My First Fifty Years – By Gerald Bustin

Chapter 18

The Bustin and Menefee Memorial

In the very beginning of our Haitien work the Lord gave me a vision of a Gospel Broadcasting Station erected on our beautiful compound, but not more than two or three people knew of this. The first man I mentioned this to was about swept off his feet and let me know then that he didn’t approve of such an idea. My wife knew of my thoughts along this line, but it was seldom discussed until during the last year of her life. It became a conviction with her also that God had so planned for us.

To the best of my remembrance my first public mention of the Broadcasting Station was in Chicago only a few weeks before leaving for Australia in June of 1948. At that time two of God’s children spoke up and voluntarily gave $110. This was the first offering toward this phase of our work. A few days later while in conference with our Advisory Board, Brother J. W. Menefee, one of our members, assured me that he highly favored the plans for the Broadcasting Station and had $500 to give toward the project. He never knew just how much his words and his gift meant to me at that time, for in those days I found few people with a vision of what could be done through a missionary radio station.

After returning from Australia it was my privilege to spend a day or so in the home of Brother Menefee during which time we talked over plans for the work. A few days later I received one of the great shocks of my life when I learned that this dear man had gone to be with the Lord. I was called to conduct his funeral, but this was not an easy thing to do, for he seemed as near to me as a close relative.

Only a few weeks later my own dear wife was also taken away by sudden death. My business confident and my bosom companion had so suddenly been removed. My first thoughts were, How shall I carry on, and especially with the plans for the Gospel Broadcasting Station? The load seemed too great for advancement with the conventional type missionary work, and specially so since New Guinea had come into the picture. Shall we undertake the added burden of the broadcasting plans!

After diligently seeking the mind of God in the matter it became a settled conviction that He would have us go forward according to former plans. It is true that I had no knowledge of radio work, and we had so very little in the way of funds for such a momentous task, but God was leading and would see us through. It was settled from the beginning that we would pay as we went. It was also decided upon that we build a large and much needed tabernacle to take care of our growing congregation, and that this tabernacle should be known as the BUSTIN AND MENEFEE MEMORIAL. To save expense the Broadcasting Studios would be arranged in the rear of the big tabernacle.

This was a stupendous undertaking, and I almost tremble yet when I think of such a venture along with all else we were undertaking. Thanks be unto God for the encouragement and the assistance rendered by the major part of our missionary staff during those days of deep grief and increasing burdens. Well meaning people prophesied failure. Some wanted to know what I knew about radio work and of how I expected to carry on even after the transmitter and equipment had been installed. Such were fair questions, but my only honest answer was that, “I know nothing about radio and I do not know how we will carry on, but I know that God is leading, and He will surely provide.”

During these days of testing I received a letter from Mr. Paul Shirk, a radio technician then living in California. Providentially he had learned of our plans to install a station in Haiti and offered his services to come and help us. We had already arranged for a small Company to construct a one thousand watt transmitter. This, however, was proven to be inadequate for our purpose until it was worked over by Mr. Shirk. Even then the power output was only about 700 watts.

There were many problems which entered into the matter of constructing the tabernacle and radio station, thus increasing the load almost immeasurably. Had it not been for the firm conviction that God was backing us this whole building project might have terminated like the man our Master spoke of “who began to build and was not able to finish.” During those days I often thought of those words, and I am confident that many other people also had in mind these words. Prophesies of failure might have come true had it not been for other words of the Master. “All things are possible to him that believeth” stood out like letters of gold, and thus assured some of us that God would see us through, even though we were reminded that “the poor people of Haiti have no radios, that our intentions of getting into the States with the broadcasts would never materialize, and that we were wasting God’s people’s money.” It is never easy to forge ahead in the face of thrusts coming from folk who claim to follow the same Christ we serve, for to go forward assures us of being charged with “stubbornness,” “self-interests,” and “bull-headedness.” Such a thing is sad indeed, but the “Sanballats and Tobiahs” are found in unspeakable numbers listed among the followers of Christ. These will seek to block every move that is made by those who have a vision of kingdom interests.

Again we were encouraged to go forward by the mighty promise: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” God’s great faithfulness to His word is demonstrated in the pages which are to follow.