One summer evening in 1976 the Big Red Machine was taking care of baseball business. (The Cincinnati Reds) I was running an errand in the family VW Beatle. I was seventeen that summer. We lived a few blocks from the park in Greenville, Ohio in the north end of town.
I ran an errand to the drug store that evening listening to the game on the AM radio. In the parking lot an older man was standing by his car with the window down listening to the game while he waited for his wife to finish her shopping.
I made small talk with him about baseball and turned the conversation toward the gospel. He was open to talk about the gospel but he had seen things as a WWII veteran in Europe that made him doubt if he could be forgiven.
“Can I show you what the Bible says about that?” I asked.
“I’d like that,” he said.
I grabbed a New Testament from my car and we sat in the front seat of his car and I showed him the “Romans Road” to salvation. I showed him the promise of forgiveness in 1 John 1:9 and led him in a prayer of confession and faith in Christ.
I had heard a preacher once say that you should carry a New Testament with you all the time so you can witness to people. He said, “When you lead someone to Christ, write their name down in the fly leaf of your New Testament and pray for them and keep in touch with them.” He called it following up…
I wrote his name in my New Testament and it’s still there though I’m fairly sure by now he has gone to be with the Lord.
That was the summer of 1976. Around 1991 I looked up his number and called him on the phone. He remembered me and told me he attended the Brethren Church.
It’s been almost 50 years now. The name is still there: Arnold McFarland. His name is in my New Testament and, I trust, in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
This morning I discovered his obituary. He died in 2021 in the Brethren Home in Greenville.
Arnold Ernest McFarland, 96, of New Madison, Ohio, passed away on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio. He was born on February 25, 1924, in Dublin, Indiana, to the late James and Emma (Sweet) McFarland. In addition to his parents, Arnold was preceded in death by his wife, Annie (Hancock) McFarland, whom he married June 8, 1947; four brothers; and one sister.
Arnold served his country honorably in the United States Army, serving in the European Theater during WWII as a 1st Lieutenant in the 80th infantry division.
He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons for more than 50 years, the AASR Valley of Dayton, and the American Legion. He retired in April 1985 from Con-Rail after a 40-year career in the railroad industry.
Arnold is survived by his four sons, Larry, Rodney, Dale and Bruce McFarland; and his granddaughter, Megan McFarland. Private burial, with military honors provided by the Greenville Honor Guard, in Greenmound Cemetery in New Madison, will be held at the convenience of his family.