Chapter 19 A Memorable Conference

In 1922 the writer was living in Barrington, Rhode Island, but had spent much time since 1910 in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick preaching the gospel. I left home in the late summer to hold meetings near Moncton in a community hall that I had already secured. The hall was filled to capacity nightly and I continued until the time for the Port Howe Conference in October.

I left for the conference on a Friday morning. In the train I noticed a passenger who looked familiar and, going over to him, I discovered that he was an old friend, Mr. Hugh Thorpe, a missionary just home from the Barbados in the West Indies, and that he too was on his way to the Port Howe Conference.

The conference began with a prayer meeting that evening and the dear saints gave us a very hearty welcome. There was a real spirit of supplication as many sought the Lord in prayer. Saturday was a day of blessing as the Word of the Lord seemed to be speaking to every heart. Our dear brethren, Brennan and McMullen, were then pioneering in Newfoundland and they were remembered fervently in prayer that afternoon. Mr. Thorpe was a stranger in that area and his ministry was fresh and appreciated. The gospel was preached faithfully that evening and a brother who had been a backslider for years was restored and his son saved. Also, Mr. Brennan’s youngest daughter, Margaret, was saved and there was great joy among the saints.

The rest of the conference was a time to be remembered. Numbers increased and the Lord helped His servants to minister the Word. At the close of the meeting on Monday evening I said to Mr. Thorpe, “You can easily see that there is an interest here and I know the Lord’s people would be very glad if you continued meetings here.” He replied, “I would not like to stay alone as I am a stranger here but if you will decide to stay, I’ll stay with you.” Accordingly, I announced meetings for Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

That same Monday night in Newfoundland as our brethren Brennan and McMullen were about to open their gospel meeting, a telegraph messenger entered the hall and handed Mr. Brennan a telegram. He opened and read it, then went to the platform and read the message to a very interested audience. It was from Mrs. Brennan telling him of Margaret’s conversion, and he added with deep emotion how much this telegram meant to him as she was the first one in his family to be saved.

Mr. Thorpe and I held the two meetings in Port Howe and the interest was so keen that we decided to continue. This was October and the roads were covered with mud, but night after night, in rain and mud roads, horses and buggies were driven to the meetings from all around. A moving picture company came in and began showing pictures in a building next to the Gospel Hall, but the people passed them by to attend the meetings and they had to close down.

These meetings continued almost until Christmas. Backsliders were restored and many were saved. In one family, whose parents had been saved in Mr. McEwen’s first meetings in Port Howe and who had gone to heaven many years before, there was a real awakening. The family was now grown up and all attended the meetings. Five brothers and one sister were saved during that memorable visitation and one of the brothers, Frank Elliott, became a gospel preacher and won many souls ere he was called Home. Three of the brothers were also baptized and in the assembly.

Frequently during those meetings we heard some of the dear saints say to one another, “This is wonderful! Just like when Mr. McEwen came here first.” No one rejoiced more about this work of grace than Mr. McEwen and through his letters he was a liberal helper in the work as he always kept in touch with the laborers in Nova Scotia.

These meetings concluded just before Christmas and in the spring about twenty-five converts were baptized and received into the assembly in Port Howe.