Born on July 14, 1898, in Ballymena, Ireland, Mr. George Rainey (the editor’s father) was born again in Brantford, Ontario, in 1912, a few years after the family immigrated to Canada. At 17 he responded to the Lord’s call to service, having been greatly influenced by the life and testimony of an older sister, Margaret Ross. His first preaching was in the open air in Brantford’s Market Square, then teaching a Sunday School class, opening the Missionary Study Class, and visiting the Brantford Sanitorium.
Deeply influenced by the elders of Bethel Hall, as well as by his acquaintance with Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, he was commended by the Brantford assembly and entered the Missionary Training School in New York City. There he met Ruth Elizabeth Hawkins who, a few years later, became his wife. In 1921 my father left for China, then in 1922 he and my mother were married in Nanchang, Kiangsi Province, China. My mother’s severe illness necessitated their return home in 1925. Realizing that it would not be possible for them to return to China, my father devoted the balance of his life to service among the assemblies of North America, having had a particular burden for small, out-of-the-way places. Mother was always one with my father in the work of the Lord, she herself having kept very busy teaching women, as well as being involved in various missionary ministries in the New York City area. During the war years from 1942-45, she headed up a servicemen’s work, particularly among navy men and women, some 5,000 sailors having signed the guest register kept in our home. In my own ministry I still meet up with brethren over the U.S.A. who were in our home during World War II, the latest having been at a conference in Worcester, MA, in May 1987.
Having moved to Mt. Plymouth, Florida, in the fall of 1946, a work was started in the home which ultimately led to the establishing of Hiawassa Bible Chapel in Orlando. Three years after my mother went to be with Christ on January 12, 1966, my father made his home with my wife, three children and me until the fall of 1984 when he went to Park of the Palms in Keystone Hts., Florida.
Through his 70s and into his early 80s, the Lord was pleased to give my father health and strength to serve with Him. Then, in the midst of declining health, he was taken to be with Christ on May 4, 1987. In fulfilment of his request, Ernest Woodhouse and I took the funeral service on May 8 in Altamonte Springs (Orlando) with the interment at Pine Forest Cemetery in Mt. Dora, Florida.
On January 25, 1982, my father wrote: “I am not out yet at 83! I often wonder why He called me. There are so many better than I. But He called and I obeyed. Like Paul, I am not ashamed of the Gospel. Yesterday when I had the opportunity of telling out the story of divine love I gave thanks that another year I am here as His servant. I will carry on until He takes me or comes for His church.”
Shortly after my father’s promotion to Glory, a dear friend sent me the following poem which had been sent to her when her father —an esteemed servant of the Lord —passed into the presence of Christ:
I am home in Heaven, dear ones;
All’s so happy, all’s so bright!
There’s perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.
All the pain and grief are over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in Heaven at last.
Did you wonder I so calmly
Trod the Valley of the Shade?
Oh! but Jesus’ love illumined
Every dark and fearful glade.
And He came Himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesus’ arm to lean on,
Could I have one doubt or dread!
Then you must not grieve sorely,
For I love you dearly still;
Try to look beyond earth’s shadows,
Pray to trust your Father’s will.
There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idle stand;
Do your work while life remaineth—
You shall rest in Jesus’ land.
When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you home;
Oh, the rapture of the meeting!
Oh, the joy to see you come!
—W. Ross Rainey