George Campbell Biography, Evangelist to Newfoundland - 4 - THE CHALLENGE OF A NEW METHOD



?And He said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.?

Mark 1:38

?So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed.., and they preached the word of God...?

Acts 13:4-5


The extension of the work of God into the outports really started with the boat. Herb Harris, who was over sixty, had vision, vitality and ven­ture. He had a vision for souls, vitality of strength - spiritual vitality. He often used to say, ?God loves venturers.?

After a two-week trip from Corner Brook to St. John?s on a coastal boat, Mr. Harris became convinced that the only way to reach the peo­ple living in outports was by boat. In those days very few places were connected by road. He asked Donald B. Moffat, who was then preach­ing and living in St. John?s, to undertake the task of finding a suitable craft.

After a long search, Mr. Moffat found the ?Margaret Grace MacKenzie?, owned by a Christian shipbuilder in Buckie, Scotland. This boat was bought and shipped on one of the Furness-Withy boats to St. John?s. Little did any of us know that this boat was going to make spiritual his­tory, bringing the gospel to hundreds of people. A great number who heard the gospel preached from her deck have come from darkness into God?s marvelous light ?through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ??

The boat, renamed the ?M.G.M.?, (Missionary Gospel Messenger) left St. John?s in the summer of 1956 and made its way to as many villages in Newfoundland and Labrador as possible. From village to village, everyone heard the beautiful voice of Alex Morrison singing gospel hymns over the loud speaker. People streamed down to the whaff where the little craft was tied up and listened as the gospel was preached to them. Every place we went, people came to listen. However, the longer we stayed in a place, the more opposition arose. Many of the people who were willing to hear the gospel were intimidated by spiritual advisors and sometimes influential merchants.


Years ago, the Methodists were strong in parts of Labrador and we met many solid, elderly Christians who were saved under the preaching of sound men. In the 1920?s, the Methodist Church united with another denomination and they watered down the gospel they preached. Some of the old-timers had enough spiritual insight to leave.

Uncle Alan Moores in Red Bay had helped to build the new church. A sermon was preached in the new church about Adam and Eve and how their sin wasn?t very bad. After that, Uncle Alan never went back.

Soon after, in the summer of 1956, the ?M.G.M?? went to Red Bay. We preached there in the open air and Uncle Alan came down to listen. He told us afterward, ?You?re my men. I?m like Nicodemus. I have to come at night but you can know that I am for you??

He got us the Orange Lodge to preach in. The very first night it was full. As the youngest man in the crew, it was my place to go first. I didn?t know how to start. Just then the foghorn blew and it took me back to my boyhood days. I said to the people, ?Where I grew up, we had a fog horn, too. It used to blow on foggy nights through the Golden Gate?? And I went on to tell how God had saved me.

We went from Red Bay to Lanse au Loup. There was no church build­ing in the village at that time. Part of the school was used for prayers. People came to the open air meeting in the afternoon and the Holy Spirit began to knit my heart to the people along that shore.


When we were in Forteau Bay, the next settlement, we damaged a propeller on the boat. I was at the wheel trying to get the boat underway from English Point and BANG, the prop hit something under water. I really felt bad about that. The weather turned bad and Mary Taylor, the Grenfell nurse who came to Labrador previously to serve the Lord, ar­ranged for us to have a meeting in the community hall.

The boat had to be beached to put a new propeller on her and for some reason it didn?t fit. We were going to have to continue our trip on one engine.

Mr. Harris told me to do some visiting while they fixed the boat ready to travel. While visiting, I ended up at Stan and Elsie Trimm?s house. They told me that a Pentecostal preacher, Mr. Mitchell, had occasionally come up to have a service. Stan said, ?We are glad to see you come here to preach. We are all going to go to hell. You can have meetings here in our house??


Mr. Harris and I wanted to stay; however, as it was a beautiful day, we decided to go on. One of the old-timers, Mr. Buckle, who knew the way of the sea, came down to the boat and warned us, ?I wouldn?t go out today. The forecast is bad??

Herb said, ?My old father said to never go out in a storm, but if you?re caught out in one, ride it out??

We thought because the weather was clear and calm, we could make it to Port au Choix before dark, but we were wrong. The storm struck before we got there and we had to head out into the open sea. What a ride! We had to slow right down and for hours just kept our bow into the wind.

Finally, late the next day, we got into Cow Head. Just before we got to the wharf, we unknowingly passed right over the Harbour Rock on the top of a big wave and never touched.

I?ll tell you, we were really tired. A couple of days later we got to Corn­er Brook where we based the boat for the winter. The first summer cruise on the ?M.G.M?? was over.

?They that go down to the sea in ships . ?These see the wonders of the deep.. ?? was read by Doug Howard, who then committed us to the Lord in prayer.

Related scriptures; Acts 13:49, Acts 14:6-7, Acts 18:1-3; John 3:1-3; Psalm 107.