Missionary Notes

There was one lecture which the undersigned gave in 1960 which was not mentioned in the former issue ofThe Standard Bearer under “Missionary Notes.” I refer to the lecture which was held by the undersigned in the American Legion Hall at Tripp, S.D. This lecture was held December 14, 1960. 

Permit me to tell you something about this lecture and the experience we had at this city of South Dakota. 

In the first place it should be noticed that Tripp, S.D., is on route U.S. 18. This is 99 miles straight west from Doon, Iowa. It is, therefore, in the southeastern part of South Dakota. Isabel is in the N.W. part of South Dakota. It is about 375 miles from Isabel to Tripp and about 200 miles from Aberdeen to Tripp. One should consult a map of South Dakota to appreciate this.

The town of Tripp, S.D., itself has about one thousand or more inhabitants. It has a Methodist Church, a Congregational Church, two Lutheran Churches (American Lutheran and Missouri Synod), Roman Catholic and a Reformed Church. This latter church, the Reformed, is really, originally of the Reformed Church, U.S.A. (German Reformed) but has merged with the Evangelical Church so that this merged church since 1940 has been known as the Evangelical Reformed Church. Now this church has again merged with the Congregational Church and this new formation is called “The United Church of Christ.” 

In this town we found a very commodious auditorium in the American Legion Hall. We found it immaculately clean and the acoustics in it are excellent. A helpful printer gave us a front-page write-up, and we put a paid announcement in the paper, and had some placards made, advertising the meeting. We also made a few calls on people whose addresses we received from our people in both Isabel and Forbes. 

Since it took a little time to get the ground-work laid here in Tripp and since I would not be able to preach, as yet, on Sunday, I returned for the week-end to Hull, Iowa, where Mrs. Lubbers and I stayed at the parsonage of Hull, the home of Rev. J. Kortering. We took charge of the catechism classes on Saturday, preached twice on Sunday and led the Y.P. Society on Sunday evening. Rev. and Mrs. Kortering and children were in our churches at Isabel and Forbes for three Sundays. Thus we had a good place of lodging and could employ the mimeograph of the Hull church for song sheets for the lecture at Tripp. Rev. G. VanBaren graciously consented to cancel an evening of listening to a rendition of the oratorio, the “Messiah,” and accompanied us to Tripp to serve as the chairman. He took along a goodly and representative number of the Sunday School pamphlets which we displayed at the Legion Hall. Incidentally there were several of the people who came to the lecture who also took one or more pamphlets with them. Wilmar Jansma from our Hull church accompanied us as the pianist and Mr. and Mrs. John Blankespoor also went with us. 

It was a good evening. Eleven people came to hear the lecture in Tripp besides those who came with me from N.W. Iowa. The undersigned spoke on the subject, “The Infallible Earmark of the Last Hour,” after being fitly and properly introduced by the Rev. G. VanBaren. After the lecture we drove back to Iowa yet that same evening. 

The audience listened well. There was one individual who remained to talk with us. He told Rev. VanBaren that had he been aware of the nature of our churches and the caliber of the address he felt certain more people could have been made interested to come and hear the lecture. 

Incidentally, none of the families and individuals we visited prior to the lecture made it a point to come to hear. I believe that the method of lecture and follow up is the only practically possible one. One could not very well work with a list of names and simply make personal calls, and then, should there appear sufficient interest, announce a meeting for a lecture. The method of announcing a lecture and then follow up has been designated by some as “from the top down.” It is difficult to see the propriety of this designation, even from a formal point of view. 

As of now your Home Missionary has a mandate from the Mission Committee to return to Tripp and hold other lectures. If possible we should also attempt a service on Sunday, after a few personal visits to those interested. 

Until such a time as Sunday services can be arranged in Tripp, it seems to me, reason dictates that the Home Missionary seek to find a vacant pulpit in one or more of our churches in the vicinity. It would hardly do to sit in Tripp doing nothing when one can fill a pulpit in Doon on a given Sunday, when Rev. J. VanBaren is away preaching by classical appointment. 

May I make a request? Will you remember this labor in your prayers? Sometimes I gain the impression that this is not always done. I only hope to be proved in error in this feeling. 

Let us not forget that there are still Reformed people in those parts of South Dakota for whom the future, from a Reformed point of view, is the very opposite of being promising. They will be the victim of the maelstrom of church mergers ever remerging. And in the process the Reformed truth disappears altogether. 

—G.L.