By William R. John
Last August, I had the privilege of preaching the gospel of Christ before an audience of 42 people on the Lords Day in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. This was during the progression of a gospel meeting and was one of seven services in which I was able to proclaim Gods word.
One might ask as to why the above statements are at all significant and in order to answer such an inquiry I would have to begin in reference to the September 1969 issue of Truth Magazine. Brother Cecil Willis writes the following as he had just conducted a gospel meeting in Haliburton. “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.” He mentions in the second paragraph that, “Haliburton is a village of 2000 people. There were only four known members of the Lords church there.” As brother Willis relates to us regarding the preparation that was made prior to the meeting, he also states, “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.” The article continues by expressing the details of the Lords work in Canada and in conclusion, an appeal is made to those in this country to support the work in Canada.
From what has already been written, it is easy to see the progress of the Lords church in the Haliburton area of Canada. This progress did not come about without hard work and lots of it. Brother Willis mentions in his article regarding the time that was spent and the work that was done by several men in order to even establish the church in that community. Since the congregations beginning, others have done their part in trying to help the church grow in that area.
The point of this article, however, is to simply mention the willingness of one man to work in Haliburton as I have the hope that other men will follow his example in working for the Lord. Brother Jerry Sayre begins working with the congregation in Halibuxton in January, 1970 and continued working there until January of this year. Now Jerry did not ask me to write this article nor is he seeking any kind of glory, but I hope he will not be too embarrassed by my using his experience so as to encourage others.
Prior to the time of Jerrys departure for Haliburton, he, his wife, and two children lived in New Castle, Indiana. He was buying a house, he was somewhat in debt with other expenses and he was employed (by Chrysler Corp.) like practically every other man I know. However, we surely would agree that Jerry is somewhat different in that he decided to leave New Castle, his parents and his wifes parents; sell his house; quit his job; and move some 700 miles to a place he hardly knew anything about except that the people there needed the gospel. He did this without ever attending college and without a great deal of preaching experience. Those that benefited most by Jerrys decision were those who were converted to the Lord while Jerry was in Haliburton as well as those already Christians when he arrived. Before he left, undoubtedly, there were discouragements that would have hindered him if he had let them. There possibly were people telling him that he should not go, but if there were he did not listen to them.
While Jerry was in Canada, the health of one of the members of his family was affected by the climate, so he decided to return to the States and he is now preaching in Jamestown, Indiana. The important thing is that he is preaching and being fully supported in the Lords work. Before Jerry and his family left Canada, the brethren got together and wished them well. Jerry tells me there were some tears shed. I believe that each tear told him that his decision had been worthwhile.
This month, the Lord willing, another man leaves for Haliburton. He is Jim Hughett from Indianapolis. It is the same story with Jim; leave his family, sell his house, quit his job, no college, and very little preaching experience. The reason is also the same. He loves the Lord and His work.
You see, Canada is a real place with real people. Bill Echols will tell you the same thing about New York and New England. Karl Diestelkamp will tell you the same about Wisconsin. These are only a few of the places where men are needed to preach the word. The people in each of these places need the gospel and more men are needed to take the gospel to them.
I wonder how many men would be willing to do as Jerry and Jim, that is, leave secular employment and be fully supported in the Lords work. Just think, if each congregation in America with an attendance of at least 100 people had just one man that was willing to begin that particular course in life! My brother, it is not too late for you. “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 33, pp. 12-13
June 22, 1972