Tribute: Andrew Bergsma (2)

Brother Andrew moved to Manitoba from British Columbia as a widower with five children in 1994. Already a senior citizen, he became known and loved by all for his enthusiastic joy in his Lord and his untiring zeal in the gospel. He was a modern day example that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh 8:10).

My first recollection of Andrew was of his hearty singing. His clear voice rang above others in congregational singing and his head moved with the timing. His heart and soul entered fully into the hymn. He frequently gave out impromptu hymns before a meeting was to start, during a coffee break at a conference, at a social gathering, or after a meal in the home. Anytime was a good time to praise the Lord. Andrew’s joyful spirit marked his life and was likely one reason for his wide sphere of influence.

Andrew distinguished himself in personal visitation. He was a good listener, an astute observer, and a wise counselor. Tirelessly, he travelled far and wide in his Ford Escape. He would arrive at a home unannounced and perhaps stay only long enough to drink a cup of coffee and share a brief thought from the Scriptures. Any conversation could quickly be turned into a spiritual one. On one occasion he went to the home of German-speaking newcomers to the area. They couldn’t understand his Dutch and he couldn’t understand their German, so he quickly took a brother from the assembly who spoke German to meet his new friends. As a result of that contact at least 11 individuals have come into assembly fellowship in Portage.

His visits with ex-Hutterite people in the Ashfield area have resulted in many coming into fellowship there. The assemblies in Winnipeg, Mitchell, Roseisle, Austin, Brandon, and Binscarth could all add their stories of blessing from Andrew’s visits to their meetings. His exhortative ministry lifted the hearts of the Lord’s people and inspired them to serve Him more.

While being a blessing to the Lord’s people, Andrew’s single-minded focus in life was to spread the gospel which had changed his own life as a young man. He was active in tent work and his listeners knew that he believed what he preached! Not to be tied to the status quo, at one time he fixed up an old school bus to be a portable book store and a meeting place in remote areas. He saw potential in every situation. Until shortly before his passing, Andrew conducted several weekly Bible studies in the homes of non-assembly people. Even in his visits in the home of believers, conversation was centered in the gospel. Fittingly, just hours before his passing, a couple came to his room and thanked him for ever leading them to Christ.

When he realized that the Lord was soon to take him home, his focus shifted from telling of Christ to being with Christ. We look forward to being reunited in our Savior’s presence.