Nr.174 ended with, “On Easter Sunday, March 26, 1989, we held our first Sunday service in the gym of the Alma public school, a new church had been started, Jesus must have rejoiced………..!” (See richardandmarina.net).
The church continued to meet in the school until the end of June, then arrangements were made with the Presbyterian Church to rent their building. This continued for 7 1/2 years, but because the school had made a major addition, the church went back there for 3 1/2 years. In November of ’92, land was purchased and, to make a long story short, on September 10, 2000, the first Sunday service was held in the new building. Every time I drive through Alma now and pass this building I thank God for all He has done. There are now about 150 – 200 people belonging to this church. Of course, we were there only for the first two years. During the summer of ’89 we held a summer lawn club on one of the farms. Marina, with help from others organized this and it was a great time, with a wonderful closing meeting to which many parents and others came.
The greatest joy on earth is to serve the One who loved us and gave Himself for us, and so, even though we couldn’t be in Belgium, the Lord gave us plenty of opportunities to serve Him. Besides working with the new church, I spoke at a number of conferences, in Canada and the US and in different churches. I also made two more trips to Belgium and other European countries to speak at conferences, staying each time for almost two months.
Coming back to Canada was so different than when we used to come “home” on furlough and we would stay with our friends, Len and Vi Bearinger on the farm, where our children enjoyed the little black and white piglets and we all feasted on strawberries, peaches and cream and sweet corn. After they had moved into town we stayed with them there. We thanked God for their hospitality. But now I came back to our own apartment where Marina and Rosa were waiting for me. Rosa’s physical condition was deteriorating and we couldn’t find the right kind of help. It was very difficult and frustrating! At one time when I had been alone in Belgium, I had phoned Marina and she told me how weak Rosa was and she started crying and saying, “Why do we have to be missionaries?” It almost tore my heart out. Now back in Elmira, I became so desperate that I finally took a note to one of the elders telling that I was quitting as a missionary and that I was going to get a job here in Canada and stay with Rosa………………! (Go to Musings).