The Life And Ministry Of Harold Emanuel Griffiths Part 2

Part 1 can be read here. 

Ruth recalls that while ministering in Ireland their family would travel in a gospel caravan. They were quite poor and dependent on donations from others. Despite this, Harold was a Welshmen and he wanted his children born in Wales. They would travel back to Wales to give birth to each of their children. (1)

I am not certain of the exact year Harold returned from Ireland. The 1931 census covered England, Wales and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland had its own census in 1926. The British census was also destroyed so its details will forever be a secret. What I do know that is that during the early to mid 1930’s renowned evangelist Edward Jeffrey’s put on several evangelistic crusades across the Potteries and Liverpool. He requested that Harold join him as singer and pianist during these crusades. The Bethel Evangelistic Society was formed from this movement. Harold was a significant part of this. (2)

In a much earlier post I described one of the songs that Harold Griffiths wrote while part of these campaigns. As mentioned in part 1, he had a booming tenor and was a beautiful singer. The Bootle Times annual of 1935 mentions the affect of one of his songs and the Crusades in Liverpool.

“A foreman remarked that the men had never worked so well together as now; there was little blaspheming and the general topic of conversation was “the Tent.” Men are heard singing at their work, “I fell in love with the Nazarene,” and there is concord and a spirit of harmony where once there was cursing and swearing.” (3)

As mentioned in my other blog, I am blessed to have a copy of the song sheet for “I fell in love with the Nazarene.” 

Several people that attended the Liverpool “revival’ and are still alive, left some feedback on the website liverpoolrevival.org.uk about the impact this song had on them.

Sally Wing says, “…during this meeting a song was sung which made such an impression on her that she remembers every word of this to this day, 71 years later: –

I fell in love with the Nazarene
The beautiful Nazarene
Whose face in glory was the light
The fairest I’ve ever seen
By his side I would abide
With never a veil between
Since I fell so deeply in love
With Jesus the Nazarene.


The Rev. Richard Kays records “He remembers well the Bethel songs that were sung such as “Jesus is mighty to save” and “I fell in love with the Nazarene,” which have lived with him for 70 years.”


By 1934 they were definitely in Cheddleton, England. Their daughter Ruth recalls they lived in a Bungalow there when she was 5. Harold was both a strict and very loving father. He expected his children to do as they were told but he was also “as soft as a teddy bear.” (4)

Ruth continued to recall that, “My Mum was always very placid,but a nice lady. Everyone respected them and they were very much loved in the church. People were always calling in with their troubles.We kids were sent out to play for my Dad to council them as it is called now. Mum would bake welsh cakes & we used to hope there would be some left for us.”

Ruth also remembered that usually they were given a crust of bread with jam on it for their tea. (5) Times were hard and the family were very poor. One time Naomi didn’t eat all of hers so they hid it under the flap of a tent that Harold had set up in the field at the back of their bungalow. They or friends would often set up tents for evangelistic church meetings. The next day Harold found it and came into the house asking who had wasted it. Naomi was often caught lying about such things and Harold ended up breaking it in half and making both Ruth and Naomi eat it because food should not be wasted. To this day Ruth insists it was “wet and vile.”

Harold was often away from home because of work. Ministry still paid little so he would sell Christian books at a market stall and continue to work in the mines where he could. He used to keep cardboard in his shoes because there was a hole in the sole. None of his children went to high school because you had to pay for it in those days and the family could not afford it. They were taught to sing and play piano by Harold and Annie.

For transportation Harold had a little motorbike with a side car. One day he brought it home to take it apart and fix it. He then asked Annie to ride with him and test it out. Ruth was watching as they rounded a nearby corner and the side car came off, sending Annie one way and Harold the other. He had forgotten to screw the side car to the motorbike.  Fortunately neither were injured and were able to continue their ministry as the late 1930’s approached.

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(1) Confirmed by interview with Harold’s youngest daughter, Ruth Salmon.

(2) Several books and websites talk about the missions and life of Edward Jeffreys. Seminary and Masters of Divinity graduates have written many papers on him. There is not room here to talk about everything he did and I only mention him because I know that Harold worked a great deal with Edward Jeffreys. A summary of Edward Jeffrey’s life and missions can be found here.  When Harold Griffiths died Edward Jeffreys wrote a letter of condolence as was noted in Redemption Tidings 1968 Volume 4, February edition. 

(3) Excerpts of this newspaper and others which talk about the Jeffrey’s crusades in Liverpool can be read on a website dedicated to his remembrance.

(4) Confirmed by interview with Ruth Salmon in 2012. 
(5) To the Welsh and northern English the last meal of the day is called tea. To this day I still get confused looks from Americans when I ask what they’re having for tea. The southern English call it ‘dinner’ and that, along with how to pronounce the word ‘scones’, can still be guaranteed a good 20 minutes argument if raised in conversation. 

#PeopleOfDFW Helen

Helen’s first question to me when she found out I was from Europe was whether or not I spoke German. I don’t. Which is a shame considering how much I’ve worked with Germans. Helen had visited that country for a while when she was younger and learned the language. Now she practices weekly with an elderly neighbour who is an immigrant from there. They both work at Albertsons and see each other daily. It’s good for her and she speaks about him with obvious affection.

Helen is 27 and studying for her Masters in Early Childhood Development. She has a love for children of all ages but particularly for toddlers and elementary age. Long term she would love to teach in Germany but she knows the education system is different and for now is focussed on gaining experience while researching how children develop and how different countries around the world implement educational systems based on their understanding of this.

Helen is really excited because a new elementary school is opening across the road from where she lives. Her hope is that she will be able to get a job there so that she can work in her local community, not just a school across the city or several miles away. She would love to impact the lives of children and families that live and do life in her area.

A Fathers Heart

I often sing lullabies to my daughter as I put her to sleep.

One of my favourite is an older song from church. It’s by Matt Redman and has a soft beautiful melody.

 

“I have heard so many songs
Listened to a thousand tongues
But there is one
That sounds above them all

The Father’s song
The Father’s love
You sung it over me and for eternity
It’s written on my heart

Heaven’s perfect melody
The Creator’s symphony
You are singing over me
The Father’s song”

Singing this over her as she falls asleep is one of the favourite things in my life. Tonight as I sung it over her a mystery was also solved and it moved my heart.

Heather and I have both noticed that often when we rock and sing her to sleep we can hear her speaking softly but we can’t quite make out what she is saying. This evening I also heard her, so I paused the song and leaned forward, bringing her head towards my ear and she continued to speak, “and daddy, and mummy. And Bobby and Rose…”

It’s a prayer.

She is praying as we rock her. Each night for the last five weeks she has asked us to pray for Mommy, Daddy, Bobby, Rosie and then there are other additions depending on the circumstances. Sometimes it is Zach, other times it is Mammu and Daddu (Her name for my parents.) Tonight it was Ben, Rose’s younger brother.

I am a follower of Jesus and my greatest desire for her life is that she also will be a follower of Jesus. She is much too young to make that life decision but it is a blessing beyond words to know that in moments of her day she chooses His way.

It is a blessing beyond words to know that as I pray and sing over her she is praying for me, and not only me, but Heather and the rest of our extended family.

Thank you for reading.

I had to share.

5 Things the child in me didn’t understand.

Funny blog for the week. I was driving back from Aldi and found myself thinking about the things I was confused by as a child. Here’s 5 of them.

1.How cabs could be handsome?

I think this came about largely because of watching and hearing about Victorian era detectives.

2.Why could pathetic people see the future?

I would hear this sometimes in conversations. People talked about the prophetic…I thought they were saying pathetic.

3. Why were sage herbs also wise people?

Reading fantasy I was always reading about sages. Who knew?

4. Why could the weather help me make decisions?

Just the English language at work here. “I don’t know whether or not I should do this.” I distinctly remember not making head nor tails of this.

5. How could people could cause it to rain on parades?

Another English colloquialism. “Don’t rain on my parade.” They’re only people…they don’t control the weather!

#PeopleOfDFW Enriqua

Enriqua is a hispanic lady born in California several decades ago. She’s had 4 children and her eldest child works late at night. They have one car between them so she usually waits for her eldest to finish work before they go and complete their weekly shopping and other errands.

Unfortunately the time of night that they go shopping means there are often drunk drivers about. Enriqua has been involved in 3 accidents with drunk drivers. They have run red lights, turned awkwardly on the road and hurt her family many times. Her son Antonio was left brain damaged from one wreck and died 6 years ago. She misses him every day.

Enriqua is currently on social security disability due a drunk driver running a red light. Her back causes her a great deal of pain and she moves visibly slower than you would expect her to. For these reasons she is horrified at the thought of marijuana being legalised; believing it is yet another substance people might use before driving. One that could cause even more accidents.

As we talk the conversation turns to politics. Her first ever vote was for Ronald Reagen in the 80’s. She believed he offered hope and inspiration. Since then she has never voted, this includes not voting for Trump or Hillary. Although she never voted it does not  prevent her from voicing discontent with President Trump. She believes he does not like people from Mexico and she worries about families being split up due to his executive orders.

I drop her off at the social security building and wish her the best. Some people I talk to fill me with hope and inspiration. Others have stories like Enriqua’s, that leave me wondering what I can do to help end horrors like drunk driving.

#PeopleOfDFW Jim

Jim worked in the oil business for decades. Worked hard. Made a good amount of money and has looked after his family well. Now, at age 71 he’s excited and getting ready to marry a lady who’s swept him away.

For 41 years he was married to someone else. Just a few years before she had fought the long hard battle against cancer and cancer won. The entire family felt the loss, but he knows she lived well and he believes she would want him to move on in these last decades of his own life.

So he’s getting married. By the time you read this he will be married. They’re going to buy a house near the beach and move out of state. Live in married bliss during retirement. As we Uber he tells me excitedly that he is looking forward to their honeymoon during which time he has scored tickets to a Bryan Adams concert. They’re both fans and they can’t wait to hear him live.

I smiled at him as we talked, letting him know I appreciate “Summer of 69” as much as the next man. He looks down at his phone for a second, “You know, I can bring it up on Youtube.” So he does. Not only that, but an entire album. As we travel along the Chilsholm Trail and by downtown Fort Worth, Bryan Adams blairs from the speakers and he is happy. I’m happy.

At 71 he’s listening to Bryan Adams and giving me Uber tips.

I dropped him off at the airport and he looked at me one more time, “You know, my father always taught me that no matter how long or short a time you spend with someone you should always seek to leave them better off than before you met. Thank you for doing that and I hope I did the same.”

He did.