Tribute: Richard Hanna (3)

A Master Workman

Before ever setting foot in Chile, Richard Hanna prepared an Egypt to Canaan chart in the Spanish language for Mr. William McBride. That resulted in a lifetime spent in this long land where he left his mark on the lives of the people he touched and the halls in which they meet.

Richard Hanna’s unique style in ministry awakened many to consider the quality of their testimony as Christians and the degree of their devotion to the Lord Jesus. His ministry spanned more than four decades during which time he saw souls saved, assemblies established, contributing effectively to the furtherance of the work. From the late fifties until they returned to Canada in the nineties, Dick and Gladys Hanna lived in Concepcin. From this large and busy center, they reached out with the gospel. Today there are assemblies in Lota, Concepcin, Lagunillas (Coronel), Talcahuano, Tom, and Chiguayante, and many of the elders in these assembly were taught the truths relative to the local testimony by brother Hanna. Many honor his memory for having guided them to a love of the Scriptures and the need to interpret them correctly.

Not only do believers in the Concepcin area remember him, but believers throughout the country make reference to his messages. He was similar to the scribe whom the Lord Jesus depicted, “which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matt 13:52).

Brother Hanna had a close relationship with Seor Aurelio Fredes and visited the La Cisterna assembly in Santiago for meetings and the up-building of the flock. The Christians in Valparaso welcomed his visits and the small assembly in Santa Mara recalls tent meetings he shared with brother Parada and me. With Dennis living in the Los Angeles area, it meant the assembly there also benefitted from his ministry. Osvaldo Vergara is an elder in the San Felipe assembly and, when he gives his testimony, he recalls that as a Roman Catholic, he didn’t understand what it meant to have faith in the finished work of Christ. Brought along to meeting by his young wife, he heard Dick preach and dates his conversion from that meeting. Others would say something similar.

“Don Ricardo” is not only remembered for his spiritual activities of preaching the gospel and ministering the Word of God, but also for his artistic abilities. Hand painted texts hang in many assembly halls, some on beautifully grained wood, enhancing the carefully lettered verses that call sinners to repentance and encourage believers to confidence in God. At our table he once said, “All I want to do is make Christ known.” What was written of Bezaleel regarding the work of the tabernacle, can also be said of Richard Hanna: a “wise-hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded” (Exo 36:1).

Dick also used his ability in carpentry to aid in building projects and the model of a bench he designed is still in use in Chilean halls today. Its solid construction attests to the care exercised to make sure its kind would last for many years. A text done by brother Hanna adorns the walls of many homes. Many of us have our names beautifully engraved on the flyleaf of our Bibles, thanks to our dear brother. His lettering on the Spanish version of the John 3:16 text used by Seed Sowers was the start of his work on other texts and in other languages. He always kept active in making Christ known as the Savior of sinners and the Sustainer of believers. In the sixties he often made the arduous trip by train to Lota in very inclement weather to feed the little flock of believers that gathered in that mining city. He cared for other centers also in the same way.

The work in Chile was enriched by the service Dick and Gladys contributed for many years. After their retirement from the field, the country and its needs were always close to their hearts. Dick assured many of his prayers on their behalf. Together with this brief tribute on behalf of the workers and many of the Chilean believers, we add our own personal note of appreciation for being yoked together in the work. We spent many hours with the Hannas, especially in the earlier years when our families were young and the memories are worthy of being recalled. “The memory of the just is blessed” (Pro 10:7).