to go to El Salvador where he served until 1996. The record of his service to the lost and to the Lord’s people is inscribed with the eternal pen to be recompensed in that day. Many are indebted to his service. He was a compassionate man yet never lacked conviction as to the principles of the Word of God in assembly testimony.

Mr. Markle was a talented man. He was very musical – a piano player and singer. He was proficient in four languages and in his later years began to add yet another. His gracious manner and his humor attracted all who knew him, and his self-effacing way was an obvious quality.

His large funeral attested to his high esteem in the Maritimes. William Swan paid tribute to Mr. Markle on behalf of the Moncton assembly. Among the many virtues mentioned was his warm touch of worship at the Lord’s Supper. Mr. Buckle preached the gospel and referred to his labors with Mr. Markle and the impressions etched on his life by his association with him. He mentioned souls that were saved through his labors in Labrador.

Albert Hull followed with a word of tribute and challenge. Mr. Markle was marked by HUMILITY. This was a lovely quality in this gracious servant of Christ. He never sought place, but served with all humility of mind. Whether in ministry or gospel you would receive inspiration from him. He was also thrilled to listen to the Word preached by others; this was a virtue in this great man. Philippians 4:4 – He was marked with HAPPINESS. He carried a uniquely happy smile and was courteous to all. He enjoyed the Word of God immensely and kept in close touch with His Lord. Those who knew him acknowledge that his hearty laugh was infectious; “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Hebrews 12:14 – He was marked by HOLINESS. Mr. Markle was sensitive to sin and kept short accounts with God. Confession and communion were twins that marked his long Christian life. Mr. Markle was 76 years of age when he gave a message in a Toronto assembly which was a challenge to a younger generation to take up the torch and dedicate their lives to winning souls to Christ, whether in foreign lands or in our own small corner. He took a ticket from his pocket and said, “This ticket is our flight to El Salvador to labor in the gospel, and I am 76 years of age. Where are the young men who will take up the challenge and go forth with the gospel to the lost?” Some were definitely challenged by this message. “Whom shall I send and who will go for us? Here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

David Swan concluded with the committal service. Reading from 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4, he sounded a note of triumph, the ultimate victory through our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming. This is not the end; it is only the beginning! It was touching at the close of the service when the Markle family sang in Spanish the lovely hymn, “I am waiting for the dawning.” This hymn was sung at the committal service of his beloved wife who predeceased him by five years.

We say our genuine farewell to another worthy servant of Christ who served his generation and fell on sleep. Remember the Markle family in prayer, for their dear one will be missed. “Until the day dawns and the shadows flee away.”