I first was acquainted with our esteemed brother in 1975. He was invited to share some gospel meetings in a rented, one room school house I had arranged to use for meetings. These meetings were in fellowship with the Assembly at Saginaw, Michigan. We continued for six weeks and God graciously saved a few souls, some of whom are still in the assembly in Saginaw. Before he left, he invited me to join him in a tent effort he was exercised about in a place called Bay Springs, Mississippi. We spent the week up there and came home to Tylertown for the Lords Day.
Brother Ballhagen was a true evangelist and pioneer. He encouraged younger men to go out to new places with the gospel. He was a fearless man, and yet marked by faithfulness as he very seldom lost an opportunity to give a little word of testimony.
He was also marked by his kindness in so many ways. He loved to preach in the open air or in a tent but he was just as much at home preaching to a few souls in a cottage. He often related how for many years he worked in Alabama. He often said there was no need to announce there a time for your meetings as the people didnt come until it was getting dark. They would be working in the cotton fields, so they would not come until their day was done. He would tell how his tent, which was 60 by 90 feet, would have more people outside than were able to get into the tent.
He was a gentle man to work with and it could be said concerning him, "That he was steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." Even when his health began to fail, he continued visiting the hospital. I saw him trying to feed some of the patients he visited. Another thing he loved and was faithful at, was visiting the jail regularly and always had a message in the gospel.
He was marked by his love to the assembly, and was faithful to attend even though many times he was not in good health. He was a prince of a man. There was no one too far away for him to take the gospel to. The times that I had to spend with brother Ballhagen were precious times.