By Cecil Willis
Larry Ray Haffley
On their way back home from the Philippines, Dudley Spears and James Needham spent a few days in Germany. During their time there, they came in contact with brethren from two congregations who are opposed to the digressions which now have swept away many churches. These brethren encouraged Spears and Needham to try to find someone to come to help them do the Lords work in that country.
Shortly after their return, Dudley Spears had published in Truth Magazine an article seeking someone to go to work in Germany. After serious reflection upon the matter, he decided the words of Isaiah appropriately fitted him also. While Isaiah was wondering whom the Lord could send to cry out unto his people, the urgency of the work to be done caused him to cry out, “Here am 1; send me” (Isa. 6:8). Thus Dudley soon began preparing himself to go to Germany. He has determined to stay as long as it takes to get the job done, as he expressed it to me.
His present plans call for him to go preach in a series of meetings in two places, Bad Kreuznach (about 40 miles from Frankfurt) and in Ludwigsburg, in the Stuttgart area, which is near the Swiss border. There is at least one German preacher who has rebelled at some of the practices within German churches, and who has already been in contact with Brother Spears. Brother Spears is urgently needed in that country now, especially since Brother Brooks Cochran (a military man) who had been preaching for the brethren in Bad Kreuznach has returned to this country. In addition to preaching in at least two gospel meetings, Brother Spears intends to spend a week in the Frankfurt area, working with a military man named Dale Martin, who is taking his vacation time specifically to work with Dudley. Several years ago, I became acquainted with Brother Martin while he was stationed near Fairbanks, Alaska. There is the hope that a faithful church can be started in Frankfurt. Spears intends to spend from Nov. 6th to December 8th in Germany preaching and doing house to house work, in addition to making some preliminary preparations for his move to Germany, which is scheduled for May, 1973.
The first work done in Germany, sponsored by the Broadway church in Lubbock, Texas, was one of the earliest instances of the sponsoring-church type congregational cooperation in America, excepting for brief instances of it in 1867 and 1910, and perhaps a very few other instances. The German work popularized the now common sponsoring church practice among churches of Christ. This work, done immediately after World War, 11, thus introduced anew the controversy regarding sponsoring churches among us. Of course, Germany has therefore been swept up into the sponsoring church digression.
Often I have heard men say, when discussing foreign work, “Dont send a boy to do a mans job.” This sounds good, but in all too many instances the men have not volunteered to do the work. But no one could call Dudley Spears a boy. He is precisely in the prime of his life, being about 40 years of age, and having preached the gospel since boyhood.
It is no easy thing for a man in the bloom of life to uproot himself and his family and move into a foreign land. Few of us realize the sacrifice that is involved. First of all, it entails selling nearly everything one has, which means that one must start all over again when he returns. Very little of the Spears personal items and furniture can be taken with them. Storage of their personal items while they are gone is prohibitively expensive. So they have but one alternative: to sell nearly everything they own at very low prices. This process alone likely will cost Brother Spears personally several thousands of dollars.
Furthermore, Dudleys children are at the age when it is difficult to uproot them from their friends, relatives and loved ones, and to re-settle them in an environment where they understand neither the language nor the culture. Schooling for his children while he is in Germany will cost Dudley about $900 per year per child.
Dudleys November-December trip will cost about $750.00. He has purposed to go, even if he has to pay this amount himself. But the work which he will be doing should not constitute a challenge to him only. It should be a work in which all of us would like to have a part. Individuals and churches should see to it that the expense incurred in this preliminary trip is covered so that it does not cost the Spears family a penny. If they are willing to go at great personal sacrifice, surely we should be willing to send them.
So far as I know, in every single instance, when a worthy work has been set before the brotherhood, churches and individual Christians have responded in a generous way. When there was a plea made for relief money for destitute saints in Nigeria a few months ago, on two different occasions about $5 0,000 were sent to relieve those needy brethren. When the need for preacher support in the Philippines was called to their attention, brethren responded so generously that about seventy men now are being supported by faithful brethren. On several different occasions, there has been a bountiful outpouring of funds to relieve the physical needs of saints in the Philippines. I have never been able to understand how some brethren can become so concerned over a physical need, and yet be so complacent toward a spiritual need.
Work needs to be done in Germany. There is no doubt about the need. There is no question about the integrity, capability, and experience of the man who is proposing to go to do this work. Brother Spears has so far mailed out about 45 letters to churches best known to him. Less than ten of these churches even showed the common courtesy of replying to his request for support to do this work. “My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” Of the eight or nine churches who did answer his letters, only two indicated they could help in any way. One congregation promised to send to him $100.00 per month. Another church said they would help, but have not as yet said how much they will help. So far as I know, no one has provided any of the funds needed for the NovemberDecember trip. Even if Dudley has already gone as you read this article, the expense incurred in that trip should be reimbursed to him.
Brethren who live in Germany have told him that he will need $800.00 per month to support his family, and $250.00 per month for adequate apartment-type housing. He also needs $150.00 a month to enable him to publish and to circulate a teaching-type bulletin. While in the Philippines in 1970, some brethren told me that when an American walks in a store, the price suddenly triples. I do not know if that is true in Germany or not. But Brother Spears has no control over what it will cost to support his family in Germany. If brethren want him to go, they must provide whatever the cost is to support him in the work while he is there. Travel for his family, and a few household and personal belongings, will cost about $5000.00.
Probably right now, many brethren are working on congregational budgets for 1973. If so, please give serious consideration to the needs of Brother Spears in order that he might preach the gospel in Germany. It is possible that one church might be able to provide all the support he needs, but it is not probable. Often a profitable work goes undone and unsupported because brethren assume that so many other people will respond to the need that their help is not needed. Lets not let this happen in this instance. Everyone who knows Dudley Spears at all knows him well enough to know that he will tell the brethren when his personal, family, and work needs have been supplied. Brethren who know him also know that he will not ask for nor accept more than is right and just for his work. So lets not let this work go undone because we think Brother Spears will have more than enough supplied him. He will tell us when enough money to do the job has been promised or supplied.
Dudley needs to know right now where his support is coming from, and who is going to supply it. Brethren, please discuss this need within the churches and contact Brother Spears just as quickly as possible to tell him how much you can help. Individuals can do more than one might expect, by many doing a little each.
Particularly is this true in supplying Dudleys travel funds. Dudley Spears can be contacted by mail at 35 W. Par Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32804. By telephone, he can be reached at (305) 425-7021.
There definitely will be two churches with which Dudley can work. There is a third church (a German speaking one) where Dudley also can be of some help, though it is quite some distance from where he intends to locate, which incidentally will be determined by what he learns on his November-December trip. Then there is the possibility of a church being started in the Frankfurt area. The work is plentiful. So let us rise up, and supply the funds needed to do this work.
Furthermore, if anyone knows of faithful brethren anywhere in Germany, please write Brother Spears and supply him the necessary information in order that he might contact them. Dudley intends to do a little of his preaching on his November-December trip in the German language, and plans to be able to preach regularly in German, where that is needed, when he arrives in Germany in May. Dudleys family will then follow him to Germany as soon as school is out. Lets relieve his mind about support and necessary working funds in order that he might devote himself entirely to doing the Lords work while here until May, and to preparing to do the Lords work in Germany after May, 1973. 1 do not know of any instance where brethren have failed to provide what funds were needed to do any scriptural work, when it was properly put before them, and widely enough called to their attention. I hope I have properly put before you what Dudley intends to do in Germany, and that you now will rise up to help supply the sinews of work and battle. If you desire or need further information, contact Brother Spears immediately.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 49, pp. 3-5
October 19, 1972