Working with Western Tract Mission
by Naomi Epp with Arnold Stobbe
In 1948 when Arnold was 20 years old, he listened attentively to Mr. G. W. Elliott describe the work of Western Tract Mission which had been formed only 7 years earlier and which mailed out Gospel tracts to people across Canada.
Arnold was thrilled to learn of this way of sharing with people about Jesus, became a member of the mission, and signed up as a distributor. Having no money for postage did not stop him. That year the $0.02 a stamp that he needed to mail out the tracts was paid by the young man his father had hired to help on his farm.
Thousands of tracts have been either given out or mailed out by Arnold since that time. Wanting to encourage those who gave their lives to God through his witnessing or through VBS, Arnold started a Mailbox Club from Western Tract Mission in the 1970's.
Mailbox Club has excellent lessons which clearly teach truths from the Bible. People read over the lessons, answer questions from the lesson, and mail in their answers to be corrected. In addition to this, Arnold saw to it that many young people who left his home town to work elsewhere received the Shantyman evangelical paper. He longed that men and women come to know God, His love, and forgiveness for their sin.
Many years later at the age of 65, Arnold was asked to be a Board member of Western Tract Mission. He accepted the position. Faithfully he drove the 100 mile round trip to and from Saskatoon for each meeting for four years, 1993-1997.
Then problems stirred up within the mission and missionaries left. Due to the stress of the situation, the director lost his health and resigned.
Without someone in charge, the problems within Western Tract Mission went from bad to worse. A board meeting was called. "I want to say something at the meeting," Arnold told Dave, the chairman, before the meeting started.
"I will say something first," was Dave's response. To keep Western Tract Mission functioning until they were able to get a director, Dave suggested that the board members be put in charge of the different departments of the mission. Interestingly, this was the exact same plan that Arnold had thought of! Dave volunteered to oversee two departments. Arnold offered to look after three departments, and others were willing to help.
At the following board meeting, Arnold had a concern. The Tract Department had been over looked. "Well," said a member of the board. "You are the most familiar with that. Why don't you look after that department as well?" Arnold did.
Somehow all the responsibilities for the mission, except finances, were soon given over to Arnold.
As Acting Director, Arnold wanted to lead Western Tract Mission in dependence upon God. He soon began a weekly staff prayer time, then an annual Day of Prayer, and later a monthly Praise and Prayer email/letter.
More workers were needed. Diligently Arnold sought out volunteers to correct Mailbox Club Bible Lessons and to correspond with those doing the lessons.
Then in 1999 God provided volunteers who were willing to create a website for Western Tract Mission to give the mission a world-wide presence on the internet. WTM's tracts were offered online so they could be printed locally in any part of the world. Wanting to use this website to share HOPE in Christ Jesus, Arnold has been and is still looking for young people and adults who will share their stories of how God has changed their lives. You can read such stories at WesternTractMission.org/Hope/
One day Barb Jenkins came into the Western Tract Mission office looking for Bible lessons. She was grieving the tragic death of her son and wanted to start a Bible club with his friends. This didn't go ahead, but Arnold invited her to correct Bible lessons for the mission. Barb later asked to write a tract especially for young people. This she did, and it has been printed and is now being distributed.
Around the same time, Earl Klassen from BC offered to run a Cyclathon as a fund raiser for Western Tract Mission. Eager to help, the Jenkins family got involved in the Cyclathon that summer of 2004 when few people did. After the second year, Barb suggested having Mark's Prayer Walk-Jog-Cycle for Jesus which has been successful in raising money to print Gospel literature.
Motivating people to become involved and making them feel a vital part of Western Tract Mission's team is an important part of Arnold's work. Someone suggested that appreciation should be shown to volunteers for the many hours they spend correcting Bible lessons and responding to students' questions. Since 2004, Arnold has organized an Appreciation Tea each August to show gratitude to these volunteers, as well as to those who help with building repairs, fundraisers, and other special favors.
Looking for a Canadian location from which to work, Joe and Penny Homontowski from Source of Light called in December, 2003. Arnold invited them to work along with Western Tract Mission in Saskatoon.
They arrived in January, 2005, and brought with them updated Mailbox Club Lessons that Arnold had seen such a great need for.
God gave Arnold goals for this struggling mission. Initially, Arnold arranged for new tracts to be printed. Then, in 2007, a 16 page Gospel pamphlet entitled There Is Hope was printed and mailed to 160,000 homes in ten Saskatchewan cities. As of Sept., 2010 There Is Hope has entered into 260,000 homes. As more donations came in, another 100,000 Gospel pamphlets were mailed out in 2011.
In 2008 the Lord provided the funds so that a laser printer and a much needed paper cutter and paper folder were able to be purchased. With these, Western Tract Mission has been able to produce good quality in their own printing of tracts and Reflections, WTM's newsletter. Large orders for Impact Canada with quantities of around 100,000 are still done by commercial Web Printers. God is blessing the efforts of these committed people.
After serving as Acting Director of Western Tract Mission for ten years, Arnold asked the board to appoint Joe Homontowski as Assistant to the Director. They did, and nine months later in March, 2008, they appointed Arnold as the Director.
In 2001 Western Tract Mission celebrated their 60th Anniversary at the Westgate Alliance Church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
For the special occasion, Louise Doerksen did research on the history of the mission, and Arnold then wrote a book on the mission's history as well as a book of wise sayings. Now, in 2011, Arnold is rejoicing with friends and supporters of Western Tract Mission the great things that God has done in the past 70 years. Great is God's Faithfulness!!
[In photos: Gerhard Wiebe, Kathleen Statham, Beryl Harbidge, Rick Harbidge, Peter Voth, Arnold Stobbe (in foreground). To right; Helen Klassen, Mary Pedersen, Dori Krahn, Brenda Reimer, Susan Buhler, Ruth Friesen, Wendell Klassen, and Don Wilde].
Other testimonies by Arnold Stobbe:
I Would Like That JOY!
Overworked, BUT - God Said...
The Burn Patient Who Laughed
"Visit in the Hospital? . . . Not Me!"
Serve Faithfully - God Can Use You!
Our House is on Fire!
A New Church in Town
Going to Heaven!
Back to Index of Hope Testimonies
You can contact Arnold via Facebook or use the Reach Us form on this site. Just choose "Director (Arnold Stobbe)" on the drop-down menu for Department first.