George Campbell Biography, Evangelist to Newfoundland - 3 - AN OVERFLOWING WELL

 CHAPTER 3

AN OVERFLOWING WELL

?Return to thine own house and shew how great things God hath done unto thee . .

Luke 8:39a

?Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee?

Mark 5:19b

I had written my mother, father and brother to tell them about my wonderful salvation. Not able to wait longer, I wanted to go see them, as I was burdened for them and for their salvation. The morning I left, my uncle said, ?George, I want to give you two scriptures as you go. One of them is this: ?Return home and shew what great things He had done for thee? The other; ?Go home and tell what great things He has done for thee?.?

At home it was different. I didn?t go to the ice box for a bottle of beer like before. When we sat down to eat, my father said, ?Well, I guess now that you are a Christian, you usually thank God for the food, do you??

I said, ?I do, Dad?? I made my first prayer before my family as I thanked God for the food He had given to us. After supper, we went into the living room and I explained all that had happened to me. They just sat in silence, thinking. To win somebody for Christ in your own family is not easy. My brother didn?t seem to be very interested, and I didn?t know what my father thought about it. I could tell that my mother had some interest.

I persuaded her to come out with me to meet the Christians I began to fellowship with in the Bethany assembly. She was impressed as she observed a large number of believers around a simple table with bread and wine remembering the Lord. After the meeting, a number of people came over, shook her hand and welcomed her heartily.

My mother?s sister, Dorothy, had moved from Florida with her hus­band. Both were earnest Christians, but we had never given them an opportunity to speak to us. We just thought they were religious fanatics and we kept them at arm?s length. Aunt Dorothy became more bold now that she heard that I was saved. One day she read to Mother Revelation 21:8. It says, ?But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death?? One word of that verse really struck Mother ?unbelieving?? There was never a time in her life when she received Christ as her Saviour, and she knew it. That stuck right in, and God began to use that word to reveal to her that she was a sinner and needed a Saviour.

A day or so after, I was in my bed when Mother came rushing into my room. ?Georgie, Georgie, wake up, wake up:? she said, ?I?m saved, I?m saved??

We embraced each other and rejoiced together. She said,

?Last night I woke up about two &clock in the morning. I knew I was an unbeliever; I knew I had never received Christ as my Saviour and my sin of unbelief was taking me to hell. I knelt beside the little red chair in the kitchen, and trusted Christ as my Saviour. This morning I woke up and suddenly realized it is all real. Jesus is my Saviour and I am going to heaven??

Mom and I were really happy. We began to read the Bible and prayed together.

Dad and my brother walked around the house as though someone had died.

I tried to talk to my brother about John 3, telling him of the new birth, but he just didn?t seem to be interested. Father knew the gospel He had been brought up in a Christian home. Things were getting to him~ although he didn?t know it. He had a drinking problem that was getting serious. A few years earlier he had told his Christian brother that his god was money, but now he was drinking more all the time. Business hadn?t gone well and things weren?t too good.

My father belonged to a club that did good for people, and each year they had their annual dinner and dance. Mother said to me, ?Do you think I should go??

I answered, ?Mom, you know what goes on there, but you will have to make that decision??

She thought she would go, but while they were leaving, she broke down in tears. Dad said, ?What?s the matter??

?I can?t go. I am a Christian and I can?t go with you.

That broke my father. He went to the nearest tavern for a few drinks. When I came home from China Town, where I had been preaching the gospel in the open air, I realized that Dad had been drinking again. My father was like a caged lion walking back forth in the kitchen, wonder­ing what he was going to do with Jesus. God had spoken to him through Mother. He said, ?It?s too late for me; it?s too late. I knew the gospel as a boy, and I turned away from it??

I assured him, ?No, Dad, God has given you another time, and it is now. The devil is telling you it?s too late??

There wasn?t much more I could think of saying, and leaning back on the kitchen sink, I bowed my head and prayed. When I opened my eyes, for the first time in my life, I saw my father on his knees, and I waited. Finally, he got up, looked me straight in the eyes and said, ?George, I just received Jesus Christ??

I showed my father I Peter 2:2, where we read, ?As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby??

He said, ?That?s what I am, a new babe in Christ!?

How wonderful are the ways of God! After many years of ignoring the gospel, God brought it again to our family. My dear grandfather had gone home to heaven, yet now the fruit of his prayers was seen in the salva­tion of his son. My mother and father never looked back. It wasn?t long until they were baptized and gathered with the Christians and continued in the fellowship for many years. Father is home in heaven now. For twenty-five years he proved the reality of his Christian faith.

Every day 1,200 people passed the door of the store where I worked, and I became concerned about so many people. I ordered 40,000 tracts, and on my lunch hour went out on the street and gave away gospel liter­ature. At this time, I also had a Sunday School class, and had the joy of teaching the boys and girls.

The desire to spread the gospel was prominent in my mind. I didn?t know very much; I was only a young convert. As I thought and prayed about this, I decided to prepare some way. I started going to bed earlier to have extra time in the morning. I read and prayed and began memoriz­ing scriptures.

I remember going to San Francisco on a Saturday night to preach the gospel in the open air. A few of us brethren would stand there and preach as cars slowly nudged along through the traffic. It was an Opportunity for them to hear the gospel.

Unknown to me, my good friend Gibby was coming through China Town that night and was telling his friend about my conversion. Sud­denly he said, ?What?s that?? He looked over on the corner and there he saw me preaching the gospel. He hardly knew what to say. He was amazed.

One Sunday I was invited to tell my testimony at a certain place, and was able to influence my old friend Gibby to come and hear the gospel. He did come, and to my amazement made a profession of being saved.

Not long after that, another old buddy of ours, now with nO place to go, came along. Gibby took him in on the condition he would come and hear the gospel. He did, and professed to be saved.

About that time, Mr. A. K. Bailey came to our area. He was a pioneer gospel preacher in the State of Washington. We took a liking to each other. One day he said, ?If you could get some time off this summer, I have a place in Washington where I would like to go and preach. We could pitch a tent, and you could help!?

It was just what I wanted to do. Arrangements were made to get an extra week off in the summer and I started to save my money. However, in the spring, news came that Mr. Bailey was called home into the presence of the Lord. My plans for the summer and the tent were all over now. I continued to pray about it and just waited.

A letter came from a man in Newfoundland. He was one of the men preaching when I was saved. He wrote, ?I would like you to join me for the summer, just to give me some help. I am going to pitch a tent for the preaching of the gospel, and thought about you. Would you come for two or three months? Check with the elders in your assembly, and if they are in agreement with it, I will be glad to have you!?

After the elders read the letter, one of the older brethren came to me and said, ?We don?t know Mr. Harris personally, but we have heard of him and we know that he is a man who does pioneer work. We are pleased with your progress. You are young, but under his care, we are happy to let you go for three months!?

One man who loved the Lord and loved His word, Mr. Will Sherrat, would meet with quite a few Christians at Foster?s Restaurant and open the scriptures with us. He really helped and encouraged me, as well as many others. Robert Deans, from Africa, greatly influenced me also. He had been a bricklayer who was saved from drowning by a black man. Through the preaching of another black man, he was brought to Christ, and in the hard depression times felt the call of God to Africa. He, his wife and later on his family, served God in the Congo, now known as Zaire. Various ministries are there, largely in the hands of national be.. lievers. The assemblies are self-governing, self- supporting and self-propagating.

I became convinced of the New Testament church principles: the au­tonomy of local assemblies, the plurality of elders, the priesthood of all believers and other New Testament truths. This is the plan of God for today.

Mr. Deans told me, ?George, if you are going out to Newfoundland, burn all your bridges behind you. If you believe God wants you to go, don?t worry about leaving a job!?

I felt very much that the New Testament principles are still workable today. So one day in June 1953, my mother, father and Brother Sherrat came to see me off at the Oakland airport. Large airplanes had names at that time, and as we stood there, the old brother looked and said, ?Look at the nose of that aircraft!?

On it was the name, ?Spirit of Newfoundland!? We all rejoiced and praised God to think that so far away, here in California, a plane would have such a name.

So I left home that day, the fellowship of the Christians that I had enjoyed so much and my job which I enjoyed, to go to an unknown place. I knew God had called me to go. Even if it was only for three months, it didn?t matter. I thought, this was what the Lord wanted me to do now, why worry about the future?

Related scriptures: II Corinthians 5:17-18; I Corinthians 11:26; John 3:36; John 3:3-8, John 1:12; I Corinthians 1:2; Titus 1:5; I Peter 2:5, 9.