Golden Lampstands of Iowa - Cylinder

In the summer of 1933 the work in this part of Iowa reached out to the small farming community of Cylinder, some 150 miles west and north of Waterloo. It proved to be the will of the Lord, as God blessed the effort in the succeeding months with a good number professing faith in Cirist, and God eventually planted another lamp stand.

A young brother, Marlo Olson, who was working for the U.S. Agriculture Department and was living in the Washington D.C. area, had written to Mr. Smith many times, requesting him to come along during Marlo's vacation time to his home community where he had been born and raised. He was exercised about his family and others in the area.
It is of interest as to how Marlo, himself was brought in contact with the Gospel. While on a summer break from his classes in the State College at Ames, in 1929, he was working in the office of the County Agricultural Service at Elkader, Iowa. One day, at his residence, he received a letter addressed to Marlo Olson. Upon reading the letter, he realized that there was another Marlo Olson in the area, so he decided to return the letter personally, with his apologies to the young woman in the Garnavillo area who had written it. Upon locating her home, she and the family persuaded him to attend a gospel meeting that evening in the Gospel Hall at Garnavillo. Marlo Olson, who had been raised in a religious home around Cylinder, was awakened to his need of Christ, and an Interest in his own soul's welfare was immediately aroused. His concern for salvation led him to attend more gospel meetings at Garnavillo, and in the month of July, 1929, he trusted Christ. Following his conversion, he was baptized by brother Louis Brandt in the waters of the Mississippi River at Clayton. After graduating from college, he went to live and work in the Washington D.C. area.
During the summer of 1933, Mr. Smith had his tent pitched in Hampton and was preaching the gospel. At this time, Marlo Olson arrived on his vacation and requested that Mr. Smith would go with him to Cylinder. Mr. Smith yielded to his request, feeling that it was the Lord's will. He left the Hampton meetings in the hands of brethren from Hitesville, and the two of them went to Cylinder, about 100 miles to the west. This was likely the month of August.
A Mr. Pugsley, who lived in Cylinder, agreed to let the brethren use his yard next to his home. A few electric light bulbs were strung among the trees, and using planks borrowed from the lumberyard for seats, Mr. Smith preached the gospel in the open air nightly for two weeks. A good interest was seen, with some professing to be saved. Among these was Mario Olson's brother-in-law, Mark Fredrick. Marlo's sister, Mrs.
Fredrick, had been reached by God's grace two years earlier (in 1931) after Marlo had taken them to a Bible Conference In Omaha, Nebraska.
After these two weeks of meetings, Mr. Smith returned to Hampton to finish the series there. He next pitched his tent on a farm yard near Aredale, and while there, he received a letter from Mark Fredrick, urging him to come back to Cylinder. Mr. Smith had written the Fredricks a letter dated the same day inviting them to come down the next Lord's Day. A baptism was held that Lord's Day afternoon, September 24th, in the Hitesville area, when 35 believers obeyed the Lord in this ordinance. Among them were some of the newly saved ones from Aredale, and also Mr. and Mrs. Fredrick.
In the first part of October, Mr. Smith had a Saturday night meeting and again, one at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday in Cylinder, before returning to Aredale for the evening meeting. It was evident that God was working in this area. A few days later, a young son of the Fredricks died as the result of a lingering illness. Mr. Smith was called to preach the funeral. While in Cylinder, a blind man in the community, who had been visited in August by the brethren, also died, and Mr. Smith was asked to take this funeral, also. He arranged for a few evening meetings between the funerals. By the end of the visit, several more had professed to be saved, bringing the number to about ten in the area since the first meetings in August. Also, a number of others were awakened to their need of a Savior.
Mr. Smith realized he should be getting to Cylinder for a series of Gospel meetings, instead of the short visits that he was endeavoring to make while being busily occupied at Aredale and other areas. Arrangements were made to use the Methodist church building, and he commenced meetings in the middle of November. Before these meetings even began, several others trusted Christ, as the young Christians in the area were busy testifying.
On the 12th of November, Mr. Smith, writing from Cylinder to Marlo Olson, says, "The Fredricks and the Hayes are going along with me to Aredale today." A new assembly had been formed there a week or two before, so these new Christians observed a company of believers, Mr. Smith was not allowed to continue the meetings in the church building. He was able to move the meetings into the Odd Fellows Hall. In a letter to Mario, in mid-December, Mr. Smith mentions some of the brethren taking part in the meetings, by telling how God awakened them and brought them to Christ. This series of meetings continued to toward the holiday season. Seven more souls professed faith in Christ that week, so it was a very encouraging time as to preaching the gospel in that area.
Mr. Smith did not go back to Cylinder until March of 1934. In a letter to Mario, he wrote of having eight weeks of gospel preaching at Stout in January and February, when 26 persons were saved. During this time, the young Christians in Cylinder started getting together on Sunday afternoons for prayer and Bible study. Three of the young brethren, Mark Predrick, Earl Hayes and Claude Hansen, were beginning to show an exercise to open up the Word of God to others. Two brethren from Hitesvile had given them two nights of ministry from God's Word.
The latter half of March, brother Smith returned to Cylinder for a couple of weeks of meetings, when at least six persons professed. He wrote of his desire to see these young Christians seeking to please God.
The middle of April a baptism was arranged at Aredale. Five of the believers from Cylinder, who said they did not want to wait any longer, came along and were baptized with those from the Aredale area. Those from Cylinder were: Mr. and Mrs. Hayes, Claude Hansen, Fern Christensen and Margaret Freeman. About three weeks later, a baptism was held near Stout. Among those baptized at Stout were two sisters from the Cylinder area. These young Christians were willing to drive a peat distance to honor their Lord.
Around the 20th of May, Mr. Smith returned to the Cylinder area, accompanied by brother Brandt of Garnavillo. They had a week of meetings to encourage the young believers, and arranged a baptism for a number who were exercised about taking that step of obedience to their Lord. The believers, who had already been baptized in other places following their conversions, were exercised about gathering in assembly capacity. They had already severed themselves from sectarian places, and were prepared to go forth unto the Lord, outside the religious orders around.
The following Lord's Day, May 27, 1934, about ten local Christians, along with around 40 or more visiting Christians from other assemblies, sat down together to partake of the Lord's Supper. The meetings for the day were held in the Odd Fellows Hall. In the afternoon, they assembled at a sand pit, just east of town. A notice of this first baptism that Mr. Smith was having in the Cylinder area had been put in the local paper. Between 300 and 400 people came to witness 27 believers enter the waters of baptism. A number of them faced persecution at home, but they were happy to bear reproach for Christ's sake.
The assembly soon increased to around thirty believers in the fellowship, but over the years the numbers have declined. Some of the Christians who were farming rented land began to move further away. Others lost heart in the race, and dropped out of the fellowship. In later years, Mr. Smith remarked that while he had kept busily occupied closer to home, in the work of the Lord, perhaps the assembly at Cylinder should have had more help, and some would have been strengthened to carry on for God.

Presently, in 1984, the assembly has around a dozen in fellowship. For years the Olson family home was used as the meeting place, as none of the family occupied it. In 1967 a nice gospel hall was built, which the assembly is presently using. gathered together unto the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, at Aredale, sitting down to partake of the Lord's Supper. No doubt their hearts were touched as they witnessed some fellow believers, in a scriptural way, remembering their blessed Lord.
Two weeks later, in another letter, brother Smith wrote to Marlo, "I am here at Cylinder having a wonderful time. Five professed last week and five this week, which now makes 27 altogether that have professed to be saved." This would have been since the first meetings held in August. He adds, "There is a good interest on the part of many more. Paul Elliott was with me last Sunday night." Chauncey Yost was with Mr. Smith for the first week of those meetings in the church building.
A letter, written by Mrs. Frederick to her brother, Marlo on the 27th of November, says, "Of the 26 or 27 who have professed here, only six are men. The religious people are getting stirred up."