April 12, 1999
I want to send a letter to a number of people in Alberta who have been communicating with me by letter and/or phone. I have followed the developments in Alberta with interest and concern over these past months. Some of the more recent developments that I am aware of being the court case in Edmonton, the Wednesday study removed from the home of Sam & Barbara Tschetter in Lethbridge, the visit that Eldon Tenniswood, Ernest Nelson and Sydney Holt made to Bevan & Heather Olson at Didsbury, the sale of the Didsbury convention farm which followed that visit and the removal of the Wednesday meeting from the home of John & Shirli O’Dell in Calgary.

I do know that those of you to whom I am writing have felt, for various reasons, that your confidence in the oversight in Alberta has been eroded to a larger or lesser extent in different cases. You have hoped and, at times, expected that some change in the oversight would be implemented. A year ago now, my own expectation was that the overseers as a group would have seen fit to have implemented some changes affecting the province of Alberta. However, as you know, the decision coming out of the meeting of overseers last July was to support the status quo in Alberta. That was not the thinking of everyone there, but it was the decision of the meeting. With Eldon, Ernest and Sydney coming into the province in recent weeks; it remains very evident that the overseers generally are fully supporting Willis and Jim and their oversight in the province.

We could wonder why the support remains so solidly behind Willis and Jim, and it would be possible to advance a number of possible reasons. We know that this stand has been taken after hearing a number of concerns expressed from both workers and friends. I would just like to encourage you to accept this support that Willis and Jim have at the present time as a reality and to respect that decision because it comes from a group of men whom God has called and whom God is using in guiding his work in this part of the earth. If our attitude towards them becomes disrespectful, it is a reflection on our attitude towards God as well.

We realize that the fact that we are servants of God, or even very responsible servants of God, doesn't make us infallible. However, something that is very much a part of being a child of God is to respect those who are over us in the Lord, to pray for them, to obey them, to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake.
Their judgement may not always be right, but it is always right for us to respect that judgement and to work with it in the best way that we possibly can.

So, there are two possibilities regarding the decision of the overseers to maintain and support the status quo in Alberta. One possibility is that the decision is a right decision for the province. That would mean that they are seeing some things in the picture that some of us are missing when we look at it. Another possibility is that it was not the best decision for the province. But, whichever is the applicable possibility in this case, it does remain the right thing to respect that decision because of where it has come from and to work with it no matter what our own thoughts might be on the subject. This is a very practical area where we can exercise the teaching of 11 Corinthians 10:5, "- bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." We may think that we are "obeying men" and not "obeying Christ" when we submit to something that seems wrong to our own thinking. However, the scriptures teach so much about submission e.g. to the government of the land, wives to husbands, children to parents, the Lord's people to the ministry, etc. That teaching doesn't just apply when the governments, husbands, parents or workers are 100% on the right track, but it applies in a very comprehensive way. We also know that a point could be reached in these different relationships in which submission is generally expected where, because of some deep conviction before God, we would feel that we could not submit to something that is being asked of us. However, there is also great danger in "not submitting" and in taking a rebel attitude when the situation doesn't warrant that extreme position in God's mind.

So, I would like to encourage all of you to accept the present situation, knowing that quite a bit has been done to bring concerns to the attention of the overseers. The present situation remains in spite of these concerns having been very publicly expressed and drawn to the attention of the overseers. Whether the decision is right or wrong, the right thing for all of us is to respect it because of those who have made the judgement. If the decision is wrong, I am sure that the Lord will have ways of correcting that over time. He still is very much on the throne. In the final analysis, there are some things that we just have to leave in his hands. I believe that for anyone to try to force changes now, after all that has been done to bring issues into focus, that it could mean lust being very much out of our place.

It is evident that when any stand is taken to restrict the welcome of any workers to your homes that your home will then be considered unsuitable for a meeting. I would certainly encourage you to make the workers welcome in your home. It has been pointed out that this would give you opportunity to show the spirit of Christ to them. We don't want to add to the building of walls in the kingdom; but, rather, be amongst those who are building bridges. The polarization and division that has become so evident in Alberta is extremely dangerous and gives Satan a lot of territory in which to work. Many people tend to be caught up in it and to form camps. It would be wonderful, and very much in keeping with the spirit of Christ, if we could all desire to reach out and begin to build bridges that would span the gulf of division that has evolved. Most of the people on the other side of this gulf are people with whom you would have never had any problem had it not been for this issue which resulted in you taking different sides. When we can get into the presence of the Lord in prayer, find bread for our souls, be influenced and motivated by his spirit, then our influence can be as Ephesians 4:1-3, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

I have appreciated a few visits by phone with Bevan & Heather Olson before and since the day that Eldon, Ernest and Sydney had the visit there. I marvel at their spirit of acceptance and the gracious way that they are handling this matter that could have left them feeling very bitter. They are real examples. It will be people like them that will be contributing to a solution rather than promoting a further problem. The spirit of the lamb, the spirit of a little child, the spirit that can take loss graciously without resentment or fighting back - this is the spirit that will not only preserve the kingdom (and preserve our salvation individually) but will also, in time, unite the kingdom.

I can understand your concerns and your feeling of perplexity. I do want you all to come through this experience with your faith deepened and your spirits enriched. In light of the present situation and the understanding of it that I have (which is limited, of course), I have felt that I would like to exhort you in the way that I have expressed in this letter. I think that you know that I am writing to you in this way because of concern and love and a deep interest in your future and the welfare of your souls. I hope that these few lines may be of some help. I have appreciated your communication in the past. I would welcome your response to this if you care to respond.

Yours in Him

Dale Shultz