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15 February 1986 Gartmore
God's richest blessings
to you according to the wonderful promises of His Word in the wonderful name of
Jesus Christ the lord.
I set pen to paper to
tell the last days of the life of Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille. After having spent
so many days together with him over the course of the years that I was his
aide, companion and confidant it was greatly significant to me that I was
allowed to spend the last twenty-two days of his life with him.
Dr. Wierwille had a knack
of filling days to the very brim with life, and he did not deviate from the
norm in his last days before he fell asleep. I have recorded here the content
of those days, though not in their entirety. Dr. Wierwille and I spent between
thirty-six and forty hours discussing topics as varied as God's Word, affairs
of the Ministry, agriculture, local topography, history, public relations,
books of common interest to us both and personal matters. He counseled with
believers and with Way Corps, worked with Juanita Carey on her research on the
life of E. W. Bullinger and involved himself with other projects and interests
not recorded here.
What I have attempted to
record are the basic activities of his last days and pertinent portions of the
many hours of conversations that we had during that space of time. I have
included relevant background to add clarity and continuity. I have not left out
parts to intentionally slight anyone or diminish the importance of the time
that they were blessed to spend with Dr. Wierwille during his last days.
Nothing could be farther from my heart or mind.
I am not a writer, but I
trust that you will find the text spiritually invigorating. I present it for
your consideration. It is my firm believing that God will give understanding to
the far from adequate job that I am capable of doing to communicate the
contents of the last days of Dr. Wierwille's life which I have called The
Passing of a Patriarch.
Definition of PATRIARCH
English Dictionary (Volume VII ). 4: One who is regarded as the father or
founder of an order, institution or (by extension) of a science, school of
thought, Order the like.
Definition of PATRIARCH
from Webster Dictionary: 1 b: a man who is father or founder
c: (1): the oldest or
representative of a group (2): a venerable old man
d: a man who is head of a
The Passing of a
Patriarch Memories flood my mind as I think of the events that led up to and
surrounded the final time that I spent with Dr. Wierwille. In December of 1984
we at long last bought a location for The Way Corps to begin in Europe. This had been the original intent when we came to
Europe in 1983. It seems strange now to think
back that we had to fight through so much to get to the day that was supposed
to have been our beginning, but we did.
Had Dr. Wierwille not
been so deeply involved in every step along the road it would be easy to think
that what we had faced would have been a figment of imagination. The process to
finally acquire a Way Corps location in Europe
had been a longer, harder road than any of us would have anticipated. It was a
road paved with treachery and disappointment, but finally a road that ended
with the great delivering presence of God clearly manifested.
The final Way Corps
location was not at all what we had anticipated. It is located in an area that
is far removed from easily accessible transportation. It is also in a very
difficult part of the British Isles to
facilitate business needs, and perhaps worst of all, it is isolated from any
large groups of believers. Our primary choice in England
would have had good transportation, easy access to businesses that we had long
dealt with and been close to a majority of the believers in Britain as well
as being far more accessible to the majority of European believers.
There had been
speculation during the WOW Festival 1984/85 that Dr. Wierwille and perhaps Mrs.
Wierwille would come to visit us at the new Corps location in Gartmore, Scotland,
shortly after the New Year's period of 1985. However, after the WOW Festival, I
got a letter from Dr. Wierwille telling me that he would not be coming until
after the opening of The Word Over The World Auditorium, which was due to take
place in March.
In one sense I was
relieved and in another I was not. Though I would have loved to have seen Dr.
Wierwille and to have had his counsel at the beginning of such a project, our
new location was in Scotland
which was not at all what we had wanted or planned for. The setting of it was
breathtakingly beautiful, but its remoteness made doing business extremely
difficult. This we suspected to be true before we made the final decision to
and in particular Gartmore. Knowing and coping are often very different things,
and this was one of the times that proved this out.
We had lost the original
location in England
that we had selected because our own Way Corps graduates were not capable of
handling things involved in getting a location. They just collapsed under the
pressure. The increased difficulty in doing business in a remoter area of Scotland made
me glad to have the extra time to prepare for Dr. and Mrs. Wierwille's visit.
There were massive things
that needed attention immediately upon our moving in. There had been very little
maintenance to the roofs and gutters and as a result there was considerable
leakage in any event of rain.
There was almost no hot
water and the heating was very poor. We either froze or boiled, and if we
boiled we did it at a great cost. There was so little hot water in fact that
for quite a while we used the showers adjacent to the large gymnasium in the
Knox Centre to shower, which meant walking across the centre of the campus in
robes and towels in the wintertime.
When we accepted the
decision to locate the Corps in Scotland,
we had to evaluate whether Chris and Nancy Kent could handle the United Kingdom from Scotland or whether they would have
to stay in Altrincham to be central to the country. Finally we decided that
with the percentage of our work that was in the southern part of the country it
was too much to tack on the additional drive to get to Manchester, let alone from there to the south
coast. It became evident that for the work of the Ministry it would be more
expedient to leave them in Altrincham. That left us without the man whom we had
felt could handle our Way Builders and without Nancy whom we had thought would
have been able to handle our bookkeeping.
One of the other things
that we faced was Barbara's pregnancy. Having started in her pregnancy in England, we had originally contacted doctors in England thinking that we would be in the Cheshire area. The change
from England to Scotland had
put intense personal pressure on not only myself, but Barbara. Because we were
operating basically with no support, her expertise in so many areas was
required in order for mere survival, so she never really had time to
investigate the various medical options that existed. In the end, she settled
for the care of a local doctor who (with the grace of God) helped her through
her pregnancy. We found out later of his intense dislike for Americans and
extreme unwillingness to be helpful; however, (again the grace of God) she was
referred to the correct people at the correct time for her prenatal care.
The times leading up to
the visit of Dr. and Mrs. Wierwille were quite a challenge in themselves.
Besides running the first year of a Way Corps programme outside of the United States
and with multicultural and multilingual considerations, we were in a new
location that had massive physical problems to overcome. We also had to acquire
basically everything to outfit the location and do it in a culture and a
business community that we were not experts in.
When we moved into the
facility, there was one telephone which worked only sporadically. We had
selected a telephone system to replace the single wall phone that existed upon
arrival, but due to the costs involved and other factors we had decided to run
all the internal cables ourselves. This allowed us also to run the audio and
video lines at the same lime, and we ended up running approximately one mile of
cables all told. The telephone installation was to have been completed by 26
March, but the engineer did not even arrive to start the installation until 24
March. When he did arrive it was only because we had started making concerted
complaints. It turned out when he did arrive that he did not even know how to
fit the new switch equipment. It was all new to him and because I was familiar
with the system it required considerable assistance on my part. The project
which was to have been completed by 26 March was in fact not completed until
well after Dr. Wierwille's death in May.
Dr. Wierwille's previous
visit to Europe in 1984 had overlapped at its tail-end with the commencement of
our Advanced Class which we were holding in Bowdon, England,
just adjacent to Altrincham where we then lived. During that Advanced Class, we
made available, with Yann Beauvois, who had helped with the translation of the
Advanced Class into French, running the French Advanced Class simultaneously
with the running of the English Advanced Class in the same facility. We had
shared the same meals and auxiliary tapes (with translation) and the Advanced
Class had been handled for the French-speaking students in French, and for the
balance of the class in English.
As I had been concerned
with not only Dr. Wierwille's visit but with the massive problems that we still
faced at that time, I attended portions of the French class but really I
allowed Yann the freedom to handle it. It was during the course of running that
Advanced Class in Bowdon that we began thinking and planning toward running an
even bigger multilingual Advanced Class the following year.
We had decided on Bonn, Germany,
as the location, and had decided to run English, French and Spanish and to have
Wolfgang Schneider do the first live presentation of the German Advanced Class.
It seemed the only feasible way we had of getting the Advanced Class to people
who needed it in other languages. We did not have anybody else at the time who
would have been qualified to have run an Advanced Class except myself, and I
simply did not have the time to run four separate Advanced Classes in a year in
four separate locations if we were going to start The Way Corps and if I was
going to carry on with the remainder of the work.
Bonn was where Wolfgang lived, and I
felt this would give him the greatest ease at handling the class. It proved a
good choice too, because of coordination considerations. It was a central point
for all to travel to easily and offered the facilities that we needed to do the
class. I thought that since I spoke all the languages except German I would be
able to instruct all four classes and have a class assistant for each class.
Ray Brandt was to be my assistant in the English language class, Claus
Kratzenberg in the German language class, Nicole Könz in the French language
class and David Grimsditch in the Spanish language class.
One of the other problems
we faced in putting together the multilingual Advanced Class was the production
of the syllabi and other materials for the classes, but I am getting ahead of
myself at this point, I really need to go back to the period following our
acquisition of Gartmore House.
One of the challenges
that we were faced with during the European WOW Festival and immediately
following it was cooking. To start with we needed to get a kitchen equipped and
stocked. Both Barbara and I are experienced at cooking for large groups and at
menu preparation, etc. It was largely Barbara who prepared the food for the WOW
Festival, and then directly following the Festival I personally began handling
the responsibilities of cooking three meals a day.
We were genuinely
concerned from the earliest days of the consideration of a Way Corps in Europe with the quality of the food. This is something
that Dr. Wierwille and I talked over long before we ever came to Europe. He indicated that one of the things of prime
importance in a European Way Corps would be a good diet with things that were
readily available to hand so that our Corps in Europe
could learn to eat properly. Dr. Wierwille had noticed that there was a
tremendous weakness among the European Corps as regards their eating habits. He
pointed this out to me before we ever left the U.S.A. and I knew that it would be
quite a challenge and one of our major considerations.
We advertised locally for
a cook, and the closest we came was in acquiring the help of a young man from
Aberfoyle, the adjacent village, whose help was more along the lines of
cleaning and washing-up. We were very blessed that he ended up taking the Power
for Abundant Living class though.
I continued to do the
cooking, working with some of the In-residence Corps as we went and finally
took on trial one of our Advanced Class graduates from the Continent. He had
the sense-knowledge qualifications to be able to handle the responsibility, but
within a period of three weeks or less it became quite evident that he would
not work out. So once again I assumed the responsibilities of cooking three
meals a day in the kitchen in addition to handling The Way Corps programme and
handling the work of the European Region. This also included all the menu
preparation as well as all of the shopping to buy in the goods for the meals. I
suppose I could have compromised and just let it go, but I did not feel
spiritually right about it, so I did not.
The first European Corps
opened directly after the WOW Festival. All of these things were taking a toll
on me physically. By the time we actually acquired a location, I was quite
tired from the concerted efforts I had exerted physically, mentally and
spiritually. When we lost our initial location, time was short, so it required
extreme effort to locate and evaluate other available properties. Even though
we needed to move quickly, careful evaluation was required so that we would not
find ourselves in a bind legally or caught in a bad business deal. This meant
learning the legal considerations which differed from England to Scotland after having recently
learned the English. Once acquisition was made, there was a voluminous amount
of work to do in stocking the location so that we could begin to operate.
Almost from the earliest
days of The Way Corps we began to experience serious problems with a number of
the senior Corps. Their attitudes and thinking were very far from what Way
Corps' should be. It turned into a confrontation battle from early on in the
year, and in fact never ended until we dismissed a number of them almost at the
end of the year. This made life difficult, as we had to watch everything that
was done, and really the year turned into an exercise in confrontation for
large portions of the time.
One of the occurrences of
these problems that overlapped with the Advanced Class preparation from this
was when a member of the senior Corps had indicated that he was capable of
fixing and maintaining printing presses and of doing offset printing. I gave
him the responsibility of helping to put back together the offset press which I
had taken apart into its major subsections to bring it from Altrincham when we
moved. When he was finished there was a pile of spare parts and a press that
did not operate properly. I had to get involved in getting it taken back apart
and putting it together properly so that we could print.
Once we had done that, we
had another problem, that of the platemaker. The platemaker that we had been
using in Altrincham had broken just prior to our coming to Scotland. It
was, in fact, an old, very slow platemaker that we had gotten secondhand, so we
took in a photocopier that was meant to make direct-image offset masters. This
deal on the photocopier which we entered into very shortly after the New Year's
period turned out to be the one that taught us how difficult it is to trade in
Scotland, and especially how difficult it is being an American. The issue of
the photocopier/platemaker never really did get resolved and in the end we had
to buy an Addressograph Multigraph platemaker which worked very well.
Even with the proper
platemaker, our senior Corps man ended up wasting about six times more paper
than he ever produced finished copy. Furthermore, he never had the honesty to
come and tell us. It was when we found the evidence in the trash one day that
we knew we were in trouble. So on my shoulders fell the responsibility for
printing all the Advanced Class materials for our multilingual Advanced
One of the additional
disadvantages to having to have a Corps location in Scotland
as opposed to England
was the need to re-establish business contacts. Every time you have to start
over in business it takes time and work to develop good business relations. We
had had quite a good reputation among the firms that we traded with regularly
When we started over in Scotland,
it seemed to be a very challenging adventure because we seemed to be besieged
by business "cowboys' out to take advantage of us, and we still had to
rely quite heavily on our English contacts to fulfill our needs.
During all of this time
Barbara was getting larger and larger and going slower and slower. Even though
she was large and going slowly she still had to maintain some very major
responsibilities. Shortly after the Festival it had become obvious that if the
Ministry was going to survive financially we would have to do all the
bookkeeping for the entire UK Ministry at Gartmore, rather than let it stay in
Altrincham. Things were just moving so quickly and every decision seemed to be
so major that it was the best that we kept track of everything. This
responsibility fell largely to Barbara, and she quite admirably handled it on a
At the same time that all
of these other things were running, the Corps graduate that we had as our
secretary was proving not to be capable of coping with the responsibilities of
the job. It finally became evident that if she was going to stay happy and we
were going to have the work of the Ministry done we would have to change
secretarial help. She left us to go on the field in the spring, and even before
she left, Barbara and I reassumed her full responsibilities until we got a new
secretary in the summer.
When we finally got to
the time of the Advanced Class, The Way Corps were on the field as
Lightbearers. Directly following their departure those of us who were left
(both Staff and those Corps who were to be Staff for the Advanced Class) began
printing all of the materials for the Advanced Class. This took approximately
twenty hours a day for a number of days so that we could pack everything and be
ready to go. We loaded ourselves and all the equipment for the class into one
of our vans and drove to Germany.
That meant that, as I was the only driver on the trip, I drove to Germany from Scotland basically with one rest stop,
and that on the beat crossing.
When we actually began to
get involved in the Advanced Class, I was in for a rather unpleasant surprise
initially. Claus Kratzenberg who was to be the assistant for the German class
really proved inadequate. He would not take direction from Wolfgang, who was
the teacher in this instance, nor from me. He had pretty well made up his mind
that he was going things his way and everybody else could do their own thing. I
tried to work with him, but by the end of the second teaching session of the
class it became evident that the German class would be in drastic problems if
we allowed him to continue in his responsibilities. This meant that I would
have to handle the German class primarily and not split myself evenly between
the classes as I had anticipated.
This presented another
problem. The Advanced Class was supposed to have been an opportunity to
physically try and overcome some of the exhaustion that was catching up with
me. The daily sessions had been scheduled so that the English. French and
Spanish language classes had Twigs in the afternoon. We had placed Twig session
for the German language class in the mornings so Wolfgang would only have two
hours to teach at once. To get the equivalent third hour in, there was a teaching
session in the afternoon while the other language classes were in Twigs. My
intention had been to have an opportunity to rest and exercise in the
afternoons to try and overcome my growing exhaustion. When I inherited the
German language class, the time that I had anticipated having was no longer
available to me.
The entire Advanced Class
seemed to be plagued with problems. Spiritually it was a very high time with a
great enthusiasm among the believers, great deliverance and wonderful
fellowship. However, during the course of the class it became more and more
evident that the quality of the translated works was dubious. The French was
clearly deficient and in places quite misleading. The Spanish was not laid out
at all in the way that I had seen Dr. Wierwille lay classes out with the
attention to detail that he paid. We discovered linguistic problems in both
classes as well as inconsistencies in the class layouts, and it took an
enormous amount of work to try to keep the classes as a whole on an even keel.
By God's mercy and grace the class did prove to be a success, and at the end of
the class I returned home to Gartmore to get ready for the next two big events,
the birth of our baby and the visit of the Wierwilles.
Barbara had very kindly
held on to our baby, and I was able to be there for the birth. In fact we were
home for a few days before she actually gave birth to our baby. Just five days
before Dr. and Mrs. Wierwille's visit, Abigail Nicole was born in Stirling hospital. The joy of having a new face in the
family also added the presence of my parents. My mother had come for the birth
and had been very helpful in taking care of Rebecca so that I did not have to
be concerned with that aspect. At the very end of her visit my father came for
one day to see Abigail as well as to see our new entrenchment in Scotland.
The other thing that
really required attention and supervision was the preparation for Dr. and Mrs.
Wierwille's visit. We had been redoing one of the sections in Gartmore House
for a suite of rooms which we called the "ELO Suite". It was not in
particularly good shape when we started and required an extensive amount of
work to get it ready. This meant buying furniture, painting, hanging wallpaper,
refitting the bathroom, laying carpets, fitting a kitchen and repairing floors
as well as installing a workable heating system. All of this we managed to do
and have completed by the time of the Wierwille's visit.
As the time of Dr.
Wierwille's visit drew closer, I became very concerned with his comfort, starting
with the journey from the airport to the campus. He was flying into Prestwick Airport, from which we generally
estimate transit time at between two and two and one-half hours. It can be less
than that, but because it requires driving through sections of Glasgow during business times of the day with
traffic to consider, we had to allow that much transit time. I became quite
concerned with whether he would be too tired after the transatlantic flight to
adequately be comfortable in the car for that length of time. I began
contacting helicopter firms to try and contract a helicopter to take us from Prestwick to Gartmore and land in the front of the house
by the sundial. We did in fact contact and successfully contract with a
helicopter firm that would have permitted us to have him from the airport to
Gartmore in approximately twenty minutes. I thought that this was a workable
solution and we made the necessary arrangements.
In order to accomplish
this, Chris Kent was going to accompany me, and we were to leave from Gartmore
at 7:30 in the morning to drive to Edinburgh,
where we would fly with the helicopter to Prestwick
and then back to Gartmore. At approximately 7:28 a.m. the pilot rang us to say
that Edinburgh was closed in with fog, and so
was Prestwick, thus we could not do the trip
in the helicopter. This was not only a change in plans but required some very
quick radical shifting, as we had less than an hour and one-half to get to Prestwick Airport. As soon as we reorganized
ourselves to be able to accommodate Dr. and Mrs. Wierwille in the car, we left
for Prestwick and, despite heavy fog on our journey and the rush-hour traffic
in Glasgow that
we experienced, we made the transit in one hour and eighteen minutes. It was
quite a challenge on the way home to try not to go as fast as we had on the way
We arrived at Prestwick Airport and parked in the car park and
began to look for where incoming passengers would be. The board said that the
flight that Dr. and Mrs. Wierwille had flown on had already landed and that the
passengers were in customs. In fact passengers with luggage-check tags from
their flight were coming out of the doors from customs, and we began to look
around to see if Dr. and Mrs. Wierwille had already come out. As we did not see
them, we waited at the doors. They were the second group of people to come out
after our arrival at the doors.
Dr. Wierwille did look
very tired indeed, and I was so sorry that we were not able to provide for him
the helicopter that I still think was the right solution, but he was in good
humour despite his apparent fatigue. When we arrived at the campus he
graciously greeted all the Corps and Staff, also welcoming Abigail to the
Household. Shortly after that, I escorted Dr. and Mrs. Wierwille upstairs to
their Suite where we began unpacking them.
I helped Dr. Wierwille to
undress, so that he could rest, as I had done so many times before. We put his
clothes away neatly and as I was helping him out of his socks and shoes he
started talking about how blessed he was to have me help him again. What
followed, however, was less expected. It was not his general custom to start
talking about deep things right off the bat. Usually when he had something to
talk about with me it would have come up later on in a conversation or visit
but not this time. He told me how Peter Esmond had blessed him in helping take
care of him. He spoke of how he was very blessed with both Peter and Christie
and their hearts for him. He said that Peter did not have the abilities that I
had in practical fields but that having him to help was better than having Bill
Warga He said that Bill was very talented and capable but spiritually
dishonest. He never had been able to really trust Bill; Bill's heart had not
been to genuinely, lovingly help Doctor. It was not usual for the things of his
heart to be so close to the surface, but I attributed it to his physical
condition of being tired from the journey and did not really consider any
deeper implications at that point.
That afternoon I spent
time in the office in the Suite with Doctor unpacking his briefcases and
setting things out for him. Barbara came up with both girls and we all had a
visit. Doctor had brought a bag of Tootsie Roll Pops with him and gave Rebecca
one and put the rest of the bag in his desk drawer so that she could come get
one from "Grandpa Wierwille" whenever she wanted to. We talked
through the events for the evening and cued videotapes for the night. After a
while I left so that I could finish getting dinner ready.
The first function that
he attended after his rest was dinner that evening for which occasion I had
made lamb, knowing how he loved lamb. After the meal, he wanted to share with
the Corps, but he said that because he was tired and feeling weak he would like
to do it sitting down. This, I think, was the first time that I had ever seen
that happen. He shared about his stop in Massachusetts, about the tree that
Ralph Dubofsky had organized to donate to the Gartmore campus and about a
number of things in the Ministry that were on his heart.
After he shared, we
adjourned to the Victory Room. Doctor had brought along videotapes of a number
of the early events in the Ministry, and he played these for the Corps and
shared about the related incidents. Later on, he played some High Country
Caravan productions and talked about them. One of the moments of the evening
that really stuck out in my mind was a comment he made to Liz Slater, who had
been a member of Agapé, the music group. He told her that if Agapé had stayed
together and had been faithful that they could have been as good or better than
The next morning Doctor
was still pretty tired. Jet lag often took him two or three days to overcome,
and so he took the day pretty easy. We visited on and off during the day and
planned to show the Corps a video that evening. He had asked before he came
over if there was anything that he could bring along to bless us, and there had
been only one thing that I could think of. He had carried a copy of the movie
The Black Stallion. on the coach and showed it to the Corps in the U.S.A., when I
had been traveling with him. Rebecca very much enjoyed The Return of The Black
Stallion so I had asked him if he could bring along a copy of the original
movie that we had not been able to find for Rebecca. He told her that he had
the film for her and asked who she would like to show it to. she told him that
she wanted to invite her "Way Corps pals" to see it with her, so that
is what happenend.
On Wednesday morning Cr.
Wierwille wanted to read, and I had cooking to do, so we did not spend a lot of
time together. I did work it out so that I could prepare the meals for the rest
of the day in the morning and have time free to be with Doctor in the afternoon
because he wanted to "case the joint".
That afternoon he and I
went out for a drive around the grounds in the Land Rover. He had been too
tired to walk around the house or grounds much. He had seen some of the inside
of the house, but in order to see the outside we had decided to ride around. we
drove along the grounds and looked at all of the different buildings and
outbuildings. We drove down the south road and when we reached the gate at the
end of our property we pulled in before turning around. doctor asked about who
owned which fields and other points, so we sat there for a few moments with the
motor offf and discussed things. As dr. Wierwille and I sat in the Land Rover
parked at the gate of the pasture looking east toward Sterling, he began to talk. "Son, what
would you say if I told you I was going to die?"
After a moment I
responded: "Sir, every day that I have been with you I have always been
mentally and physically prepared to accept and deal with your death. I have
know that at any minute your deathe might come. You know how many hours I have
trrained to protect you and all the drills we have been through. You know that
I have literally covered your body with mine when there were situations that
demanded it. I have also pushed my mind to accept and carry any last-minute
instructions that you might give me. I have known that they might be the last
directions for the Ministry."
He hesitated and looked
across the horizion. There was a long silence between us, but not a strained one,
a relaxed one. Finally he spoke again. "Well, I am dying. The doctors call
it [OE]melanoma'." I did not know what that was at the time. "Dr.
Winegarner says I have up to a few years to live, but Father has told mne that
the time is very short. My days are shortly numbered. That is why I came to see
you' this will be the last time we are together."
Needless to say my throat
was tight and there were tears coming to my eyes. He continued, "Do you
I told him that I did. I
remember that he looked across me with clear eye as thought examining me, then
his eyes too filled with tears. All he said at first was, "Bless you,
son." Then he began: "My being here is really a breach of protocol in
the Ministry, but no one else has believed me yet. They all keep saying or
thinking, "That's just V.P.'"
He paused, then slowly he
began to speak, teling me how he was to be buried. He atalked about the route
that the casket was to take. He talked about how Howard had promised him that
he, Howard, would personally make the casket out of white oak with his own
hands. He talked about how he wanted a simple grave-side sevice and the main
recognition service conducted at a later time and at a large Ministry function.
He was very explicit and
clear on every point. When he was through he asked me if there was anything
that I could think of, then we discussed it a little further. He told me what
he wanted me to do was to draft the gist of a statement to be released to the
Ministry around the world.
I asked him, thinking this
was all already set up somewhere, who knew all this. He told me that although
some of this had been communicated I was the only one he had covered this with
lately and then he paused. He told me that he wanted me to write this out for
him and give it to him and to compose the statement he had talked about and
submit it to him. I was, at that point so thankful for the ability that Dr.
Wierwille had drilled into me to develop, that of recalling conversations point
for point well after the fact. When I gave him the copy of the notes he did not
find anything missing or incorrect that we had talked over.
Then he began to speak
very softly as he looked across the landscape. "Son, you are the only one
that I have to come to, to talk about this. No one else believes me. In the end
I am almost alone. I am reminded of Paul. My last days have been so lonely.
"You see, son, I
have two earthly sons. Today I cannot really talk to either one of them. J.P.
is a nice guy, but spiritually he just doesn't have it; he's weak.
"The hardest to
face, though, is Donnie. Despite everything that I have tried, he is not a
spiritual man. I knew years ago that he had tremendous administrative
abilities. That I have never questioned. I had really thought that if he was
with us he would grow and make a commitment spiritually, but he hasn't. He is
governed by facts, sense knowledge, and has basically neglected the spirit of
God in his life. Perhaps he has done more to harm this Ministry than any other
single man in its entire history."
He sighed and paused
before he continued. "There are basically only two men that I could talk
to, you and Howard. You never have been the friend to me that Howard has."
I knew that he was right; I had been painfully aware of this truth for a long
time. Dr. Wierwille and I were not of a similar generation, cultural background
or experience. We had both had to work very hard to get along over the years
and had developed a close personal admiration for each other's abilities and a
deep love-bond for each other, but we never really had the friendship that he
and Howard had between them. He continued, "I told him that I was going to
die soon, and he responded just like Don did, with all the sense knowledge
about doctors and facts.
"He has been so busy
with the Ministry I feel guilty to bother him, and when I do, I see how he has
been influenced and lost his spiritual perception. Today he is not the man he
once was spiritually and certainly not the man he could have been if he had
stayed faithful. The infection that has so deeply cut into the life of the
Ministry has taken my only real friend from me, too. In fact, I haven't had him
as a friend for a number of years now, and that is almost too much for me to
bear. I would have thought he would be the last to go, but not the first.