Rosenort Revival Celebrates 70 Years
By Leona (Plett) Friesen
On July 8, 2001, a group of us celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1951 revival in the Rosenort (Man.) EMC. Now, 20 years later, those of us who have not been promoted to glory celebrate 70 years since our dear Saviour sent a revival into our midst. Through the revival, we saw church members reconciled and many, many young people (as well as some parents) come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour!
What led up to that revival? Years of earnest praying by many deeply concerned parents; then a sad event hit our community when one of our own tragically died. Rev. Ben D. Reimer from Steinbach, Man., was invited to speak at the funeral. Rev. Reimer returned shortly after the funeral for two weeks of special meetings in our church.
He preached a week and a half with no visible results. It seemed no one was willing to confess “I’m at fault.” On the second Wednesday, Mom Plett said, “This very night I ask your forgiveness for the misunderstandings and fights.” After that Wednesday service, many came to our car to ask my mom for forgiveness. We got home way past midnight! (Mother’s German-Lutheran upbringing made it hard to fit into our community.)
The very next night, on July 5, blessings started to flow. Two of my sisters and a few others came to know the Saviour. Then on Friday night, 50-plus more youth surrendered to Jesus! (My late husband Edward and I were included in this Friday group.) By Sunday night, more than 70 in all had come to know the Lord! Our youth, homes, church and community were completely changed that weekend.
On March 19 of this year, I listened to “Back to the Bible.” The speaker asked, “Are you…am I…plugging the ‘flow’ of revival?” Thank you, Mom Plett, for removing the “plug” in our church on July 4, 1951.
My prayer, “Dear Lord, am I a plug that is blocking the channel of blessing of revival to my family, my church, my country and the world? “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23–24).
As a result of that revival, a burning flame for missions was kindled. The revival rippled on to our neighbours, friends, other towns, provinces and countries in the following years. And it still ripples on! (Revelation 7:9, 12)
Encouragement to those still around:
So, let us keep travelling, tho’ at times
we stumble and fall
Till through death, or at the sound
of the last trumpet call
We will be swept through that beautiful
Where we’ll forever and forever
this Revival celebrate!
“No turning back, no turning back!”
Leona (Plett) Friesen with her late husband Edward is one of several missionaries (Frank and Marge Kroeker, Fred and Doris Friesen, among others) who ministered cross-culturally after committing their lives to Christ during the Rosenort revival of 1951.
You can listen to Leona reading her poem below.
I wrote the following poem and presented it on July 8, 2001, at the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1951 Revival at the Rosenort EMC Church.
We Decided to Follow Jesus
This celebration began at the cross of Mount Calvary
When our precious Saviour died for you and me.
For years we had spent in sinning and pride
Ignoring the fact that the Lord Jesus had died.
Concerning this date; well, some fifteen years prior
There were earnest prayers for a revival fire.
Also, a foursome of brethren who in spite of foul weather
For soul-searching prayer, would gather together.
But all of you present here I am sure will know
That in 1951, exactly half a century ago,
Our dear Lord did not leave us in a lurch
But wonderfully touched our own home church.
Numerous young people on sinning were bent
Then into our midst an awful tragedy was sent.
Our whole community with deep sorrow was filled
As one of our own was tragically killed.
To speak at the funeral, an evangelist came
After that, our community has not been the same.
Tho’ of the speaker’s intentions, many were not sure
Mr. Ben D Reimer preached God’s Word, clear and pure.
(Mr. Reimer returned shortly after the funeral for two weeks of special meetings.)
A whole week and a half, with no seeming result
Nobody was willing to confess, “I am at fault”
Till the second Wednesday, Mom Plett said, “This very night
I ask your forgiveness for misunderstanding and fight.”
(Mother’s Lutheran upbringing made it hard to fit in.)
The very next night, on July 5, blessings started to flow…
Two of my sisters and others, the Saviour came to know,
Then on Friday night, fifty more youth and then some!
By Sunday night, seventy in all to the Saviour had come.
Friday night a certain girl in the church foyer did wait
Against whom in my heart there had been a deep, deep hate.
In grade school us Plett kids were often called ‘half-price’
We did not accept this term as very flattering or nice.
That evening I was changed, my heart filled with love.
For me, this was an extra special gift from above.
I found that forever was gone, that feeling of ill;
Heavenly love took care of it and always will!
Our youth, homes and church were SO changed that week.
Forgiveness for sinning toward others, we all did seek.
We went to friends and neighbours to confess our wrong
‘Cause we were forgiven and our hearts filled with song.
Edward’s sister Bertha, also one who came to the Lord.
Nine years later, her tombstone read these words,
“Where I am now, there must you be
Prepare my friend to follow me.”
Others did follow: George Kornelsen, the husband of Rosie,
She’d still want him with her, in her home so cozy.
Our dear brother, Melvin Dueck, and there are several more
Who are not here with us; they’ve gone on before.
Some others could not be at this celebration today
‘Cause of other obligations; or simply lived too far away.
Then, there are those absent, because they are sick;
One that comes to my mind is, dear Ralph Dueck.
Also missing is Fred, always ready with his wit and a joke
Now being in public is difficult, due to a stroke.
Then, there is Tina Reimer, she was Tina Friesen
She is absent as you know… cancer is the reason.
Even though since that blessed and unforgettable day,
Most of us have turned either bald, wrinkled or gray…
Let’s still be faithful, sharing the redemptive work of God’s Son
So that many others, like us, to the Saviour will be won!
Anyone who wants a copy of this simple rhyme
Can come to me, it’s yours for a quarter or a dime!
Come soon … “Cause in another fifty years from now
I won’t write a very much better one anyhow!
… Or I’ll do it perfectly!
‘Cause our next celebration probably will be in glory
And there we will witness the whole perfect story!
So, let us keep travelling, tho’ at times we stumble and fall
Till through death, or at the sound of the last trumpet call
We will be swept through that beautiful, heavenly gate…
Where we’ll forever and forever, this REVIVAL celebrate!
My late husband, Edward Friesen, and I, and countless others, will forever be grateful for deciding to follow Jesus! Our theme song was “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” Only Heaven will reveal what the blessed results were of that Revival. There we will all know “the whole perfect Revival story”!!
God bless you all!
Leona (Plett) Friesen