An Open Door

I am writing these editorials from Waupun, Wisconsin, where I am staying with friends during the brief period that I am appointed to labor in these parts in the interest of our mission. This time Waupun itself is not the center of our activity, although it begins to appear to me that it could very well be made a center. For many of our people that remember the past the name Waupun does not awake pleasant memories. For a little while we had a congregation here, which, however, soon revealed very morbid tendencies of which they stubbornly refused to be converted. They did not remain with us very long. And a small group of them still congregate here on the Sabbath and try to feed themselves with their own beloved husks. But in the first place, not all of those that belonged to our former church here were spiritually sick. And some of them remained loyal to our cause to the very last, and are even now attached to the Protestant Reformed Churches. And, secondly, a number of our people have moved to Waupun from Michigan, and have families here. For these the place where we are working at present is too distant. And it might not prove either impossible or undesirable to work in Waupun once again in the future.

However, as stated, we are not making Waupun the center of our labors at present. That center is Randolph, which is about sixteen miles distant from Waupun. That the board of missions decided to labor in this vicinity, and that, too, while we have no missionary, is due to the recommendations of Rev. C. Hanko of Oak Lawn, IL. He had contact with some of the people in this vicinity and thought that there might be a field for us here. It seemed to him that the Lord had opened a door for us in this community. He, too, was the first to be appointed by the mission board to labor in this vicinity for a few weeks. He established contact with some families in Randolph, as well as in Friesland and East Friesland; secured a place of meeting, preached twice on Sunday and visited several families during the week. After his stay the meetings on Sunday were continued, and some of our ministers have conducted the services here. And so the mission board decided to request of the Fuller Ave. consistory to let me labor here, too, for about three weeks, a request which was readily granted.

At the time of this writing I have preached in Randolph twice. The services, which are held in the language at night, were well attended. In the after-Holland language in the afternoon, and in the English noon the audience numbered between sixty and seventy, and in the evening between seventy and eighty. These are not bad audiences, especially when one considers that they consist mostly of adults. Tonight (Sept. 17) I expect to deliver a lecture, for two more Sundays, the Lord willing, I expect to preach, while for next week two more lectures have been advertised. In the meantime I have visited several families, some in Friesland, some living on the farm, and some in Randolph. So that we may safely say that in this first week of my stay here, I have become acquainted somewhat with this new field of labor.

However, it is too early to express a definite opinion on the prospects of our cause in this community. Surely, it would be premature to speak of organizing a congregation. In Randolph there is a fairly large Dutch Reformed church, some of whose members are good Reformed people; and a small Christian Reformed Church. There we have our meetings. The meetings were started in a kind of pavilion or community hall, which offered plenty of room, but had a rather dilapidated appearance, and was not the most desirable meeting place. After a meeting with the minister and two board members of the Congregational Church in Randolph, however, we were able to rent their building for our meetings both on Sunday and during the week. Henceforth, therefore, we expect to have our services and lectures there. Not far from Randolph are Friesland and East Friesland, small towns in the midst of a prosperous farming community. As the names indicate, there are many Hollanders of Friesian stock there; and, if I am not mistaken, there are several of these Friesians that are rather sound in faith. They reveal at least an interest in our cause. Even though it is too early, therefore, to say anything definite as to the future of our church here, we may state that the Lord has opened unto us a door. There can be no question about that. If the Lord be pleased to give us another missionary soon, he may well start his labors right here. And if we must struggle on without a missionary for some time, the labors should not be abandoned, nor even discontinued in this community. For the Lord has given us an open door.