My Journey in Ministry with Lorne
by Dianne Bonk
Lorne began his preaching ministry 1961. He would go to two towns each Sunday and take the service there. Sometimes he would leave for the afternoon service after the morning service in Grenfell, and head off to perhaps Forget, then on to the evening service in Moosomin or Whitewood. Or He would leave in the morning and go the Yorkton, Quill Lake, or Claire and come home late at night. If you look at the map board with all the stick pins, you can see where all he has ministered. Most often his car was full of 5 more young people from the Church in Grenfell. As you might guess, Lorne and I sort of began our relationship going to church!!
We were engaged to be married in May of 1968. At that time, Rose asked Lorne to have services in Glenavon. And so was born the church here. We were married in November of 1968, and we were committed to ministry in the church here.
In about 1978 we began our ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys, and soon we were going to rodeos, fairs, trail rides, chuck wagon races, family reunions, or any other venue that offered him a chance to share the gospel. Some of these places were close by, but some were some distance away. Driving long distances became routine. It seemed like that as a thing you had to do if you wanted people to have church! And going early in the morning was part of that routine. Swan River was one place where we had to leave home at 4:30 am because there is a time zone difference, and if we wanted to get there at the right time it meant leaving early! Besides the driving, Lorne had all the sound equipment to load -- speakers, sound board, keyboard, myriads of cords. The boys helped, but it had to be done a certain way, so unless you knew what to do, it was better to stay away!! I usually unwound the extension cords. That at least was safe!!! Sometimes where we were told to set up was nerve wracking – in the arena with the bucking bulls wandering around kicking up dust, or in a beer garden that reeked from the night before. I remember the tent coming down on me while I was singing a song at one service. A gust of wind had come sailing through. But we were never hurt or equipment ruined. God is good.
Lorne is deeply committed to ministry. He doesn’t seem to mind the inconveniences that are in the way. He just goes! Sometimes as a family we had to take a deep breath and decide if we were going to stay home or go. He was going.
I asked Colin one time why he wanted to be a rodeo cowboy. He said, “Mom, what did you expect? I’ve spent every summer Sunday at a rodeo!”
Colin wrote his first poem on the way to the high school rodeo service in Regina. He was 12 years old. He was so nervous he didn’t even want to read it himself so Jimmy Lou Perrin read it for him. He didn’t expect people to like it, I guess, but that poem became his signature poem.
Noelle and Steven both became involved with the ministry side of this venture. Noelle would sing, and look after the Bibles and tracts, and Steven became part of the Wolf Creek Bank, and he with Brian and Curtis Szakacs, and Richard Beech did the music faithfully every Sunday for quite a number of years. Cleve Sauer, Keith Ward, Muriel Osiowy, Bob Olson, the Williams family, and several others came on board to help with music. The Young’s and the Solmon’s took part where they could. In the past few years Joey Theriault has been a great help. Even Eva helped where she could, usually reading the scripture Lorne would give her.
In the past number of years, economics have cut down on the number of Rodeos that are put on, but quite a few still remain. I don’t expect that Lorne will call it quits yet.
Some people begin a hobby when they reach retirement age. Well, Lorne has been cultivating a hobby for years. He loves to visit, to encourage, to care for people. He loves the Lord and loves to share the good news of His Salvation. I guess you could rightfully assume that this is his work, his hobby, his life.
50 years! Time doesn’t stand still, but it seems only a short while. Where did the time go? But one thing is certain. It wasn’t wasted. We hear reports now and then of people who opened their hearts to the Lord at one of the services somewhere. Sometimes we know about them and sometimes we don’t. God only knows what the harvest will be when it is all said and done. That is a wonderful thing to look forward to.
Being Pastor of this church has been a Blessing to him. To have faithful friends who stand behind him is invaluable. We know that sometimes you go for a while during the summer without your pastor preaching on Sundays, but we know that we can trust you to carry on and pray for his ministry and safe return. He always says that you invited him back to give him a second chance. We appreciate your faithfulness to God and your love for us very much.
God knows what the future will be. We don’t know. His return is getting closer and closer. Time is running out. We need to be in a state of alert. People need the Lord.
What is your ministry? Let the Lord use you in the place he has put you with the gift he has given you.
Thank you for sharing this day with Lorne and me. We have a lot of memories of God’s goodness to us in the past years. We know His mercies never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Thy Faithfulness, O Lord.