Labrador History - 5.2 UNCLE PIERCE

Mary Taylor5.2 UNCLE PIERCE
It was hard to believe I had been in Forteau for four years. So much had happened in that time. Life was full and satisfying with few dull moments, and the medical work was a constant challenge and very time consuming. In the fall of 1957 the Lord was working in a way I had never realized possible and what characterized it, more than anything else, was that so many were getting saved.
It made me feel very humble to think He was using me in some small way.
The work was growing and souls were being saved and I was loath to leave, but I knew I needed a break. I had been eighteen months on the job and was tired, so I decided to visit my friends in Ottawa in October.
There were more deliveries before I left (including two babies ri a twenty-four hour period) and we were very busy with other atients also. By the time my relief nurse arrived, Louise Greenfield from Scotland, I was very glad to see her. She had come from Corner Brook on the coastal steamer, a two-day trip, and on the way had attended a woman on board who went into labour.
She had her first delivery before she arrived in Forteau! I introduced Louise to the complexities of running a nursing station, leaving Hr to have a very busy month.
My first stop was St. Anthony and a visit with my friends Ruth ‘y and Peter and Joyce Macaskill. I spent the night with the rvlacaskill’s before going to Gander for the connecting flight to Ottawa. It was good to get away and have a rest.
I enjoyed my visit in Ottawa. My friends had two boys who grown quite a bit since I had seen them eighteen months previously. Pauline and I had some great chats; I told her all about the work and what the Lord had been doing since I had last seen her. The time flew by all too quickly, and soon I was back in Labrador.
When I returned I discovered that Olive and Wallace had been Married and, while I was disappointed to have missed the wed- Lug, I was very happy for them. I had to make do with photographs of the wedding, and Olive did make a pretty bride. Peter Macaskill performed the ceremony, and the reception had been at the home of the groom, after which they settled close by at Buckle’s Point. I missed Olive at the nursing station, especially our times of prayer together, although I was able to visit them in their new home.
Olive’s marriage brought about a series of staff changes, reminding me that staff comes and goes. Gladys, a young girl from L’Anse-au-Loup and who had been saved recently, replaced Olive, and in due course became engaged to “Uncle” Joe’s son James, one of my Sunday School teachers. Louise Greenfield, the nurse who relieved me, went to Cartwright where she spent many years, later being joined there by another Scottish girl with whom she became good friends. Violet came to work with us that Christmas, replacing Phyllis, who had worked with Olive and who was herself getting married, and, as we were getting too busy for two girls, we added a third, Audrey. The three of them, fortunately, got on very well together and had lots of fun when they were not busy. I was sorry to lose Phyllis, though, but I’m sure her new husband got a good wife. Our loss was his gain!
I never ceased to be amazed at the variety of cases we encountered in the course of our duties, even as I went back into the routine of clinics and inpatient care. Frequently I had to consult my medical books before calling St. Anthony for advice over the radio-telephone. This latter was a godsend.
Shortly after Louise left I admitted a man who was blind in one eye and had a foreign body in his good eye. I was concerned - after I had removed it - that be might get an infection, so decided to admit him. Later that evening, at the time we were having our weekly Bible study, he became restless. Suddenly we were interrupted when my nurse’s aide came to fetch me - our man had decided to go home. This was against medical advice, although there was nothing I could do to stop him, but warn him of the possible consequences.
Then there were the deliveries. My friend Ruth May, the nurse from St. Anthony, stayed with me a few days and in that time delivered a woman from Red Bay, Ruth’s first delivery. The new baby was named, appropriately, Ruth.
Icy conditions brought their own problems and gave us more business! One frosty morning in November Mike, who was building his own house in West St. Modeste, slipped off the roof and fell to the rocks below, ending up with a badly broken leg. An older woman in West St. Modeste (she had worked at the nursing station) put a splint on his leg, while his friends made an improvised stretcher and brought him by boat as far as L’Anse-au-Loup, where we met him with a car. A couple of days later, when the weather had cleared a little, a plane came in from St. Anthony and we carried Mike down to the beach and put him aboard. He recovered full use of his leg after treatment in St. Anthony.
It went on.... A middle-aged woman fell on the ice and fractured her wrist. I sent her by road to Blanc Sablon for an X-ray, and the doctor there reduced the fracture, applied a cast and returned her to me. A little boy was brought up to the clinic with a bad nosebleed. A couple of days later a forty-three year old woman was brought in with what appeared to be a heart attack. Since she was the mother of a large family she needed to rest for a while returning home. As if that wasn’t enough, we had an epidemic of chicken pox towards Christmas. One baby of nine months was very sick, and I was kept busy with children who were sick at home too. And in the middle of our Christmas party that year, we were brought an eighteen-month-old baby who had swallowed gasoline from a can in a shed (he recovered.)
Indeed, what a variety of different types of patients!
The Lord’s work, however, did not take a back seat to staff changes and a multiplicity of medical cases. Some medical cases, indeed, were intimately connected to His work.
Vivian, a young girl from L’Anse-au-Loup, had trusted Christ s her Saviour a few months previously. She and a number of her young girls who were concerned about their parents, were meeting daily in the little schoolhouse to pray for them. Their prayers were answered, as we shall see, but not before God spoke. Towards the end of November Vivian was brought to the station with a severe headache and fever.
Her parents (her father was Uncle Pierce) had brought her from L’Anse-au-Loup by car and ‘ere very worried about her, for she had some neck stiffness and did not appear to be aware of her surroundings. I was extremely concerned, suspecting meningitis. The doctor in St. Anthony said he would get the plane to pick her up next day, and advised me how to treat her in the meantime. Next day the weather was bad and we waited, and waited for it to clear. It did not do so. Ruth was still there, and I was glad of her help and support.
On the third day landing conditions were deteriorating still further, so the doctor advised us to transfer Vivian to the Catholic hospital in Blanc Sablon. Unfortunately the road was closed by a heavy snowfall, but I contacted someone who had a snowmobile, and he undertook the journey to the hospital. Successfully, I’m glad to add. Then her sister took sick too.
And so it happened that Vivian and her sister were both in hospital in Blanc Sablon at the same time, a voice that spoke to their father about God. Vivian recovered and the two girls came home the same day in time for Christmas, much to the delight of their parents.
George returned to the coast that fall and held meetings in L’Anse-au-Loup in the little schoolhouse, and from time to time in a home at English Point. On Wednesday nights, if he was free, he joined our Bible study group in Forteau. We sang hymns, had a time of prayer and he would lead the Bible study. At other times I continued to take it when I was not too busy.
It was while he was in L’Anse-au-Loup preaching the gospel that George had the joy of leading Vivian’s father to Christ after the meeting on New Year’s Eve. What a wonderful answer to the prayers of the girls! I will let “Uncle” Pierce, as we fondly called him, tell his own story;
“I remember quite well coming home from working on the road one evening and my wife telling me all about five men who had come that day on a small boat. They had been preaching the Gospel and telling how God saved them. The talk of the town was that these men had said that if anything happened to them while they were going across “the Straits” they would be sure of going to heaven!
“Oh’, I said, ‘They never said that! No one knows whether they are going to heaven or not. No, maid, they never said that!’
“On yes’, she said, ‘They said it’. “The men had left again the same day. It was during the Fal  when I heard that one of the men had returned and that he was preaching in the old hospital building in Forteau. A friend of mine:wanted to go with me to hear the preacher Mr George Campbell.
We decided to go and find out for ourselves if what he was preaching was true.
“We arrived in Forteau in lots of time for the meeting so after feeding our dogs - we had come by dog team - we went to visit the patients in the hospital. Then we went out to the meeting. After the meeting, the preacher told us that he was coming to L’Anse-au-Loup. It wasn’t long when, sure enough, he came to L’Anse-au-Loup and began Gospel meetings every night in a school-house. ‘though I attended most of the meetings, I didn’t get saved.
“The next summer the little Gospel boat, the M.G.M. (Missionary Gospel Messenger) arrived back on the Labrador Coast.
Gospel was preached faithfully. The day they left with the oat, I was out in my fishing boat hauling my trawl. Seeing them passing along, I wondered if I would ever hear them preach again.With  tears in my eyes, I watched them go, and then the words came to me, “Jesus of Nazareth passeth by “. I knew that they had the Gospel, they knew the true way. Jesus said “I am the way.”
“I am glad to say that I did hear them again, because that fall, hey returned to L’Anse-au-Loup. I attended meetings every night and was very troubled. Even the seals didn’t matter that year
 Usually I went sealing with several other men to a place a few s north of L’Anse-au-Loup, but although I did not tell the men the reason I was sending another man in my place, it was because did not want them to know I was troubled about my soul. I was more interested in the Gospel than in getting seals. God was speaking to me.
“One day during the meetings, one of my young daughters took sick. She was carried off to the hospital by snowmobile. She was gone only a few days when another one of my daughters took sick and she went away to the hospital as well. I helped to carry her on a hand-barrow to the car which was to take her God was speaking loudly now I had heard the preachers say how God sometimes has to move “furniture” in our lives to break us down, to make us humble. I thought, “This is the way the Lord is speaking to me.” Yet I fought it off.  It wasn’t long before a message came from the doctor for some of us to give blood for my girls. I know I would have been willing to give every drop I had to see my girls well again. Thank God they did get better. Although I was very happy about that, yet I was ashamed of myself because I couldn’t give God thanks for bringing them back to me. That bothered me. I couldn’t even say my little prayer going to bed, I was so ashamed of myself
“I continued to attend meetings and one night I heard a man give his testimony. He then mentioned how he had heard several young girls praying for their families. I knew my daughter was among them and I knew she had prayed for me. Not long before, she had told me, ‘Daddy, I got saved last night.’ I was very troubled now.
“Then the night came I shall never forget. Mr Campbell asked me f I would like to stay for a little ‘chat’, as he put it. I told him I would as I went out of the door but I didn’t mean it. I had no intention of going back to talk to him. I just wanted to get out. But when I stepped outside, God spoke to me, ‘Go back’. I did go back. He showed me a verse in the Bible, Romans 10:13 - “Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be SAVED.” I thank God I called and He heard. I accepted Christ as my personal Saviour there at that moment.”
A couple of weeks after “Uncle” Pierce trusted Christ as his Saviour, his dear wife also accepted Him. Thus another family was established of which Christ was the head. God’s work was growing and by now there were a number of believers in L’Anse-au-Loup, Forteau and English Point.
It was at this time that a small plane was given to the work of the Gospel on the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland and, Bert Joyce, who had his pilot’s license, used it. Early in the New Year (1958) Bert flew it up to Labrador. It was a smaller plane than I was used to, but I took a trip to St. Anthony with Bert and George
[one day and enjoyed the flight in spite of being a little nervous.
A big help to the work of the gospel work, the plane was used mercy flights as well, when the mission plane was not available. The plane made it much easier for the brethren to get around e coast of Labrador and more time could be spent preaching and less travelling.
Bert and George flew up to Red Bay shortly after this and held gospel meetings, first in a home and later (it proved to be too small!) in the Orange Lodge. They hadn’t been there very long before they had the joy of seeing a couple trust Christ as their Saviour. One was “Uncle John”, one of the men in whose boat I had tray. J when I made my first trip to Red Bay and his wife Irene. I iad prayed for this man and his son, as they were taking me from Barge Bay back to Red Bay, and it was wonderful to see my prayers answered.
There was an old man in Red Bay, “Uncle” Allen Moores, had prayed for 50 years that the Lord would send someone to reach the Gospel in Red Bay! He was a bachelor, who was saved among the Old Methodists and had been praying for Red Bay all  the time. Having no access to tracts, he would write out scriptures pieces of paper and give them out. Such was his devotion and single-mindedness that some in the village thought that he was a little strange. The brethren first met him when they went there in M.G.M. in 1956, and they had good talks together about the things of Christ. “Uncle” Allen said there would be a revival in Red Bay and that it would start, using a local expression for north, “down the harbour!” Bert and George visited “Uncle” Allen this time, when he was sick and very low. All he could talk about was heaven. The two brethren started preaching in the Orange Hall and after two weeks Uncle” John Layden got saved. “Uncle” John, who lived down at the north end of the harbour, was the first of many, for God worked the village. He was saved at midnight, and later, in the dark hours of the morning, “Uncle” Allen died. He saw the beginning of the revival he believed in, and he saw it start “down the harbour.”
Next morning “Uncle” John was going down to the well to fetch water when he came across Tom Pike, and said, “Strange things last night!”
“What do you mean?”
“There was a birth and there was a death last night.” “Well, we know Uncle Allen died. But who was born? “I was! Last night I was saved! I was born again.”