When Effie's father, Robert Boyd, died suddenly, his wife, a devout Presbyterian, sadly told the six children that as he was an atheist, their father was now burning in the eternal fires of hell. But Effie could not reconcile a loving God doing this to her fun-loving Dad.
Dorrie was a Bible student, known today as a Jehovah's Witness. With her Bible open, she pointed to the many texts that said that death was a sleep and the dead did not know anything. She emphasised how wrong many churches were about what happened after death.
It was like a balm to Effie, who began to ask Dorrie more questions and Bible studies began. However, as Effie studied the publications Dorrie gave her, she became confused.
About this time, Effie had another knock on her door. This time it was Harry Brooks, an Adventist literature evangelist. He soon realised Effie was looking for Bible truth and alerted Mary Davidson, a new Adventist church member. Mary invited Effie and her two children to visit her, and then arranged for Effie to go to the Fremantle Adventist church and have Bible studies with Pastor Lemke and his young evangelist, Erwin Roenfelt.
Effie was apprehensive about the pastors coming to her home, since her husband, Ernest, was an atheist and she feared the reception he would give them. When they arrived, Ern met them at the door and threw every argument he could think of against religion at them. Graciously they answered him, until he said, "You win, now what do you want?"
They said they had come to study the Bible with his wife but would be honoured if he would join them. Wondering what group Effie was getting mixed up with now, Ern decided he would "check out" these Adventists.
At the conclusion of his first study on Daniel 2, Ern was ecstatic! He had no idea the Bible had such wonderful things in it. He asked the pastors if they had anything more like that and would they be able to come back and give them another study?
Effie could not believe her ears--her atheist husband arranging to have Bible studies! She went around the district, inviting her neighbours. Ern, with his newsagency business, began doing likewise. Soon the small group began to fill their loungeroom, until people were having to listen through the windows.
As the weeks passed, Ern found himself in crisis. He was confronted with the Sabbath! He worked at his newsagency seven days a week. And this lucrative business was bringing in four times the basic wage. It was 1930 and the Great Depression had paralysed the country. What would he do?
First, he would have to make sure the Adventists were right. It seemed incredible that this small church could have the truth and all the other great churches were wrong. He spoke to various Christians and asked why they did not keep the seventh-day Sabbath. The answers were many, varied and often contradictory.
Finally, a Reverend Thomas Brash of the South Perth Presbyterian church--who had lost a lot of his members to the evangelistic meetings--engaged the leader of the Perth Bible College to challenge Pastor Roenfelt to a debate in the Victoria Park town hall. This man boasted he had all the answers for Adventists and Pastor Roenfelt found that he could do nothing other than accept the challenge.
On the evening of the debate, Ern Price was sitting in one of the front seats to examine every word and argument. With him was Effie and the many interested people that had been attending the Bible studies in their home. It was the night Ern made his final decision. It left him in no doubt that the Sabbath was the seventh-day and the Ten Commandments were still to be kept by Christians.
It meant he would have to sell his newsagency business and develop what had been a hobby--poultry farming--as it was difficult to find any work with Sabbath off at that time. Relatives and friends thought he was going crazy. Eggs at this time of the Depression sold for only four pence (three cents) a dozen. When they learned he was planning to tithe as well, they were sure he had lost his mind! But Effie and Ern had found the truth and were baptised with a group of 47 others, all of whom had participated in the Bible studies at their home.
Despite the Depression, the Lord was faithful. Effie delighted to tell how, although they had their tests and trials, the Lord blessed them and they still lived comfortably.
Effie and Ern became dedicated members of the Fremantle Adventist church. When her four children were all at school, Effie became a colporteur like Harry Brooks to share with others the wonderful message he brought to her. Effie and Ern continued to win people for the Lord. Effie's last convert was baptised a week after her death in 1966. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. . . . Give as freely as you have received! Matthew 10:7, 8. E Bruce Price is a retired church pastor, who now lives in Pelican Waters, Queensland.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God