It has been a year since the passing of this life to the next for Elder Dirkes (January 12, 2019). Or another way to say it is that his hope has been fulfilled and he is standing in the presence of the Almighty basking in His glory. He has been sorely missed and will continue to be missed by us and many others. So, I thought I would jot down some things in memory of him.
He was the Pastor/Elder of Welsh Tract Assembly when he died and he had been for at least 15 years. He also worked a full time job as an Electrical inspector and did not rely on the gifts and offerings of the members of Welsh Tract. He preached extemporaneously which means he did not write a layout of what he was going to speak on and relied on the leading of the Lord. A lot of times he would do some preparatory work in looking up the meanings of names and other words in the passage that he had been given thoughts about. But he didn’t know for sure what he was going to be given to attempt to preach on until he got to the building and started giving the message. There were numerous times when we would talk with him on Saturday and he didn’t know what he was going to speak on the next day. Yet, the Lord remained faithful and he was always was given truth to expound upon. Also, it didn’t matter to him how many were in the congregation listening on any given Sunday. He always was given to preach like it was a full house, meaning every single pew was full. And in his mind they were even if there was as little as four in the building listening. I asked him one day how many attended the meeting and his immediate answer was that it was a full house. Everyone that was meant to be there was there.
Elder Dirkes, by God’s grace, decree and design found us (my wife Tori and I). He found my web-site and contacted me through e-mail. That was in 2003 sometime. We corresponded through e-mail for a while and then I found his phone number on the internet. So, I called him and asked if he was able to talk. Our first one-on-one conversation was wonderful! It was like a breath of fresh air. I can’t tell you how nice it was to have someone to talk to that was like-minded. We talked on the phone for about a month or so and then Tori started talking to him as well. In early 2004 we petitioned to be baptized and become members of Welsh Tract Assembly. Since we were not local, Elder Dirkes took our petition (us asking to be baptized and join the fellowship along with why) and sent it to the rest of the members of the assembly to get their thoughts. In April of that year Elder Dirkes came out to Washington to baptize Tori and me and he asked Elder Lackey to come out with him. It was a very blessed time of fellowship and we were extremely sad when it ended and they had to go home. We shed a lot of tears at the time of the departure because we were absolutely sure it would be the last time for a long time that we would be able to experience that type of fellowship.
Thankfully the Lord had other plans!! Welsh Tract Assembly did not meet on the fifth Sunday of any month that had five Sundays and Elder Dirkes utilized that time to come out to us (across the country – New Jersey to Washington state) when he was available and he would spend the weekend. Plus, beyond that, we were enabled to speak on the phone regularly. I also know that he spoke with other brethren on the phone regularly as well. He was always very generous with his time in that way. Whenever we or others had questions about a passage in scripture he would listen and attempt to answer the question as best as he could.
Another thing that was wonderful for us was our unity. What I mean by that is through our 15 years of friendship and all the conversations we had we maybe had a FEW differings of opinions but MOSTLY we were all in one accord. That is a RARITY! Especially these days!
January 12, 2020