Report II, (1998, 1999, 2001)
Bobby R. Holmes
Editor's Note: This is the second of two articles recounting brother Holmes' preaching trips to, primarily, the Pacific Northwest. To read the first report, covering the his initial trip in 1997, click here!
Jo Ann and I waited until the first of May in 1998 to leave for the Northwest again. We did this for two reasons. First, to give us time to "get over" the grueling task of the eleven month work in 1997 and second, I needed time to work on some material for the trip.
My first meeting on this trip was in Rock Springs, Wyoming. We had planned on leaving early Monday morning, but Jo Ann became very ill with a virus like condition that caused, among other things, severe vomiting and extreme weakness. I took her to our doctor Monday morning explaining our need to leave as soon as possible and he gave her some strong medication including something to "put her out" to overcome the vomiting. Though she was still not feeling "up to par", we left on Wednesday and traveled hard as I was to begin the meeting in Rock Springs on Sunday.
We made good time and I thought everything was going to work out fine, but about fifteen miles before we got into Rock Springs I suddenly felt a wave of nausea sweep over me and I almost passed out before I could stop the coach. If you guessed I had "caught the bug" you are very correct! I laid down on the couch for about thirty minutes and then drove into Rock Springs Campground and Jo Ann helped me "hook up" what we absolutely had to have. I took some of the medicine the doctor had given her and went straight to bed. I had her call Al Hasley who was one of the faithful members there and explain things to him. I was sure I would be able to preach by Monday if I stayed in bed and took the medicine.
As it turned out, a young preacher and his wife from Rapid City, South Dakota had contacted me before I left and volunteered to drive to Rock Springs and help with the meeting, leading singing, helping with visitation and anything that was needed. His name is Matthew Allen. They arrived on Monday (over five hundred miles of driving) and stayed through Wednesday and were really helpful. Matt led the singing and was able to make arrangements with the local radio and T.V. stations to announce the meeting for us at no charge.
I was able to preach by Monday and gained my full strength back by Wednesday. This too was an eight day meeting that went through the next Sunday. Before I move on to discuss the next meeting on my schedule let me note some points about the church in Rock Springs. There had been efforts by some to bring in a liberal preacher who was the father of one of the member,s but to this point Al Hasley's influence and strong voice in opposition had kept him out. They had been without a regular preacher for many years. Al had kept the work going and stood firm for Truth. I preached on liberalism and the institutionalism it brought about but, within a year brother Hasley was ignored and the liberal preacher was hired. My meeting that had been scheduled for 1999 was cancelled, of course. This preacher stayed until he had completely exhausted the funds they had in the bank and then moved the next week. So much for that one, but they hired a preacher by name of Dan Roe from Winslow, Arizona and he is the worst I have ever heard of. I have received two letters from one of the strong sisters there in Rock Springs and what he is teaching is unbelievable. He has stated in his lessons that women should be given more to do in the worship, instrumental music was acceptable, churches of Christ should stop being "isolated" and have fellowship with denominations, and that God has "never given us a command to obey". The most shocking thing she told me was that some of the members got together for a Christmas party and the preacher brought egg nog that was heavily spiked with rum! It was left out where the young people had access to is as well. Several were there who were not Christians and even they were shocked. I called and talked with this sister and tried to encourage her. There are only three men there. One is out of town a lot of the time, another is apparently not strong enough to stand up to this guy. She said the men finally said they would talk to the preacher after the first of the year and question him concerning these things. I told her he didn't need talking to. He needed to be FIRED! Of course, I have no right to inject myself into the matter unless invited. I would love to be invited to come so I could face this evil man. Of course, if he has a honest heart, I could not call him a false teacher according to some of my preacher brethren! Think on that now brethren!
We left Rock Springs on the Monday following the meeting and drove to Idaho Falls, Idaho. My meeting was in Blackfoot but, there is no RV park there so we stayed in Idaho Falls at the KOA Campground and traveled each evening to Blackfoot about twenty five miles distance. The church in Blackfoot is a fine congregation with two good elders. Tom and Ray Mitchell.
We left there on Monday following the meeting and traveled to meetings to be held in Calgary and Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. These were good meetings that were well attended.
After we left Lethbridge, we traveled to Missoula, Montana for my discussion with Don Partain on the subject of "Fellowship". The discussion took place in the building where Don preaches on June 18-19. They don't use the term "church of Christ". They say there is too much prejudice against that term so their sign says it is "The Lord's Church". I certainly recognize the church has no "name" but, no matter what Biblical term is used, if TRUTH is preached without compromise and stood for firmly, whatever term you use, people will still have prejudice toward it.
Another interesting thing about this place is that they ("The Lord's Church") bought the building from the Baptist church and they (the Baptists) asked to be allowed to continue to meet there until they could build a new building. That was two or three years ago at least and the Baptist are still meeting there. Both organ and piano sit in the auditorium. Of course, the Baptist pay rent to use the building. Think about that my dear brethren! Can you imagine what the Lord thinks of His people renting HIS property to a denomination so they can use it to teach false doctrine in??
As I stated in the first article, both Don Partain and Randy Hohf had accused me of destroying churches wherever I went by my "kind of peaching". I had not only challenged them to prove what they said, but had charged Randy Hohf with teaching false doctrine on MDR and Don Partain with violating the teaching from God's Word regarding fellowship with those who are teaching/practicing false doctrine. The meeting was well attended and I appreciate so much the support given to me. Leo Henry came from Wilsonville Oregon, Sister Elma Monts and her son Justin came from Tacoma Washington, Joe Price from Bellingham Washington and Derek and Kathy Chambers from Calgary Alberta, Canada. In my presentation I used 38 charts on the subject of who we can and cannot fellowship and the violations that were evident from these men.
It was affirmed by Don that one can be involved in a "common law" marriage (shacking up) and when the state recognizes the relationship as marriage it ceases to be sin and becomes an acceptable marriage before God. Thus sin (fornication) in time becomes no sin at all by virtue of a time frame stated by the state (six months in Montana I was told).
Brother Hohf teaches the guilty, put away party in a divorce can remarry with God's blessing and brother Partain not only has fellowship with him but, a host of others in the Northwest who teach false doctrine on the subject as well. Not only that but, in that year (1998) Don used a man from the liberal institutional church in Edmonton Alberta Canada as the "Bible Class Director" in the yearly "Youth Camp" meetings that he and Randy Hohf are co-directors of. This makes Don in sin not only regarding fellowship with false teachers on MDR but, makes him liberal in his use of one from a liberal church. Though Don has passed himself off as a "sound" and "conservative" preacher in the Northwest, he is neither "sound" NOR is he "non-institutional" since he has joined those of the liberal camp.
Randy Hohf stated in a speech that he made, "Do you think God removed one law from man and then put him under another one? NO, we are not under law but under grace". I'm sure Randy has a "good heart and no flawed character" so one certainly cannot call him a "false teacher". Right brethren? According to some brethren we cannot but, God calls it like it is. FALSE DOCTRINE BY A FALSE TEACHER! Character and heart has nothing to do with it.
When the discussion ended we left and made our way to meetings in Sunny Side and Yakima, Washington on the East side of the cascade mountains and after three weeks there we went on the Bellingham, Washington for a week's meeting and then to a three week work with the Tacoma, Washington church. During this meeting I was able to study with the youngest son of sister Elma Monts, Steve, who had remained with a liberal church with his father. The result of our studies brought about his leaving the liberal church and joining with the saints in Tacoma. The daughter of sister Monts, Shannon, who also had remained with her father in a liberal church, attended most of the services. Though she did not leave the liberal church then, she did shortly afterwards. Sister Monts is not only a faithful servant of the Lord, and a "modern day Phoebe", she has now led all three of her children out of liberalism and into faithful service to God. Both Justin and Steve preach the Gospel and I know she is so proud of them.
I was also able to study with an elderly brother who had been away from the Lord for many, many years and through the power of God's word, get him to see his need of "coming home." He was restored to the Lord the next Sunday.
From Tacoma I held another meeting in Sweet Home, Oregon. By this time they had hired Dennis Ross to work with them as an evangelist. It was a real pleasure to get to know him and work with him in that week, I found Dennis to not only be an excellent student of the scriptures but, fully committed to the Truth on all issues.
While we were in Tacoma, Jo Ann had to fly home to see about our youngest grand daughter Kristin who was pregnant. She lost the child and after she had done what she could, Jo Ann flew back out and I picked her up in Portland Oregon. I had finished the meeting in Sweet Home and then went to Wilsonville Oregon for a prolonged series of lessons and studies there. It was good to have Jo Ann back with me. I was concerned that we may have stayed too long in Wilsonville as it was now October and winter was coming on. The forecast said there was a winter storm on the way with snow and ice in the mountain passes. We left Wilsonville and I drove hard for three days trying to stay ahead of the storm. When we stopped for the night in Rawlins, Wyoming it was very cold with the forecast for "blizzard like" conditions the next evening. We got up early and left once again trying to stay ahead of the winter storm. I had a meeting scheduled in Wichita Kansas and we arrived there without having any bad weather problems. Rain and some wind but made it OK.
The meeting was with a small group that had begun meeting in a school building. Dan Torres and wife Shirley who had once been faithful members in Bellingham Washington and had moved there had commended me to the work in Kansas City. (Dan and Shirley have since moved to the Houston Texas area and are faithful members of the Pruett and Lobit church in Baytown). Though we had some bad weather in places we finally made it to the "south" where in was a little warmer and finally home. Once more, we were home just before Thanksgiving holiday and glad to be back, though grateful to God for His blessings on us in our work for Him.
Jo Ann and I left the last of June for a shorter preaching trip. The first meeting was in Calgary Alberta, Canada. I did not have a meeting in Lethbridge in 1999. The meeting was a good one with everyone showing great interest and a love for the Truth. These Canadian brethren of ours have always impressed me with their love for the Truth and genuine interest in it. It is a custom to go somewhere for a sandwich and or refreshments at night after every service and excellent Bible studies almost always take place as well.
When we left Canada we next went back to Moscow, Idaho for another meeting. This group of Christians are so dedicated to Truth. I saw great growth in the church there. Some numerically but mostly spiritually. They don't have a "regular" preacher, but Guy Buzga, faithful member there, does a good job until they can find someone interested in coming and working with them regularly.
When we left Moscow, Idaho we went again to the Yakima and Sunny Side, Washington area. I held meetings for both of the churches there. While we were in the meetings there brother Leo Henry and his wife Dolores came over for a couple of days bringing with them brother and sister Mel Brower. I had not met brother Brower before though we had talked by phone. Brother Brower has since passed away and I look forward to seeing him "on the other side" along with others of the faithful who have joined that immense crowd. He was a very faithful soul that stood four square for Truth. Sister Elma Monts and her sons came over and stayed a couple of days during these meetings as well. Chuck and Mary Hollenbeck of the Tacoma, Washington church came for services one night but were not able to spend the night needing to get to their sons house to see him.
We arrived at the RV Park in Toppenish (half way between Yakima and Sunny Side on August 5th and were there three weeks. When we left there we started toward home and made a side trip by Blackfoot, Idaho to visit with the Tom Mitchell family. Their youngest son Casey had been involved in a very serious auto accident the year before and for weeks was not expected to live, but thanks to God and the prayers of literally thousands, he did recover and is doing well. We wanted to visit and just took time out for a day to give thanks. We took pictures of Casey to show to the church members at Mansfield as to who we had all been praying for. We left there rejoicing for the blessings God had given to the Mitchell family and the evidence of His great power we had seen with our own eyes. Home again the last of September and thankful for the blessings from God on our labors once more.
We did not make a preaching trip to the Northwest in 2000, but Jo Ann and I left for an approximate two month preaching trip on June 18th, 2001.Only two meetings were planned for this trip. If only we had known of the adversity we would face on this trip!
We drove to Amarillo and spent the night for the first day's trip. I thought I heard an exhaust leak from the engine on the way. We drove on the next day to the Denver, Colorado area and the sound became more distinct. The next day we drove to Rock, Springs Wyoming and by then it was oblivious there indeed was an exhaust leak from somewhere in the engine area. The next morning, while the engine was cold, I started it up and crawled under the coach to see if I could locate it. I found a bad leak on the left side of the engine where the exhaust manifold comes together with the exhaust pipe. I decided to just wait to have it repaired until we arrived at Idaho Falls, Idaho, where we would be for a week while I held the first meeting in Blackfoot some twenty five miles away.
After we left Rock Springs we had traveled some thirty miles when I discovered the cruise control would not disengage when I applied the brakes. This usually indicates a blown brake light fuse so when I came to the next rest area I pulled in and checked the fuses. No fuses were blown so we continued on. I then began to notice other things happening. No horn, radio, and the place where my cell phone plugs in was dead as well. When we arrived in Ogden, Utah I had decided to call ahead to Idaho Falls to a shop that had made repairs for me before and schedule an appointment for Monday. This was now Thursday just after noon time. Before I made the call I decided to check some other things out and found I had no brake lights, no tail lights, no head lights, no side marker lights nor were my "driving lights" working either. A very strange thing was then noticed. My fog lights were on without me having turned the switch on and I could not turn them off! Along with all the other things the brakes would not release after I stopped until I backed up a few feet. I went in and called the shop in Idaho Falls and told them I had a bad exhaust leak and then told of all the other strange things including the fog lights that seemed to "have a mind of their own".
The appointment made, we continued on. I knew I had to finish the trip before dark as I had no lights. I did not tell Jo Ann of the trouble as she would only have suffered "shock". We made the RV park and checked in and told them I would need to take my coach to the shop Monday morning and it might be Tuesday before I could get it back but, not to "rent" my space out. When the coach was checked out Monday in the shop the "nightmare" began!
First, the exhaust "leak" became a busted exhaust manifold. The dragging brakes turned out to be worn out parking brake bands. They said, "no problem, we will order the parts to be delivered over night from Salt Lake City Utah." For four straight mornings the parts delivered were the wrong parts! All this time we are staying in the coach which had been pulled outside the shop for that purpose. It is now HOT weather as well. Finally, out of desperation, the shop installed "headers" on the exhaust system, finally got the correct parts for the parking brakes and installed them. All of the electrical problems were traced to a "plug" that had worked loose in the "firewall" between the engine and inside of the coach. That was corrected and we were finally able to leave for the meeting in Sunny Side, Washington on the next Tuesday morning.
All this time we had been forced to stay in the coach. I went each day to the RV park telling them to go ahead and rent the space out. I made sure to do this daily. When we were finally able to leave the next Tuesday, the manager said it was unfair for me to pay for all the time since we had only stayed three days at the park. (I had to pay in advance when I arrived). She said she would refund the time I did not use but, until this day I have received nothing despite the several phone calls I have made to them. So it is in this life.
We arrived at the RV park in Toppenish, Washington where our beloved Patrick and Rhonda Clark are the managers and it was a day of rejoicing to see them and their children again. The meeting was a good one with me preaching a week's meeting and then several other times before we left. We were there about three weeks. Steven Wallace, the local evangelist is doing a most wonderful job in his work there. We enjoyed many studies at different times with Patrick and Rhonda Clark as well.
Patrick recently had opportunity to visit his home town in Wisconsin and was invited to preach for the local denomination where many of his kin are members. It was video taped and I want you to know he preached one more powerful sermon! The people were "awe struck". They had never heard the Truth before. Many drove for miles to hear him. One hour and twenty minutes and you did not see one person getting "bored". His mother recently sent him an email post stating she wanted to be baptized when she came to visit them. I never cease to praise the power of the pure Gospel of our Lord.
After a very tearful farewell, Jo Ann and I took our leave and started for Texas. About a hundred miles out Jo Ann Said she smelled something burning. (This always gives me the "willies" as she is usually correct "smelling out" trouble.) I stopped and sure enough, around the parking brake drum it was smoking. I called a shop in Fort Worth Texas that does work for me and was told to be careful and bring it in to them when I got home. We stopped just inside of the Utah state line and fueled up and was intending to make Rock Springs Wyoming before we quit for the night but, about another hundred miles out in the "bonnies" and in the mountains the coach engine just sputtered and died!
I thought I had some bad gasoline so I changed the fuel filter. Another fifty miles it did the same thing. I carry spare filters so I changed it again. After using up my last filter we stopped in Brigham City, Utah where I bought six more filters and stayed the night. The next day I changed filters about five times again and as we came into Rock Springs Wyoming it died again. I told Jo Ann that I simply must get it repaired as it was now around 6:00 P.M.
I finally found a shop to look at it and after checking a number of things the mechanic took the cover off the engine (it is under the front of the coach and between the driver and passenger seats) and then engaged the starter. A stream of gasoline started spewing up into the coach! There was a gas line that had a hole in it and gasolene was standing all over the top of the engine! All this time, over 400 miles, that gasoline was just pouring onto the top of a hot engine. By all rules, the engine should have caught fire miles back down the road and had it done so, Jo Ann and I probably would have died in the flames before I could stop and us get out! Yes, I do believe in the providence of God!
We arrived home after two more days and I carried the coach to the shop in Fort Worth where it was discovered the shop in Idaho had installed the parts incorrectly on the parking brake and the entire system had to be replaced. I called the shop in Idaho and to their credit, they paid the entire repair bill. Yes, it was good to be home safe and sound. God took care of us one more time and I am grateful for his care.
There should be a special place in Heaven for preachers wives! Few they are that know of the hardships some suffer for their husbands to preach the Gospel. Jo Ann has been an invaluable aid to me in these years and I doubt she will ever know the full extent of my love and appreciation I have for her. In less than a month I will have preached the Glorious Gospel of our Lord for fifty years. My only regret is that I don't have another fifty to give. I know there is much work to be done yet in the Pacific Northwest as well as other places and I want to encourage men to rise to meet the challenge. Indeed, "the fields are white indeed unto harvest and the laborers are few".
Your friend's email