Category Archives: Ministry & Family History

Excerpts from Doug’s Diaries, Family Stories, or History of Doug & Margaret’s ministry

Enjoying Great Art

Margaret and I as Christians have always enjoyed great art. One of our favorite painters is Sir Samuel Luke Fildes.

He was born in Liverpool in 1844 and was an orphan. Later he was adopted and became a well-known portrait painter.

However, he gave up painting the rich and famous, such as the Queen, and began to paint the houseless and hungry plight of the homeless.

Luke Fildes was asked to provide an illustration to accompany an article on the Houseless Poor Act, a new measure that allowed some of those people out of work to shelter for a night in the casual ward of a workhouse. The picture produced by Fildes showed a line of homeless people applying for tickets to stay overnight in the workhouse.

The wood-engraving, entitled Houseless and Hungry, was seen by John Everett Millais, who brought it to the attention of Charles Dickens; Dickens was so impressed that he immediately commissioned Fildes to illustrate The Mystery of Edwin Drood (a book Dickens never finished as he died while writing it).

One of his famous paintings of the poor is, The Village Wedding. Margaret purchased a color print of the painting (from China) as a birthday gift for me. It now hangs in our living room. I first saw a black and white print in Canada years ago and liked it very much.

Fildes’ first son, Philip, died of tuberculosis in 1877. The image of the doctor at his son’s side during the ordeal left a lasting memory of professional devotion that inspired Fildes’ 1891 work The Doctor. His later son, Sir Paul Fildes, was an eminent scientist.

Sir Luke Fildes was knighted in 1906 by King Edward VII.

You’ll never make it as a missionary!

by Pastor David Nelson, ret.

His step-father told him he was “worthless.”  His three brothers died in prison. His sisters have been married five or six times. His own life was headed for destruction. But then, a Christian classmate in college befriended him one night when he came into the dorm drunk, sat him down, gave him enough coffee to get him sober and began sharing the “Good News” about Jesus’ love and forgiveness and he prayed to receive Christ. That same classmate then went to Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, and invited him to come join him there, which though a brand-new Christian, he decided to do.

He struggled at Prairie and had to have special tutoring. Some told him he was wasting their time and his money. He said he wanted to be a missionary. They said, “You’ll never make it as a missionary!”  With great concentrated effort, he managed to make it through Prairie and applied to some thirty different missions and was rejected by all of them. Finally “Operation Mobilization” accepted him. (He said, “They would accept anyone!”).  He thought he was headed to France, but ended up in India, where he found out he, as a white American, was very much disliked.

But, he has now been a very effective missionary for almost 48 years, and we had the privilege and joy of having Doug Nichols and his wife Margaret (“Margi”) in our home this past weekend and having them share at three services at Faith Bible Church here in Libby, Montana. Margaret came from quite a different background than did Doug. Her folks were for many years missionaries in China. Doug met her at PBI. He heard her sing a solo in the big choir concert and thought, “If God ever lets me have a wife, I want it to be that one!” After a Doug’s couple years in India, they were married and have served together for 21 years in the Philippines and 24 years in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Doug, the “worthless” step-son, the one who would “never make it as a missionary,” serves as founder of ACTION and Global Missions Advocate/Mobilizer assisting with Global Diaspora Network, Filipino International Network, Christian Growth Ministries in the Philippines, advocate for needy children, and in leadership development. He travels extensively throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and North America speaking on behalf of the glory of God in missions. Not bad for a “drunk from a dysfunctional family!”

We were so blessed to have the Nichols stay with us this weekend, and to listen to all his stories of the faithfulness of God was such an encouragement to us personally and to the folks at Faith Bible. I trust that each of us was challenged by what he shared, and realize that all God needs for us to be used by Him is a willing heart. When I introduced Doug and Margaret at church, I shared briefly about his interesting background and asked the congregation if they felt qualified to be a missionary. Then I read from I Cor. 1:26-31 which says, “For consider your calling, brethren that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no one should boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that just as it is written, ‘Let Him who boasts, boast in the LORD.'” God doesn’t require great intellect, years of education, a charismatic personality, solid family background. God is looking rather for “FAT” Christians, i.e., those who are “Faithful, Available, and Teachable.”

Another key to Doug and Margaret’s effectiveness as missionaries has been the heart they have for the needs of others, and their practice of reaching out in love to meet those needs. In Sunday School, Doug taught from the Book of Titus about good deeds, which are mentioned six times: “worthless” 1:16; “example” in 2:14; “zealous” 2:14; “ready” in 3:1,2; “careful” (“thoughtful”) in 3:8; and “learn” in 3:14. He pointed out that “Good works do not justify–they glorify.” Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16). Good deeds are the fruit of our lives in Christ.

Doug shared many examples of how doing simple things for others such as opening car doors, or helping folks on an airplane with their overhead luggage have opened doors for sharing the Gospel. In India, Doug contracted TB and had to go to a hospital for TB patients. There he tried to hand out gospel tracts but had the Indians tear them up and throw them back in his face. They didn’t want a white man taking the place of an Indian in their hospital! But then one night he helped another patient get to the bathroom at two in the morning so he could relieve himself. The man was too weak to get out of bed to get there. Doug himself was weakened with TB but managed to carry the emaciated man to the bathroom and back. The next morning he was awakened by a tap on the shoulder and an Indian asked for one of his Gospel tracts and then another came, and another until everyone in the ward had received one. All because of Doug’s helping an old man get to the bathroom!

Doug’s challenge to us was “Don’t waste your geography!” That is, no matter where you are, make a difference to someone. Be ready to meet a need, no matter how simple. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is heaven” (Mt. 5:16). Doug and Margaret have been doing that for close to half a century and have impacted thousands of lives for Christ. Each of us can do the same. If you are “Faithful,” and “Available,” and “Teachable,” you qualify as a missionary, no matter what others may say.


Forever His,

Pastor Dave Nelson

Doing the Wrong Thing

In 1958 before I knew Christ, I had a terrible car accident. A car full of women going home from work ran a stop sign and I hit the car broadside going 50 miles an hour. Bodies flew out the window, including Bob’s, my best friend. Two women died and all of us were severely injured. I wrote the following late; trying to report my feelings as a young boy of only 15.


The ambulance began to move slowly, but was soon racing at top speed in and out of traffic. As I looked at Bob’s helpless form lying on the stretcher, I wondered if we would make it in time. Just moments before, his head had penetrated the windshield of my car as I collided with another vehicle.

As I bent over the broken body, I placed my index finger on the pressure points below his ears; pressing in an attempt to stop the gushing flow of blood coming from the huge gash on his forehead. I pressed in vain, for the crimson life giving serum continued to stream in torrents, flooding into Bob’s eyes and running down my hands. An uproar of anxiety came upon me, “Why doesn’t the bleeding stop?” “If it continues he’ll die*. Oh Lord, don’t let him die!”

The driver continued to make his way professionally through the Friday night traffic. I wondered why he did not go faster, as the seven miles to the small town hospital seemed like seventy. “Will he make it in time? Will a doctor be on duty?” These thoughts raced through my mind as I renewed my grip on the pressure points. “Why can’t I stop the bleeding? Will Bob die in my arms? Am I holding the right points?”

We arrived after what seemed like an eternity. Outside the emergency room I paced, my head ringing with the question, “Will he live?” A door opened, revealing the small form of the doctor. He walked toward me, and a smile crossed his lips as he spoke words sweeter than honey, “He’s going to be okay”. (I found out later that I had held the wrong pressure points).

Precis (paragraphs)

Precis #1

There were screams of laughter as they dropped the plump round gal in the snow. What was I to do? She looked awfully embarrassed trying to roll out of the flaky-like soup that engulfed her.

“May I help you?”

“No! I can get out by myself”.

“Yes, I see. I can at least hold your books”

“Why don’t you just leave?”

“Because I don’t want to read in the paper tomorrow that some girl froze to death in a snow-bank”.

Precis #2

Probably no man of this century who has written on Christian subjects, has been so praised as has Albert Schweitzer. In his book “Quest for the Historical Jesus”, (“Referred to as modern Messiah”) written fifty years ago, he declares Jesus as mistaken in His prophetic utterance, and that there is little known about Him historically, etc. He scarcely mentions our Lord’s death and resurrection. Since then his writings have had fewer references to Jesus and his recent ones do not even mention God.

Dr. Schweitzer is believed to be pantheist and Dr. Langfeldt frankly admits that Schweitzer is an agnostic, not believing in the person of God or that Jesus was the Son of God. His god to the universal will to live. “Prayer… way to attain peace” (His is the belief of this great, eighty- five year old man).” No further comment …  necessary.”

Precis #3

On Sunday, February 24, as Rev. Paul Keita and two other men walked onto a “Y” intersection on a street in Kissidougen, a (large) truck barreled down upon them. The two men somehow escaped, but Pastor Paul could not. Surprisingly, he jumped up and grabbed onto the truck, but being his grip he fell, the truck’s front and back wheels passing directly over his thighs (yet a few seconds later he miraculously sat upright).

He was rushed to the hospital where an examination showed no broken bones and only superficial bruises, though the examining nurse said that such a case was impossible.

Despite protests, the pastor returned to his home immediately, where after spending a fairly good night, stood up unassisted and walked about. The incident has been the talk of Kissidougen and the surrounding area.

Precis #4

The Philistines mustered its forces to wage battle against Israel. They gathered upon a mountain and Israel on another with the Elah valley in Judah between them. Goliath of Gath, a giant over nine feet tall, (heavily armed) came forward from the Philistine army. He then defiled the army of Israel to send forth a man to challenge him in battle, and if the Israelite slew him, then the Philistines would be their slaves; but if he slew the Israelites, then Israel would be slaves to the Philistines. All of Israel was alarmed and fearful at such a challenge.

Man of the Year

Each year, reader of TIME suggest a “man of the year”, being the one who has most influenced events during that year.

We think that this is dubious for it is beyond the power of a human to pick such a one. These selections are made from worldly achievements assuming a place in the hall of fame. The selection of the world (“wisdom of the world not true … rather is absurd”) does not correspond with the true history (“true history … unseen and unknown … hosts of men and women by prayers pre inscribing on eternity”) that God is writing. Let us never forget, that God sees not as man; but He calls man’s wisdom foolishness, and considers a prayer more able to influence history, than one that would adorn the cover of TIME.


My Oncologist

My oncologist is very pleased with my continued health! He said it was worth a billion dollars to him to have one of his serious cancer patients respond to his care as I have. He called one night in a panic, saying tests showed my cancer had return with a vengeance. However, later tests proved the previous tests were mistaken! He and my surgeon told me recently that my cancer situation was the worst they had ever treated! Even though I did not die seven years ago as expected, there is always the possibility that cancer can reoccur and this be my last year before glory.

I was reading of the great commentator and Puritan pastor, Matthew Henry, who died in June, 1714. On January 1 of that year he wrote:

“I this morning renewed the dedication of myself to God, my whole self, body, soul, and spirit. Father, I give Thee my heart; use me for Thy glory this year; employ me in Thy service; fit me for Thy will. If this should be a year of sickness and pain; if a year of family affliction; if a year of public trouble; if of silencing and suffering; bonds and banishment; if it be my dying year, welcome the holy will of God. If this is a year of continued health, peace and liberty, Lord I desire to be busy in Thy service, both in study and preaching, in entire dependence upon Your divine grace, without which I am nothing, and can do nothing.” That day, he preached a sermon to young people, from Proverbs 23:26: “My son, give me thy heart.” He then added in his diary the following affectionate and devout aspiration. “Lord, take my heart and make it such as it should be.”