Dear Malcolm Graham & Willie Jamieson:
(COPIES ARE BEING SENT TO THE OLDER WORKERS)
I am writing to you now because you have proven by every evidence that you are neither brethren of the Lord, nor of us, for I find no where in the scriptures where Jesus either sanctioned or excused bearers of falsehoods or slanderers of the brethren.
In every age, it has not been the masses who turned the leaders out of the will of God, but the leaders have always led the masses in error but Jesus coming to earth, removed all reason for excuses for going astray by saying BOTH would fall into the ditch. Why did He not say just the leaders would fall into the ditch? Because, in Ezekiel’s day, He told him that because of unfaithful shepherds, He was going to set up ONE Shepherd over them, who was to guide, lead feed & deliver them & Jesus recognized that prophesy for He said, “I am the Good Shepherd” & in John 10:16, He said there was to be ONE Shepherd.
You are your own witness that you know nothing of John’s ministry, who, when he saw Jesus coming, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God–He must increase, but I must decrease.” But you step up higher after you introduce trusting sinners to Jesus & begin placing your demands upon them & making yourselves lords over God’s heritage.
Paul once said he would rather speak five words with understanding than ten thousand in an unknown tongue & that is just the way we feel about worship. We would rather worship with five people who need no leader, save Christ, than ten thousand who reject His words to follow their leaders of “Christian Conventions” which, as you well know, is recorded in Washington D.C. as a recognized denomination which was not needful for conscientious objectors for the Government had made full provision for such.
There were four things God told Jeremiah to do BEFORE he could build & plant: Root out, throw down, destroy & pull down. I have tried for three years or more to get an understanding from you fellows as to why (scripturally) you do as you do but have been utterly ignored, & then to make matters worse, you have lied about me, slandered & backbitten us & said all manner of evil against us which you did not & could not prove.
So I see you no different than Stephen’s persecutors in Acts & perhaps you would do the same thing to me as they did to him if the law allowed it. Since you refuse to do anything about your ‘works’, then I see nothing left for us except to pull down, root out & throw down your evil works.
First, I want you to know I am making copies of this letter, which, if you don’t show any regard for its contents after a ‘given time’, I shall then send copies to the older workers & if we get no response from them, then we shall send it to all the workers & friends for I am not going to face my Judge on that day of days & have to admit I never told anyone of what Jesus really came to establish, for you have lied about us & slandered us publicly & I have taken it, trying to believe you were my brethren who had erred, but now, I am writing to you as I would enemies of the cross of Christ. In other words, I was glad to suffer for His sake thru being misunderstood by my brethren who still believe in you. Peter tells us the law is for the punishment of evil doers.
Nearly three years ago now Willie, (that) Ron Gay told his mother & Rose Mooney that he had seen you coming out of a tavern & later, he told Vera & I the same, & later, Bill Stratton & we all let it ‘die’ right there as a case of mistaken identity even though he insisted it was you. Now it comes out that you not only drink liquor but that you get so drunk your tongue has been loosed to admit many things you recently denied to me when we met accidentally, face to face in front of the Great Northern station where I work. The first thing you said to me was untrue for you asked, “Who am I meeting, now?”
You have known me for nearly thirty years.
Next, you said you thought I was Mr. Pahl who had died a year or so ago.
Did you think you were speaking to a dead man who had refused to lay down or was it just wishful thinking on your part? Next, I asked you who brought you that letter where I was supposed to have said there was no letter but was merely told what it contained & I accused you of preaching hearsay to 800 people at Silverdale & your only answer was that you got it on pretty good authority. However, you went to San Diego & told them the same thing last fall, nearly two years after you got my letter, saying it was entirely false in the light of Jesus telling us to pray to the Lord that He would send forth more laborers.
However, I am being more just to you as I am giving you fair warning as to what we are about to do, even though I need not do so for the scripture says, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall every word be established” so what I am about to accuse you of is not hearsay for it has been established by more than the required witnesses as we just returned from east of the mountains where we got first-hand information from eye witnesses of your conduct which I shall here quote, not for your information as you already know well what your conduct was like in the Singleton home, but for those who may be reading this later on.
You took your liquor into that home & drank to the extent that your tongue was loosed & you said “If the saints knew I was doing this, they would have no confidence in me.” Also, they were told of the man who got your liquor permit for you, a man whose home we have been advised we could do well to pattern after. When you had exposed untold corruption to the point where these poor bewildered souls could take no more, she pointed her finger at you & told you to go to bed & you told her, “That is no way to talk to a servant of God.”
Recently, you told me you had a letter signed by Ron Campbell where he admitted that all he had ever said about Jack Carroll & Linda Heyes was a lie & I asked you if you had THAT letter & you affirmed that you did so I told you, you had better hang on to it for you may need it before long, & now it comes out that you not only confessed ALL that Ron had said but admitted far more than Ron had ever said about their illicit love affair which was not news to us entirely, for we had known for twenty years or more that there was a ‘kindred’ feeling between them but knew nothing of the depths of Satan to which they had transgressed for no one in his right mind would condemn a man for loving a woman but to practice ‘free love’ & at the same time condemn marriage in others & even go so far as to cut them off from what was their first love because they were honorable enough to admit they could not abstain from marriage, is deplorable & you both KNEW THIS ALL THESE YEARS & DID NOTHING ABOUT IT & now Willie, you are the one who is arranging for the fields where these younger, innocent trusting workers are to go & who they are to go with, believing you are a faithful man & worthy of their trust, not knowing you have been rejected of your God.
You once said at a convention a year or so ago that you only had one enemy that you knew of & he lived in Seattle. What you didn’t know, is that I am one of the best friends you will ever have for I am trying to get you to see to where you are drifting for all eternity unless we can awaken you by God’s help, for I have not been a back-biter but have written you twice & now have faced you, trying to get you to do a little reasoning.
There are also many other things you admitted in the Singleton home but at present we see little need of elaborating on them but in due time, may make out a full report. You condemned Ron & when I asked you to let me go get him so I could hear both sides of the story, you flatly refused & as I remember, it was then I told you I knew then who was lying & you asked me if I didn’t believe you, a servant of the Lord & I answered, “No, Willie, I most assuredly do not.”
Malcolm, you said to me the same day as I saw Willie: “Ralph, you are a great talker & if you knew half as much as you think you do, you would say half as much as you do.” Well, it might be this is the reason I am writing to you both in the same letter, to let you know I never said half as much as I could have, trying to see some little evidence of a softness in you & a tenderness towards God or even a verse of scripture to substantiate your position for I well remember how you often said in gospel meetings, “—and I’ll give you a verse to substantiate it”.
Where are all your substantiating verses now? I’ll even go you one better: as aforesaid, Peter said the law was for the punishment of evil doers, therefore, if this letter is going to incriminate me to liable, then there is your chance to bring action against me, but in case you are afraid to, don’t go around saying you are suffering for Jesus sake.
You have so many verses to substantiate things, where is the verse to substantiate your action against Virgil Simpson? For, when he came out west & went to about three meetings at Dyes when you & your sword caught up with him & told him he was no longer welcome until he got right (whatever that means) back where he came from & he asked you what he should do & you told him to write back there which he did & Andrew refused to answer, then he came back to you again to ask what next & you told him to go back there, which he did, costing him a great deal & after he got back there, Andrew refused to see him.
Then he came back to you again & you told him the rest was up to him but to stay away from the meetings & YOU WERE THAT NOBLE PERSON who claimed you never came to a decision without hearing both sides of the story which is a lie of lies for I have my first time to experience the time you ever came to me to talk a situation over before you began your slander campaign against me & then had me & my wife & family excommunicated because I refused to go along with such a devilish doctrine of excommunication & all because I gave scripture (Jewish law, John 7:51, Roman Law, Acts 25:16, Christian ‘law’ – 1 Cor. 6:1-3) & told you that even the law of our government was more just than you fellows in your communistic practices which we found out later because you both claimed he turned the workers in to the Internal Revenue Department which he did not do but was called in later to testify as to the workings of the Christian Convention system & you & your doctrine expected him to lie to his government (who, when your kind cast him out & never even asked him if he had enough money to buy himself a cup of coffee) who gave him money to live on while they paid his tuition in a watch school & bought him tools & put him in business while your kind was going about telling that he had stolen the saints money & you expected him to lie to his government to cover the evil deeds of your system & when you decide to take me to court for this letter, the judge & jury are going to be glad to hear about your subversive activities against our country that you have come to be a resident of.
Suppose Virgil DID turn them into the government (I R.) we have learned that truth can be examined from every angle & there can be NO lie in truth for then would it become a lie. Therefore, if you were ‘clean’ you wouldn’t mind having been investigated. Perhaps you have a verse to substantiate being disloyal to our government.
So you think I would talk half as much as I do, oh! It’s good to realize, perhaps you would have been wiser & better off if you had talked half as much as you did, considering your lack of intelligence concerning the position in which you have placed yourself. Perhaps you have a verse to substantiate being subversive to us who have let you come into our country that you have proven unworthy of.
That last big sinister meeting held at Boring, Oregon where all the aliens & resident aliens gathered in their secret meeting, which, if it happens again, the F.B.I. will be notified immediately. You false apostles & deceitful workers have set yourselves up as being the door to salvation & claiming that anyone who does not come thru you, can never be saved, because, to speak against you is to speak against the Holy Ghost, so now you have taken the Lord’s place even to judge, condemn, persecute & cast out all who oppose you.
Well, you have tackled the wrong person for I am determined to root out, pull down & destroy your evil works. One man had to go out from the presence of the Lord & eat grass until he learned he could not trifle with God’s elect, so beware, for the Lord can still come to the aid of those who have purposed not to defile themselves with the portion of the kings meat for His people absolutely refuse to be organized by men. We have ONE HEAD, even Christ, whereas you are governed by a many headed system, sponsored by Satan, because the works of Satan you do, knowing well the ministry of Diotrephes who loved to have the preeminence, (just like you do, or you would have dispensed with the workers’ table long ago) forbidding to enter & casting out of the church all who would come.
I understand, Willie, that you once received a letter signed William Ervine Jamieson & could never find out who sent it. You need not wonder who sent this one for my name will appear at the end of this for I am not ashamed of the Name I bear.
When your kind condemned Ron & you told me how Jack had tried to help him etc., but how he refused to cooperate, but Howard Mooney told Ron (Campbell) some years ago how that his father, as well as Bill Zosel, thought Jack & Linda were secretly married & when Ron asked him what HE thought, he said he believed it was true, so Ron told him they would have to face Jack with it then, but Howard refused, saying, “If we face him up, you will be sent back to Australia & I will be sent back to the print shop.” So Ron had to face him alone, believing he was a true brother who had ‘fallen’ temporarily – t’was then Jack got his dagger into Ron & never took it out until he had succeeded in leaving him on the hiway of life, half-dead, stripped of his raiment (reputation) & left to die with bleeding ulcers & all the while you preaching about Joseph who was so shamefully persecuted by his brethren which they could not ‘hold a candle to’ compared to you fellows.
No wonder seven of you workers recently came to our city, going from door to door, warning everyone everywhere to flee at the very sight of Ron but you need not have, for the darkness is past & the True Light now shineth & there is no place for you to hide your evil deeds.
I wrote you fellows a couple years ago of Daniel’s words that God told him that in the latter days, knowledge would be increased but you gave the warning no heed & now “judgment has begun at the house of God” & you will have to face the consequences of being exposed. Jesus said, “For judgment I am come into the world that they who see may be made blind & they that see not might see.”
Has your sight turned to blindness? & we, who have been blindly led these many years are now able to see which removed all fear of you fellows in your deceitfulness. You notice I am not quoting much scripture this time for the simple reason, that the former letters I have written you fellows were full of scripture which you proved you wanted none of, so now, you have to face the bare facts.
I am just beginning to realize why I said some of the things I did to you that day when I saw you at the R.R. station, such as WHERE IS YOUR FAITH? When did Jesus tell His friends what you told yours in this city? You remember how I asked you, “What have you been putting into these people the last thirty, forty or fifty years that one man, coming to the city, could put you in such a state of frenzy.”
Jesus labored side by side with the man He KNEW was going to betray Him but never once did He warn the other disciples to watch out for that deceiver, for He had truth & He WAS Truth, therefore, He had nothing to fear so far as unfaithful men were concerned. No wonder you are scared stiff at Ron coming to the city, for you are worried lest your evil deeds are going to be brought to light. Jesus knew!
His own could never be deceived & neither would they follow the voice of strangers but you have never had this wonderful Truth to give people, no wonder you are in fearful torment. We also were suspicious of Ron’s intentions, in coming back to our country & wondering what his purpose was but we were Christlike enough to give him a hearing which is permissible according to Matt.18, or have you torn that chapter from your Bible?
Malcolm, you recently spoke in a meeting of having a cluster of grapes & you said, “I said, there is a beautiful picture of a little church gathering.” Had you received your revelation from the Lord, instead of Howard Mooney, you would have thought better than to have made such a foolish statement, for your Bible tells plainly that the fruit (of the spirit) is what the tree (or vine) gives off to feed others, (a ‘cluster’ of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, but most of all, love) instead of hatred, lying , slander, backbiting & the like, showing you know nothing of the love that moved Jesus to show such a loving spirit to the man He knew was going to betray Him & cause Him to be put to death & so great was His love that not one of the other disciples knew who He meant when He said, “One of you will betray me this night.” So how do you expect to get a right revelation when you only copy men, the very thing you condemn in the other denominations. So you think a cluster of grapes is typical of a church gathering then! According to your actions of these days, we can readily see your reasoning, for instance, every time you pick one of those grapes from the cluster & eat it, you are literally (in type) eating one of the members of the church then, but what sayeth the scripture (Gal. 5:15):” but if ye bite & devour one another, beware lest ye be not consumed one of another.” See now, why you’ve got the wrong revelation?
You went to some of our friends in Puyallup, Malcolm, & you, Willie, in Oregon & both of you used the same scripture as reason to warn them not to have anything to do with us by quoting II Tim. 3:5. You can both be glad Vera & I are not what you inferred we were by those verses or you would have had to face the courts before now.
The young woman in Puyallup told us her only mistake was that she didn’t go right then & get her Bible & read those verses to see the setting of the fifth verse, for when she did, she noticed the sixth verse & told us that if we were the ones who had crept into her house, then she must be the silly woman. Then her husband spoke up & said that you had said you would be back to see them again & that he was ready for you when you came. How come you never kept that promise?
Did you see the handwriting on the wall? Jesus said definitely that His sheep heard ONLY His voice & the voice of a stranger they would not hear. When we hear a lie told, are we to believe it is His voice just covering up for you rather than to cause you embarrassment?
An (evil) worker in Canada told Vera’s aunt that she HAD to obey him whether he was right or wrong, because he was the Lord’s servant. Could you give us a verse to substantiate THAT one? You will think I am a bitter man, but no doubt your brethren thought Jesus was also bitter when He called them “Whited sepulchers”, “Slow bellies”, “Generation of Vipers” & asked them “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
You told us at Puyallup, Malcolm, that there was no use in bringing Mrs. Runyan to the meetings as there was nothing to her. Since when did God make you a judge of human hearts? We thought as much at the time you told us that but we were afraid of you then for we were taught to be out of fellowship with you, was to be out of Christ & all that belonged to Him & His, not having that He meant it when He said, “Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.”
Recently you said in meeting, “When a branch is dead, it has to be cut off.” WHO WAS TO CUT IT OFF? COME ON NOW, GIVE US SCRIPTURE, or a verse to substantiate that one. If the CC fellowship is God’s way, then you are a murderer for you have cut off branches that have proven they still are not dead. Had I, when we were excommunicated, said, “To hell with everything” and gone back to the world, you would have been happy for then you could have said, “Poor Ralph, we loved him so much & tried so hard to help him but he loved the world & has gone back to walk no more with us.”
But I never said that, nor did we think such a thing at the time for we were so sure you were our brethren who just didn’t understand us but would, in due time. Now you understand us alright but don’t know what to do with us & furthermore, there is nothing you CAN do except to get right with God and His own & then we will receive you as brethren.
When you began to persecute me, you had no idea where your sins would lead you to & you dare not say that you didn’t for you told Ted Smelt you had been hard on me (but you were not man enough to come & admit it to me). Speaking of Ted, I watched every word you spoke at his funeral service & not once did you refer to him as ‘our brother’ but, as the ‘departed’.
You said, “We have not come here to talk about the departed for they are in God’s hands & there is nothing we can do for them but we are here to talk to the living.” However, that ‘truth’ was murdered when Jack passed on for your whole sermon was to extol him. What is the difference between one dead or another dead? Or are you like the Methodist minister who buried my brother, when asked what he should say, was told to use his own judgment, so he said, “O.K., I’ll fix up a good one.”
Shortly after Ted’s funeral, Reynold’s daughter passed on also & you had her service, one who never professed anything in her life, yet you extolled her as being a wonderful wife, mother, neighbor, friend, lodge woman, P.T.A., etc. (which no doubt was all true) & then you ended by saying with emphasis, “And God doesn’t forget these things.” But where did your sermon go you used to tell us about in gospel meetings: “You can clear a piece of ground, cultivate it all year long, but if you plant no seeds, WILL THERE BE A HARVEST? What went with this sermon when you buried her?
When Bill & I took George Briggs to Canada because you closed your meetings the third night he attended & when asked if you wouldn’t have some home meetings for him, all you said was, “I have no plans for the future.” So we took him to workers who would give him a chance for salvation, where he did profess where there were five workers in the meeting & when this got back to you, thru Vern Smith, you got your jealous dagger into me & asked Vern if he ever read about the king in the O.T. who was smitten with leprosy for meddling in the affairs of the priesthood.
If that makes sense, then why did Jesus not smite the woman at the wall with leprosy for going into the city & telling so many what He had done for her, causing MANY to believe on Him thru her word, & worse than that, you wrote up there to have it verified as to whether he did or not & as you were told & Frank Stelfox was kind enough to come down here to tell me, not to let it worry me as it was all jealousy.
You would have had a ‘field day’ persecuting the saints who went ‘everywhere preaching the word.” Why does your doctrine deny these beautiful passages of scripture? Your doctrine does not even teach that Jesus IS the Christ but that Ethiopian man, after that he had a visit with a saint, called of God to go to him & his own testimony was, “I believe that Jesus IS the Christ.”
Which, if you believed, you would go on & on, seeking other lost souls, bringing them back to the fold & let Jesus take His rightful place in our hearts to lead, guide, feed & chasten & comfort the. The whole religious world believes that He DID come in the flesh & that He WILL come again, but that isn’t what it says – He IS come. You say I am bitter! Well then, if fighting for what Jesus came & lived & died for is bitterness, then I guess I am one of the most bitter for I have many brethren who are just as deceived by you fellows as I was.
Now then, in closing, God said, “Come now, let us reason together.” We are still willing, God is willing, – how about you? I would not want to be guilty of not offering a little building & planting & we have a real love for you fellows if you desire to come to see us to reason together & we assure you, we will not be unkind to you for we have no desire to hurt you but you must remember we have a responsibility to our God as members of His body & placed where He wants us (1 Cor. 12:18) & our desire is to see you come back to the Savior of us all for we have all departed from Christ to greater or lesser degrees & there is just as much reason to believe He will receive you as He will (& did) us, for He is no respecter of persons, & we have no desire to be either, but since He has so graciously given us a vision of Himself, the same vision Moses had, which caused him to be able to endure as seeing Him who was Invisible.
The only difference in us now than we have always been is that from henceforth we shall never make any more commitments to us either, but to the One who could love His enemies with the very same kind of love He bestowed on His friends. This is truly divine love & no one can manifest it unless he has it. How about beginning to build on that kind of a foundation & then we can go forth to plant & to build the same in the hearts of others & bring joy to the heart of God & restore peace in the world of brethren. So I see no reason why we can’t get together & reason things out, for His Name’s sake.
Two of your fellow workers made the Singletons promise, when Schroeders professed, that they never would tell them about the beginning of this (Christian Convention) system & when I found out it started only at the turn of the century, for that was not what we were told all these years, our whole spiritual foundation came crashing to our feet, then when we went thru pain & torture of spirit (unable to read & pray for weeks) then finally I tried again to pray, asking the Lord to just give me something to hang onto lest I lose faith altogether & it was then, that the Lord began to build His true foundation in our hearts & truly, this was built on the foundation of the apostles & prophets, Jesus Christ Himself, being the CHIEF CORNER STONE. Rev. 3:20 is the whole gospel story in one verse.
He stands outside, He knocks, we hear, we open, He enters, He sups with us, we sup with Him. There is GOD’S WAY, AS SEEN IN JESUS & it’s all on the INSIDE of individuals, ‘hidden’ in our temples of clay. Everyone who has heard that inward call & opened the door & invited Him in will be of the very same mind for they will have the MIND of Christ & there will be no need of men as leaders (if workers put the right thing into them.) Christ will be their leader, closer than man could ever get for He is dwelling on the inside & He ‘ever liveth’, A High Priest FOREVER, & all who have Him in their hearts will have sweet fellowship together with no need of a list of do’s & don’ts, musts & must nots, for we have a living Spirit within that teaches us all that. This leaves the servant to go forth seeking others to bring them to His great love.
The great error of the Christian Convention system was & is the gulf between the saints & workers, for we see no difference (scripturally) except the servant was more free to go further, but both are working together for the good of the Kingdom of God – they were all workers & they were all ministering. These past two weeks, we have had great joy of going from place to place, visiting these poor souls the Christian Convention system has left beaten & half-dead, robbed of their raiment (reputation) & we have been able to put in a little oil & wine, so to speak & have literally ministered to them.
One poor soul in Oregon took Vera in her arm & wept, saying “This is too good to be true.” We don’t write this to you only, but for the purpose of those who may be reading it later, to give them an idea of what Jesus meant when He said, “If the Son hath make you free, then are ye free indeed.” One of our friends recently told us it was too bad that we won’t have a fellowship to invite people into now, & we were full of joy to be able to tell them we now have the greatest fellowship we have ever known for we are in close contact with the Father & all His are meeting together. She could see the joy of this.
From we who would like to minister CHRIST to you also.
(Signed) Ralph Derkland & family
THE FOREGOING IS NOT A PART OF THE ORIGINAL
Since we wrote this letter, we sent it to Willie & Malcolm on the 5th of Sept., 1957 & since we received no reply from either of them, we then sent out copies to the older workers on the 10th of October, 1957 & to date, no response, so we have hereby discharged our responsibility towards our promises not to spread it amongst the friends. R. D.
EPILOGUE by Don Derkland
Son of Ralph and Elvera Derkland
Ralph E. Derkland: March 23, 1909 – March 2, 1969
Elvera S. Derkland: June 11, 1907 – December 7, 1993
Married September 18, 1936
Bertha Mae was born in 1937
Eldon (Don) was born in 1942
After leaving meetings, we attended a little church in the Magnolia District of Seattle. The pastor was formerly an Assembly of God Evangelist. Dad had heard his radio broadcast and decided to attend his church. They had a wonderful youth program, and I soon had a crush on the pastor’s daughter. I believe this was about the Spring of 1959.
The pastor was the most charismatic man that I had ever met. Now, just think about coming out of “the truth,” and getting involved with an Assembly of God type of church who spoke in tongues, etc. Until their dying day, Mom and Dad were disappointed that they were never filled with the Holy Spirit, and that they never experienced the prophesying or speaking in tongues. Until my dying day, I will say it wasn’t at all important and that they both had the love of God in their heart and that was all that mattered. Looking back, I remember my folks finding it so difficult to accept the speaking in tongues, etc., because of our background. However, they loved the people in the church so much that it overrode that.
Remember the story of Jim Jones in Guyana? I fully understand how that happened. We wouldn’t have gone that far, but we believed that this was indeed the one true church and Jesus could return at any time. Dad sold our home and gave all the money to the ministry. We would fast and pray for days on end; going to the church four or five times a week. I didn’t play basketball or tennis my senior year in high school because it would interfere with church. I’m extremely sorry about what I missed my senior year, but I never really let myself dwell on it long enough to get bitter. I grew so much as a person with the whole experience that I refer to those several years as what made me into the person I am. Speaking in the church, singing in the choir and soloing was the perfect background for someone who would eventually make their living in sales. The format of our church service was such that there were times when anybody could speak or sing, etc., and it was a good thing.
Dad was an elder in the church. There were a few ups and downs, but mostly it was good. The church bought a home on acreage and we built a new church there. It became Covington Creek Bible Camp. There was a little two-bedroom house on the grounds that Mom and Dad moved into. My sister, Bertha Mae, passed away quite a few years ago (a stroke). She never really followed in Dad’s footsteps. She wasn’t an atheist, but church just wasn’t her thing and, of course, we loved her the very same.
In 1965 while I was in the Army in Germany, Dad had his first stroke. Mom had never worked or drove after they were married, so I left the Army on a hardship discharge to help out. Dad almost got well enough to drive when he had a massive stroke that took his life in 1969. He was speaking in the Sunday church service when it happened and didn’t suffer any pain. It was just so appropriate that he would die in the church doing what he surely believed was his calling.
Mom continued to live on the church grounds. Eventually, there was a scandal involving the pastor and the church disbanded and most of the congregation went their separate ways. Mom moved near us and never once wavered in her belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have pondered something throughout the last thirty years. Does the pastor’s sin take away from what he taught and the experiences we had in the church? I don’t think so. I’m sure every person that was in that church continued to serve the Lord in whatever capacity they could. In January of 1964 I was in basic training at Fort Ord, California. I had been there about two weeks and was feeling down. I went out to the parade grounds about 9:00 one night and looked up to the sky and stars and cried, “Oh Lord, I am so lonely.” I can’t begin to describe the feeling of love that swept through my entire being right there on the spot–nobody can take that from me.
Click Here to read Ralph Derkland’s Letter No. 1 (Exit letter)