Labrador History - 5.3 FIRST ASSEMBLY

That summer a portable hail was erected at English Point. With so many being saved and baptized this made it easier to hold meet s Later on, while I was on holidays, the brethren built a new in L’Anse-au-Loup. A second baptism was held at English Point, when a number had believed, including my friend Mary, were baptized. All  baptisms were in the sea in those days, and the whole community came out to watch, some from across the bay. The actual baptisms, which were carried out by Bert Joyce and George, were just off the home of Olive’s parents, Arnold and Annie Belbin. James and Gladys (he was “Uncle” Joe’s son and she was my cook/aide) were the first couple to be married in the little hall. George married them, and the wedding was at the end of June. I asked to be one of the bridesmaids. Mrs. Joe Hancock made bride’s dress - Gladys was a lovely bride - and the reception held in the bridegroom’s home. James’ brother, Graham, was one of the other attendants and he and I went from house to house in Forteau inviting people to the reception, according to the local custom of the day. Fortunately I had no emergencies at the nursing station that day.
God was working with Wallace and Olive too; they were growing spiritually and loved to tell others of Christ. Wallace went back to Seven Islands to work for the summer, so Olive came back to work at the nursing station, relieving Gladys. Olive was glad to have something to do, and I was more than happy to have her help and friendship once more. She left in October when Wallace came back  from Seven Islands, meeting him in Corner Brook, where they spent their first wedding anniversary together. Her sister, Ethel, in turn relieved her. She was a Christian too, and stayed for many years and was a great help in the work.
We had several deliveries that fall but Ethel had never attended any until December, when a young woman from Pinware was having her first baby and I thought it would be a good delivery for Ethel to watch. All went well, but the event proved too much for Ethel and she had to leave the room feeling faint! Fortunately, I had one of the other girls in with me as a backup, and I sympathized with Ethel, as I had felt a little queer the first time I watched a delivery too. In later years she helped me with many deliveries and I let her deliver one baby by herself so she could do so in an emergency.
We had a number of interesting patients that July. A toddler had pulled a cup of hot tea over himself and had burns on his face and chest, a common type of burn in small children. His burns healed well, and to prevent him scratching the burned areas I made little splints from tongue depressors and cotton wool, and applied them to his arms at the elbow. A young girl was coughing blood, so we transferred her to St. Anthony for X-rays and treatment. Another man had acute abdominal pain and diarrhoea. His stools were black so I suspected that he had a gastric ulcer. Then I admitted a man with asthma and he developed pneumonia, which I treated with antibiotics.
The daily clinics continued, of course. I had developed quite a skill in doing extractions so had lots of dental patients! I also held antenatal and well-women clinics, did immunisations on the babies, and had four deliveries. In between the clinics I attended to inpatients, and in the afternoons I did any home visits that were necessary. It kept me busy!
Early in August an older woman was brought into the clinic with a nasty cut on her hand. Cleaning, while preparing for her son’s wedding, she had put her hand through a pane of glass and was bleeding badly from a cut wrist. Two tendons and an artery were severed. I controlled the bleeding as well as I could and got in touch with the hospital in St. Anthony. Fortunately, a doctor was able to come over to suture the laceration and repair the tendons and artery, and apply a cast. She did very well after her surgery, got home in time for the wedding and was fortunate to be alive.
By September I was ready for a holiday! It was a memorable holiday in many ways. Bert’s wife, Emily, had invited me to go and visit her and the children in Prince Edward Island, so I flew to Charlottetown to spend a little time with them. Bert and Emily had four children; John was six, then June, Evelyn and Stephen, the youngest being nine months old. I had always loved children so felt at home and enjoyed my visit.
On the Sunday I went with Emily to the little Gospel Hall at Crapaud and watched as the Christians there remembered the Lord in a simple service with the bread and wine. I was impressed with the simplicity of it and felt it must have been very like this when the Lord Jesus instituted the feast in the upper room in Jerusalem.
There was a table in the centre of the room with a loaf of bread and a glass of wine. The believers sat in a circle round the table. Brethren rose, one after the other, to thank God for the gift of His Son and to speak of His sufferings on the cross. A few appropriate hymns were sung; the bread and wine were passed and each person partook of them.
My Dad had been living in Ashland, Wisconsin, at the timehe drove to P.E.I. for a visit because I was there. One day, after Dad came, we went to the wharf and bought some lobsters. I had never tasted one before but found them delicious. After visiting Emily and the children for a few days, Dad and I went on to Halifax to visit my brother Tom, who was in the Canadian Navy. Dad was reading through the Bible at the time, so we had some good sessions, reading and praying together. Tom was feeling a need in his own life and was very dissatisfied with his life in the navy. Likewise we had many discussions on the scriptures.
My brother had some time off, so we travelled through the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia as far as Digby, and booked into a motel. Next morning the two men decided to go fishing, while I stayed in bed and enjoyed the rest, and they returned with a fresh haddock -  pretending they had caught it. Actually, they had bought it!  They had not had a bite while fishing! We cooked it on the burner at the motel, and had a good laugh about it. My Dad loved fish, so it was a special treat for him. I was getting a bit tired of fish after all summer in Labrador but enjoyed it anyway!
After Tom returned to his ship, Dad and I drove to Ottawa to visit our friends Pauline and Gerry Franks, going through the New England States, where the fall colours were magnificent. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip, and continued our talks about the Bible.
After I returned to Labrador, Dad wrote and told me that he had accepted the Lord as his Saviour, which made me very happy.
During my absence from Labrador, the brethren had built a new hall in L’Anse-au-Loup and shortly after I returned an assembly was formed. The first Sunday morning that we gathered together to remember the Lord Jesus was a special and solemn occasion, a very joyful one. Each Sunday after that, as conditions permitted, I would go to L’Anse-au-Loup, until a similar assembly was formed at English Point the following year.
The Lord gave needed help at my work too. In October I had a difficult delivery, a first baby, and I had to apply forceps. Many were the times I was thankful I had assisted with forceps deliveries while working in British Columbia. A healthy baby girl finally put in her appearance, although she did have a slight injury to one arm, and the mother had rather a heavy bleed that I was able to control. Mother and baby did well and were discharged together.
Bert Joyce brought his family up to the Labrador that fall, and settled them in Red Bay, where they lived for many years. When Emily and the children arrived in Forteau on the coastal boat, they went to “Uncle” Joe’s home. One of her little girls had pinworms, so I gave Emily some Gentian Violet tablets for her, this being the treatment we used at that time. Unfortunately, after she took the treatment, the girl vomited all over Mrs. Hancock’s kitchen floor, and Gentian Violet is a purple dye! One can imagine what the floor looked like. The dye was very hard to get out and I’m sure Emily was very upset about it all; but these things happen to the best of us. Bert and his cousin from Toronto, with the help of local men from Red Bay, built a nice home up on the hill in Red Bay, and the family soon settled in for the winter.
Ruby, the Mountie’s wife, was with me that Christmas, expecting her third. She was also a nurse. The place was full, so Ruby was sleeping in my room, and it was nice to have another nurse to talk to. She, on her part, was anxiously waiting for me to have a delivery so that she could assist. Early on Christmas morning, the bell rang. I went downstairs softly so as not to disturb her and found a woman at the door who was in labour. It was her third, so everything went quickly and I did not have time to call anyone.
It was a little girl, another Christmas baby. Ruby was very disappointed I did not call her, but was consoled with her own little girl about a week later.
Early in the New Year we were hit by a whooping cough epidemic, which little Peggy, my Christmas baby, developed when she was a month old. She was very ill. Night after night she had coughing spasms and stopped breathing, and frequently I had to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation on her. Her mother and I took turns staying up with her and Mary (the mother) called me when the baby had a bad “spell”. Once again I proved God’s enaing and sustaining power as this continued for a total of six weeks. Phyllis, who had worked as cook with Olive, came back some nights sand stayed with the little one to relieve the mother. Phyllis’s sisr-in-law had a baby who was also sick with whooping cough at same time but she had had some of her immunisations so was not so sick.
We were very busy that winter with a lot of sick babies and I decided to get someone to come and stay with them so that we could get some rest. I had five deliveries in January and a lot of other sick folk. In April I admitted two children with burns, one months and one a year old. Shortly after this I had a little boy ‘d into the clinic with dog bites of his face. He was under two, poor little thing and was very frightened. Husky dogs could very vicious at times and if they got a young child down they had been known to eat him alive if not stopped. I sutured this little low and he stayed with us for ten days.
Just as in other jobs, there are some things that are hard to do, and that we avoid, if possible. For me such a task was incising and draining a breast abscess. Not that the surgical part was itself a problem, for I had incised and drained a badly infected thumb for a woman just before Christmas. It was just that I dreaded this one job. And it happened.
I treated the patient with penicillin, hoping it would clear up the problem but it didn’t. I remember sitting in the rocking chair in the kitchen trying to pluck up courage to do the operation, and paying as I sat there. God did give me the courage and I was able do what I had to do - open the abscess and relieve the poor woman’s symptoms. It was a difficult one though.
Meanwhile, Wallace and Olive continued to grow spiritually and Wallace was beginning to consider working for the Lord more important than the job he was doing. He returned to Seven Island in January 1959 and Olive joined him in early in March, flying from Blanc Sablon in a Northern Wings Beaver, a small plane in which to fly three or four hundred miles.
They lived with an Italian couple who had one little girl. Wallace was away “up the line” for two weeks at a time, so Olive must have been lonely and homesick, especially living in a house with a woman who spoke very little English. Nevertheless, she and Wallace had some good talks about faith with the Catholic Italian couple. The pattern for their life’s work was being set.