Tribute: William McBride (1)

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William McBride (1917-2007)

Respected as a Mentor

The fulfilment of the Lord’s commission is the goal of all who know Christ as Savior. Reaching that goal requires constancy of purpose and careful dedication to the task. Brother William McBride was one who had the privilege and delight to have carried out the Lord’s commands in many places and especially throughout his years of service in Chile.

He was a brother in the Lord, a fellow-servant in the sowing of the Good Seed, and an example to follow. I specially valued Bill McBride as a mentor under whose tutelage I received instruction, guidance, and counsel for many years. The first three years of my missionary life in Chile were spent under his close scrutiny. Those years were the most complete course of discipling I have ever received. They left an indelible impression on me.

William McBride was born n January 27, 1917 in Manchester, Connecticut, the only son of William and Barbara McBride, respected believers in the assembly there. He was saved at age 19 and three years later was commended to the work of the Lord. He began by accompanying brother Oswald McLeod in the Maritimes. In 1942 he married Doris Watson whose father, Frederick Watson, was one of the brethren who commenced the publication of Truth and Tidings magazine.

Through their contact with Mr. Andrew Stenhouse, Bill and Doris took an interest in Chile and arrived there in 1945. Evelyn and I joined Bill and Doris in Talca in 1959 and were closely linked to them in service for the Lord for over three years in that city. After we moved to San Felipe, we continued to serve the Lord together in conferences and in special meetings.

Bill taught me Spanish and insisted the language be used precisely and correctly. Within six weeks of our arrival, he had me opening meetings in the tent in Curic where he and Seor Parada were laboring. He had me write out my opening prayer during the day, and then he would correct it. People thought I was doing well in Spanish in those early months but it was thanks to Bill McBride.

When young missionaries are linked in service with older men, there is ample opportunity for them to learn from the experience of the senior man. This includes Bible interpretation, gospel application, plus cultural norms to apply. When people were interviewed for baptism or reception, Bill invited me to be present at the interview urging me to listen and learn. It was an enriching experience.

Bill McBride was a pioneer with the gospel. He pitched his tent year after year in various places in Chile where assemblies exist today. They had their start when Bill, in company with others, had tent meetings in which people were saved. He always put into practise the instructions of Matthew 28 in teaching the converts that spiritual growth included baptism and being gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus. Doris was always his faithful companion in the work.

Bill McBride followed Paul’s example in helping younger men develop their gift. When young brethren in Talca asked him for help in knowing how to preach, he invited them to join him in gospel series and they received on-the-job training. From his youth after being saved, Bill knew what it meant to apply himself to the understanding of Scripture and urged others to do likewise. He could well have used the words of the psalmist “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works” (Psalm 71:17).

Having been linked together with him in service for many years, Evelyn and I have reason to express our love and appreciation for William McBride whom we loved in the Lord.