Golden Lampstands of Iowa - Stout

 
Stout
In the summer of 1922 a street meeting was going to be held, on a Saturday night, in New Hartford, Iowa. After singing a few hymns, tMe seemed to be no visible response, as no one came to listen. Fred Lakin, a Waterloo Courier salesman, said to Oliver Smith, Lloyd Smith and Ward O'Neil, "Let's go to Stout. I've canvassed the town with the newspaper. It's a little town southwest of here." So, on to Stout they went. Here, too, they sang a few hymns, and the people started coming out of houses and businesses until there was a large crowd The response was great. Added to this encouragement was the encouragement of men who discerned the truth was being preached, and they expressed a desire for Mr. Smith to come back for more meetings. These men were Herman Brandt, Alrich Brandt, and George Meyer. Due to all this encouragement, Mr. Smith decided to pit-pitch his large gospel tent at Stout.
The very next Tuesday, Oscar Meyer noticed, from the pool hall, that a man drove by with a Model T. Ford touring car, pulling a trailer behind it. As he watched, the car went to the southwest part of Stout, and soon stakes and canvas were thrown off the trailer. John Brandt (the son of Herman Brandt) came by on horseback. He wanted to know what this was all about. Mr. Smith asked him if he wanted a job driving stakes. He answered "Yes," and soon the stakes were in, and the tent was up.
Oscar Meyer told his buddies in the pool hall, "It's probably a dog show coming to town." To their surprise, that evening (August 29th), the streets were filled with cars, and many came to listen to the Gospel being preached. The work of God had begun at Stout, and the people came with great interest. Although there was no special advertising, there were only three families in the town who didn't come to the meetings. The Holy Spirit was convincing and convicting men and women of sin, and of the Savior' s love.
Meetings continued throughout the fall, with large, interested crowds. When the weather changed to cooler nights, a man, by the name of Ubbie Reiter, came and offered an old unused church building, rent-free. Mr. Reiter had bought the building and land very cheaply, and was reprimanded by his wife, who asked him, "What do you want with that building?" He replied, "I have a number of children who I would like to see saved, and, I've made up my mind that if a man comes by, who preaches the truth, he will be welcome to use the building." Behind this building, was a long, roofed horse barn, with an open south side. In it, were stalls and places where horses could be tied. During rainy seasons, roads became impassible for those early cars, as there was no pavement, and few gravel roads. Therefore, many came to the meetings with horses and wagon or buggy (or sled in the wintertime). The horses were tied in the barn, and were covered with blankets until the meeting was over. In the evening, a lantern was carried for light. The horses usually knew quite well how to get home, so little light was needed.
On October 12, the old church building was cleaned and readied, and meetings could be continued here, instead of in the tent now that the coolness of fall set in.
Ubbie's daughter, Anna (later, Walter Stow's wife), was saved while Mr. Smith was showing her sister, Etta, verses from the Word of God. Anna looked over his shoulder and read them, and, right there, Anna found the Saviour. Some 21/2 months later her sister, Etta, also professed to be saved.
Mr. Reiter had been saved years before, in Germany. His exercise as a Christian, offering, rent free, his suitable building to preach the Gospel in, was greatly rewarded. More and more people came, and the great work of God in the salvation of souls continued. Meetings went on through the winter and spring, and they closed July 17, 1923, making eleven months of Gospel meetings at Stout. Only four days later, meetings began in the tent at Parkersburg, seven miles to the northwest. These meetings continued until October 21st.
For nearly fourteen months, meetings had been held in the area, during which time about one hundred precious souls had professed to be saved. Mr. Smith has told how, often, before the evening meeting, he would fold his hands over the top of a fence post and life up his eyes and heart to God, asking for the right words and the Lord's presence, as he saw those large crowds coming. Surely his heart was filled with love and compassion for the souls of men.

The first person known to be saved was Ella Schuck, with Charley Becker being the second. Some others of the early ones saved were: Joe
Schuck, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Wilson, Will Smith, Mrs. Charles Becker, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Fritz Henze, Anna
Cornelius, Elso Van Hauen, Conrad Weber and Cornelius Meyer.

Cornelius Meyer was the manager of the local elevator and lumberyard. Of course, as a young believer, he was very anxious for others to know the blessings of salvation, and, evidently, often spoke to his customers. One Monday the owner of the business, Mr. McNider, of Mason City, came along and said, "Mr. Meyer, you are through working here. You talk too much about the Lord." He soon had another job in Wellsburg, and no wonder, for, "Them that honour me I will honour." (I Samuel 2:30)
While Cornelius Meyer was still manager of the elevator, he was visiting with three other young believers (Charley Becker, Clarence Wilson and Bill Smith) on Saturday afternoon. His brother, Oscar Meyer, who was unsaved at the time, listened to their conversation with interest, as one asked the others, "Where are you going tomorrow for the Lord's Day?" One remarked, gesturing, "I'm not going over there." He pointed to a religious place out in the country where he formerly went. Another of the brethren added, "And I'm not going there, either." Then Cornelius Meyer suggested "Let's go to the hall where we have Gospel meetings, and sing a few hymns, read and pray." This is what those four men did, and so enjoyed the time thus spent, that they said, "Let's bring our wives next Lord's Day." Again, it thrilled their souls to just be alone with the Man who had died for them, Who had said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20) More and more of the believers gathered thus, and on July 29, 1923, around thirty sat in a circle together, leaving seats behind the circle for those not in fellowship to sit In, and observe. The assembly of believers began, in this manner, to function at Stout, Iowa. Walter Stow, who at this time was not yet saved, sat in the back and observed as the Christians broke bread in remembrance of the Lord for the first time. He stated that there was hardly a dry eye amongst them, and he, wondering what the tears were shed for, thought to himself, "Why are they so sad?" Later, when Walter was saved, he soon realized that these were tears of rejoicing and deep appreciation for the Man Christ Jesus, the Lord, Who had taken the punishment of the Cross that they, themselves, should have had. They loved Him, Who first loved them; hence the tears revealed a soft, warm heart that was touched by the love of the Saviour, as they were gathered In remembrance of Him.
The assembly coninued in the old church building until 1937, when a very commodious new hall was built. This served very well for most all the meetings, although at conference time, more room was needed.
The first conference dates were September 5th and 6th of 1926, with prayer meeting on the 4th. Large yearly conferences continued and the crowds grew and packed the hall. In 1979, the hall was greatly enlarged to more than double its original size, with added facilities and a full basement to meet the lunch-hour needs of conferences. Sunday school classrooms were also provided. All these were excellent God honoring improvements, all credited to the local brethren.
Baptisms have been held throughout the years, usually in the Beaver Creek north of Stout. The young believers were thus given the privilege to publicly identify themselves with the Savior in His death, burial and resurrection, as pictured in Acts 8.
There was much opposition and hatred toward the Gospel. It was shown rather clearly when Mr. Harm Hippen, who had been saved a very short time, came to the end of his earthly sojourn. How thankful he could eternally be, to be saved by grace, just a step away from death. Mr. Smith was to have the funeral service. As the procession came to the cemetery gates, the leaders of the religious group who owned the cemetery, stopped Mr. Smith and said, "You cannot come in here to conduct the burial." In answer to them he was heard to say, "You can keep me out of here, but you cannot keep me out of heaven." So, on the roadside outside the cemetery gate, he read and prayed, and then the burial was made inside. At this scene, one who had, up to this time, opposed the gospel and had been bitter, now changed his mind, seeing he had been deceived by men that were blind and opposed the truth. Before long this man was reached and saved.
Mr. Smith was an unassuming man of humble spirit. He was God's man, usable and pliable in His hand. Often meetings were held in the will of God, resulting in the spoken word leading souls to trust the Savior. Mr. Smith often came for a few nights, and again for longer series in the Gospel. He was a great encouragement to the younger brethren, as often he would share the meeting with them, and some would tell their conversion experience. After 1945 Paul Elliott often joined in meetings.
The Lord kept adding to the church as the years went by. The year, 1928, was a special time of further reaping, and the Meyer and Stickfort families were richly blessed in these meetings. Again, in 1947, the Spirit of God moved in a tent effort at Parkersburg seven miles northwest of Stout. George Gould, Jr. and the writer continued a long Gospel series, in which a large number from the area were reached. Many of these are now leaders in God's assemblies. There were also some restorations.
One told of how he had gotten out of touch with God and had done things that grieved the Spirit of God and his own soul. After restoration, a visit with him left great impressions on my own soul. Though many years have come and gone, I well remember the roadside spot where he related how he found himself standing before the Savior once again, a broken, weak, sinful man. Once again helpless, he confessed, with deep remorse, his sin and failure, and on the promise of I John 1:9 found forgiveness and a fresh walk with the Savior. Like David, of long ago, he found the joy of his salvation restored.
In 1959-1960, Eric McCollough and the writer held sixteen weeks of Gospel meetings in the Gospel Hall. God moved in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. Once again, many souls, with deep conviction, broken and helpless, were brought by the Word of God to the open arms of the Savior, and found rest for their souls. One evening, one of Roy and Ann Weber's little boys looked up at his mother, and asked, "Mother, what makes all these girls so pretty now?" He had noticed that they looked so different when they were burdened with their load of sin and grief. Now their smiles and joy were evident, even to this young lad. These meetings were followed by a series of ministry meetings, which, in all, covered a period of near five months.
In 1974, Albert Hull and Gauis Goff saw another movement of the Spirit of God, as many burdened souls were led to trust the Savior. Many of these were later baptized and received into the happy fellowship of believers at Stout.
The assembly has been richly blessed with a warm Gospel spirit, which has reached out into the area. Many souls have been impressed with the infallible Word of God, ably spoken, and faithfully lived out in the lives of the believers. This has led many to yearn for the salvation of God and the great assurance of forgiveness of all sins. Many have found this and rejoice today in the finished work of Christ, and are now found In assembly fellowship. Those in assembly fellowship have also, as sheep of HIs tender care, been well fed by gifted local brethren, who have led the flock Into green pastures. There has been ministry for "Edification", that Is the building up and encouragement of the saints. Also, there has been ministry of' 'Exhortation;" that Is, the stirring up of the conscience to right behavior. And, there is the ministry of "Comfort"; that is, the binding up of the heart in times of sorrow and trial.
Our beloved brother, Oscar Meyer, and his wife, now aged, were saved also, in 1928. Oscar had a very special heart for the children. They loved to hear him speak, with feeling in his voice and warmth in his heart. The groundwork of truth was laid in their young hearts, and still, after many have grown to manhood or womanhood, we hear them say, "This is what Oscar said." He taught the large children's class for over forty years. In the latter years, younger brethren have taken over this responsibility and privilege.
There have been sad times in the assembly, as well, when pride and jealousy lifted their ugly heads, and Satan, through these, sought to destroy and disrupt God's work. Yet, thank God, He is greater than Satan, and the assembly goes on, humbly and happily, after 60 years, a lamp stand in the community. Also, the Lord has buried many of His workmen, but His work goes on. The first resurrection will unite the great company who have "gone on before," with those who remain. Then, together we shall serve Him, whom our hearts adore, not for a few fleeting years, but for the eternal ages, "unto Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us."
In 1951, Eric and Jean McCollough came to make their home in Cedar Falls, where Eric opened a chiropractic practice. He continued this for several years, but felt the tugging at his heart of a more urgent call to a fuller service for his Lord and Master. In 1957 he closed his practice and was commended to the work of the Lord by the Stout assembly.
Roy Weber, who had been a progressive farmer for many years, felt it was time to serve the Lord more fully. For years he had often been on a cattle-buying mission to Burwell, Nebraska to fill his feedlots. He felt there was an open field for labor, as there appeared to be an ear open for the Gospel. Roy spent much time at Burwell, and the Lord blessed with some souls won to Christ. There is, at present, a small assembly of believers there, gathered unto the Peerless Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Roy was commended to the work of the Lord on January 1, 1981.