Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 16, 1953

Brother Smith Writes Grove Avenue Elders

Richard Smith, Karlsruhe, Germany

Vorholzstrasse 36 Karlsruhe, Germany February 23, 1953 To the Elders Grove Avenue Church San Antonio, Texas Dear Brethren:

With the coming of Dr. Halbert's reply to my cable I now have at least part of the information which I requested in my letter of February 17. That is, that you are convinced that I should be brought home from Germany as soon as possible with no view of returning here to work. I also see that you have weighed and considered the matter and have made no snap decision. So far as I am concerned, your decision to terminate your support of us in this work has been made, is final and I don't seek to change it. However, in view of certain particulars I submit the following:

Several months ago the St. Elmo church informed the Watsons that they would not be able to support them after March or April. Reiner Kallus, the young German evangelist who has been with us for several months, has been supported up until now largely from contributions from ourselves in addition to help from expense funds sent by you and St. Elmo. Thus his further support is very indefinite. There are presently five of us (including our wives) fully supported in the work here. Should things continue as they are now, there may be none of us within a months time. The church here now numbers about 15 faithful members. Several have moved out of town, decreasing it to this. One of these 15, Horst Knorr, is a young man whom I have been training ever since I baptized him about a year ago. Though he has already preached several times, he is still a babe and needs much teaching. With proper guidance he may one day be a great proclaimer of the Gospel. He's hardly in condition to be left alone. Many outsiders who have regularly attended meetings for at least a year, are on the verge of obedience. Some of these I am teaching weekly in their homes. The personal contact established and the progress made has been hard won. Winning their confidence takes a long time. For a total stranger to try and pick up suddenly where I left off, would be pretty difficult. Souls would be lost. Such a change takes time.

For a year and a half now we have been building, building, building, gaining the trust and confidence of a large number of these people. What effect it would have were we all to suddenly leave town, I don't know. It makes me sick to think about it. When you care for a garden throughout the season, it's a sad thing to simply drop it as the harvest begins.

In that not a single reason has been given me why I should hurriedly drop the work here, I am forced to draw my own conclusions. The only thing I can think of that would influence you to consider such a drastic move is my lack of agreement with brethren in Frankfurt about their school and other doubtful things. If this opposition on my part has been harmful to the work in general or has fostered division, I ought to leave. However, I'd be glad for you to write brethren Artist, Bennett, Mingle, Gatewood, Helsten as well as Bunn and Coleman who are in the States, and ask them about my attitude. Take any four of them and request an honest private opinion. Write Brother Uadeau, whom I worked and disagreed with in Munich. He will be in the States for a visit within a month. I just want you to have as full a picture as possible.

In view of the conditions here and the very nature of such a work as this, it would be virtually impossible for me to pack up and leave within thirty days and leave things in such a way as to insure continued progress or even holding the ground already gained. Such an abrupt departure would do more damage to the work here and to the church's influence than you can imagine. One of the big sneers of the State church has always been, "That's nothing but a fly-by-night little sect. Those Americans will be gone one of these days and leave you standing there." You'd be surprised at how successful they are with this kind of talk. It hurt our work in Munich and has slowed it here.

Not knowing whether or not I may be the only one here within a very short time, I respectfully request, for the sake of the church here, that you — not reverse — but reconsider your decision at least in part and permit us to finish out our third year which would be concluded in June. That way we could at least have time to make more secure arrangements for the future of the church and the work here.

Yours in Christ, Dick Smith P. S. — Lest other misunderstandings arise, I'd best make it clear that even though I'm convinced that your decision to eventually terminate our support should be carried out, I still feel that I should continue preaching in Germany if the Lord so wills.

D. S.