Today we got a letter in the mail from a Spanish lawyer (I mean, he lives in Spain) purporting a great family fortune lies in wait for my husband. We know that it is a hoax, of course, but on a whim we went looking for the Spanish branch of Ed's family (Zirkwitz) that has apparently passed away with no heir, no other person on the planet with the same surname to claim the substantial funds. For whatever reason, I went well beyond Google's first page (I actually found some other interesting quasi-genealogical information translated from Polish into sorry English about an Evangelical Lutheran Pastor in 1897 Poland, we believe to be the father or grandfather of Ed's cousin who lives in Germany). And there, on page 3, was an odd little piece of script from the Adventist Archives that mentioned that in 1971 the Voice of Prophecy Bible School had granted a certification of completion to its 500,000th Bible Studies student... my young boy-husband at age 21.
You can imagine how excited we were to find this blast from the past! We made something like eleven moves in the first five years of our marriage so this particular journal article (from page 5 of the Southern Union Record,) never made the cut. I DIDN'T study the Bible with VOP then (or ever) and wasn't baptized for another 22 years after this article was printed on December 11, 1971 (oddly enough, the first birthday of our oldest child). I do, however, have a recollection of the photographer coming to take Ed's picture for event. About four years ago at the Hope Camp Meeting Ed had the opportunity to talk to the Voice of Prophecy representative there and told him this story and we had our picture taken then, both of us. Whenever we mention that Ed was the 500,000th student of the Voice of Prophecy Bible School, people look at us a little sceptically. I praise the Lord for his good solid start with the VOP on KARI (Blaine, Washington) back in 1971 and for his willingness to continue to follow his Lord and Saviour until the end. God wants us to realize just how great a treasure we have been blessed with-- a monetary fortune could never measure up!
Here is the article for anyone who might be interested:
Bible study by correspondence has reached an important milepost at The Voice of Prophecy — a half million graduates since the English Bible school was begun in 1942. The young man who happened to be number 500,000 is Edwin E. Zirkwitz, 21, a Simon Eraser University student
in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Bible school records show that Zirkwitz began the Faith Bible course May 27 and completed the 40-lesson course just three months later. Upon discovery that Zirkwitz was the half-millionth graduate, W. W. Rogers, British Columbia radio-TV secretary, was asked to deliver the course diploma
and extend to him the congratulations of the entire broadcast and Bible school staff.
When Mr. Zirkwitz was enrolled, Pastor George Atiga, Bible school instructor, was assigned to care for his lessons. Pastor Atiga is one of 18 Bible instructors in the school each of whom receives and grades thousands of lessons every month from students in the 11 courses offered by The Voice of Prophecy. From the establishment of the Bible school until the first 100,000 students were graduated took 18 years. Last year 12,452 persons were graduated from the various courses. During the same period some 2,143 graduates accepted Christ and were baptized. Zirkwitz is now observing the seventh-day Sabbath and is attending the Vancouver Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he was baptized November 6. ~C. Elwyn Plainer