The following spring Mr. McEwen came out to the USA but was greatly exercised about visiting Port Howe. In view of going, I had just gotten my first car, a model-T Ford, and Mr. McEwen was most anxious to come with me to the yearly July Conference in Pugwash Junction.
It was a lovely summer morning in June 1923 when we started off. I drove from Barrington, Rhode Island to Boston where Mr. McEwen was awaiting me and also Mr. Thorpe and his two teen-age daughters. Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Marshall, also of Boston, were there as well and we started off in two cars for Pugwash Junction. We had arranged to go by steamer from Boston to St. John, New Brunswick, and then continue the journey by car.
Having put both cars on board the steamer, we all prepared for the long journey by sea and land. There were many passengers on board and it wasn’t long before I noticed Mr. McEwen going among them and it was very evident that his message to one and all was about God’s wonderful salvation in Christ.
Very early the next day the ship was tied up in the dock in St. John, New Brunswick, and by eleven o’clock we were on our way again by car. We still had a few hundred miles to drive and the roads in that area were all gravel and quite primitive as were the direction signs. However, we had the tops of both cars back so had a good view of the beautiful countryside in every direction.
Since this was my first car, I was still rather a novice at driving and the roads were very narrow and difficult for a stranger to follow. Also, at that time, all cars kept to the left side of the road in Nova Scotia, and Mr. McEwen was rather apprehensive wanting to be sure that I was on the right road to Pugwash. I knew that at forks and crossroads the correct route was marked by a blue ring painted around a telephone pole, and I constantly watched for this sign.
At one point, however, we came to a fork in the road and both roads looked like country lanes. I kept to the left and I soon heard that very pronounced voice saying, “How do you know that this is the right way?” I explained about the painted pole but to no avail. “I take no stock in these things at all,” was the reply and I had to stop, walk a good distance to a farm house, and ask the way to Pugwash. The farmer explained about that painted ring that blazed the way and thus my route to Pugwash was confirmed.
As we traveled along the way I noticed that in every little town we were passing through, about a dozen men would be standing at the crossroads merely watching the cars from the United States passing by. Mr. McEwen who sat beside me was evidently interested and as soon as we were approaching another crossroads he said to me, “Stop!” And again about a dozen men were standing. He got out and, although now in his seventieth year, he walked briskly over to these men and addressed them with, “How many people might there be in this town?” Very readily several replied, “Five hundred, sir.” “Five hundred,” he repeated slowly, and then came, “I wonder how many of these five hundred are on their way to heaven?” “Not many, sir,” was the quick reply. It was easy to see that he had their attention as he continued, “Not many on the way to heaven, and that is just what the Bible teaches, ‘Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life and few there be that find it.’”
By this time quite a crowd had gathered at that corner and for ten minutes he set forth to them heaven’s good news to sinners with warmth and power. Then he said, “Good-bye, men, think of Christ and salvation.” “A hearty good-bye, sir, and come again.” He was once more beside me with, “Drive on!” The same scene was often repeated that day and part of the next until we arrived safely in Pugwash Junction.
Once we entered Nova Scotia I noticed Mr. McEwen seemed to be on familiar ground. Seeing a man coming in a buggy, he again said, “Stop!” and put his hand up to the other driver to stop also. Mr. McEwen said to him, “Can you tell me are there any McEwenites around here?” “Yes, sir,” the man replied and, pointing out a spot, said, “If you just go over that hill you will find a regular nest of them.” With that the man, obviously friendly looking, drove on and so did we. Mr. McEwen laughed heartily, and, by the way, in areas of Nova Scotia, assemblies are known as McEwenites to this day. Mr. McEwen seemed greatly stirred as we travelled along the familiar roads pointing out various places and saying, “I saw the fury of the devil there,” or “I saw the hand of the Lord in salvation there.”
Our two car loads arrived in Pugwash Junction in time for the prayer meeting and a large number were present. All welcomed Mr. McEwen heartily including two aged men who had come a long distance to be there to greet him. The conference was a time of real refreshment and Mr. McEwen was listened to with rapt attention as he recounted many incidents of his early pioneer days in this land. His ministry was given in power and several were saved during the conference. At the close a number were baptized and the saints went away spiritually refreshed.
The journey just described taught me much. As many younger preachers seem to seek after becoming teachers (and I do not object to young men giving themselves to opening up the Holy Scriptures) I feel the need to always bear in mind the precious examples we have in Scripture of Holy Ghost taught preachers. We read that “They that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word.” No one was missed but to one and all it was Christ presented to meet the need of sinners. In a later day Paul reminded the elders of the Church at Ephesus how he had labored among them preaching repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. May God raise up young men among us to go forth as evangelists with the gospel preaching the good news of salvation.
A most lasting impression was made on me at that time as I saw Mr. McEwen, now a man of seventy, still alert and active for the Lord. Much that has been written in previous chapters has dealt with the man in his youth and his devotion to Christ in presenting Him to sinners. Now as a mature man, at an age when many would be taking it easy, he still had that same devotedness and burning desire to bring lost sinners to Christ. He lost no opportunity to meet people and to give them the good news of salvation with the same warmth and power that had been so evident in his younger days.
After the Pugwash Junction Conference we went to Port Howe where brother McEwen spoke to a large crowd who gathered for an all day meeting on Lord’s Day. Many of his old friends of past years gathered that day to hear once again this faithful servant of the Lord bring a message from God’s Word. It was indeed a touching sight that day to see Mr. McEwen sitting down at the Lord’s table with an aged man who had come a long distance to be with him. Mr. James Mattison, who as a young man was a bitter enemy but had been wonderfully saved, was now old and feeble. Through the years he had been a true friend to brother McEwen and, although he was now nearing the end of his journey, he had made the trip to be with this dear friend as they remembered the Lord together.