Norm’s Notes                                               May 21, 2020

 
A Little Bit of History
 
During this virus lock down, I have been reading a book entitled “Yet Speaking,” the life story of Joseph Ramseyer, the founder of the Missionary Church Association, of which Fairview was a part. The Association founded the Fort Wayne Bible Institute. Joseph lived 1869-1944. At the age of six his family moved from Canada to the thumb of Michigan. At the age of 12 he read the entire Bible in German. At age 21, while plowing a field with a team of horses, he had what he called the “willow bush experience” where the Holy Spirit came upon him so profoundly he was forever changed. From there he went on to spend his life traveling across the U.S. holding tent meetings wherever he felt led and where asked to go. The first ten years it was Joseph and his sister; then for 40 years it was him and his wife. They traveled by horse and buggy, stage coach, train, and automobile, holding hundreds of tent meetings in 35 states. 
 
Some of the churches mentioned in the book: Hard Shell Baptist (that was the name he gave to the church), Holiness Church (he called them walking tombstones because they never smiled), Defenseless Mennonites, German Mennonites, Russian Mennonites. 
 
Some of his stories: 
They almost always stayed with a family in the area where the tent meetings were held. One home had a new dried cow dung floor put down every Saturday. One home had only two beds and ten people, the five males slept in one bed, the five females slept in the other. Another time they asked the host where they were staying if they could have two sandwiches to take with them on the road. It was the only food they had for two days. 
 
Stories of the tent meetings: 
One time, out west, a group of six rowdy teenage boys came to a meeting, each with a pistol strapped to his belt. They came in late and made quite a commotion. They left part way through the message and shot their guns into the air as they rode horseback down the road. 
Another time the tent was placed next to a swamp that had so many frogs their croaking drowned out the speaker. Mrs. Ramseyer went out to the swamp and threw sticks in each night to keep the frogs quiet. 
In a city in California, there was a plague of rats so bad that cars slid off the road as they ran over the rats. The ditches beside the road were full of dead rats. After a prayer meeting, sea gulls came from the ocean and ate the rats and ended the plague. 
 
It seems the Ramseyers were almost always out of money, many times spending all the money they had to buy tickets for a trip to the next city, asking God to provide along the way. Married for 44 years, when home they lived in a two-room “apartment” in the dorm at the Bible Institute for 37 of those years. Then a house was built for the president of the institute. Through it all, as the book describes, “souls were saved, people snatched from the fire.” God blessed them big time. 
 
Fairview is a part of that blessing. Back in 1927 three young men from Fort Wayne Bible Institute came to Angola to hold a tent meeting. They, no doubt, were inspired by the example of Joseph Ramseyer. The rest of Fairview’s story is continued here
____________________
 
Church reopens June 14. See you then!
 
 
Norm
Caring Pastor