The Oldest Soul Winner

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by John of Japan, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    The oldest soul winner I've ever known was Boone Helfrich. I talked about him some on the BB here: http://www.baptistboard.com/showthread.php?t=3974

    We are preparing to move to an apartment that is about $200 cheaper in rent then our house, money we need because of the fact that the dollar is at its weakest against the yen in 15 years. So, we have to downsize, and are throwing a lot of things away.

    At any rate, in going through some files to throw away I found a letter from Boone in which he answered some questions I asked about his life and witness for Jesus. Here it is, a blast from the past, the letter written 29 years ago by Boone Helfrich, the oldest soul winner I've ever known!
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    August 27, 1981

    Dear Brother John:

    It was good to received your letter of recent date and to hear of the freedom to pass out thousands of tracts and about the two that accepted Christ. Isaiah 55:11. Your zeal for Christ is a blessing to me.

    I will try to answer your questions. I was saved on August 15, 1916 after being a "church member" for about 12 years during which time I graduated from High School, and read the Bible through twice. God seemed friendly to me and I became interested in Rev. 14:1-5. I was hoping to go to college but had to support my mother.

    As time progressed I seemed to need something, but did not know what it was.

    (to be continued)​
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    More from Boone's letter:

    My next-door neighbor helped to get me a job in the Paint Shop where he worked and I became an apprentice to learn the house painting and interior decorating trade. But there was always a longing for something and I did not know what it was. I remember, while doing some interior apprentice decorating in a hotel room, I sang to God, "Jesus Saviour pilot me over life's tempestuous sea," and I think He heard my prayer.

    One evening I went up to my room, and the striving against my soul was so great that I felt like suicide, and I said, "O God show me what it is that I ought to know!" I took my Bible, knelt by my bed, and, with eyes shut, put a finger on the open page. Then on opening my eyes I saw that the Bible was upside down, but I kept my finger on the save verse, turned the Bible around and read Acts 9:36, "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha." Obtaining no enlightenment from this verse I read all of Acts 9 and then Acts 10 and chapter 11 which spoke of a centurion named Cornelius, whose problem was like mine. He was told that the Apostle Peter would tell him what he needed to know.
     
  4. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone:

    From all this I believed that God was telling me that there would be a good woman who would tell me what I needed to know and how to obtain that for which I was looking. In my search I had visited different churches including a Roman Catholic one, but unfortunately did not find in any of them that for which I was seeking. However, when God made it clear that some good woman would tell me what God wanted me to know, I stopped searching and waited for this good woman.

    Three days later a gang of us was sent from the Paint Shop to work on seven houses. On our first day at noon, I knocked on the front door of one of the houses and asked for a drink of water. The person who opened the door called to someone in the kitchen and asked if the painter could come to the kitchen for a drink.

    I had to go through a hallway and dining room to get to the kitchen and something told me, "Here is the good woman." I did not know how to talk religion, but remembered a verse in the Bible that said if you give even a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, you shall in no wise lose your reward (Matt. 10:42). So instead of asking for a glass of water, or a drink of water, I said, "May I have a cup of cold water lady?" She looked at me a second, while getting lunch for her family and got me a drink.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone:

    Nothing happened, so I asked for another drink. After awhile she said, "Are you saved?"

    "I don't know, I guess I am."

    "What do you think you have to do to be saved?"

    "Do the best you can, live right, go to church and tithe your money and do the best you can and you'll be saved."

    "You are not saved."

    "Why is that?"

    "The Bible says, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.'"

    "I do believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." (In reality, I just believed about him. I was not personally acquainted with him. John 17:3.)

    "The Bible says, 'All have sinned and come short of the glory of God' (Rom. 3:23). The Bible says, 'All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags' (Is. 64:6). It doesn't say 'righteousness' but 'righteousnesses.'"

    This sounded funny to me, but I thought I had better listen because God had sent me to her. Lunch time was over and so I had to get back to work. But before quitting time at 4:30 PM she came out of her house and gave each of us some tracts. One of those I received was entitled "What Must I Do to Be Saved?" (The name was later changed to, "The Great Question" when a new front page was given to it when it was reprinted.") (Note: This is a different tract than the famous one by John R. Rice--JoJ)
     
  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone:

    I took it home and after supper read it in my room. This tract and the Bible made it clear to me that no matter how good I thought I was, yet, in God's sight I was a lost sinner on my way to Hell. But that God had sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to die for the sins of the whole world and that without the shedding of His blood there was no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22). Also Col. 1:14 says, "We have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Also Heb. 9:26 says, "But now once in the end of the age hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." The 53rd chapter of Isaiah continued to show me what Christ had done for me; such as "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities." And again, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way, and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

    Finally as I read Acts 13:38-39 I was beginning to see clearly that I could not be saved by any merit or good works of my own, but by receiving Christ by faith as the One who paid my sin debt on the cross. Of course I believed He was raised from the dead on the 3rd day. Here is what I read in Acts 13:38-39. "Be it known unto you therefore that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone gets saved:

    Then, in continuing to read the tract, the next verse was John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

    When I came to the words "believeth in Him," the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I could be saved by faith in Christ apart from any merit or good works of my own, so I put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved immediately by Him. I did not read the rest of the tract until some days afterward.

    This happened on Sept. 15, 1916. The next day at noon I went to the good woman for a drink of water and she asked me if I would accept Christ for my Saviour. I said I would and we shook hands. Then I went and told the rest of the men in our painter gang that I never had been saved before, but now I was.
     
  8. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone restarts his letter and mentions again the tract he was saved with. He had the tract printed with his own money and passed it out for some 65 years or so!

    Dear Brother John: I think I have answered question 1. When were you saved? How were you saved? and 2. Please tell about the tract you give out? I might say that I just ordered 2000 more for $180.00 (9 cents apiece) and this will cut into my savings account.

    3. How old are you? 88 on 8-15-81.

    4. Does any health condition hinder you? Yes, glaucoma and cataracts, which were removed about 3 years ago. I cannot see directly ahead from the right eye, only a bit off to the side. The left eye is still good close up but due to some medicine given me by a doctor has shortened distance vision considerably. I went to an ophalmologist yesterday and he wants to see me again in 3 months on account of the left eye. My eye pressure is good in each eye, Thank God. Also I find it difficult to keep my balance when walking and stagger some due, I think, to a spinal injection by an anesthetist.
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone answering my questions:

    5. How often do you go on visitation or hand out tracts? I do not go on visitation any more because I cannot go up and down steps at houses unless they have a handrail on account of difficulty in walking over uneven terrain. I cannot see things. I go on visitation to Westbrook Towers, a seven story Apartment House on Saturdays because the floors are level and I visit those apts. that have people who ride our bus to church, and visit some others that cannot or do not come to church. I read the Bible to some of these.

    On Tuesdays we go shopping. I give out tracts in the Flea market where the paving is mostly level, also at Roses' Dept. Store when it rains, and at Kroegers Market. Usually about 300-350 tracts are given out. On Fridays we go shopping to Greer's Market in Jackson Heights Shopping Center where I get what food I need and then go out and give out tracts until the other Sunset Squareites are through. Then we go to Giant Foods in Memorial Village where I do my shopping and give out tracts until the other folks are through shopping, when we all go back to Sunset Square. (Boone's retirement home--JoJ)
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone answers another of my questions:

    6. What are several of your most memorable soul winning experiences?

    The first one I led to faith in Christ was another apprentice in the Paint Shop. I had just been saved and we were working on the flat-topped roof of an apartment house that had a railing around the roof. He painted one side of the fence or railing and I painted the other and told him about how I had received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour. He did too and the next day we were like brothers in Christ.

    I worked for about 23 years as a guard in the Campbell Soup Co. plant in Camden, N. J. During my early days there, one of the watchmen became sick. He was a wicked man. Most of the men did not like him. He was called "the groundhog." But I visited him in his home and brought him the gospel of Jesus Christ. Before he died he had a good clear testimony of his faith in Christ.
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone:

    Another time, when visiting a trailer camp with you we knocked on a trailer door and a woman came to the door to whom we started to talk about salvation, but her husband from somewhere in the trailer told her he wanted to get his lunch. She told us this but delayed long enough for me to ask a few questions. It went something like this: "The Bible says, 'All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.' Do you believe you are a sinner?" "Yes." "Do you believe Christ died for your sins?" "Yes." "Do you believe He was raised again the third day?" "Yes." "Will you accept Him as your Saviour?" "Yes." We left a tract for her and she went to get lunch for her husband.
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone:

    Every week there is a children's church in the gymnasium and afterward the personal workers try to lead the kids to Christ. There are two teams for this work: team 1 and team 2 which alternate each Sunday so that every other Sunday they may attend the adult services in the church auditorium. As I deal with the kids, some profess to accept Christ. Recently a very intelligent colored boy, I believe, was born again.

    I was wondering if my tracts given out in the Flea Market were being used by the Lord to save souls and so I asked Him for some evidence. The next time at the Flea Market a woman came to me and said she had read a tract and had received Christ as Saviour and was now a member of Franklin road Baptist Church. Recently I talked to her at the church.
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone answers my last question:

    7. Do you have any advice for others who want to be soul winners?

    1. Make sure that you yourself are saved and can tell others how it happened and what Scripture God used, for no one is saved apart from the word of God. 1 Pet. 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever."

    2. Seek to be so filled with love for Christ that you will want the lost to be saved so that He might be satisfied as they come to believe in Him and love and serve Him, so that He might not have suffered and died in vain for them.

    3. Ask God to fill you so with the love of Christ for the unsaved that you will be burdened in prayer for them, that they might not go to Hell and the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14, 15), but be saved and go to Heaven. Ask God to use you to save many of them.
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Boone continues with advice for would-be soul winners:

    4. The unsaved are like lost sheep. They will not come to you. You will have to go to them. The Good Shepherd knows where they are and He will lead you to them. Ask Him to do so.

    5. When dealing with the lost stick to the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:3, 4), and enlarge upon it with other Scriptures like rom. 3:10-19, 23, and other verses of the Romans Road like Rom. 5:8, 6:23, 10:9, 10 and 13. Also 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Cor. 5:21 which deal with the sin problem. If there is time, the accounts of the crucifixion in the four Gospels may be helpful. As regards the resurrection part of 1 Cor. 15: 3, 4, see Psalm 16:8-11, Acts 2:24-33, 1 Cor. 15:16-23. Also the four accounts of the resurrection in the Gospels: Matt. 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20 and 21. The Holy Spirit makes the Word of God effective.

    Brother John, I hope what has been written here will be of blessing and help to you and our Japanese neighbors. I'll mail it tomorrow afternoon at the Post Office. May many become personally acquainted with our Lord Jesus in Whose presence is fullness of Joy.

    In Christ,

    R. Boone Helffrich
     
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thus ends the letter sent to me by Boone Helffrich on Aug. 7, 1981, shortly after we arrived in Japan. It's been hidden in my files all these years, only surfacing because we are downsizing in order to move into an apartment because of the weak dollar, and going through a lot of stuff we haven't looked at in many years.

    I hope it's been a blessing to you. More than that, I hope you will follow Boone's example, the oldest soul winner I've ever known, and witness for Christ until you die! :type:
     
  16. GFlanagan3

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    wow wonderful letter....I wish more had the heart of this man for souls
     
  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Amen! Thinking back to Boone's life, I too need more of what he had.

    Sorry I wasn't able to answer you right away. We moved into an apartment to save money because of the weak dollar (weakest against the yen in 15 years), and have to get a new Internet connection. So today I'm having my first experience at an Internet cafe. (Be still my beating heart!)
     
  18. asmcreations

    asmcreations
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    Wow! I must share this letter testimony to our church. I just remember how i got saved through soul winning. I been in a roman catholic institution until i graduated high school. I know Christ is the saviour, the messiah at that time but i don't know how i will be saved. I'm not sure where I'm going when I die. For sure in the cementery but how about my soul.
    My mother was the first to be saved in our family through a local missionary in our town then my younger brothers and sister. They open me the bible that i must accept Christ as my saviour and I say to them that i know Christ long ago and I even go to church every sunday. Each time we discussed about religion, it resulted to debate in our family and I always walked out. For 7 years they are praying for me that I too will be saved. Until one day I see the difference between them and myself. I always saw my brother bringing his bible every sunday while I'm drinking beer with my friends. I also felt that emptiness. And one day, my brother bring me someone from the church, a soul winner. He opens me the bible and I know God is preparing my heart at that time that I carefully listened to him. At that time, It was not so clear to me about accepting Christ to be my saviour but I begun to fell the joy. In the next day, I joined them in the church "Baptist church" and the pastor after his sermon had his invitation that so very clear to my ears "Will you accept Christ as your personal saviour, raise your hand" and I raised my hand. Now I understand, I'm save.

    That was 7 years ago and I'm a sunday school teacher in our local church. Many changes happen in my life and even my former friends can't believe, they don't like me now. We have our married men ministries (they are my new friends) and we go soul winning every sunday afternoon or do some fellowship. I really enjoy to be a christian.
     
  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thanks for the good testimony, asmcreations. Keep winning souls for Jesus!
     
  20. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Hi, folks.

    We're finally completely settled into our new apartment, and as of yesterday we finally got Internet access (had to wait two weeks).

    In the meantime, on Monday we visited Sapporo and there met for the first time an old time missionary who still witnesses for Christ, though he is in his mid-80s.

    Bob Klutz has three kinds of cancer, but you wouldn't know it unless he told you. Also, his wife is in the hospital dying with cancer, but you wouldn't know it unless he told you. His joy and energy for Christ are contagious!

    I met Bob for the first time Monday, but I've heard his name for years. The whole time I was with him (1 1/2 hours) he did most of the talking, but it was good! He talked about the missionaries and Japanese Christians he has known and the places he has evangelized during 46 years on the mission field.

    He reminisced about reaching every single house many years ago with the Gospel in Asahikawa, the city where I live. He said, "I wish I could do that again, go door to door with the Gospel. I love that!" But his poor health won't let him.

    Now, in keeping with the title of this thread, Bob is still a witness for Christ in his mid 80's! He no longer pastors or is planting a church, so he attends someone else's church when he can, but he still has an English Bible study, and invites people to that.

    We went onto the campus of Hokkaido U. (home of a recent Nobel winner) for some fellowship and Japanese green tea. The first president of the school in 1876 was William Clark, an American who taught the Japanese modern American farming methods. (To this day the architecture of Hokkaido farms is American.) More than that, he taught English to his samurai students using the Bible, and several trusted Christ as Savior, forming the "Sapporo Band" of Christians, from which came several famous Japanese Christian leaders.

    Bob uses Clark's name to invite students to his Bible study. So there we were in the "Clark Center" on campus when Bob began inviting students to study the Bible with him. While he talked to a new student from the Solomon Islands who turned out to be a Christian, I was approached by a couple of Japanese students who wanted to invite me to a concert being put on by their student orchestra. I handed them Gospel tracts, and then Bob came over and invited them to his English Bible study.

    Thank God for this aged servant of Christ who still witnesses for Him! Would that we all would be faithful witnesses for Christ until the angels carry us away to Heaven or Christ comes!
     

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