The Work of the Lord in Ontario, Canada

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

It is now 3:30 a. m., and just a few hours ago I returned from a gospel meeting in the village of Haliburton in Ontario, Canada. It has sometimes been charged that I pretended a stupendous knowledge of the Canadian work upon very meager familiarity with it. Such a disavowal is here explicitly appended. I made notes from which to write such an article while in Haliburton, and probably will make some factual mistakes in the course of this article. But such incidental factual mistakes will not materially affect the import of what I have to say, except with a few hyper-critics.

The church in Canoga Park, California underwrote my expenses for the meeting in Haliburton. Haliburton is a village of 2000 people. There were only four known members of the Lord's church there. Largely through the efforts of Brother Peter McPherson of Bancroft (about 50 miles Northeast) this meeting was held in the school house in Haliburton.

Advertisements were mailed to about 2600 residents who live on rural routes out of Haliburton. Personal invitations were delivered, three times I think, to the 600 or so houses in the immediate Haliburton area. Numerous personal contacts were thereby made. A public address system was used on an automobile to remind the people of the gospel meeting in progress.

Numerous ones assisted in advertising this meeting. Several took vacation time in order to be present for the meeting. Brother Peter McPherson and family were there throughout the meeting. The families of John Wallace (who preaches at Odessa), and Peter Minor of Wellandport were there for most of the meeting. Mike Willis of Mooresville, Indiana was there several days prior to the meeting to help in visitation and for one night of the meeting.

Brother John Preston drove several nights from Huntsville (perhaps 85 miles to the North) to attend, and brought a car-load of young people one day to help to distribute advertisements. Brother Gordon Shearer from Peterborough (about 75 miles Southward) spent most of the week there helping.

Several families came several times from Huntsville, Peterborough and Bancroft to encourage the effort. Brethren Phil Wismer, Art Corbett (Elders) and Allan Martin also came from Jordan (2 10 miles away) to attend a day or two of the services. Brother Clark Hanna from Odessa came several nights and led the singing.

There was nothing sensational about the results of this meeting. We baptized two women into Christ, and that is important. We feel that the four members there were immeasurably strengthened by the meeting and by the efforts of ALL those involved. It was my pleasure to preach the gospel during this effort. The most impressive thing to me about it was how brethren from far and near came to spend several days there just to help with the meeting. They even took vacation time to do it, a thing many Americans would never think of doing.

There is much about the Canadian work that I do not know, though I have had passing acquaintance with it for ten years. The Jordan, Ontario church is the most evangelistic church I know! Though situated in a little village of only a few hundred people, there has for many years been a thriving church there. Several churches have been started as the outgrowth of their work; several gospel preachers have gone out from their membership to declare the unsearchable riches. Their involvement in the Haliburton effort was very evident.

The nearest church (Bancroft) was the result of some correspondence course work they undertook there about two years ago. One of Jordan's members ' exuberant Brother Peter McPherson and his wife Judy, moved there to work. It was my pleasure on Sunday morning, since no Sunday service was planned at Haliburton, to speak to about 60 people assembled for services in the Bancroft assembly. More than 50 people have been baptized there in two years, and they plan within two months to move into their own remodeled barracks building.

But even now they are interested in helping to start the work of the Lord in Haliburton. The intentions now are to continue meeting with the six members in Haliburton. Peter McPherson, I suppose without extra remuneration, will attempt to preach in both Bancroft and in Haliburton. Not only that, but some excellent prospects were discovered by the gospel meeting, and Peter will have to work these (and he will!) from a distance of 50 miles.

So far as I know, the Jordan church is the only conservative church in Ontario that is able to do any more than to carry on its own local work. They carry on an impressive program of work for a church of only about 130 in attendance on Sunday morning. Until recently they have used two full-time preachers in their own local work. More recently they have been supporting their own local preacher (Hubert Showalter), paying Peter McPherson $125 weekly, supplying $375 monthly to John Wallace in Odessa, and paying $86 weekly of Jim Nicholson's support in Glencoe. I even think they have been helping to support John Whitfield in Owen Sound and perhaps even supporting a radio program there. Whitfield is now moving to Wellandport, another church started not long ago by Jordan.

No one asked me to write this article. But the cold hard facts are that Jordan is now doing more work than it can continue financially to do. They have a cash reserve of about $2500, and are now expending that reserve at the rate of about $150 weekly. You can see that reserve will last about four more months. The Jordan church feels an intense loyalty to support all these men, as nearly all went out from them to preach the gospel. There simply are no more Canadian churches to assist in the support of these men.

About $600 per month in outside support will be necessary in order to keep all these men in the Canadian field, where they are direly needed. All these men, except Brother Hubert Showalter, are Canadian brethren. THEY MUST BE KEPT AT WORK THERE! It is my feeling that knowledge of this situation and its urgency will be sufficient to assure the commitment of the needed support, unless all the churches who can help to support one of these men assume someone else will see to it.

I have never worked with a more evangelistically zealous band of brethren. They will do the work, but they must be sustained while they do it. Write me for information on addresses of these men, or you may write Peter McPherson, Box 445, Bancroft, Ontario. But please give this request an immediate and an attentive ear. I have tried to give you the facts brethren; I feel confident you will know what to do with them, and will do it!

September 1969