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Whose faith follow: Mr Robert Walker (1919-1990)

Robert Russell Walker was born in Aberdeen in October, 1919. He was the eldest child of Mr and Mrs David Walker who, after their marriage in 1917, set up their home there. His father was a highly regarded evangelist who had been commended as a full time worker by the Bellshill assembly in 1910.

Robert’s conversion can be traced back to 2nd January, 1931 after he had attended the Aberdeen New Year Conference. He was later baptised and received into fellowship in the Fountain Hall assembly in the north of Aberdeen.

After qualifying as a pharmacist he spent several years at Lossiemouth where he was keenly involved in the work of the assembly. During that period he married Miss Jeannie Walker and the first part of their married life was spent at Lossiemouth.

Towards the end of the 1940s they returned to Aberdeen and Robert took up an appointment in the Torry district of the city. They lived in Torry and were in fellowship in the assembly that met at Victoria Hall. Robert fitted into this fishing community very well and became a well-known and well-liked figure. He met a large cross section of local people across the counter of the chemist’s shop and through his association with Victoria Hall.

He was approachable, and had a kind, cheerful word for everyone. As a result, people would seek him out with their problems. It was, therefore, no great surprise to those who knew him when he advised the local assembly that, subject to their blessing, he intended to devote much more of his time to the Lord’s service. He proceeded to give up his regular secular employment and supported himself by undertaking locum work. In his new sphere he began by engaging in door-bell evangelism, calling on his nearest neighbours and speaking to them about spiritual matters.

He was commended to full time service in April, 1957. Over the next quarter of a century and more his work as an evangelist took him to many parts of mainland Britain as well as to Ireland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and the United States.

Robert was a good "all-rounder". Able to speak equally well to children or young people, he was also very acceptable in preaching the gospel to adults, ministering the Word to believers, or visiting the sick, the bereaved, the aged and the lonely. He had a talent for personal work and could so readily speak a word in season to those who were weary.

His presentation of the gospel was searing and solemn. He did not pander to the intellect but rather he appealed to the conscience. His rich, resonant voice gave his preaching, which was always well backed up by references to Scripture, the ring of sincerity. His delight was in simple things and he could make simplicities become superlatives. He built up an excellent rapport with his audience whether addressing small or large groups. He was something of a wordsmith, and could draw the maximum of meaning from the minimum of words. His ministry was very much in the nature of exhortation together with what was practical and devotional. It was glorifying to God and edifying to the hearers.

Often he would undertake practical tasks such as providing transport, or doing simple jobs such as changing a light-bulb for the elderly. In the list of gifts given to the Church one which is seldom mentioned is "helps" (1 Cor 12.28). Robert was very willing to carry out the function of being a help. No task was ever too menial or too much trouble.

As the years rolled on failing health on the part of Robert and his wife meant that latterly his work was centred more on the north-east of Scotland. He was much concerned with strengthening "the things which remain". One aspect of this that weighed heavily upon him was the need to buttress the efforts of small assemblies which were struggling to survive. Thus he regularly gave help at Insch, Elgin, and elsewhere.

Eventually the state of his health necessitated hospitalisation, and he passed to be with the Lord on Lord’s Day, 16th September, 1990. On the very last day of his life he said to his wife and to other friends who were present that he thought he would be going home that day. Thinking that he was referring to his discharge from hospital they suggested that this would be unlikely. "No, no", he remonstrated, "you don’t understand. I don’t mean to our house. I mean to be at home with the Lord." His words were prophetic for within a few hours the Lord had taken him to Himself. He finished his course well - unswerving in his devotion, unstinting in his commitment, and untiring in his efforts to further the work of the gospel.

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