By Ron Halbrook
It was very encouraging to see the power of the gospel at work in the seven churches I visited 3-27 January, because these brethren were willing to endure sound doctrine (2 Tim. 4:3). I will briefly mention these churches and their local preachers in order to acquaint our readers with them.
1. Church of Christ. 546 N. Lark El/en, Covina, CA 91723 (phone: 818-332-7473): The local preacher is a younger man who helps support himself by teaching school and who is blessed by a wife and children who love the Lord. His name is Alfonso Ferrer (472 Hacienda Ave., Perris, CA 92571; 714-943-7965). Normal attendance runs in the 30s, but we had nearly 50 as our high during the three-day meeting.
2. Hetnet Church of Christ, 203 W. Acacia Ave. (P.O. Box 2181, Werner, CA 92546 (909-925-1991). Gerald B. Evans (41181 Acacia Ave., Hemet, CA 92544: 909-925-6046) has preached most of his life and has largely supported himself so as to help brethren who could not provide lull support. Now, in his later years, his spirit is undaunted hut his health is declining. To relieve this burden, Hemet is looking for someone to work with brother Evans and the whole church. Regular attendance numbers in the 50s. Our best attendance during the four-day series was about 50, which was good considering the constant rain and flooding.
3.5th St. East Church of Christ, 44860 North 5th St., East, Lancaster. CA 93535 (805-948-5279). The local preacher is in his 30s, is in his second year in California, and is deeply convinced of the truth on divorce and remarriage. His name is Micky Galloway (45858 York P1., Lancaster. CA 93534; 805-723-6553). Their attendance is generally in the 90s, but we had a high of about 100 during a four-day meeting in spite of rain, sleet, and snow,
4. Winnetka Ave. Church of Christ, Winnetka Ave., Canoga Park, (A 91306 (818-348-2193). The local preacher is Dennis Kilgo (8011 Quartz Ave., Canoga Park, CA 91306; 818-341-7579). It was encouraging to meet brother Kilgo because he had studied his way out of error on divorce and remarriage. Normal attendance here is around 80. These brethren did not know about my trip until arrived in California, so I could only arrange for two nights with them on such short notice. About 50 souls attended each night, in spite of the fact that only last-minute announcements were possible.
5, Church of Christ on the Hub, 39354 Freinont Blvd., Frernont, CA 94536 (510-792-39901. The local preacher has supported himself in secular work through the years, and is semi-retired, but presses on with great zeal in the lords work. His name is Dwight King (4909 Northdale Dr., Fremont, CA 94536; 510-794-7659). Regular attendance runs in the 20s and up to about 30, but we had a high of around 40 during the four-day meeting.
6. 20th St. Church of Christ, 61 W. 20th St., Merced, CA 95340 (209-383-2095). This church’s local preacher has been Roy Bradshaw, but during the meeting he was preparing to move to begin work with the church in nearby Mariposa (meets on Hwy. 45 in Mariposa; mailing address 3584 Triangle Rd., Mariposa, CA 95338; 209-966-3181). Merced will help with his support. Another sound, solid man is needed to follow brother Bradshaw at Merced. Wes Cox and Dean Gibson serve Merced as elders. Some who expressed hesitation about what might be preached on divorce and remarriage, later made such comments as, “I know what you preached was the truth because you read it to us directly from the Bible, passage after passage.” Gospel meetings and gospel preaching still accomplish good! The average attendance at Merced is in the 70s, and during this four-day effort we had high somewhere in the 80s.
7. Church of Christ, 695 High St., Lakeport, CA 95453. The local preacher has spent most of his life preaching in California, often supporting himself. Though past “retirement age,” he continues to be remarkably able and active. His name is Olen Holderby (4265 Lakeshore Blvd. 1/18, Lakeport, CA 95453; 707-263-3682). Normal attendance runs close to 40, and we had about that many on our best night in this three-day series.
The sermons presented in California included “The Patience of God,” “The Blood of Christ and Baptism,” “Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage,” “Trends Pointing Toward a New Apostasy,” “Our Clothes Send a Message,” and “Lovest Thou Me More Than These?” Each lesson is designed to stress the positive foundation of truth and, in contrast, to expose the utter emptiness of error. In all, 32 sermons were preached in 25 days, and there were many personal discussions and studies. Three confessed sin and were restored. About 1,200 tracts, booklets, outlines, and other gospel literature were distributed. It was evident that precious souls still seek and hear the truth of God’s Word when it is presented in its purity and simplicity (Matt. 5:6; 7:7-8). Many “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so,” even when study sessions lasted late into the night (Acts 17:11; 20:7).
The reason that some sessions lasted late is that the audience was not ready to go home. .After each evening lesson, an opportunity was given for questions and comments. Some of these open forums continued until 9:30, 10:00, 10:30 and even past 11:00 p.m. It was exhausting but rewarding work. Not one ugly incident occurred, even when there were disagreements. Ninety percent of the questions were truth-seeking, with only a few designed to set traps or make false arguments. Even the latter contributed to our studies because truth has nothing to fear from open investigation.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 9, p. 2
May 20, 1993