Written on his Tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland
TTT Editor's Notes: PHILIP SYDNEY HOLT was born on 11/27/26 and died on 8/3/02, age 75.5 years. He passed away on the Olympia, Washington Convention grounds, and is buried in Milltown, WA. He was the Overseer of the State of Washington.Sydney Holt was the son of Leslie Eugene and Emily (Holland) Holt. Dora Holland was the first person to ever profess (in Ireland) through Wm. Irvine. Dora was the oldest sister of the Mother of Sydney Holt. They were half-sisters, having different mothers and the same father. There were at least 8 children in the Holland family. Dora, Maude, Mabel, Harry, Kathleen, Emily, Philip and Muriel. Six Holland children became workers: Dora, Harry, Maude, Kathleen, Mabel and Muriel.
A list exists reporting that Dora Holland arrived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on August 11, 1905, along with 16 other workers; 6 female and 10 male. Dora went to her family who had emigrated shortly before to northwestern Ontario, near the Minnesota border. In 1906, Sydney's grandparents and 6 children came to Ontario. His mother, Emily, was 12 years old at the time. Dora and Harry were already in Canada. Harry Holland was born Feb. 6, 1877 in County Galway, Ireland and died April 30, 1967 in Madison, South Dakota USA. Harry heard the gospel through his sister Dora, and Mollie Long in 1908 and went in the work from Brandon, Manitoba in November, 1910. He preached in North Dakota, Minnesota and in South Dakota continually from 1919. Attending his funeral were his sisters: Dora, Maud (Mrs. Hollis Parrish), Kathleen, Emily (Mrs. Leslie Holt) and Muriel. His siblings Mabel and Philip were unable to attend.
Extract from a letter written in 1966 by Harry Holland, U.S.A. "So many of our fellow workers have gone, yet I am still living. I will be 89 years old on February 6th. My sister, Dora, was 90 on January 1st. She was the first person to profess in Ireland, but that was before the Gills and the Carrols decided and before George Walker decided. That was some years before I left Ireland and I left in 1899. So time flies by and the years pile up. I cannot see to read or write, only as I hold a magnifying glass in one hand." [This means Dora was born in 1876 and professed when she was 20 yrs old (which would have been in 1896 per Syd Holt--see below]
On his way to Great Britain and Ireland as a visiting worker to their 1985 conventions, Sydney Holt visited 3 of his Mother's sisters Mable, Maude and Kathleen. (Sydney's mother Emily lived to be 101 years old.) "...it seemed a good chance to leave a little early and visit Mother's three sisters in their nineties living together in Wisconsin. One day I walked to the nearby cemetery to see Grandma Holland's grave. (1863-1963). My two days with them were very special as they filled me in on more family history dating back to Aunt Dora Holland hearing the gospel in 1896 in Kilrush in the western part of Ireland. It was 1902 when she went into the work and then 1905 to Canada. In 1906 my grandparents and six children came to Emo, Ontario, Canada where Uncle Harry had his homestead. I had two days in Emo with Uncle Philip (85) and my cousins.
"It was 1908 when Aunt Dora and Mollie Long brought the gospel to Emo and Uncle Harry along with others professed. There has been a Sunday a.m. meeting in the Radbourne home ever since and convention since 1920. It was a treat to be in the very room (log part of the Radbourne home) where Mother professed 76 years ago as a girl of 14 years!...Mother's three sisters in their nineties...filled me in on more family history dating back to Aunt Dora Holland hearing the gospel in 1896 in Kilrush in the western part of Ireland. It was 1902 when she went into the work...then 1905 to Canada." (May 1, 1985 Letter by Sydney Holt)
Sydney Holt's AUNT DORA HOLLAND probably sat in Wm. Irvine's mission in Kilrush while he was preaching with Faith Mission. Dora Holland is generally credited with being the very FIRST PERSON TO EVER PROFESS.
She is reported as professing in the years 1895, 1896 and 1897. Faith Mission records show Wm. Irvine was in Kilrush in 1897, and so does John Long in his Journal. The author believes the year was actually 1897. Sydney Holt gives the year as 1896. And computing from the extract of a letter by Dora Holland's brother, Harry Holland, (see photo) written in 1966, she professed in 1895. Hazel Hughes, niece of Willie Gill, gives the year as 1895. Dora Holland was converted by Wm. Irvine while he was still preaching for the Faith Mission. Through the years, some have claimed that the Go-Preacher fellowship began before 1897, and use Dora Holland as their "proof," since she reportedly professed in 1896.
It has been written that Dora Holland had "no fellowship" and "didn't have much fellowship" for awhile. It is safe to assume no church was started near Dora for awhile. This is easily explained. She wouldn't have been able to fellowship with others in the group Irvine eventually founded--because it didn't exist yet. The reason Dora Holland had "no fellowship" immediately was because she came to Christ through the Faith Mission; and they did not set up churches, baptize or serve communion. Their converts were left to attend the church of their choice. Their workers were unsectarian evangelists, and they usually set up weekly Prayer Union Meetings when there were sufficient members in a given area to do so. Maybe there were not enough converts to set up a Prayer Union Meeting; or perhaps those who wrote/said this didn't consider the Prayer Unions to be "fellowship."
"Kilrush (Co. Clare) is a very Roman Catholic town. Pilgrim Irvine, joined recently by Pilgrim Taberner, is working away quietly. They have had one or two interesting lantern meetings. Those in such stiff fields specially need our prayers." (May 15, 1897 Bright Words, p113)
"Our brothers in the south-west, after closing the mission at Kilrush, spent a week or two itinerating—visiting farms, selling literature, distributing tracts, singing, praying and talking with the people, and continually holding a meeting. Now they have begun a mission at Tarbert in Co. Kerry." (June 15, 1897 Bright Words, p146)
"For long we have been praying and hoping to go to the more neglected parts of this island. At length, we have made a start, and Pilgrims Irvine and Deathe have gone to the south-west. At present their work is mostly pioneering. Let us pray much that the Lord may open a door before them, and that fruit may be won for Jesus from the dark places of this land." (February 15, 1897 Bright Words, p39)
NOTE: The Author personally visited the city of Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland on August 1, 2004.
Seven Letters by Sydney Holt
Written on his Tour of the United Kingdom & Ireland ,
Dear Fellowlaborers and Friends,
These are days full of very special privileges which I wish to somewhat share with you in this manner. Since it was arranged for John Porterfield and me to help out at some conventions in the British Isles, and perhaps later on the continent, it seemed a good chance to leave a little early and visit Mother's three sisters in their nineties living together in Wisconsin. One day I walked to the nearby cemetery to see Grandma Holland's grave. (1863-1963). My two days with them were very special as they filled me in on more family history dating back to Aunt Dora Holland hearing the gospel in 1896 in Kilrush in the western part of Ireland. It was 1902 when she went into the work and then 1905 to Canada. In 1906 my grandparents and six children came to Emo, Ontario, Canada where Uncle Harry had his homestead. I had two days in Emo with Uncle Philip (85) and my cousins. It was 1908 when Aunt Dora and Mollie Long brought the gospel to Emo and Uncle Harry along with others professed. There has been a Sunday a.m. meeting in the Radbourne home ever since and convention since 1920. It was a treat to be in the very room (log part of the Radbourne home) where Mother professed 76 years ago as a girl of 14 years! One night we saw a lovely display of Northern Lights.
From Emo, my cousin Muriel Holland (in the work in Sask.) and I flew to Minneapolis where we stayed with LeRoy and Vonnie Dake (my cousin on Dad's side). Aunt Mamie Thomas (Dad's sister) is 92 but very alert in her mind much of the time and such a treat to be with her perhaps for the last time. We spent two hours in the basement Sunday night because of a tornado alert. No damage near us but a good deal in the country area where it touched down. From there I flew to Chicago and on to Newark, N.J. where I caught "People's Express" which is a real cheap fare (747 jumbo jet) to London. Every seat was filled but a pleasant 7-hour trip. We are eight hours ahead in time from Arizona and California.
It was a pleasant sound to hear my name called by George Pepper (retired friend in London) as I walked down the airport exit. George took me on a train and then the "underground" (subway) to his home in southwest London. There is excellent public transportation and Peppers don't own a car. Their home is 100 years old, but fixed up lovely and such a useful home in every way. Sunday a.m., eve. and Wed. meetings are held here.
All who meet with them are black friends from Barbados and Guyana. Elsie Pepper is such a homemaker and it was a real haven to come to. Two different workers called long distance to welcome me to the British Isles! George took me on a tour bus ride (1-1/2 hrs.) of London,
which proved most interesting. It was a double deck bus and one could see so well from the top seats. The "City of London" was one mile square and the Romans built a wall around it and one section is still standing. The fire of London in the 1600' s destroyed much of the city. We crossed on the new London Bridge (old one is in Arizona!), the Tower Bridge, saw St. Paul's Cathedral and many other sights. As we passed by the Record Building the guide called it the "hatch them, match them and dispatch them" building! Then we walked to the Buckingham Palace where we watched the Changing of the Guard, which was extra special since it was an unusual sunny day and the Queen's Guards (wearing large bearskin headdresses) gave the guard over to the Royal Air Force Guards and marching bands for both units were there. Buckingham Palace covers 44 acres in downtown London.
Friday afternoon George Pepper and an old sister worker (Kathleen Spice, whose job it is to meet the incoming workers, took me on the underground to where I caught a train (travels up to 125 miles per hour) which took me 4 hours up the east coast of England. The countryside is a beautiful green with all the fields divided by three-foot-high hedges. Lots of sheep with their new-born lambs close by. Passing through one city I saw a very old and large cathedral and also a castle. The town where I got off the train was Berwick by the Tweed (river), which is a border town still in England. There is a wall around the old part of the city, which Robert Wood and I walked around on later. The English and Scotch often fought here and the city exchanged hands often! Saw the “stocks” where they secured wayward persons on the streets for all to see.
Robert Wood (in the work in Peru) and his dad met my train and took me to F1emington (their homes have names), which is their 300-year-old two-story stone house with many large rooms and stone out-buildings for the cattle they once had on this farm. Across the green grainfields one can see the landowner's castle. Conventions were held here at the Wood home from 1920-1940. Robert's grandparents professed in 1903 in a nearby village of Burnmouth (mouth of river), which is by the ocean. It was when Robert was a baby that his mother died from burns and his dad and Aunt Effie raised him. Now his dad and aunt are elderly (don't farm any more) and Jim and Alice Dougal (brother and sister) stay in a cottage in the yard and help around the place. This home was once a stagecoach inn for those going on to Edinburgh, which is 50 miles northwest. Very cold out and it snowed most of Sunday so all the warm clothes you can get on feel good!
On Saturday Robert took me about 15 minutes ride to just outside the town of Duns where we saw the home where Uncle Willie Jamieson was raised and the hills where his dad shepherded sheep. Drove down the road Uncle Willie walked down after he said goodby to his parents who weren't in agreement with his going forth to preach. Also saw the spot where he sat down and looked back wondering if he were making the right choice! Then the train depot (not in use now) in Duns where he caught the train. Robert attended high school in this town. We then drove to Chirnside, where Uncle Willie worked for a butcher in his shop. Saw the very hall in Reston where Uncle Willie first heard the truth at a special meeting! In Chirnside we saw the farm where the first convention was held (1911) in this part of Scotland.
Across the road is a very old church (still in use) with a large cemetery with grave markers dated in the 1600 and 1700’s. Five workers are buried here (saw John Martin, Joan Gibson and Sarah Skerrit’s graves). John wrote some of our hymns and his last was “Nothing Matters But Salvation.” On his gravestone is inscribed: "Nothing matters but salvation, was his final exhortation." A few graves away from these three is the grave of Jim Clark from near here. His dad had two large farms for him to run but Jim decided to follow racing instead. In 1963 he won the Indianapolis “500" and in 1965 was killed in a race in France. Such a waste of a life compared to the others!
Sammy Dougal (worker) came from the fishing village of Eyemouth (mouth of the Eye River) very close to the Woods' home. You may have heard of “Black Friday" or “The Disaster Day," Friday Oct. 14, 1881. The morning was a combination of sun and calm but the barometer read very low. One fishing boat set out to sea and the others decided to follow where they soon fanned out to their fishing grounds eight or nine miles out. About noon a horrible sort of stillness fell over everything, and then the sky thickened with dark, heavy clouds and a fierce wind arose. Soon it was a shrieking hurricane with the cracking of masts and ripping of sails. Some went down there and others made it close to harbor before making shipwreck on the rocks but a very few made it safely back. That day the North Sea took away 189 precious lives and 129 of them were from Eyemouth. One half of the male side of the adult fishing population of Eyemouth, leaving 73 women widows and 263 children fatherless. Many families lost father and a number of brothers, as often it was a family venture.
Robert took me on a 2-mile walk to the top of a hill near their farm which was a Roman Camp about 200 A. D. A real commanding view of the whole area and two moats around it. They later dropped back south to Newcastle area and hung out until about 400 A.D.
May 2 I take a train to Edinburgh where I will meet other workers and later in the day travel on north to Findochty (fishing village on the coast in the north) for my first convention here in Scotland. Their conventions start on Saturday and end on Tuesdays. No gospel meetings and the meetings run at different times than ours. Perhaps I will be able to tell you more about it in my next letter! Hope this finds all of you well with much to encourage you to put your best into the conflict.
Your brother in Him,
Dear Ones far & near,
I believe my last letter finished while I was still at the Wood home in Eyemouth, Scotland. It was difficult to say goodbye to the four from the home who took me to the train for northern Scotland. One of the friends met me at Edinburgh (capitol of Scotland) and took me to her home for lunch. Saw Edinburgh Castle not far away which played a most important part in Scottish history. Then back to catch another train with Warren Wainwright (Canada-France), Douglas McConnell (Australia) and Frank Thomas (E. Canada) on it. Two hours later we got off at Aberdeen, which is a prospering big city since it is the main port for the off-shore oil rigs. Eleven workers and one Australian friend were there to board another train for a 1-1/2 hr. ride to Keith where the workers had hired a small bus to take us the last 18 miles to Findochty where the convention would be. Very cold (wind off the North Sea) and overcast. Daylight early and late because we are so far north.
Convention has been held here in Findochty 55 years and meetings are held in a stone hall the fishermen built years ago with the understanding that any religious services could be held in it. The dining tent (40' x '60') is set up down by the ocean and can really be cold. All the workers and friends stay in the home of friends. The cleanest village I've been in and all the homes are real old, made of stone but painted up for convention time. When you meet village folk, they say, “We hope the weather will be nice for your meetings.” The milkmen still deliver milk to the doors. The cars here are small but well-suited to the narrow roads, and I saw a three-wheeled car (really looked funny with only one wheel in front and yet full width of the body in front) with a sticker on the back, "When I grow up I will be a Rolls Royce." There is less tax on a 3-wheel car but I haven't seen many. The broad Scotch brogue is difficult to understand with a few. It seems to differ from one village to another.
Convention breakfast is at 8 a.m., meeting at 10:30 - 12:45. Then dinner and 3-5 p.m. mtg. followed by tea in the tent, the last meeting (no gospel meeting in convention) at 6:30-8:00 followed by a lunch in the tent. Everything is served up at the end of the table by men and plates and cups then passed from one to another on down the table! You eat what you get and don't ask for more! Three out of the four days of convention turned clear and sunny which is very, unusual for these parts.
The convention meetings are somewhat different than at home. 240 here altogether, but all the workers sat on the stage (and some friends when room ran out in the hall) with brothers on one side and sisters on the other. In each meeting the first brother would lead the mtg. until the sister and he had spoken and then the last speaker would have the testimonies and finish the meeting. All but the last meeting ended with the last speaker's part without a hymn at the end. Prayers and testimonies were very special and not as long as I had expected. In one meeting Warren Wainwright reminded the folks to look at their watches like the workers do so they won't speak too long. Then an elderly man in the front row got up and was rather long. However, he noticed the older worker in Scotland (Horace Todhunter) looking at his watch and he said, "Horace, no need to look at your watch!" Singing was beautiful. Workers here from Ireland, Austria, Jamaica, Norway, Australia, Canada, Germany, England, Bolivia, Uruguay, Malaysia and U.S.A. One sees why folks living in these parts have such rosy cheeks with the cold weather and wind!
Walking down to the dining tent with an older man (Alex Cowie) one afternoon, he pointed out to a fishing boat in the ocean. Said he was cook and deckhand on that boat for 10 years when they had a crew of ten men. Monday evening Eric Thompson (Jamaica) and I went to their home (2 miles away in the fishing village of Buckie). Their home was 200 years old and 3-foot stone walls! Such a wonderful feed of fish that evening! Alex's wife (Peggy) was visiting in Sunnyvale, CA when Scott R. and I were in that field four years ago. Alex gave us a ride in a V.W. bug that I won't soon forget!
One outstanding thing we heard was Joe Ames (Norway) told of being in Italy a few years ago for a convention. Earlier there was a man in Italy who had fought in World War II against the Allies, lost and afterwards felt there was no hope for him, nothing to live for and was going to take his own life. About then he walked past where the workers were having meetings and on an impulse walked in. He continued to attend and later made his choice. It was some time later when he felt he couldn't continue in a divided home, as his wife didn't share in any interest in the meetings, and this day he gave the ultimatum that he was leaving home and any of the children who wanted to come with him could. He then told the workers what he had done; and they told him he had acted foolishly--to humble himself and return to his family and tell them he had acted too hastily, as this was the only hope his wife and children would have. It was 10 years later when Joe Ames was at convention there and this man told the first part of the story (in his testimony) and being willing to follow the workers' advice to humble himself to return home. Then his wife got up and finished the story by saying she was so glad her husband had returned home as she wouldn't be at the convention and professing had he not returned. Then a daughter and her husband got up a few seats behind her parents and said they wanted to make their choice in that meeting! Joe was speaking of the power of prayer and the power of example.
Only two meetings on Tuesday, so the hall was cleaned up, tent put away and all the work finished by evening. Early the next morning we started our trip south with Eric Thompson (Irish - labored in Lebanon, Cypress and other countries, before going to Jamaica) and I going 9-1/2 hours by trains to London. John Porterfield had arrived early that morning and great to be together! Tom Clarke (Philadelphia) and two Greek sisters (Alexandra Kazakis and Anna Priniotakis) were also at the Pepper home. Our Bible study that night was Daniel 6 and so touching to hear Alexandra tell of some in Greece who stood firm like Daniel at the risk of their lives.
Thursday afternoon there were eleven workers who caught the train for a 1-1/2 hour ride northeast to Suffolk for our next convention. This is near the area where the Jennings are from and Susan and her husband (Peter Lewis) are here. Wish we could have had time to have gotten to their home. This is the oldest convention in the world (since 1909) and the gospel first came to this village of Debenham in 1904. The meetings are held in a 45' x 60' white tent and here was one of the parabolic mikes from California to pick up testimonies! The dining tent is separate from the cookhouse and perhaps 45' x 80'. Fifteen long and narrow tables (don't have to put food on them as serve from one end and pass it down) and 10" between tables! 32 settings to a table so it is well that it is cold weather! The speaking list comes out about noon the day before convention, but you can't be sure of who will speak in what order, other than the last speaker! Sometimes it is the older brother leading the first part of the meeting who speaks first and other times the sisters. No platform list, so you wear your suit all the time just in case! It was very cold at first and even the natives felt it, but the two Greek sisters almost froze! Nice to see a little of the sun one day of the conv.
In Scotland the sisters are getting away from wearing hats when they speak, but not here in England! In the evenings after the last meeting supper is served and hot drinks. Tea (with milk), horlicks (hot milk with malted milk) and dandelion coffee which I haven't tried yet! What the English call coffee, we would call milk with a very little coffee flavor!
There are workers here from France, Madagascar, Kenya, Germany, Nigeria, Greece, South Africa, Italy, Uruguay, Indonesia, Jamaica, India & U.S. Many of these are on home visits from these countries where they labor. A very rich blending together that only God's Spirit could accomplish. Very touching to hear some labor in using the English language at a great cost.
We heard about four voices to each of us:
1) The voice of Satan - "Save thyself" & "worship me." Matt. 16:21-23
2) The voice of the world - "Enjoy yourself" & "love me." Heb. 11:24-26
3) The voice of self - "Please yourse1f & "feed me." Rom. 15:3
4) The voice of the Lord Jesus - "Deny yourself" & "follow me." Luke 9:23-27
Tuesday after the last mtg. some of us took the train back to London where we catch a train north to Scotland (Dunbarton at Gartocharn) where there is a workers' mtg. Thurs. Plans are being made for John Porterfield and me to help out at conventions on the continent, but it may be a while before we know for sure. We are to be back in Los Angeles the first part of September for sure. We'll get a return reservation and ticket when we know for sure.
Hope this finds all well at home and very interesting to see the preparation list. This time will come before long and my thoughts will be at each location. Sorry to learn of some illnesses and surgery, but hope for a good recovery. I'll miss the early preparation at Casa Grand for the third year running and feel badly about this!
Your brother in Him,
Dear Ones far and near,
The train trip (4 hours) from London to Glasgow, Scotland, was most enjoyable with 10 workers and two friends and a coach almost to ourselves. Friends had packed lovely lunches for each of us and the scenery was beautiful with all the countryside so green except the fields of rape that are in full bloom and a very bright yellow. From Glasgow it was a 30-min. ride by car to the Gartocharn conv. grounds which are held in an old rock quarry which the Coopers bought many years ago from a large estate for 60 pounds! Much work has been done through the years since conv. was first here in 1939. They have a dining tent (separate from the kitchen at each conv. grounds), meeting tent and some sleeping tents besides many small cabins, one of which I shared a room with Fred Hogan who labors in Bolivia. Lots of trees and flowers, so it was beautiful for situation. Two convs. each year are held here and we were at the second. From a nearby hill one can look for miles in every direction and see Loch Lomond (Loch means lake) which isn't very far away.
All the Scotch workers along with the visitors gathered in the mtg. tent Thurs. afternoon for a helpful workers' mtg. In past years, when some of the older brothers were still living, 3 or 4 of the older brothers only spoke. Now Horace Todhunter is trying to get all to have a part but it is going slowly as they don't know what brief means here! It was special to see workers I had met in Bolivia and Chile at this conv. There is something very warm and friendly about the Scottish workers and saints. What a nice surprise to have Frank and Manoly Renteria from Spain at this convention! They hope to be at Santee No. 1 & Buttonwillow No.2 as Frank has a visit home for 30 days this summer. In a year and-a-half their time in Spain will be completed and they look forward to returning somewhere in California.
In England all the sister workers wear a kind of hat (most without brims, called "turbans” when they speak in mtgs., but less in Scotland and no visiting sisters are expected to wear them much to the relief of many! In England, when the mtg. is left open for testimonies, they stand up in large numbers like in the states, but in Scotland only 2 or 3 at a time. All the men and boys are dressed in suits and ties all four days! It was cool here without sun until the last afternoon of the conv. and the line-up (queue-up) each night of women with their hot water bottles by the hot-water tap was interesting. In the cabin where I sleep we have a little electric heater which does well, but the hot water bottle along with 5 wool blankets on my bed help! A real contrast as I think of you in Phoenix these summer months! The mailboxes in England are called “pillar boxes" and date back 100 years to the days of Queen Victoria. They are about 24" in diameter (round) and about 4-1/2 ft. tall. Looks like they are made out of cast iron and also their telephone booths made to last for time eternal! Almost everything over here is built this way.
Nice getting acquainted with Albert Gallichan from France and the workers in France are most anxious for Marian Pitcher's coming to labor in France with them in October. Meetings were most helpful and I appreciated Nona Johnson's (Sweden) part. John 19:30, "He bowed His head and gave up the Ghost." This was Jesus' final act of submission to the will of God. Bowing our ears to hear what God would say. Inclining (bowing) our hearts has to do with our affections. Bowing our face is silencing our own thoughts. Bowing our will to the will of G0d. Learning to bow so we can learn how to die.
Tues. after the last mtg. (only two) we helped them put things away and got all but the dining tent down. Wed. five of us caught a train in Glasgow to return to London, but only John and I got off at Preston for the conv. here this week. We were taken by car to the "Ashley House Farm”, (in England every home has a name which is part of their address) which used to be a dairy and cheese factory but all this was discontinued two years ago. The stone barn was built in the 1600's, but the stone house only in 1880. Walls are from 18" to 24" thick and three of us brothers share a large upstairs bedroom together. Conv. has been here since 1948, but in the area much longer. More friends live in this area than any other part of England, so many go home at night. Fed 550 on Sun. and Mon. was a holiday. More young people here than I've seen at any conv. so far. Alsa Harvey is visiting here from Santa Cruz. Her niece who preaches in Kenya, Africa is here (Lettie Milligan). She will be coming to Calif. when Alsa returns for the month of August and no doubt be at Gilroy and Orick. She surely waited on us faithfully. She has a brother and sister in the work in Ireland. I'm surprised at how many workers there are here with two or three from the same family. The countries represented here this week are: Zimbabwe, Bolivia, France, Kenya, So. Africa, Holland, Greece, E. Canada, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Scotland, U.S.A., Uruguay, Madagascar, Switzerland, So. Brazil and England. Such a blending together.
Tea is brought to our room at 6:45 a.m. but no problem as we are up at 5 if not before. They use a certain tea according to the type of water and it surely makes a difference. I counted 7 times a day we are served tea! 'Regular tea' is tea with milk. 'Black tea' is what we call 'straight tea'. Duane and Linda Forsberg are here from Modesto. They bought a van in London and are touring the British Isles before going on to the Scandinavian countries. They sold their home in Modesto and have rented a home not far from Portland, Oregon. The last day of conv. turned dry and enough sun to dry the tents. One of the friends drove us by car to the next conv. grounds taking us through a very scenic lake area that is a real tourist attraction. Evan McKay (Scottish worker 11 yrs. in the work who used to be a chemistry teacher) and Magdalena Slabbert (from South Africa) were along. Three days ago Magdalena received word that Jurgens' Slabbert (her father's cousin) had passed away in South Africa. Some of you would remember the time he and Frank VanDermerve were in Southern Calif. in a mission with Tharold in 1951-52. So many older workers have passed away in the British Isles this past year also.
Cumberland (farm name is Dockray Hall) is part of the Scottish workers' territory, although it is really about 20 miles into England and near the city of Carlisle. In 1919 Horace Todhunter's parents bought this farm, and started a conv. here that year. After 50 years, Archie & Doreen Ramsay bought the place and they are milking 98 cows. The original house and the other buildings that form a big courtyard were built in 1699 and the walls are almost 24" thick and made of stone. The roof is of a flat stone (many homes have slate) which they used before slate. Most interesting to see the hand-hewn beams and rafters of every shape and size which have supported all this weight for so many years. Lots of farm buildings, so the only tent is the mtg. tent. I share an upstairs bedroom in this original home (only home here) with Ken Pagington (Madagascar) and Piet Blokker (Holland). It is a very secluded farm and a beautiful road leading in lined on both sides with the hedges so neatly trimmed which are so common here. One also sees stone walls (without any mortar) dividing fields up for sheep and they have stood for several hundred years. The dining hall is in a very large hay barn where 500 can sit at once. Years ago the conv. and dining were both held in this barn.
Yesterday Alexandra Kazakis (Greece) spoke from Luke 22:31,32. All wheat has to be sifted and every child of God must be sifted to enter into Heaven. Job, Daniel, his companions and others went through this sifting. Before going into the work she worked in a raisin factory and it was her job to change the sieves. There were large, medium and small sieves. What came through the small ones was useless. Stones, leaves, stems and raisins that were discarded. Alexandra's mother professed in Greece when Alexandra was only 4 yrs. old. For 13 years she kept true alone against much opposition. When she didn't return home from mtg. they knew she was in jail. In the divided home they could always get an "okay" from their dad to go to the movies or dance. However, after 13 years their dad professed and as children they hated this because they lost the freedom they once had since now the parents were one and only one advice was given. In six months the children professed. Alexandra's first sifting came when at a mtg. the police came and they were all put into the prison. Eight sisters in one room without a bed, chair and little room. The hardest was when they let them out in the exercise yard and people on the street could see her there, some who would know her.
Tomorrow one of the Scottish brothers will take me into Carlisle and I hope to tour a castle there, which will be my first. Often have to pinch myself to really believe I'm here! Hope this finds all well and encouraged in your corner where you stand for truth. You are often in my thoughts and prayers although my letters have been few.
Your brother in Him,
Dear Ones far and near,
From Preston, England we came to the dairy farm called "Dockray Hall" where Archie and Doreen Ramsay live. I told about this in my last letter. The home has the date over the front door of 1699 when it was built! Very thick stone walls and a most interesting courtyard with the old farm buildings enclosing the area. I share an upstairs bedroom that Horace, Bert and another brother had as their bedroom when they were growing up.
Ann Court, whose parents live in Carlisle, [England] was a high school language teacher before starting in the work here four years ago (now two years in Austria). She took the two sisters from South Africa and me on a drive into Scotland to the village of Langholm where we visited Lizie Davison who will soon be 90 and has been blind 30 or more years. She used to ride her bike to meetings with her husband riding his bike next to her with one hand on her shoulder. She is bright and alert! In her deep Scottish brogue she quoted a long Scotch poem and gave us many a laugh.
From there we went on to Kirkpatrick Fleming not too far from the British border. The Scot bluebonnets were in full bloom and beautiful. We saw where King Robert the Bruce of Scotland hid in a stone cave (three months from Nov. to Jan. in 1313) when the British were after him to behead him. He fled to this castle where the family of Irvings lived and they agreed to hide him in exchange for thousands of acres of land. From inside their castle there was a secret tunnel underground that led to a stone tower downhill about 400 feet from the castle. Just below this was a vertical stone cliff perhaps 60 feet down to a small river. It was in the face of this stone cliff that a cave about 15 feet deep and wide had been carved out of rock and a rock for a door with four airho1es near it. The only entrance to the cave was to swing down on a rope. It was in this cave that King Robert the Bruce of Scotland watched a little spider trying to spin a web and six times it failed to span the distance. However, on its seventh attempt it succeeded! Six times! This king had gone out to battle against the British and lost, but with this lesson he took new heart. The people from the castle let down food to him and took a message from him to be delivered to his troops. A blacksmith shod 200 horses with their shoes put on backwards and when the time was right they came in and rescued their king from the cave. The British were later alerted and went after them, but in the wrong direction! The next year (1314) this king went out in battle again against the British and had victory.
Next we went on a tour through the Carlisle castle, which was part of the wall around the city of Carlisle (England) to protect them from the Scots. The Romans earlier had built a wall (slave labor) from 122-130 A.D. from here all the way across to the east coast and occupied it until the end of the fourth century. Many of the stones from this Roman wall (one mile away) were used in building the wall around Carlisle and the castle from 1092 to 1100 and it enclosed 60 acres. When farmers came into the city to sell their animals they had to pay a certain fee according to the animal for this privilege. The Carlisle castle wasn't for nobility but housed the army as the Scots were always fighting the British here which is very close to the border. I found the castle most interesting with its moats. Dungeons, hidden rooms and walkways on the wall from where they fought. Mary Queen of Scots was captured and imprisoned here from May to July in 1568 before she was taken to London and beheaded.
We had beautiful sunny days for our convention at Dockray Hall and very helpful mtgs. Nice to see the Wilson Ke1lys from Winnipeg and Grace Jacobs from B.C. Robert Wood and those from his home were here and we had some good walks and talks together. The new workers list for Scotland appeared on each worker's bed during the evening mtg. Sunday, causing much excitement! All expected it after the supper meal Monday eve., so this caught them by surprise!
In the last mtg. Ken Pagington spoke very helpfully on things that will help us get victory. Some victories were won in a very small place. I Sam. 14:1,4-16 Jonathan and his armour bearer got a little victory in 1/2-acre of ground (ver. 14) and a very big victory (ver. 20-23) was brought into the kingdom. They went out and showed themselves (ver. 8 and 11) to the enemy as to where they stood. Sometimes it is a matter of standing true and letting others see where we stand. Standing true in business where others are so dishonest. I Chr. 11:12-14 Eleazar stood in a parcel of ground where barley was. It was valuable because of being cultivated and seeded into barley and worth fighting for. If we are cultivating the little place we have, we too have something to fight for. II Sam. 8:3 "to recover his borders". It's at the borders where the enemy tries to cause confusion and then infiltrate the Kingdom. We all have border battles to fight. Making a difference between the world and ourselves. In Num. 25:6-8 Phinehas saw something wrong on the border and killed two in the tent. Matt. 6:24 "No man can serve two masters." A clear border in our thinking, in our homes and in our friendships. Ps. 144: 1 "Which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight." Times when David used his hands to fight the enemy with the sword. Other times when David used his fingers to play the harp to quieten Saul his enemy. Some victories are won not with a sword but by our fingers playing a melody. When Joseph was in Egypt (Gen 40:15) he told them, "I was stolen out of my country" and in doing this he hid what really happened. Can't play a harp if not kept in tune and Joseph kept the harp in tune. He didn't go around talking about it and these men of Egypt could never tell Joseph later to try and get even with his brethren. When Joseph made himself known to his brethren the melody he played was, "Come near to me...I am Joseph your brother." (Gen.45:4) and (Gen. 50:20) "God meant it unto good." Having a good dose of forgiving spirit to cover up the wrong.
After the last mtg. at Dockray Hall, 13 of us were rushed to catch a train for Staffordshire, England where a mini-bus was waiting to take us to the Staff's conv. grounds which is three miles from the town of Uttoxeter. The large workers' picture taken in 1921 seen in some California homes was at the conv. grounds here in Staffordshire before it was moved to this farm in 1932. There are homes right up to the front entrance into the grounds. It is an interesting place with a real large old brick farm house that dates away back and lots of rooms. A large bus brought a load of workers from the Berkshire conv. and all in all there are 108 workers here representing 20 different countries! We had a workers' mtg. Thurs. afternoon and Fri. morning. Then just the English workers gathered in the afternoon and their new list came out! Great to see the names of one new brother and two new sisters starting forth. Brad Dooley (folks live in Los Gatos, CA), his wife and two little children came on Sat. so we could visit. (They had a conv. earlier.) Hard to believe he has been here eight years now and sounds like a Britisher! Meetings were very helpful, but the weather was damp and cold. The Davies who live on this farm have a son (Wynn) in the work here and Wynn's dad's brother (Howard Davies) also in the work here. Folks listen so well here. Not many young folks.
After the last mtg. (ending at 4 p.m.) 13 of us rushed to an airport an hour's distance away from the conv. to catch a flight to Belfast, N. Ireland. Security was very tight and they even frisked each of us very thoroughly. It was a pleasant hour's flight into Belfast where workers and friends awaited us with four cars to take us to the conv. grounds at Monaghan which is in the Republic of Ireland (South). Crossing into this part of Ireland was interesting as you come to a red light on this narrow road to stop you at a checkpoint. We had seen two British soldiers with rifles and bayonets all in camouflage with even their faces painted earlier. However, at the checkpoint no one was to be seen, but lots of pillboxes and no doubt well-manned. They take your car license number and put it in their computer and if all is fine you get a green light to proceed. If not, they come out and cheek you out. This conv. grounds is a most interesting place, but I'll save it for my next letter.
Tomorrow we go to Galway to look up the old home where my mother lived before moving to Emo, Ontario, Canada in 1906. Also I hope to get to Kilrush where Aunt Dora Holland heard the gospel in 1896 and perhaps see a first cousin who has a tourist house and restaurant on Galway Bay. Ireland is beautiful!
Hope this finds all keeping well and many of you are "counting the days" until preps start.
Your brother in Him,
Dear friends far and near,
The first convention for us in Ireland was Monaghan (Dunraymond) which is about 20 miles from the border into southern Ireland. Convention has been held here since 1920, and it is a most interesting place. The big two-story stone house and buildings enclosing a big courtyard was built in the early 1800's as a stagecoach inn for the stopover between Dublin and Londonderry in the north. Here they would have fresh horses, feed and food and lodging for the passengers. Off the courtyard were rooms to park the stagecoaches, stalls and feed for horses, etc. Now 400 sleep in these rooms but they use a tent and some old mission portable halls for the rest of the sleeping quarters, as there are about 600 here. A tent is used for meetings. Sam Dawson (89, went into the work here in 1922, to Italy in 1926) showed me where he slept at convention here before going in the work. His brother Abram who has been in the work in England passed away the last day of this convention in England and Sam left. Robert and Elizabeth Jennings run a dairy farm here and milk 80 cows. His brother John preaches in Chile and Betty in Uruguay.
On Thurs. it was arranged for a young brother worker John Johnston to drive three of us to Galway to find the ruins of the old Holland home. The roads are very narrow and windy up and down the green hills and such a beautiful time of the year with rhododendrons in full bloom. We found the little village of New Inn and inquired at the post office where they told us how to find the Church of England where the Holland family went to worship. This is all very strong Catholic area, but the old church stands in good shape. Across from the church on the far side of the open field on a knoll is the remains of the large mansion of Lord Ashdown. He owned all the land for many miles around and Granddad leased the land and home from him where he lived and farmed. Grandmother sometimes played the piano for Lady Ashdown in the mansion and took the children there for parties. A farmer came along and was able to direct us to the remains of the Holland home a few miles away. Just the thick stonewalls remained and I couldn't make out where the gardens and tennis court used to be. They left here for Canada in 1906.
From there we went to Galway Bay , where we had a good fish dinner in a restaurant before driving a number of miles north to "Knockferry Lodge" on Loch Corrib (large lake just north of Galway Bay) where Mother's first cousin and son run a tourist house and restaurant. The lodge was built for Professor Nicholas Colohas as a fishing lodge and occupied by his son, Dr. Arthur Colohan, composer of the song "Galway Bay". However, he composed it in England where he lived and had his practice. We had tea and a nice visit with my second cousin, but his mother was in town for the day. John then drove us west towards the coast where we saw many digging peat (turf) where they pile it up to dry and later use it for fuel. It has about half the BTU's of coal, but is used by many in Ireland for heat.
Time ran out so we didn't drive 70 miles on south to Kilrush where Aunt Dora met Wm. Irvine and his companion right after they came from Scotland in 1896. She was in her early twenties and working as a tutoress for a wealthy family at the time. She didn't have much fellowship until she started in the work in 1902 and came to Canada with a number of workers in 1905. Galway Bay is beautiful and a very large natural harbor. Columbus sailed into this bay and worshiped at a church before searching for the new world and discovering America.
On Friday we had a workers' meeting at Monoghan (first they've had for years) with just the visitors speaking, but open for any to pray. This is the only convention in Ireland where all the workers are together, as the next three weeks there are two convs. on at once (seven convs. in Ireland, three in the south, four in the north). This is the last convention that I'll be with John Porterfield until our last at Dettingen, Germany Aug. 17-20.
A brother worker by the name John Prendergast is at preps here and has a very interesting testimony. He just finished his first year in the work, is in his early thirties. He studied for four of the eight years in the order he was in to become a Catholic priest and got his degree in college when he decided not to go the last four years to become a priest. They advised him to further his studies in a college, but part way through he just up and left. He started selling World Encyclopedias and soon was supervisor over many salesmen. He found a good market in the Protestant schools and was working in another man's territory since he wasn't trying the schools. At two different schools in this territory he noticed two young teachers who stood out to him, and he felt must be of the same faith. Through these contacts, he started to attend meetings and wasn't long in making his choice. Now both of these teachers are in the work and the one, Cathleen Atkin, perhaps had the most to do with it. Four or five years after John made his choice, he too started in the work and seems very happy there.
Tom Clarke and I went 45 miles north to have a few days with Dave and Eunice Doak and their three grown children. Dave is a nephew of John Doak who labored in Nebraska and is buried there. They live in a beautiful two-story stone house 150 years old with five bedrooms upstairs. Each room has a lever you turn to ring for the servant (in the days when they had such). Some of the calf stalls used to be a garage for the carriage with living quarters overhead for the driver and family. Being near the border one is very conscious of IRA troubles, and in the past many car bombs have gone off in their little town destroying lives and buildings. No cars are now allowed into downtown area without being searched and the police buildings are all protected with walls and closed circuit T.V. So far 2,447 have been killed (1,698 civilians, 381 army and 368 police) by IRA activity. Six police have been killed just in the last few weeks. Ruth Doak works in a little bank in a village and one day some IRA men came in and shot over their heads giving them five minutes to get out. The bomb went off and burned the bank building to the ground.
It was interesting to see Fermanagh convention grounds since we won't be there. John Reid and his sister live here and such a beautiful entrance and very large trees, neatly trimmed hedges and all. Convention has been here since 1940, when it was moved from a farm not far away. The train ran through this farm and Wilson Reid talked to a headman on the railroad and they built a loading platform for the train to stop right at the grounds to let folks off and pick them up. The railroad called it the "dippers' stop" as the friends here are often called "dippers," since we baptize by immersion. For 17 years the railroad has been discontinued.
We got to see the Crocknacrieve convention grounds where convention was held for a month each year about the turn of the century and where Aunt Dora Holland attended. It was here in 1903 that Granddad was called to come, as Aunt Dora was so ill they thought she wouldn't live. Granddad didn't profess then but George Walker told me of seeing him there. The house is like a mansion with a very large courtyard enclosed by two-story buildings. Saw the hill where many went to pray and have quiet time. No doubt it was on this very hill where many workers prayed to be willing to leave their homeland and bring the gospel to so many other parts of the world in 1905. The folks living here now don't profess. A few miles away over rolling hills and very narrow roads which are typica1 of Ireland we saw the humble stone ruins of the home George Walker grew up in. Also, John Doak's old home and Norman Nash's (Ecuador).
One day we attended a funeral in Draperstown of an older saint. The coffin was shaped narrow at both ends and wide in the middle with the lid completely removed. Funerals are held in the homes here and since the room was small we all stood outside where the workers spoke. Many Catholic men (men attend but very few women) from the town attended. They make up a list of men relatives to take turns carrying the coffin on their shoulders, with the two men on opposite sides locking their arms and shoulders together. Carried it about 100 feet and then put it in the hearse. Then carried it a ways at the other end. Many walked the mile to the cemetery. At the main intersection in town two policemen directed traffic (did not have their flack jackets on, as was a warm day) and a third stood behind his car with his rifle ready and watching every direction. The IRA is after police and army men mostly.
Carnteel convention is very near the Republic of Ireland border. In 1902 the workers came to this little village owned and run by the Reids and had gospel meetings in the little schoolhouse the sister workers sleep in now. Wilson Reid labored most of his days in South Africa.There were 20 workers who went forth from this area. Ireland is the only country where workers weren't imported but rather exported! Convention has been here over 60 years, meetings held in a shed. None of the friends stay on the grounds because of IRA trouble. Each year they feel it may be the last year for convention, as the owner is in her nineties. It's like a little village and they have the store and P.O. Two nephews of hers had a big chicken and egg business and grocery. However, the egg business has moved to England and the other to the continent. We stayed in a very large home (homes here make most of ours in U.S. seem like cottages!). There are ruins of an old stone Protestant church in the village that the IRA burned down 100 years ago and is now a cemetery. Meetings and testimonies were very helpful.
Frank Thomas was helpful on the struggles, battles and temptations Jesus had and how He got victory:
- Matt. 4 (Lk. 4) Temptations of the devil...victory through the word of God.
- Mark 6 (Jn. 6) Temptations of the world...victory through prayer.
- Luke 22:42 Temptation of the flesh...victory by putting God's will before His own.
Preps at Gilroy and Orick will be on by the time you receive this. My thoughts and prayers go your way. Those at the Cork convention in southern Ireland last week said the helicopters were flying back and forth over the convention grounds, bringing in the bodies from that tragic air crash in the ocean off southern Ireland. Hope this finds all of you well and many thanks for your letters. Two more conventions in Ireland and then I fly alone to Norway with one day between convention here and convention there!
Your brother in Him,
Dear Friends far and near,
My days in green, green Ireland are fast coming to an end. I believe I left my last letter with our arrival at Carrick House, which is about 60 miles southwest of the big city of Dublin. This is no doubt the biggest old home I've been in (25 rooms), and the most ideal and beautiful convention grounds that I've ever seen. The grounds are off in the country on a 400-acre dairy and cattle farm with very large old chestnut trees and copper beech trees. This is where Irvine Pearson's father heard the Gospel in 1902 and convention has been here since 1912. Irvine was born and raised in this home. His brother Willie and wife Grace live here with their two daughters, (Iris and Gladys) and an aunt. The son and family live next door, and he runs the beef end of the business. The house is well over 200 years old with 24-inch thick walls of stone. Tom Clarke and I shared an upstairs bedroom that was 20 ft. x 20 ft. and a 12 ft. ceiling! Dining is in a metal shed, but meetings in a tent with 680 there on Sunday. Weather was lovely with showers each day. I surely had many long walks! Two of Irvine's older half sisters were in the work in the states and one died young from a disease while she was there. A cousin and wife of Tom Clarke's came Sun. a.m., so I traded him the Sun. a.m. meeting for the afternoon meeting. Another cousin and her husband came Monday eve. and Tom spoke and really preached the Gospel to them! Two Catholic girls who recently attended a few Gospel meetings in Dublin were also there a day and a night. They seem very interested.
Here are just a few gem thoughts from Carrick convention:
“Our income determines our standard of living and it is the ‘in coming’ of Christ into our lives that gives us a real standard of true living.”
“The greatest gift we can give God is ourselves, and God's greatest gift to us is His Son.”
“The best guarantee for our future is to be true today.”
“Tell it as it is written, but live it as it is told.”
“If the Lord is master of our choices then He is also master of the outcome.”
After tea following the last meeting at Carrick, one of the friends drove two sisters and myself three hours north to his home at Portadown in northern Ireland. The roads are so narrow and crooked, but we traveled 70 and 75 mph, and I was very thankful when we arrived safely! I’m spending a few days with Leslie and Frances Wilson and their daughter Ruth, here in Portadown. Douglas McConnell (Australia) is also here. Frances was a Bullock and a first cousin of many of them in Minnesota. It was 1901 that Adam Hutchinson (wrote some of our hymns and died in the work in Burma in 1925) worked a mission in this area of Portadown and Mr. Bullock (about 18 yrs. old) made his choice. He is the father of many of the Minnesota Bullocks. In 1903, Aunt Dora Holland who was in her second year in the work with Mabel Reid. (who was younger in the work!) worked the mission here when the brother Frances Bullock Wilson's father professed. Mabel Reid later married a Smith and settled in the states and wrote a few of our hymns.
On our way here we had to pass trough Newry, which is just north of the border and a hot spot for IRA bombs. This same morning a van with a 1800 lb. bomb in it was defused there! So many stories of the IRA killing others. They say the reason that so many Irish are professing is that they heard it was a “fight to the finish” and they didn't want to miss it! This amused me. We always heard of the poor Irish with their pigs and chickens in their parlors, but it seems they drive late model cars and have lovely homes. However, it is true that many years back when the landlords owned most of the land, these poor peasants could not afford the taxes from adding a pig, shed or chicken house. Because of this they kept the pigs and chickens in their homes!
There is a young Irish sister worker, Cathleen Atkin, (two years in the work but about 30 years old) who has an interesting testimony. Her parents were professing but Cathy was a bit wild. She made her choice when she was 17. Later she went to the University to study to be a teacher but became very troubled about the work. She asked the Lord to give her a sign if He wanted her in the work by meeting someone in the University who would make their choice and go into the work. One day she received a phone call that her mother was ill and she would need to go home and this greatly upset her. One of the girls in the dorm noticed that she was upset and asked her about it but Cathy cut her short with a short reply. This bothered Cathy all night and the next day she went to the girl's room to apologize for the way she answered her and there was a girl in the room from Denmark who was a baroness. It was this girl who became a friend to Cathy, professed and now labors in Denmark. The Queen of Denmark came here to bestow honors on this girl and give her money but she refused it and gave the Queen of Denmark her testimony. The Queen listened well. Cathy taught school 9 years and because of some misunderstanding hadn't been taken into the work. She began to wonder again if the Lord wanted her in the work and again asked for the same sign. This time it was John Prendergast, whom I wrote about last time, who had studied four years to become a priest and he noticed these two teachers in two different schools. Cathy was also on vacation in France, or perhaps Corsica, where she met a girl and invited her to Ireland at convention time. Everyone was shocked by the dress of the girl, but she is professing and hearty in France today. Unlike most, Cathy is very outgoing and seems happy in her place these days.
Downpatrick is my fourth and last convention in Ireland. It is held on a farm about 25 miles south of Belfast on the east coast. Jim Porter is a bachelor in his fifties and lives in this big two-story house alone. A mother and three daughters came on bikes. They crossed on the ferry and rode their bikes from Belfast in a real thunder storm arriving here late Friday night soaked to the skin! We have all been greatly amused by one of the elderly men who sits on the front row. He is short, heavy, bald and has no teeth. He keeps warm with several different colored sweaters under his coat. When we are singing and come to the end of a verse, he immediately starts the next verse while everyone else is getting their breath. He sits in front of the P.A. and it picks it up! After 2 1/2 months in the U.K., one begins to learn their expressions. When they talk about the 'boot' of the car, they mean the trunk. The hood is called the 'bonnet' and the windshield is the 'wind screen'. Their house trailers are called 'caravans' and their trucks are 'lorries.' Supper (evening meal) is called 'tea' and 'supper' is the bedtime snack. Of course they drive on the left side of the read and the men's ties have their stripes running the opposite to ours! In spite of all these differences, it is wonderful to see the same spirit of God producing the same results in the lives of His people here. The meeting tent here at Downpatrick is getting old and too small so they advertised it in the paper and the first man to come look at it on Monday bought it! A church wants to use it in fund raising. This summer they plan to make a new tent which will be a first for them. July 12th is the big Orange Man day in nothern Ireland and they have been having parades and bon fires getting ready for the big event! Glad we got out before the 12th. It will be nice to be on the continent where they drive on the right side of the roads again! They way the Irish were thinking of changing over, but would do it gradually by having just the trucks change the first year!
After the last meeting in Downpatrick, Ireland, they rushed three of us 1-1/2 hour drive to Belfast airport where we met some from the other Irish convention. Four of us flew to London and the next morning I caught a flight (2 hour) to Oslo, Norway. Now I'm 9 hours ahead of California and Arizona. What a nice surprise to have David Escola, Arne Foss and Sarah Opel, (Lisa Kettler's mom), meet my plane! It was clear and sunny as we flew over Oslo, so I got a grand view having a window seat. Warmer here than anywhere I've been so far even though it is much further north. Flowers in bloom everywhere and grain crops heading out. Interesting to see how they cure their hay on long racks in the fields. Stokke is about an hour drive south of Oslo and held on the property of the Sverres Skalleberg's. His parents first heard and believed the Truth in Alberta, Canada in 1912, but moved back to Norway about 1920. Several of the family live in homes here and have 11 large greenhouses, all automatic in the watering, heating, lighting, etc. It is a thriving business of raising flowers. The greenhouse erected this year cost around $100,000.00 U.S. money. What a nice surprise to find Harvey and Dot Casity and son here from Winslow, AZ. Also Mildred Gronley and granddaughter Erica Coleman; and Manlon and Fern Moe from Minnesota. Also, a number from different states and Canada. Not many friends in Norway, and no doubt the slowest for the Gospel of the Scandinavian countries. The meetings are held in a nice shed and headsets for those who want to listen in English or German. Even the testimonies are translated and this is nice. Convention has been on these grounds since 1947 and about 240 here and at least 50 from out of the country. It was very special to see Ken and Bodil York and their three children here. Ken is from Bakersfield and they live 4 hours south of here on the southern tip of Norway where she grew up. Their oldest son, (13 yrs. old) professed Saturday evening and also an older woman.
Two took the step of baptism Sunday morning. It turned real stormy Sunday, and when we had the workers’ meeting in the meting shed Sunday evening (37 workers), it rained so hard on the metal roof that we had to sing a number of hymns until it let up a little. The older brother here in Norway, Hasken Ausenhus, is soon leaving for a number of conventions on the east coast of U.S. and a visit to his relatives in Canada. Johan Jergensen (Denmark) will be coming to some of our conventions on the west coast. George Ferguson sent his greetings to all. Early Monday morning five of us drove to Skone, Sweden for the next convention. It was an all day trip and ½ hour ferry ride which was special. Rained most of the way. David Escola surely looks well and does very well with the language. It was a good year for the gospel in Finland, but with Eldon Knudson on a home visit to Canada, David will be in Sweden at least until the first of the year. We had some good walks and visits together.
Must bring this to an end and in the mail today. One does get very weary listening and hearing another language spoken. Hope preps go well at Gilroy and Orick.
Your brother in Him,
Dear Friends far and near,
Early Monday morning, July 15th, four of us said our goodbye to the workers in Norway and drove all day going to Skone, Sweden. The half hour ride on the ferry made a nice change when we could walk around. It rained most of the day, so we couldn't see much. In Sweden the roads are built to U.S. standards and they drive on the right side as in all the continent. Surely good to see all the Swedish workers, many whom I have met through the years. Believe convention has been here in Skone since about 1947 and the daughter, husband and children live here now.
Earle Newmiller, Frank Thomas and I share a nice roomy cabin in the woods with a wood stove and running water when you run to get it! Some nice days, but rain most days. We have coffee made before 5 a.m. and the stove going full blast! So special to see Dave Pfingsten here and doing so well with the language. Very few workers and he is greatly appreciated. He'll be with Harry Johnson again in Stockholm; David Escola will be with Frank Craigie (Scotish) in Smaland and Blekinge, Sweden. The list came out after our workers meeting Wednesday morning. Harry Johnson is appreciated greatly and Donavon Peterson does a good job looking after things.
Donavon took us into Bjarnum to see five graves of workers in one cemetery. Edith Eklund (1872-1956), along with Esther Hanson were the first workers to come to Sweden in 1910. Edith was from Nebraska and after her home visit in 1920, she remained in Sweden till she died. Henry and Deith Hanson came to Sweden when she returned from her home visit. The other graves were: Wm. Weir (1882-1969); George Hemdal (1890-1971); J. Henry Hanson (1888-1973); and Torstin Hemdal (1894-1977). It was in 1912 that two brother workers came to this area and met the Hemdals and others who professed. There was a big stir in the Lutherans and a group in their anger broke into the Hemdal home and beat up on the brothers, driving them from the area. In those days the workers got a good hearing and many were helped. Today, very few fear God or even attend church. The moral standard is very low and it is against the law for parents to even spank their own children. Children in the meetings are often unrulely.
Like in Norway, there are earphones, so you can get the prayers, testimonies and messages in English. Only about 85 at the start of the convention with 36 of these being workers. Nice to see Brenda Floyd, (Marilyn Wheeler’s niece) here from Phoenix along with Brenda Lackman from North Dakota. Very few young folks in Sweden and the older ones are dieing off each year. Nice to see Edgar Massy, wife and daughter here and they are appreciated. So few friends able to help that even the visiting workers helped with the dish washing and other jobs!!
Monday a number of us caught a train in Hussleholm for Copenhagen, Denmark. Iris Murray and Kay McKay (two Scottish sisters) catch a plane tomorrow in Copenhagen for Iceland where they will visit the one saint lady and other contacts for 3 weeks before going on to visit on the Faroe Islands and back to Scotland. Kay labored for 10 years in Iceland and Iris 5 years. They were there when Dave Pfingston was stationed there in the Air Force and so happy to see him where he is today! As we pulled into Copenhagen, the conductor told us that a bomb had been thrown into the Northwest Orient Airline office in the city and a number hurt. When we arrived there Johan Jorgensen met us (coming to Calif. and Ariz. for conv.) and said he had been in the office that was bombed 1 hr. earlier getting his ticket ready to go to the states!
In Copenhagen we said goodbye to some while a few of us caught another train with Calvin Casselman and I going to Odense and the others on to the Danish convention grounds. In the morning we had a half hour ride on a ferry (the whole train is put on) and an hour ride on a much larger ferry in the afternoon. In the morning we got such a grand view of large castle near the waters edge, and it was Shakespeare who wrote one of his plays on a past event that took place in this castle.
Vibeke (Peggy) Schaffabitzky whom I wrote about in my last letter (met Kathy Atkin in college in Ireland) traveled all day on the same train, (she went into the work in 1980). I asked her about what I was told of her giving her testimony to the Queen of Denmark, but she said it really wasn't that way. It is true she met the Queen in Ireland, along with other Danish people.
I had a real good visit with Rasmus Prip who stays in a home for older folks in Odense. He has a room to himself and gets good care. He is 89 years old, but very clear in his mind. He has large map of the world on one wall and maps of the countries he has labored in with workers lists on another wall. Rasmus was hungry for news of different ones in California and sent his greetings to any who remembered him. He isn't very strong, but walked to the car with us in the rain to wave goodbye.
From Odense, Denmark I caught a train for Basel, Switzerland traveling most of the way alone and making two changes of trains. Train service is good and there are compartments for six people, Some make into 6 bunks for night travel, but food isn't much on them. One gets hungry to speak English to someone! The countryside was beautiful and as we traveled south through Germany we saw beautiful farms. The last hour of the journey we came along the edge of the Black Forest and near the French border. Saw ruins of old castles on a number of hills. It got warmer and one began to see fruit trees and vineyards. The train reached Basel about 9 p.m. (on the German-Swiss border) and was I happy to see Graham Snow waiting for me! He had spoken in the last meeting of their convention in the French section of Switzerland that afternoon, taken a load of sisters to the Wahlendorf convention grounds and on an hour drive to meet me at Basel.
Wahlendorf is a very small village (100) about 15 minutes out of the capital city of Bern. This is where Emil Hegg's parents heard the Gospel and convention has been here for 40 years or so. A number of the homes here belong to different brothers and relatives of Emil's. Some of us visitors are staying in the home that has the Post Office in it. It belongs now to Emil's nephew Hans and Christine Hegg and their 2 little ones. All are most friendly and in many ways, it reminds me of California. Convention meetings and dining are in tents and one of the nicest forest of pine I've ever walked in next to the meeting tent. One spot at the edge of the forest where you overlook the beautiful valley of farm crops with the city of Bern in the near distance and the Swiss alps covered with snow seen above the other mountains on a clear day. Seems the farm fields are broken up into small plots of different grain crops and hay. Fields have been handed down from one generation to another and getting smaller and divided more with each generation! Some of the grain was being harvested. Graham took me shopping in Bern one afternoon and I saw a man resetting cobble stones downtown and the famous old clock in downtown Bern. The homes are most interesting with cattle and hay storage all a part of it. Lovely flower planters by windows.
It was arranged for me to go with Jorg Kunzi (Swiss boy just starting out in the work with Graham Snow) and Andrew Offenborn and his mother Hermit, who have ther (sic) real open home in Vienna Austria. We met them in the beautiful tourist town of Thun by the river Aare. It was in the river two months ago that Albert Hegg (Emil's nephew - 20 yrs old) drowned in a canoe accident, which has really sobered all the young folks here. At convention 8 took the step of baptism in this same river and one was Albert's brother. (Albert's body hasn’t been found yet.) Sunday evening of convention 9 young folks professed and one was Albert's youngest sister. We took a cable car up to the top of Stockhorn Mountain (2190 meters high). From there we could see the Swiss alps so clearly. Among the many peaks were Eiger (3970 meters), Monch (4099 meters) and Jungfrau (4158 meters). We ate a picnic lunch there and 3 of us walked down to the first lift on a trail much steeper than the Kaibab trail into the Grand Canyon.
We had a Wednesday meeting in the tent with a number of us visitors speaking. Then two worker’s meetings on Friday and convention running from Saturday through Tuesday. Good to have Harvey & Dot Cassidy here. The Naefs (Raymond, Leon, Donald and their wives plus the two Naef sisters) all met here Sunday. Lots of young folks here and a lovely free spirit in and out of the meetings. Graham Snow was my interpreter in each meeting and this was a big help. An older couple from Poland were here and thrilled to get out for a convention. Tuesday three big tents got put away just before the rain started. We leave early Wednesday for Paris, France by train and the convention near there.
We heard that anger is like a pot of cereal boiling but under control. Wrath is when it boils over and malice is what is left after it has boiled over.
Wishing you all the very best at preps and conventions.
Your brother in Him,