THE EARLY YEARS
R. Conrad Cline accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at 14 years of age but later knew his actions and certain attitudes were in dire need of a deeper commitment to Christ, upon graduating from High School.
In 1964, while attending Bayview Christian Camp, he made a commitment for Christian service. Conrad's father, mother, plus his minister (at the time) Earl Ohl, along with the ministers wife and daughter and another prospective "preacher"- all made their way to Johnson Bible College (now Johnson University) outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. Another Islander, Wayne Lambert, had already been attending Johnson for one year and Earl had graduated a few years earlier.
This was the first time Conrad's father had taken a vacation from fishing since he first started captaining a herring carrier (out of family necessity) at 14 years of age. His father had cancer and their family had lived through "the great depression!"
After two years at JBC Conrad accepted the fact that his academic achievements were nothing to write home about. There was a lot of "growing up" to do yet and as his college buddy (Dale Eynon) said years later, (after they both dropped out of Bible College for a year) "Apparently the faculty saw more potential in us than we saw in ourselves!"
Conrad returned home and went, (like the Apostle Peter), back to fishing. After one year away from college, he began feeling as depressed as he imagined JONAH was when he tried running away from God. One summer day, Conrad pleaded with God to allow him to go back to Bible College. He asked for God to make it financially possible for him to do so and within two weeks he had stocked more money fishing than he had made all year. One could say (in all reality) that the Lord told him to figuratively "cast your net on the other side of the boat!"
Returning to Johnson University (as it is known today) he was determined,(through God's help), to graduate and make a good academic showing. Returning to college in the same year he should have been graduating, Conrad humbled himself with a new approach to study, (as a freshman once again), and graduated four years later with his BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" became Conrad's MOTTO.
During his final Junior and Senior years at college, he was asked to be an intern minister at First Christian Church at Harriman, Tennessee (which at that time) had a membership of some 350 souls and Lionel Talbot was senior minister. The Harriman church ordained Conrad into the Christian Ministry in 1971. After this they sent him to the National Missionary Convention in Portland, Oregon.
He flew out west to Oregon, but came back to Tennessee by car, (thanks to two Missionaries from Africa). This encounter strengthened his interest in foreign missions and missionaries first hand. A photography sudio lost some memorable film of this majestic trip across Western USA which included pictures of such icons as "Old Faithful" and Salt Lake City, Utah but this sparked his passion for photography.
While first at college, back in 1964 Conrad had taken a keen, "God inspired", interest in North Burma Christian Mission, which by 1971 were now based out of Chiang Mai, Thailand. God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform!
POST COLLEGE YEARS
After graduating college, Conrad arrived in Ottawa, Ontario (our national capital) where he joined Richard Wright and family (US citizens) with a"foreign missions work" they had been undertaking here in Canada. Sunday worship service was held at a school building and souls were being added to the Kingdom of God as the result of visitation and the Jules Miller Audio-visual Bible Study home sessions.
This time in the city, gave Conrad new spiritual strength and a deeper Christian maturity due to subtle adversities but much was accomplished and learned while working in the national capital for three years. While in Ottawa, he also became a school bus driver for Richmond Bus Lines and became a licensed private pilot through the Ottawa Flying Club, and consequently obtaining his night flying endorsement in 1973.
He realized God had placed him in Ottawa (at this time) and he was befriended by the former Premier of New Brunswick, the Hon. Hugh John Flemming (who was then a well respected member of the House of Commons). The Honorable member invited Conrad to speak at a joint prayer breakfast (on the Hill) with various members from the House of Commons and Senate. This truly was an honor which was further enhanced when invited by the Queen's representative, (Governor General of Canada) to attend his annual garden party. Conrad compared this to the apostle Paul standing before King Agrippa but without chains and imprisonment. Conrad was the only person (among hundreds) taking photos, and when asked by an RCMP security member why he was taking photos, his reply was: "I don't expect to appear here before him again"! That apparently gleaned an understanding smile.
Each summer (while living in Ottawa) Conrad would return home to Deer Island for a few weeks in order to earn enough money for a down payment on a new car (Nissan/Datsun 1200). At that time, the total retail price would only equal part of the taxes alone on a current small size car. His grandfather was kind enough to co-sign for a loan, so he could be approved for the loan since he had no real collateral.
While based in Ottawa, Conrad visited various churches throughout Canada and the United States, making various Christian Churches aware of the fledgling Christian work in our Nation Capital and the need for prayer and support. Various individuals and congregations gave assistance during his three years there. This was considered "living link" support while "service link" would be directed toward mission projects like Bible, book or audio-visual productions etc.
While in Ottawa, Conrad had frequent appointments at the department of Transport (appealing on behalf of Atlantic fishermen with top officials in that federal). This action, apparently was partially responsible for having charges dropped against East Coast fishermen over unpaid wharfage fees. After having made an appeal to the Queen, (in which he proved certain injustices against many fishermen) - all charges against fishermen were dropped and the whole matter of fees and harbor maintenance was moved over to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. More equitable arrangements for harbors and fees have long since come into being.
JUST LIKE PETER (GOING BACK FISHING)
By the Fall of 1973 Conrad chose to move back to Deer Island and help his dad on their large herring carrier but after approximately one season, he volunteered to become a Captain with the Deer island Provincial ferry system which (at the time) was in dire need of new captains. Their current captains had gone for some time without a break during the summer when thick fog had persisted for approximately a month. Interestingly, (years later) when going to Holland College on Prince Edward Island for his ship masters papers, the chief examiner asked how he acquired so many hours as a ferry captain without having a license - his reply was simply this: "Those who tried out for the job with a license were apparently intimidated by the boat and I loved the challenge." Flying aircraft and maneuvering ferries was enjoyable to him!
Leonardville, Deer Island "Church of Christ" was truly Conrad's "home church " in every sense of the word. Somewhere along this time line, Robert (Bobby) Morse Jr. came on a mission initiative to Deer Island representing North Burma Christian Mission and the Tribal Children's Hostel, which he had initially established in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Conrad's interest in the Morse family and NBCM was initially sparked while first in college around 1964. When Bobby came to Deer Island, both men discovered that their singing voices DEFINITELY HARMONIZED. Conrad started to be involved with the mission (so to speak) as he flew Bobby over to Nova Scotia and tried to help this effort in every way he could.
THE FULL TIME MINISTRY
By 1976 Conrad was asked to come minister with the Garnett Settlement and Nauwigewauk Christian Churches. After resigning from the Provincial ferry service, he took up residents in Garnett Settlement. During one of the three years ministering full time with these two congregations (which were twenty-one miles apart as the crow flies), the two congregations hosted "The Maritime Christian Fellowship" at Garnett Settlement, and many people got to ride in a small airplane for the first time in their life. While first ministering with these two congregations, Conrad and Bobby Morse recorded a long playing album in Flora, Illinois entitled "BECAUSE HE LIVES" in support of the Tribal Children's Hostel. You can listen to the original LP and Conrad's more recent CD by clicking on DOWNLOAD SINGING at the top of this page.
Ultimately, both churches were able to support full time ministers after his resignation. Following this, he lived with Walter and Hazel Branscomb at Garnett and worked as a "Social Animator" in Saint John. This job involved helping chronically unemployed individuals get back into the work force. Using his photography skills, Conrad started a small business venture with "wedding photography" and "New Brunswick Tourism Department" contracts saw him shooting thousands of aerial and ground photos. Conrad's sister, Julie, once gave him a plaque which said, "There are old pilots and bold pilots but no old bold pilots!" (Oh.. the stories that have been told.)
ON THE MISSION FIELD
In 1981 Conrad visited the Morse's in THAILAND for three months and felt led to encourage all the missionaries working with NORTH BURMA CHRISTIAN MISSION. Hundreds of photos were taken and used as promotional material for the mission work. On April Fools Day (while still in Thailand) he sent a telegram and proposed to Anna King (an RN working in Saint John) and they were married that June. Conrad's mother passed away from a brain bleed after undergoing surgery shortly after he returning from Thailand. She had been scheduled for surgery one month earlier but (through the grace of God), the doctor delayed things until shortly after he had returned home...God is Good!
In 1986 Conrad and Anna chose to leave city life and moved to Deer Island permanently in order to raise their children. Conrad's father started a "boat Charters" effort a year or two earlier and he also began working (once again) with the Provincial Ferry System during the tourism "off season." Ultimately, he would work as a full time Master on the ferries. Having completed a training course on Prince Edward Island, he obtained his"Ship Masters Papers" and thereafter incorporated as "CLINE MARINE." - This was a whale watching passenger tour and charter business operating out of St. Andrews, Deer Island and Campobello New Brunswick. This venture lasted for 18 years after having converted the former 60 ft. fishing vessel (once owned by his father) into a licensed passenger vessel. He pioneered whale watching in this immediate area and was instrumental at witnessing various "whale watch" businesses come on line thereafter.
Anna and Conrad had two sons and three miscarriages. The oldest son, Jeremy is married to Laura and they have two girls, Rachel and Charlotte. He works at the St. John refinery and established a business called "Outdoors NB". Their second son, Michael, is a member of the RCMP, working in Alberta. His wife, Chelsea is from Alberta and (as of this writing) they have two daughters, Micaiah and Vianna.
During the early "back home" years, Conrad started "filling in preaching" at the Back Bay Church of Christ and (by the grace of God) has never stopped since! So far he has only "passed out once" after preaching his Sunday sermon and the Doctors say it was because he was suffering from a rare virus and pneumonia. Open heart surgery, prostate cancer, Covid-19 and what have you (including heart failure) has slowed him up a bit but by the grace of God he "keeps on keeping on".
He has retired from most other jobs now (including much of his lawn mowing business he also use to do) but he still very much enjoys FULL TIME CHRISTIAN SERVICE. He loves pointing out that Moses did not begin leading the Children of Israel out of bondage until he was 80 years old and as of this re-writing, that is still about 4 years down the road!
With health issues and what have you, the family physician said, "You know - you should be dead!" He said, "THE LORD ISN'T FINISHED WITH ME YET!"
"Faith, prayer and work" was the JBC college motto and wonderful words to live by.
"I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME."
As told by:
R. CONRAD CLINE 2022
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