On Sabbath the 25th of November, it was our privilege and delight to welcome Br. Arnold Matthies back into church membership, after nearly 60 years.
Br. Arnold was a church worker in the 1950s and 60s. Originally from Christchurch, NZ, Arnold’s family moved to Australia. He attended Hebron Missionary College and entered the work. The minutes of the Victorian Field in 1955 record the anticipation of the brethren for him and his wife Gwenda to move to Melbourne. There he served as the leader of the Victorian Field, and his wife Gwenda helped to run the health clinic.
After a number of years of service, Br. Arnold and his wife left the church. He told us the story in his own words:
“As far as I was concerned, the SDARM was the church. And yet I walked. I don’t know why I did. But for almost 40 years I walked.
“There was so much that I couldn’t do. I couldn’t party on. I couldn’t go and drink. That wasn’t me.
“I remember once, coming home from somewhere in the car. Something irritated me, and I used a swear word. God spoke to me, ‘You need to read your Bible, man. You really need to read the Bible.’ That was the start of my coming back to God.
“I was working on Saturdays in those days. One day I saw an invitation next to an Adventist church, ‘Why don’t you share Sabbath with us?’ From that time I frequented Adventist churches.”
In 2020, in the midst of pandemic lockdowns, Br. Arnold made contact with Br. Miguel in Melbourne. Thus began his reconnection with the church.
Sadly, Arnold’s wife Gwen passed away in August of 2022. Since that time we have kept visiting his home in Melbourne’s east.
It was on one of these visits that Br. Arnold announced that he wished to be rebaptised. We did offer to refellowship him but he insisted that he wished to make a full recommitment including rebaptism.
And so on Sabbath afternoon the 25th of November, family and friends gathered at a church near his home to witness the renewal of his covenant with God. A few days prior, Br. Arnold had celebrated his ninety-second birthday. And so after a long journey he returned to the faith of his youth and was baptised.
Greetings were passed from many old friends such as Elaine Weymark, John Kraus, Trafford and Valda Hughes, Ruth Peisley, Lizy Thiel, Rebecca Allen, and Katerina Risko and her children Jacob, Helen, Brenda and Rosetta.
Arnold’s niece, Jodie Matthies Brown and her husband Murray were delighted to join on the day. And Dorothy Kelley, Ben Barat and Esther Boje were all able to be present in person representing the families that knew him many years in the past.
We thank the Lord for His mercy and the inspiring story of Brother Arnold Matthies and his recommitment to God.
~Nathan Tyler and Miguel Mendoza