An Encounter with Duncan Campbell

Rev. Duncan Campbell

Rev. Duncan Campbell

In 1991 when Cathy and I made our first overseas trip with The International Congress on Revival we had no idea of the wonderful, Godly people we would meet, and with whom we would bond. I have recently written about meeting Mia and Costel Oglice who were our Romanian translators for the conference, and how our friendship resulted in many Romanian and eastern European pastors and their wives coming to El Dorado for some much-needed medical care. (“In Need of a Russian Translator“).

The conference we attended was held in Salzburg, Austria and the American team was scheduled to have a few days in Innsbruck to rest and recover from jet lag. We were then to go to Salzburg to begin the meeting which had attendees coming from eighteen different countries. While in Innsbruck I was given a copy of Wesley Duewel’s book, Ablaze For God and was told there were a number of accounts in the book of great revivals of the past.  I was told the accounts would be an encouragement to pray for revival in Salzburg. One of the accounts in the book was in Chapter 10 entitled. “God’s Power in the Ministry of Duncan Campbell.” I had never read anything about Duncan Campbell prior to this.

One of the first of many manifestations of God’s power in Duncan Campbell occurred when he was seriously injured in 1918 during World War I. He was taken to a casualty clearing station where he said he felt an unusual presence of God when he prayed aloud Psalm 103 in his native Gaelic tongue of the Scottish highlands. He said seven wounded Canadian soldiers who understood Gaelic were lying nearby were immediately born again. Several other examples of the unexplainable power of God through Duncan’s life were given. Years later while Reverend Campbell was preaching throughout the Scottish Hebrides, a huge movement of God occurred resulting in most of the people on the island chain being converted to faith in Christ. Duncan Campbell spent the last years of his life as Principal of Edinburgh Bible College.

When we arrived in Salzburg two days later I was enthused about the possibility of God’s power being manifested in Cathy’s and my life and in all the conference attendee’s lives. On the first morning as Cathy and I got on the hotel elevator to go for breakfast there was an older, well dressed couple who appeared to also be attending the ICR meeting. I noted their name tags only stated their names, Colin Peckham and wife Mary Peckham and their native country Scotland. Following introductions I told them of the book I had just read, and asked if by chance they had ever met Duncan Campbell. Both smiled and said they knew him very well! Reverend Dr. Peckham said he had followed Duncan Campbell as Principal of Edinburg Bible College and had in his possession all of Duncan’s papers from the college. Mary said she was a young woman on the Island of Lewis when converted to faith in Christ while Duncan Campbell preached during the Hebrides Revival of 1949! I was speechless, but asked if they would join Cathy and me for breakfast. They gladly accepted our invitation.

They had never attended an ICR Conference, but had been invited to share the ministry of Christ through them in Scotland. They were excited to have the opportunity to speak to such a diverse American and European group. They asked us to tell them about Christ’s ministry through us in South Arkansas, and how we became involved in ICR. They had met the founder of ICR, the late Brother Manley Beasley years before in Switzerland, but had never met Brother Bill Stafford the current president.

Re. Dr. Colin Peckham

Rev. Dr. Colin Peckham

Mary Peckham

Mary Peckham

During breakfast I told them of the account I had read of Reverend Campbell while critically wounded praying Psalm 103 in Gaelic, and the conversion of the wounded Canadian soldiers who heard his prayer. I asked if they would mind quoting all or part of that Psalm in Gaelic. I didn’t mean to embarrass them, but certainly caught them off guard. Dr. Peckham said he was born and raised in South Africa and was not fluent in the Gaelic tongue of the Scottish highlands, but Mary certainly was fluent. He said, “What if Mary quoted Psalm 23 in Gaelic, and I quoted that Psalm in Zulu?” I said, “That would be awesome!” Neither Cathy nor I had ever heard those two languages spoken, but we knew what they were saying, and I thought while they were speaking, “what a wonderful way to begin our time and meeting in Austria!” There was certainly a spirit of revival beginning in our hearts that morning.

The time spent over the next five days in Austria was life changing for Cathy and me. We met and had fellowship with Christians from all over the world and heard and shared stories of God working through all of us. As we returned home I remember praying, “God set me ablaze for your Glory and let it continue until I meet you!”

Dr. John


Who Burned Down Hugh Goodwin?

Hugh Goodwin School

Hugh Goodwin Elementary School

Physicians in small towns are frequently asked to do any number of civic-minded activities apart from practicing medicine. I usually welcomed opportunities to give back to the people of El Dorado if I felt qualified for the task for which I was invited. For more than twenty-five years I  served as the team physician for the El Dorado Wildcats and thoroughly enjoyed my role in the position. I was invited to serve on various boards, most of which I had to decline because the meeting times conflicted with my schedule as a general surgeon. Early in my career I was invited to participate in a teaching function at the elementary schools, and I was told by the person who invited me this role was usually reserved for the “younger doctors.” At the time I certainly qualified from an age perspective. In retrospect I wish I had disqualified myself on grounds I was really not qualified. The teaching opportunity I was given was the annual “sex talk” given by physicians and nurses to the fifth graders in each school.

The format for the talk was the students were separated into boys and girls classes and a twenty minute slide presentation was shown which was very general in nature showing the reproductive anatomy on plastic models and the physiology of fertilization using drawings. There was nothing graphic or objectionable about the slide show. Following the slide presentation the lights were turned on, and the expert (me) was available to answer questions from the boys. The nurses were scheduled as experts for the girls to avoid possible embarrassment to the girls.

The first year I was scheduled to be the expert at Yocum Elementary School which traditionally had been equivalent in academics to Hugh Goodwin, which was my boyhood school. As a Hugh Goodwin alum I always considered “my school” as the superior school but admit my prejudice. I had rescheduled my surgical cases for the appointed morning and arrived on time but with some trepidation in my spirit.

I was shown my room and told there would not be the usual teacher in the room, because the one scheduled had called in sick earlier in the morning. I should have insisted on a substitute monitor, but bravely said, “I think I can handle it with no problem.” The school nurse was there to show the slides which went well, and when completed she turned on the lights, excused herself, and I stood up to all questions generated by the slides. When I asked, “Are there any questions,” an older appearing boy immediately raised his hand and asked an X-rated question which I will not repeat in this post. The class instantly broke into uproarious laughter with most of the boys slapping their sides and slapping one another as if they had gotten away with talking dirty. When I tried to quiet the class with a few loudly spoken words, the perpetrator of the question turned to his buddy next to him and said something I couldn’t hear, and the laughter escalated.

I happened to look in the chalk tray behind me and saw a long wooden pointer which I thought I might use to make a loud sound to get their attention. I slammed it down on the desk too hard and before I could say, “Get quiet”, the pointer broke in half, and I was left holding a stub. The class was totally out of control with shouting and laughter. I simply laid the stub down and walked out of the room. As I walked down the hall I could hear the boys still laughing when I happened to approach one of the nurses. I told her what happened and she could do as she pleased with that rowdy bunch, but I had patients at the hospital whom I needed to see. That afternoon I got a phone call from the Assistant Principal who profusely apologized, saying  it should never have happened that a school monitor was not present. He promised if I would consider returning the following year he would personally be in the room. The next year I reluctantly agreed, but the Assistant kept his word and he was present. I knew him to be a stern disciplinarian, and the boys were polite, respectful and asked a few good questions which I was able to answer easily. Overall I was pleased with the boys and with my performance this time.

The third year I was assigned to be the reproductive expert at Hugh Goodwin, and based on my previous experience I made certain with the scheduling nurse I would have a monitor in the room. She assured me there would definitely be a school official in the room. The presentation was to be on a Monday morning at 9 A.M., and I made certain I had no appointment conflicts that particular morning.

About 10 P.M. on Sunday evening I received a phone call from a Hugh Goodwin representative telling me there had been a fire about an hour earlier, and a significant portion of the school had been damaged. The school would be closed for several days. Plans had to be made for temporary class room space and the reproductive class would be cancelled for this year. I hung up the phone and praised the Lord no one was injured in the fire, and I was given a reprieve from the “sex talk” for another year.

The next morning I went into the Doctor’s Lounge at Warner Brown Hospital, and the usual five or six doctors were there having morning coffee. Before I could say anything one of the doctors said, “John, word on the street is you are the one who set fire to Hugh Goodwin last night to keep from giving the annual sex talk!” My only response was, “I have to admit I thought about it, but I plead not guilty. Perhaps there was some suspicion of me concerning the origin of the fire, because I was never again asked to participate in this teaching project. I wasn’t upset or offended on either count.

Dr. John