Pioneer to the Bahamas
Many years ago an old man sat on a bench in Central Park, New York City. His clothing, which had been black, was much the worse of wear. His head, which was bare, was bent forward, and his hat lay on his knees. A much younger man on passing thought him a beggar and dropped a dime in his hat. The old man, who was none other than John Nelson Darby, looked up from his prayer, and talked long and earnestly with the young man. That conversation led Charles Holder to devote his life to the service of the Lord Jesus.
Eventually, Mr. Holder became one of the pioneers with the gospel on the Bahama Islands. So dilgently and successfully did he labour for the Lord, that, even to this day, some of the older folk are called Holderites.
Brother Holder and I met in Miami early in the year 1918; he was then on his way to the Islands for the last time. In the photograph he is sitting on the porch of the home of Mr. Hector Munro, and back of his chair is the small room in which, early in 1917, Mr. Munro, his wife, and I met weekly to study the Scriptures together. Those Bible studies resulted in the formation of what ultimately became in Miami the 29th Street assembly, the original “open meeting” in South Florida.
Two Scriptures brother Holder brought to my attention will not be forgotten. The first is in Deuteronomy 34:7. Moses, said he about this verse, presents to us the Law which never loses its strength and vitality, and which cannot lead us in the “Promised Land,” the heavenly places in Christ. The second Scripture is in Romans, chapter three. He illustrated this by telling how a photographer, wishing to take his picture, approached him on Miami Beach, and how he told the photographer that God already had his portrait in the third chapter of Romans.
Undoubtedly, Mr. Holder’s influence had something to do with it, but actually the formation of the assembly in Miami was brought about by the labours, early in 1918, of two evangelists, Benjamin Bradford and Samuel McEwen. These brethren pitched a tent at what is now N. E. Second Avenue and Fourteenth Street, in those days on the outskirts, but now near the centre of the city.
God thus blessed the perseverance and ministry of His two servants and the influence and prayers of Charles Holder.
S. D. W.