Labrador History - 4.4 GROWTH

Mary Taylor4.4 GROWTH
The gospel having arrived, it was interesting to watch spiritual developments over the next few months.
George left Forteau and went to L’Anse-au-Loup. I spent the following weekend in L’Anse-Amour with my old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Davis, a fisherman and his wife who were in their sixties. They were a very hospitable couple and frequently had nurses, doctors or ministers stay when they were travelling that way, and for some time had been asking me over. Uncle Will had been one of my patients. On the Sunday night, as all was quiet at the nursing station, their daughter-in-law and I went to L’Anse-au-Loup by dog team for the meeting, where there was a good crowd and George preached a stirring Gospel message. I planned to hold clinic in L’Anse-au-Loup the following morning, so took my medical bag with me and stayed overnight with the George Barneys.
Next morning I held clinic. I intended to return to Forteau later in the day, but the weather deteriorated and I had to stay the night. It was a regular blizzard! The storm was so bad that night the meeting could not be held but, as events turned out, this was all part of the Lord’s plan, for I had a most profitable evening. My friend Mary Barney, with whom I had already had many conversations about the Lord, lived in L’Anse-au-Loup so I took the opportunity to spend an evening with her.
It was very stormy, so a couple of girls walked over with me. Going out at night could be dangerous because of the dogs, which were part wolf and could be vicious with strangers, and on a bad night the nurse was not allowed to go out alone. Mary and I had a lovely evening talking about the Bible, and I shared many verses with her. At the end of the evening I had the joy of pointing her to the Lord. It was a very special time and a real encouragement to me after a rather sad few weeks.
The storm having cleared, I returned to Forteau next morning, taking with me an antenatal patient who was expecting her baby soon. That night I had an urgent call from L’Anse-au-Clair, and had to hurry over there. None of the girls were at the station that night (we had no inpatients) so I sent Olive a message telling her I had to leave, and left Alfreda, my patient, alone until Olive got there. The patient in L’Anse-au-Clair was an older woman who was very sick indeed, I suspected she had had a massive stroke. She was unconscious and her family were very anxious about her as all this happened so quickly.
I stayed with her all night and returned to Forteau by dog team next morning, just in time to answer an urgent call from Ruby, the Mountie’s wife, in Red Bay. There was an antenatal patient there about whom she was concerned and, while Ruby was a nurse, she was not a midwife and needed some advice. We had to use the only telephone service available (the one in the post office that was normally used to send telegrams) and I gave what advice I could. Obviously it helped, because Ruby delivered the baby later that day.

 

Winter Travel.  A coachbox at Forteau Nursing Station in the 1950's.

Winter Travel.  A coachbox at Forteau Nursing Station in the 1950's. 


That night I returned to L’Anse-au-Clair to see the older woman, managing to get some rest at the home of one of our laundry ladies who had married and moved there. In fact, it was her mother-inlaw who was so ill. I stayed with the woman that night and towards morning she died, never having regained consciousness. I tried to comfort the family, for it had been a real shock for them all. I remember my return trip to Forteau that morning. The air was crisp and cold and I was very tired, but somehow I felt upheld by my Lord as I prayed for comfort for the family I had just left. I
prayed for them and others to come to know the Saviour, in whom there is such peace and comfort in times of trial.
A few days after my return to Forteau, Aifreda from L’Anse-au-Loup had a boy, and the day after that another woman from Pinware  had a boy too, her tenth child. So the cycle of life went on.
Olive and I met each day at noon to pray for the salvation of others, having a heavy burden on our hearts for those whom we loved. She witnessed faithfully to her family and had the joy of seeing many of them saved in answer to her prayers, but was particularly concerned about her boyfriend, Wallace, a nice looking Young man with dark hair, so we prayed for him too. He had been working in Seven Islands, Quebec, and had recently returned home for the winter. Olive told him about her Saviour and one night he came to a meeting in the “upper room” as we called it; he got so disturbed by the message that as he was going out, he pulled the door off its hinges!
That was the only time he came to a meeting but he had heard enough to make him realise that the message he had heard was true. We continued to pray for him and one night Olive came home after she had been out with him.
“How did things go tonight? Any news?” I said to her.
“The best news,” she replied.
“What do you mean?”
“Wallace got saved!” she said.
I was so happy to hear of this answer to our prayers that I could hardly believe it. She told me Wallace had been thinking about things ever since the night he attended the meeting and decided to buy a Bible and find out for himself. Rumours had been circulating that George’s Bible was different from others so he sent to Eaton’s for one, figuring this would be the safest thing to do!

Wallace and Olive Buckle and family.

Wallace and Olive Buckle and family. 

 He wrote a pamphlet telling how he got saved and, in his own words, here it is:
“I was born and raised in a little fishing village on the Labrador coast. Ifished with myfatherfrom the time I was nine. But, when I got a little older I thought I’d like to leave home, and the shores of Labrador to make money and have a good time.
“I got a job with a mining company at Seven islands, Quebec. First, I started to put money away, and even send some home, but I got into the drink and gambling. The money started to go as fast as I was making it. I was, what the world calls “having a good time “. Many a night we would put the little motor car on the railway track, after being full of drink, and head back up the line, not knowing what corner we would meet a train on, and be ushered out into eternity. Others were taken this way, but God had His eye on me.
“The first news that came to me that morning was that my buddy was killed!
“As we walked down the two miles to the accident, I saw a scene that I will never forget. There lay the remains of my buddy, with his leg, head, and arm severed from his body - all because of drink. As I looked down at this man, I thought of his loved ones, and what sorrow and grief this would bring. I thought about home, and how I longed to see my loved ones again. I left for home soon after
“When I arrived home, there was talk of a new religion in our village. I went out to listen one night, and as the preacher preached of heaven and hell, and those that die without Christ will he in hell, I got so mad, that as I left, I tore the door off its hinges!
“But when I got home, I started to think. The conclusion I came to as I thought was, “If what he’s saying is right, I’m wrong!”
“I had never read a Bible before, but I had always thought it to be true. So, I got out Eaton’s catalogue, and I ordered a Bible. I often say, “Thank God that’s one time Eaton didn’t send a substitute.”
“There is one week-end I will never forget, when we were working about 16 miles from the town. A young man came to me and said “Newf let’s go to town for a good time.” This is what we thought was real happiness. We went down the 16 miles, and got our room and booze in for the week-end.
“All Saturday night and Sunday it went on, but it ended up in a brawl on Sunday night. I left that room, came down the stairs, and out into the street. I got the first taxi that came along, and he took me back to mile 12. That was afar as the road went.
“It was well into the early hours of the morning when ifinally got into the bunk. It was only a little while, and I had to get up and goto work.
“After reading it for two months, one night in my room I came to that verse, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. “Acts 2:21. That very night I trusted Christ as my Say- jour, that was January, 1957. I often say, “The worst day i’ve had since I’ve been saved has been better than the best day I had before I was saved.”
“May God speak to those who read these lines, and make your realize that after 29 years knowing Christ as my Saviou, I can say it has been the happiest years of my life. And above all, to know for sure that whenever this life comes to an end, it will be heaven and home for all eternity.
“Will you not, right now, trust Christ as your Saviour? You too, will know for sure that you will be in heaven. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Acts 16.31.”
There are many ways of witnessing for Christ, one being the showing of good Christian films. A film my friend Howard and I had ordered in the fall arrived early in the New Year and I showed it in the old nursing station. I announced this over the radio-telephone and a large company, in fact nearly all the people of Forteau and the surrounding countryside, showed up. There could have been a couple of hundred there, but I didn’t count them!
The film was about an American airman who was captured by the Japanese in the Second World War. During imprisonment the Japanese guards allowed the men to read, and three books were circulated amongst them, one of which was a Bible. Through reading the Bible in his prison cell the airman came to know Christ as his Saviour, and after the war returned to Japan as a missionary.
After the film we had a time of singing, and James, “Uncle” Joe’s son, got up and told how God had saved him. This took a lot of courage as none of his friends were saved at the time. I gave an invitation that any were welcome to come to the nursing station afterwards for a cup of tea and a period of discussion. Quite a number took me up on the invitation.
The following weekend I went to L’Anse-au-Loup to attend the Sunday meeting, and ran into bad weather again. The day before I left Forteau I had admitted an antenatal patient from West St. Modeste, but went ahead with my plans because she was not in labour and not due for a couple of weeks. On the Monday I held clinic in L’Anse-au-Loup, while the weather worsened. It became stormy and I was not able to get anyone to take me home. I had to travel by dog team, of course, and no one felt it would be safe to travel on such a night.
All evening and into the night I was burdened to pray for those back at the nursing station. Olive and Phyllis, the cook, were there and so was my antenatal patient. I had no means of checking, for the only telephone was at the post office, so I continued to pray that if something was wrong, God would take care of it. Then, around 4:00 a.m., a sense of peace came to me and I was able to go to sleep. In the morning I received a telegram from Olive saying that my patient had had a baby girl and all was well. The baby had been born at 4:00 a.m.!
The weather cleared and I returned home that morning, and heard the rest of the story. The patient had gone into labour and the girls had tried to call me but, for obvious reasons, they could not. It was evident they would have to handle the delivery themselves. Olive asked Don, the patient with the bad back who had recently become a Christian, to pray for them. He did so (and they did too) and God answered their prayers, the baby being safely delivered with no problems. Olive had witnessed many deliveries during the two and a half years that she been working with me, and was quite capable of delivering a baby as long as there were no complications. How wonderful that God had given me a burden to pray for the girls when they needed help, and later had given me assurance that my prayers were answered.
I started a little Bible study at the nursing station once a week that winter. It was for those who had been recently saved, to help them to learn more about their new-found faith, and George would join us when he was able, in which case he did the teaching. ‘We studied the Gospel of Mark and had many precious times. Any patients who wished to come joined us, as did some in the community who were not yet saved and, as the Lord continued to work in their lives, others came to the Saviour.
One night after the Bible study I was talking to a young woman from a fisherman’s family in English Point. Her mother had recently come to Christ.
“Charlotte,” I said, “I was so happy to hear about your mother getting saved.”
“I should get the matter settled too, shouldn’t I?” she replied!
“Why not now?” I said.
Other people were leaving, so we went into the pantry for a little privacy and I showed her from the Bible how she could know for sure that her sins were forgiven. She trusted Christ that night.
I did not know at the time that her husband had told her that if she got saved she had better not come home. She never mentioned this. The Lord took care of her, however, and she went home to her husband a new woman in Christ and, although he took away her Christian books and tracts, he left her her Bible. One night he went over to “Uncle” Joe’s and talked to George, and when he got home he gave her back the books.
Like many of the men, he made moonshine and sometimes got drunk, which must have been hard for her, but she did not complain. Later that fall he went to Seven Islands in Quebec to work on the railway for nine months and the following winter he taught school at English Point. The spring after that he broke up his moonshine can and later got saved.
A few weeks later Charlotte’s sister, who was working at the station while our cook was in hospital, trusted Christ, so God continued to answer our prayers as Olive and I presented petitions to Him day by day. We had been praying that the Lord would lead many to Himself right there at the nursing station and he did so, much to our joy. It was an exciting time.
One night three young men stayed behind after the others had gone home from our Bible study, wanting to know more about what it meant to be saved. I tried to answer their questions, but wished George was there, as I felt very inadequate. But God uses “the weak things of this world to confound the things that are mighty.” [I Corinthians 1:27] Later two of these men trusted the Saviour.
That winter there was a Christian doctor in St. Anthony, Dr. Powell, and he came over to Forteau to hold clinic. It was always a pleasure to have a doctor visit us for a few days, and allowed me to discuss medical problems and share the often heavy load of responsibility. It was an added bonus that Dr. Powell was a Chris tian as he was able to have a service in the “upper room” on Sunday night; a good number attended. We had a nice time of fellowship together and I hated to see him go.
Peter Macaskill also came over for a weekend that winter and held services in the church. I was busy at the time and was unable to attend, but I heard he preached a very good sermon on the text, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in.” [Rev. 3:20] He was overjoyed when he heard how the Lord had answered our prayers and, before returning to St. Anthony, held a service in L’Anse-au-Loup with George.
One day in February I received an urgent call to go to West St. Modeste because a woman was in labour. A settlement about twenty or thirty miles from Forteau, West St. Modeste was reached by dog team. Austin Roberts, my dog team driver, collected me with his team and we set off for the overland trip, travelling at times round the edge of steep cliffs. As we were going around one such cliff, Austin lost his cap and jumped off the box to get it. The dogs turned and followed him, tipping me out on to the ice in the process! I had been riding in the coachbox surrounded by quilts, pillows and hot water bottles, so was not hurt. How we laughed! It helps to have a sense of humour on such occasions.
By the time we arrived in West St. Modeste, I found the baby had arrived before I did. A little girl, she was a month premature, so I decided to take her back to the nursing station with me. The plane was in the area so I was able to fly back to Forteau. I was glad of that because a dog team trip would have been hard on such a tiny baby.
March was a particularly busy month, and there was little time ‘ rest. Early in the month Olive’s mother had a little boy in the early hours of the morning. Phyllis was on call that night and helped me. About a week later we had three more deliveries. Uncle Joe’s daughter-in-law had a girl. Three days later one women had a boy and a few minutes later another woman had a boy too! Things were pretty hectic for a while, and we had seven deliveries all together that month. Thirty-six inpatients kept us busy too.
In addition, still in March, two men injured their feet and were transferred to St. Anthony. Then there was an elderly lady with pneumonia, a young girl with acute appendicitis, two patients resting with tuberculosis, three young people with erythema nodosum (a type of rheumatic fever), and a woman with an acute gallbladder attack; quite a variety of conditions. Meanwhile, I held my daily clinics and did home visits!
There was still time to reflect, though. When Olive’s mother had her baby that early morning in the first part of the month, Phyllis told Olive the good news (Olive had been anxiously waiting outside the room!) and we all had an early breakfast together. Never did bacon and eggs taste so good! There is something special about times like that when everything has gone well and one can relax afterwards with a cup of tea, and chat about the night’s events with your fellow workers; they were becoming friends too. A warm comfortable feeling making me feel glad to be alive and doing the work to which the Lord had called me, ever conscious of His presence giving me strength.