When Birching, Patience, and Persistence Are Key
by Lisa von Geldern, Field Coordinator for Arizona and New Mexico
“Don’t make us look flawless. We have had lots of ups and downs and our growth is because of God’s help in addition to our work,” said Elaine Stradling, wife of Section Leader Harold Stradling.
Since 2011, the Stradlings have worked to grow their JBS chapter. Harold likes to use Robert Welch’s quote, “We need pullers at the oars and not passengers in the boat,” and Harold and Elaine both are pullers. For most of the last 11 years, their chapter numbered 10 active people including themselves. At times the chapter would grow and then shrink. In 2016 they had about 22 members from regular Information and Action (I&A) meetings. In 2018 and 2019 several members passed away and others moved out of state; the chapter shrunk back down to 7-10 active members.
Harold cites the assistance of Michael Kosters as integral to the growth of the Mesa chapter. In late 2019 Mike was the new field coordinator, and with his support, the chapter started to grow.
Kosters also created a second Mesa chapter, and about 20 people were placed into the Stradlings’ chapter. Today there is a real sense of camaraderie among the Mesa chapter members that is vital to their continued strength. In 2020, when Covid hit, they had meetings via Zoom as well as in person.
As 2021 rolled around, one member organized a Constitution Is the Solution seminar in her living room. The chapter jumped in and invited and reminded I&A guests; over 26 people attended each of the six showings. After showing the first DVD, The Dangers of Democracy, one guest asked if she could invite four of her friends to attend. These guests did a makeup session and then joined for the rest of the series. Ten of the 25 people had been to an I&A meeting previously. This shows that it takes repeated exposure to motivate people to action and membership. By the end of the series, the chapter had 11 more “pullers at the oars.”
Another fruitful event, spurred on by then-Section Leader Donna O’Daniel, was a Speakers Bureau engagement. On Constitution Day 2021, the Mesa chapter hosted Robert Brown (creator of our Constitution series) speaking on nullification to a crowd of about 300 people. It was a roaring success. Arizona’s new field coordinator offered a discounted price on the Constitution Is the Solution DVD sets for anyone joining and paying for a year’s membership that evening. Not only were 45 sets ultimately purchased, but nine new JBS members joined that evening, with six joining the Mesa chapter.
Shortly after the speaking event, four chapter members showed the Constitution Is the Solution series in their homes. Since then, many showings and I&A monthly meetings have occurred, resulting in a net gain of 11 more members in the fall of 2021.
Currently there are 52 members in the Mesa chapter. All in all, Harold and Elaine are pleased by their chapter’s success over the past year. Elaine especially wants other chapter leaders to remember to be patient. It took 10 years of hard work before their efforts bore fruit. Their most important message is to keep actively sharing via I&A meetings and the Constitution series, and to not lose heart when it takes time to grow solid members. Let’s keep this advice in mind as we go about recruiting and educating our fellow citizens.