While located with the church at Bloomington, Illinois, James Smythe, a student at the University of Illinois, was preaching for them until we moved to work with them regularly. They had a sister attending that had a husband that had some mental problems. Brother Smythe had counseled her. Her husband threatened to shoot brother Smythe. After brother Smythe left, I was preaching one Lord's Day morning and he came to the service and just stood in the doorway. He put his hand in his inside coat pocket. Brother Tom Fann reached up and took him by the arm and pulled him down in the seat beside him. I didn't think he had a gun but I didn't know!
Another interesting thing happened. We did not have a church building (we met in a residence building we had bought on contract). The town barber responded to the invitation and we had to decide where to baptize him. The Baptists said we could use their baptistery if we would bring the candidate to be baptized when we had several. At that time we were having winter weather. The good sisters could come along to help clean up after baptismal services he said. There was a black Church of God on Taylor Street. They used a watering tank to baptize in. The candidate would enter one end, and sit down in the tank. The preacher would stand on the outside and perform the immersion. We were having a Gospel meeting to start with brother Harry Matthews from Marrow, Oklahoma. The church was sending him for a mission meeting. When I told that black deacon that we were having trouble finding a place to baptize, he stated, "Oh, brother, no man should forbid water," ha! Decatur, IL had a meeting house. I knew Gene Clark, the preacher. It was 60 miles to Decatur and 60 miles to Champaign-Urbana one way.
Brother Thomas Fann said: If you don't mind, I can take you to the sand pit where I was baptized. We drove out, I changed clothes in a corn field. The members parked their cars so the lights would shine down. When we got down for the baptismal service, I saw a fence post in the water, and it had barbed wire on it. I waded out to make sure there would not be any other obstacles. I felt a snake go between my legs. It must have been a water moccasin. I never said anything about that. We had a hard time. The Christian Church at Hayworth, IL told us to use their baptistery. On two occasions when we went to use it, they had a Christmas tree over the baptistery. I called brother Victor Kelley at Urbana, IL. He was one of their elders (a real fine man and a good elder). He taught in the university. He helped preachers who studied Ph.D. degrees in their university work: Pat Hardeman, Hugo McCord, Jim Smythe, Ira North, etc.
My good wife Delores, always encouraged me to keep on and not get discouraged. In looking back, I believe these times were our finest hours.
While located with the church at [city name withheld by editor], Ohio, we had a member (who is now deceased) whose proper name was [name withheld by editor]. He went by the nickname Doggie. He did not attend regularly.
Fred Dennis came to [city name withheld by editor] for a Gospel meeting. Doggie came to that meeting just about every service. He always had the alcohol smell. When he came forward, Fred said, "You take charge of him. He's been drinking!" He came to our door one evening and said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone will open the door, I will enter." We invited him in. He had wet himself, so I guided him to a wooden rocker. It was raining, so I offered to take him to his boarding room. We started toward the garage. He looked across the living room and saw our daughter's piano. He stated, "Oh, you've got one of those things." He sat down at the piano, and he could really play it.
I finally got him out to the garage and we started on our way to his boarding room. We drove up to his boarding room and he said, "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." He opened the door and started to get out. There happened to be a mud puddle just a little in front of the car and he fell in it. He was likable. He had a good personality when at himself. His brother Pie was deputy sheriff at the time. Their mother was a member of the church. Pie asked me to preach her funeral when she died.