Forward Contents Dedication

 Gospe Work in Venezuela

Dedication
This book is dedicated to the memory of those fellow workers in this land who have passed on before, namely: Brethren William Williams, Gordon Johnston, Henry Fletcher, Bertie Douglas and Willie Wills. Also our sisters Mrs. Bella Williams, Mrs. Orphah Johnston, Mrs. Agnes Fletcher, Miss Eva Watson, Mrs. Lilly Fairfield, Miss Eva Sumpter and Mrs. Sally Walmsley.

Also to beloved fellow saints in Canada, U. S. A., Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Australia and New Zealand who have so faithfully strengthened our hands in God by their prayers and fellowship over the years.

Then there is the noble band of fellow laborers, both brethren and sisters, nationals and those from the exterior, who are still with us in the bonds of happy fellowship, “striving together for the faith of the Gospel.”

Last but not least, my dear wife, three daughters and two sons, who have shared so whole-heartedly in the trials and triumphs, joys and sorrows of family life, seeking to give the Lord Jesus His rightful place in the home, and thus making it a retreat of comfort and cheer after the rigors of pioneering and campaigning with the Gospel.


My wife and I desire to express our sincerest thanks to Miss Fanny M. Goff for reading and correcting the originals of the manuscript. Also to our three esteemed sisters in the Lord who undertook the arduous task of preparing and typing the final copy for the printer but who prefer to remain anonymous.

Finally, the author feels greatly indebted to his good friends, Mr. & Mrs. John and Ruth Gross for their kind interest and valued help in the publishing Qf this book.
Sidney J. Saword

Apartado 38

Puerto Cabello

VENEZUELA


I have been asked by our brother Mr. Sidney J. Saword, to write a foreword to his book “Fifty years with the Gospel in Venezuela.” I consider it an honour and a privilege to do so. I have known the author and all of the labourers from the home-lands whose names are mentioned in the book.

I have been deeply interested in Venezuela for over fifty-four years. Like brother Saword who was at first exercised about Japan, I also was in doubt whether my labours should be in Venezuela or in North America, but finally felt definite about the call to serve in Canada from 1923 until now. He was saved in 1909 and I in 1905. In the past fifty years our paths crossed on different occasions and we have laboured together happily in the Gospel and in ministry to the saints. He was married in May, 1926 and I was married in September, 1925.

The author’s object in writing, he tells us, was for the glory of God, for the stimulation of prayer, to bring the history of the assembly work in Venezuela up to date, with items not previously mentioned in our brother Mr. Williams’ two volumes. I feel that the editor of this latest book has succeeded admirably in all of these objects.

1. To speak generally he gives us an overall picture of the work of printing thousands of Gospel Tracts as well as continual written ministry for the people of God.

2. The school work maintained for the education of the children by our sisters devoted to that service with the object of the spiritual blessing and salvation of the young.

3. The care of the aged christians in the Home built by the labours of the christian brethren and sisters, the preachers and their wives and completed free from debt. Speaking of building, it is a source of wonder how our beloved brethren laboured so constantly after souls were saved, baptized and gathered, to erect portable halls and gospel halls as meeting places in so many parts.

4. Also in the measure in which our brethren met the physical needs of the people in neglected areas in treating sick folks and teeth extractions in earlier days, all with the final object of the spiritual blessing, is a cause for much thanksgiving.

But above all what must impress the reader is the unwearied devotion of the workers to the preaching of the gospel for fifty years and more, carried on in scriptural lines. They went forth two by two, publicly and from house to house they carried the gospel to the ears of the people. Like Paul, “In journeyings oft, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers . . . in weariness and painfulness . . . in hunger and thirst, in fastings often (2 Cor. 11:26-27).

Interwoven among incidents and illustrations the author gives spiritual instructions to the christian reader and also plain messages in the gospel to the unsaved one. To exercised young men and women in Christ it should provide much inspiration and stimulus to go forth into the great harvest field prepared to suffer, to labour and to preach the glorious gospel of Christ.

The primitive means of travel at the first through almost trackless areas by foot, by donkey, by mule, by horse and by bus through flooded rivers, cannot but stir the soul. The constant danger of death by wild beasts, jaguars, crocodiles, poisonous snakes, magnifies the preserving power of God, as well as the grace of God enabling them to endure the lesser ills of mosquitoes, flies, lice, scorpions, beetles, crabs, vipers and electric eels. To all of this added the natural forces of nature in storms and flooded rivers that might well daunt the courage of the heart.

“To preach to the poor one had to live amongst the poor” was exemplified in the lives of the preachers and their wives, in their uncomfortable sleeping acommodations and their often unappetizing food of the very poor.

The use of this volume need not be confined to the people of God. It is written in a most interesting manner and should be a most readable and profitable Sunday School prize for older students. There is much information which could be used regarding the interesting country of Venezuela, historically, geographically and commercially, especially at the present time when the world is so much interested in oil production. There are many items of interest in natural history and concerning the people, their customs and the climate of the country.

The writer of this foreword predicts a wide circulation for this volume and commends it without reservation to the homes and libraries of the Lord’s people.

It is good to know of faithful, Venezuelan brethren who have been called to the work of the Lord from the earliest history of the work besides the seven cases of local brethren who have since been commended to full time service.

The sixty-eight assemblies gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ stand as a testimonial to the Lord and to His faithful servants.

Albert W. Joyce

Editor, Truth and Tidings

“Eben-ezer.. . Hitherto hath the Lord helped us”, I Samuel 7:12.

At the 1960 Elders’ Conference in San Felipe, our esteemed fellow laborer, Mr. William Williams, celebrated his 50th anniversary of service for the Lord in Venezuela. The Lord of the harvest called him to His presence two years later, having finished, we believe, the work that had been given him to do. Since then, other fiftieth anniversaries have followed namely:

1) The annual conference of believers in Puerto Cabello in 1966, when over 600 participated in the Lord’s Supper, was the 50th Annual Conference there. At the first one in 1916, there were no more than about sixteen believers present, the most of them babes in Christ.

2) In the month of April 1969, we published the jubilee number of “El Mensajero Cristiano” (“The Christian Messenger”). It began with an impression of 4,000 copies, for free distribution, and the circulation has now reached 14,500, published bi-monthly.

3) “El Colegio Evangelico”, our evangelical day school in Puerto Cabello, was begun by Miss Eva Watson in 1919 with a mere handful of pupils and now, after over 50 years there are nearly 200 children enrolled. Our sisters Miss Fanny M. Goff and Mrs. Sadie Walmsley share the responsibility of this important asset to the work of the Gospel, and have three Venezuelan sisters on their teaching staff, as at December 1972.
 
4) The 50th anniversary of the commencement of the assembly in San Felipe was celebrated with special meetings on December 31, 1970. Our fellow workers, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Milne, have made their home there for twenty-five years.

5) The Christians in Aroa had their 50th Annual Conference in April 1971.

6) Through the manifold mercies of God, the writer has been privileged to labour in Venezuela since December 17, 1922, thus completing 50 years in 1972.

The two books by Mr. William Williams: “It Can Be Done” and the “Dawn of a New Day in Venezuela” give a faithful account of evangelical work carried on by those who gather in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, up to the year 1948, including many interesting and personal experiences which occurred during his long and active years of service. The object of the present work is to bring the story up to date in view of considerable later developments and progress. Items have also been included, known to the writer during his years of service, and which are not recorded in Mr. Williams’ books. It is hoped that some of these, as also references to natural history and adventure, may encourage unsaved ones to read this book. It goes forth with the humble desire that God will be glorified, as also wrote the Psalmist: “Not unto us, 0 Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory”, (Psalm 115:1). We desire also that the reading of this book will stimulate more intelligent and effectual prayer on behalf of the Lord’s servants, the Venezuelan saints and assemblies, and the spread of the Gospel in this distant corner of the great harvest field.