An article by Gloria Welton

They met at New Brunswick Bible Institute (NBBI), Dale Gallagher from Sherman, Maine and Margaret Lavers from Georgetown, Prince Edward Island. They married in 1955 and their passion to tell others about Jesus started at a young age.

 Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Dale and Margaret are now living at Atlantic Baptist Nursing Home. As he looked at the pages of the Bible opened on his table, he recalls the moment Jesus got his attention and opened his eyes to His saving grace.

“I was just an average twelve your old and I was in evangelistic meetings in my home Church in Maine says Dale. “The visiting preacher really got my attention and touched me.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

“One service, the preacher asked for a raising of hands for those who wanted to know Jesus and to come forward to the altar. I remembered thinking to myself there is no way I want to leave my seat, but the Spirit of God spoke to me and off I went to the front of the church. It was undeniable that God was calling me as the severe thunder and lightning storm could be seen and heard from inside the Church and the preacher’s words got louder with every thunderclap.

“My heart was racing from all the noise of the storm and the emotions I had from the words I heard from the preacher. When he spoke about hell, I suddenly had a stirring need to obey God. Frank Harpel was the preacher’s name. When he would come to the community for the meetings, he would also visit our home, and I was really taken up by him.

“My grandfather was an alcoholic and during one of Frank’s visits he wanted to speak to my grandfather, and he did so out in the henhouse. That dear man with his Church suit on knelt on his knees in the dirty henhouse and led my grandfather to the Lord.” Dale laughed as he recalled his Godly Mother trying to clean the hen dirt off Frank’s suit and with admiration said how he was a dedicated man of God.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

After Dales conversion he was a changed boy and his need to charter a different path in life than the rest was undeniable. “About a year after I was saved, I was baptized in a brook.

“When in high school one teacher was wondering why I was not participating in the student activities such as the school dances. I was told to stand before my whole class and tell them why I wouldn’t go to the dances. I was afraid but I thought I would just tell them the truth that I was a Christian after accepted Christ as my Savior.

“I didn’t really know what else to say because that was the first testimony I ever gave in my young life, and it was in front of my classmates. From that point on I knew I needed to have more teaching about the Lord and through Scripture Press I was able to get a devotional book and Bible studies.

“Every Friday night there would be a school dance and I would be in my home reading when I would hear the cars go by blowing their horn outside of my house. They knew what my stand was, and I knew I had to live it because they were going to be watching me.”

1 Peter 3:16-17 Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

Margaret is now at the point in her life whereby telling her story is very challenging as her words get jumbled, but Dale was able to speak for his dear wife of 67 years. “Her family attended the Georgetown Baptist Church, and she was young when she was saved,” says Dale. “She had the honor of leading her father David Lavers to the Lord.

“Her mother Ella and her mother’s sister Myrtle Babineau were known as soldiers for the Lord, being with the Church in the early days and working hard to keep it going.” Dale tells the story that a small group of believers started that Church and even gave up their old age pension to heat the Church when money to keep it going was scarce. “About five or six people started the church and would gather and get someone to preach. Many in her family were saved along the way.”

Dale and Margaret met at NBBI during the first year of the three-year program. “I was encouraged to go to the Bible college by my Godly mother who prayed her children would go into ministry.

“At the college, the male and females were in separate quarters and the females had the tasks of doing the laundry for the school.” With a big grin, Dale recalled Margaret would make sure to pick his clothes out and have them all clean for him.

After they were married, they moved to Maine to start their life together with God leading them into full-time lifelong ministry. They started with children’s ministry and would have Bible studies with adults. Then they moved from Maine to Newfoundland.

During their early years of marriage, they also started their family with Ruth being the first born, then David, Darrell, Debbie and Pamela.  They now have seven grandchildren, Keri Lynn, Kyle, Tyler, Ryan, Christopher, Jamilyn, and Meghan. And they have eight great grandkids, Scarlet, Jaleigh, Thomas, Charlene, Ethan, Fletcher, Charlie, and Amelia.

When they moved to Newfoundland, a lot of the roads were old dirt roads. “There were only three vehicles in the community we lived, and I had one, a 1948 Chev,” says Dale. “We had no electricity and no running water, but God provided such miracles to have more functional conveniences.

“We had lots of diapers and clothes to wash, and I got tired of no indoor running water. One day I was carrying buckets of water from the stream and noticed on my walk there was an area where it was quite moist and Alder trees were growing. A thought came to mind that if I dig in this area maybe there will be a stream that I could directed to my house. So sure enough I dug and there was a water source that I was able to access and have the water piped into my home which was the first of its kind in my community. I was also able to develop a septic system after consulting with a neighbour and that was the first in our community.”

All the while they were ministering, and Dale would travel from community to community ministering and gaining support and would have to go often and for long periods of time.

“We did get discouraged sometimes and that tells you we are human, but the Lord always finds a way to assure us that He is with us.”

All the way along God led Dale and Margaret to people who helped them live their lives and raise their family while they continued their ministry. Many people who came into their lives for whatever reason, heard about the saving grace of our Lord and Saviour and many responded.

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Then God led them back to PEI where they purchased a home in Cornwall and continued their ministry for many years. Having youth group in their home as well as Vacation Bible School (VBS) during the summer months and leading Bible studies was their focus during their early years on PEI.

Amy Beaton provided some memories of her experience as a new believer in 1974 and

attending youth group in Dale and Margaret’s basement. “I had just made the decision to accept Jesus as my personal Saviour but I didn’t know what to do next,” recalls Amy. “Thankfully a friend from high school invited me to youth group and little did I know what God had in store.”

Bob and Marion Walker also helped the Gallaghers have weekly youth group meetings. On average 25 youth jammed into the Gallagher basement where the Word of God was taught. “Those were amazing times,” says Amy. “The passion for strong teaching from these couples was inspiring. We were able to ask questions, and many of the youth made a commitment to live for Jesus which was very encouraging.

“I thank God for those special days of growth and the bond we all established. We sang praise and worship songs like I had never heard before, beautiful voices and harmonies. It was heavenly and Dale played his accordion, he called the squeeze box.

“Some of the guys were late because they were playing softball on that night and Dale and Margaret never grumbled but just welcomed the guys in, bad scent and all after playing a hard game.”

Amy so admired the couple’s kindness, desire for growth in new believers and said their passion for the lost was very evident as they ministered tirelessly. “God used them mightily over the years and there will be many in heaven because of the ministry God gave them. Harry and I were married in 1977 and at the time Dale was Interim Pastor of Faith Bible Church, the church we attended. He performed our wedding, which was such a blessing.”

Dale also had a gift for telling Bible stories to children using his puppet Chet and doing magic tricks to explain the gospel message. “I knew I didn’t have a pastor’s calling but was directed to work with children and Bible study,” says Dale. “We had some great workers to help with our ministry along the way. For example, people would take vacation in the summer months to help us with VBS.”

They certainly embraced children’s ministry on PEI such as at the Nine Mile Church they held summer weeklong VBS. The program was led by Dale and Margaret and help would come from other missionaries. They would also travel the Maritimes and visit Maine for summer children’s ministry.

“My traveling in our early ministry for long periods of time was very hard for Margaret when the children were young. My wife has been so gracious. We have a lovely family, and they are taking good care of us in our senior years.”

Reaching the refugee and immigrant families who came to PEI from countries such as Nepal has been a big part of their ministry over the last 10 to 15 years. When working with the newcomers not only did they have Bible studies with them but helped the families settle on PEI by helping with such things as taking them to medical appointments, finding places to live, and helping with family emergencies.

“For many years we also pastored in nursing homes for the seniors in Charlottetown,” says Dale. “There is a great need to give the Gospel and many respond. They come alive when they realize that there is hope and a renewed spirit comes in them.” 

In April 2022, Dale wrote and emailed what might be his last missions newsletter updating us as they represent their affiliated mission’s organization called MissionGO. 

This is part of his update: “The summer months will soon be here! I believe I could schedule a camp or two, but I am afraid I would not be able to handle it! It would be a nice place for Margaret to visit and relax with other ladies. Maybe a prayer or two would give me the courage to do this. I still have all my flannelgraph, games, and crafts. All I need is prayer, self-confidence, and the leading from the Lord. I am 88 years old. It would be a hard job to handle over 50 children for two hours a day! This has been my life, and it is in my blood! Time is short, and the children need to be reached with the Gospel—summer camp is a good time!”

He also asked for specific prayer for his family and wrote about some Nepali people who he was glad to see start to come to Faith Bible Church. He mentioned his love for senior’s ministry and asked for continued prayers for the seniors he had been in regular contact with over the last few years. He ended by asking for prayer for him and Margaret as they go through health challenges.

Dale and Margaret’s prayer for their family

The prayers they have for their family is that God will take each of them to where He wants them. “Not what Dad and Mom want but what God wants for their lives,” says Dale. “Our children must make their own choices and they know the difference of God’s blessings and will in one’s life. It is far better for God to lead them than their parents to try to give them advice.

“God must be real to each one. We try to let God be real to us and let our family see it in Mom and Dad. I don’t worry about them because I trust that God will work it all out in my families’ lives.”

Psalm 143:10 “Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”

With Margaret by his side, Dale ended the interview with this prayer

Dale prayed, “Father we praise and thank You that under any circumstances we can be thankful and come before You.

“We just asked for a blessing on our dear sister’s life and the life of her family. We ask for a blessing as she wants to tell about our ministry and give her the words to share.

“There have been many ways that you have meant our needs in our ministry with care for our family, financing, and overall living, and we rejoice in this.

“We thank you for the many years of ministry, I pray for our family and the many families and people we have been in touch with over the years.

“We pray for Faith Bible Church that the souls will be feed the Word of God. We pray for guidance as you lead a new pastor to the Church.

“We pray for the situation that we are in now and thankful that we can still get to church from time to time. We are very thankful for the people taking care of us and help Margaret to understand where we are now.

“And help us while we wait with a blessed hope to one day enter glory.” Amen.