Meetings in the Park

Today I was pondering a memory that mom told about a happening in Lethbridge Alberta's city park many years ago. The Lord called my Mom and Dad (Joe and Rachel Hofer) into the ministry back in the 1980s. Their commission started when Leon Willis prophesied over them at a meeting in White Horse, Montana. The prophecy said, “You should go and minister to your own people, the Hutterites.” Mom and Dad didn’t know how this would happen. They were excommunicated when they left the Hutterite Colony in 1975. So, the Hutterites would not allow them to visit a colony. 

One day in 1989 a car stopped in front of Mom and Dad’s home. The man in the car was a member of a group called Cowboys for Christ. He said, “We plan to put on a cowboy concert in the park across the street from the Lethbridge mall and in the High River Alberta Park. Would you folks (Joe and Rachel) join us and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ at these concerts?” 

Now it is a well-known in Lethbridge and High River that 100s of people from local Hutterite Colonies come into these cities to sell their produce. After the markets close, these folks would move to the local city park and enjoy the rest of the day. In those days, this happened on Thursdays in Lethbridge and on Wednesdays in High River. The Cowboys for Christ wanted to reach as many people as they could for Christ. This is how Mom and Dad were given opportunity to share the gospel with the Hutterites. Reaching Out Ministries was born out of these meetings.

Once a month for five years, Mom and Dad drove to Lethbridge and High River. Dad would preach the gospel after the music and they would pray with whoever needed prayer. Many Hutterites came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior in those five years. The prophecy given in White Horse Montana came to pass.  

There is a story that I often ask my parents to retell from those days. There was an older Hutterite Lady in her 80s. She came to the park one day but the meeting was already over. She found Mom in the park and asked, “Are we too late?”  

Mom said, “It’s never too late.” 

Mom walked with her over to a picnic table and offered cookies and coffee. Mom and Dad shared the gospel with this 80-year-old women. She said, “Every night I go to bed, read my catechism, and sings 3 or 4 German hymens out of Luther’s hymnal. But every night I still go to sleep feeling loneliness in my heart. My heart is so lonely I can feel it. Loneliness hurts.” 

Mom and Dad explained that Jesus can fill this void in her heart. He is the answer to loneliness.  

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me John 14:6 

 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 

Dad asked, “Would you like to do this? Are you willing to declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and ask him to come and save you from your sins? Would you like to ask Jesus to come into your heart? 

She said, “I want this, that is exactly what I came for.” 

She prayed with Dad and Mom. Immediately when she opened her eyes she said with excitement, “My loneliness is gone!”  

She then asked for my Dad’s bible. His bible was well worn. Nearly every page had underlined verses, colorful highlighting, and notes in the margins. 

He explained, “I need my bible for the rest of the meetings. But we do have a table full of bibles. You can take one of these.” 

This lady took a bible with a smile and left for home. As she left she said, “Brother Hofer, I may not see you on this earth again, but I know I will see you one day in heaven.” She was that sure of her new salvation.  

I love this testimony. I can’t hear it enough.