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OUR WESTERN CONVENTION TOUR
SUNDAY, July 5th, was Pittsburg’s Convention day. The morning session was devoted to the exposition of the doctrine of Baptism. The afternoon service for the public was held in Alvin Theatre. There were about 1,000 present, of whom about one-half were strangers. Close attention was given to our topic, “Where are the Dead?” The evening service at Bible House Chapel was a Question Meeting, after which we took train on our western journey—accompanied to the depot by about a dozen of the friends.
We stopped over with the Indianapolis friends and had a delightful meeting with about fifty-five of them from 8 to 10 a.m. We remarked the love for the Truth which would bring together nearly the entire class on a Monday morning. They came not from curiosity—to see the speaker—for they had seen and heard him many times. They came not “to hear some new thing,” for they are already well acquainted with the Divine Plan of the Ages, and knew that only “the old, old story” would be presented. Evidently the attraction was in the rehearsing of the old message of “love divine, all love excelling.”
Little Rock, Arkansas, was reached early on Tuesday, July 7. A little group awaited our arrival at the depot and greeted us most heartily. From 10.30 to 12 we talked to about sixty on the precious things of the divine plan—especially exhorting the interested. The afternoon session was for the public and was well attended for a week-day afternoon. About 200 to 250 very intelligent people listened with manifest interest for nearly two hours. We met with some of the dear friends in a social way until train time, a considerable number accompanying us to the depot.
Houston, Tex., was reached on Wednesday at 5 p.m. All the sessions were held in the Public Park Theatre—two of them for the interested and two for the public. The attendance at the former was about 100 and at the latter between 500 and 600. The interest was good.
San Antonio, Texas, was reached next morning. An enthusiastic group met us at the depot and after refreshments we addressed quite a good congregation for an hour and a half, the essence of our theme being “Love the principal thing,” and therefore the final test of saintly character. An afternoon meeting with the elders of the congregation took two hours and then we addressed the friends for an hour on the delusions coming on the world which, “if it were possible, would deceive the very Elect.”
The evening meeting for the public was in the Opera House, and surely brought the Truth to a large and very intelligent audience. We have excellent hopes for the results, but they of course are wholly in the Lord’s hands. It is ours to do our best to present the Truth, but not ours to give the hearing ear.
Dallas, Texas, was reached in season for a Saturday morning discourse to the interested. The session had already started with a Testimony Meeting and a delegation awaited our train and escorted us to the Maccabees’ Temple. On our arrival the congregation of nearly 300 arose and joined in singing, “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.”
The afternoon session was addressed by Pilgrim Hoskins with excellent acceptance, and the evening meeting was held on Brother Rust’s lawn in the suburbs. About 200 attended. The first hour was occupied by six speakers for ten minutes each and then we spoke for about an hour and a quarter on “the evil day” and its peculiar testings and needs for grace from on high.
Pilgrim Parker addressed the Convention at its Sunday morning session and quite evidently pleased and edified those who heard.
The afternoon session was specially for the public, the topic being, “Where are the Dead?” The audience was estimated at 700 and excellent attention was given. Our Sunday evening discourse to the interested has already been published and has reached many of you through the Dispatch, Enquirer and other journals.
The Monday morning session of the Convention opened with a discourse on Baptism, by Brother Coward, and was followed by an immersion service. The afternoon session concluded the Convention, and consisted of brief addresses by a number of brethren, covering various phases of Love. We can give no particulars of Monday’s sessions because we left at six a.m. for our next appointment.
Oklahoma City, Okla., was reached about five p.m., Monday, July 13th. Our reception began at once as we alighted from the train; about 106 greeting us with hearty hand-shakes. It was our first visit to the friends of these parts, and we met the majority for the first time and received a hearty welcome.
The evening service was for the public—”To Hell and Back,” etc. About 500 heard for the first time and very attentively. The friends believe that a favorable impression
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was made for the truth. The meeting on the 14th was at Brother Young’s home. About 125 were present and we had a very enjoyable time for three hours. A portion of the time was devoted to answering questions and the remainder to the discussion of Baptism. In the afternoon eleven were immersed in the White Temple Baptist Church, while others who would have been glad to do so, were prevented by our lack of time, but will be immersed later on the occasion of a Pilgrim’s visit to their home towns. About 20 of the friends accompanied us on the north-bound train, getting off at various stations within 60 miles. But some of the dear friends drove as much as 65 miles.
Topeka, Kansas, our next stop, was reached early, but two dear brethren met us, arising about three o’clock to do so. The morning session was a Rally and Testimony Meeting, in which we participated, appropriating the larger share of the time. The afternoon discourse for the interested was along the lines of Preparation for the Kingdom. The evening topic was for the public at The Auditorium. We had an excellent hearing and we trust for fruit to our labors ere long. About 80 visitors were present, some coming over 100 miles. The attendance at the public service was estimated at 550.
St. Joseph, Mo., was reached the next day in season for a Morning Rally in the Y.M.C.A. Chapel. We heard some warm, loving testimonies to the power of the truth and the joys of living in full consecration to the Lord. Then we spoke for one hour on Baptism and its symbol, following which about 13 were baptized in water, confessing their death with Christ and their hope to live with him through the power of the First Resurrection.
The afternoon subject in the same chapel to the interested set forth some of the evidences that we are in that “evil day,” and pointed out some of the safeguards which the Lord has been providing during this “harvest” time, and the necessity for our appropriating these before the “overflowing scourge shall come” (Isa. 28:18), and before “the enemy shall come in like a flood.”—Isa. 59:18-20.
The public session was in the evening at the Opera House. It had evidently been well advertised, for we had a splendid audience, estimated at 1100, which gave close attention. Brother Senor (at whose home we were entertained most hospitably) and several others accompanied us the following morning to our next appointment.
Kansas City friends met us at the depot, and soon a Testimony Rally was in progress at the Music Academy engaged for the entire day. We had an excellent season of refreshing with the local Church and friends from surrounding parts—hearing their testimonies to God’s grace and giving them ours. The afternoon service was for the interested and the evening session for the public. We believe that some good was accomplished and a blessing carried away by all the truth-hungry.
Joplin, Mo., was our next stop and a very enjoyable one it was. All meetings were held in the fine new Opera House. The morning Testimony Rally was followed by a discourse for the interested, and the afternoon session was for the public, while before and after each session we greeted the friends. Some had come long distances to the meeting, and not by word only but by the earnestness of their hand-clasps and the moisture of their eyes did they tell us of their love, and of the blessings the Lord had graciously poured upon them through the channel of Present Truth. We were informed that seven “Reverends” were present at the public service, which was well attended for a very hot week-day afternoon.
A goodly crowd assembled at the railway station to say a final good-bye and two accompanied us to St. Louis. As our train pulled out the throng was singing—Praise to him by whose kind favor heavenly truth has reached our ears.
St. Louis was duly reached next morning (Sunday, July 19). The Colporteurs had claimed the privilege of being the Reception Committee to meet our train, and there they were for nearly three hours because of a misunderstanding as to which train to meet. We had a most cordial reception also at the general meeting for the interested, which we addressed for nearly two hours.
The public service was held in The Odean, from 2:20 to 4:40. About 1100 were in attendance notwithstanding the oppressive heat. We had a joyful time telling the good tidings to so many whose interest was manifest by their close attention. A brother owning an automobile took us quickly to the five p.m. train. We reached home next morning—the entire circuit having been covered in one night more than two weeks.
— August 15, 1908 —