“Please, won’t you talk? We want to hear you say something.” Aussie workers at stores, restaurants, and around town sought to hear the Kentucky accent of the American missionary. What might have appeared to be an obstacle to some ministering in a foreign land was transformed into a God-sent tool. As Hershel Case obliged his listeners, his easy way often took them to a presentation of the Gospel.
The Cases came to Christ in 1972. Juanita made a salvation decision in January, and as she took their children to church, they prayed for Hershel. In October that year, their youngest daughter, Paula, shut the car door on her finger. To abate her tears, Hershel promised Paula he would go to church with his family the following Sunday. Young Paula seized the opportunity also to invite her aunt, Hershel’s sister, explaining that her daddy would be attending. They both came to church and responded to the Gospel during the invitation.
Hershel and Juanita Case moved to Milford, Ohio in 1976 and joined the First Baptist Church. The ensuing years were exciting as the church purchased property on Woodville Pike and began construction on a print shop.
With a background in carpentry and construction, Bro. Case spent countless hours working on the new building. He attended the School of the Scriptures, and he and Juanita were heavily involved in Bearing Precious Seed. Hershel was the director of BPS for six years, while Juanita worked in the office and assembled Scriptures.
One night, Juanita got up to find Hershel reading his Bible. Deep in thought and prayer, he explained that God was moving in his heart to venture forward in the next step for them. A fearful Juanita struggled with the possibility of leaving her comfortable surroundings and the life to which she had grown accustomed. In the following days, she prayed for peace about what the future might hold. Their pastor, Dr. Charles Keen, preached a message about going a little farther. As Juanita contemplated the thought, she surrendered her will to go a little farther; however, she wanted to be certain she wasn’t holding anything back.
Knowing that Australia was geographically the farthest point from Ohio, she told God it would be fine if He sent them there, and she found peace.
Shortly after, Hershel revealed that God was calling them to Australia. God, in His foreknowledge, had prepared Juanita for the announcement. She was already there.
After arriving in Australia, the Cases discovered a genuine love for the Australian people and a true delight in ministering to them. In turn, the Australians had a great affection for the Cases. They were greatly influenced to follow Jesus in reaching their communities with the Gospel. A church member touched by the dedication of the missionaries wrote a poem reflecting his desire to bring hope to his city, as demonstrated by Bro Case:
He started a church called Harmony,
and we want to create a symphony,
To reach the people of Kallangur,
dispel their fear and anger.
We want to bring God’s salvation,
rid them of condemnation.
Let them know there is a Saviour
who can change all their behaviour.
The sociable nature of the Cases lent itself to a unique manner of ministry. Their home was open for fellowship, Bible studies, and building relationships with the Australians. Church members experienced a characteristic sense of family and community as well as solid Bible teaching and soul-winning.
Hershel was involved in every community where he lived. He attended town meetings and made it a point to become acquainted with local officials. In Palmwoods, Queensland, he was honored by being invited to speak publicly at Australia Days, a gesture rarely, if ever, extended to a foreigner.
When containers of Scriptures arrived from Milford, Ohio, Hershel shared the contents with other missionaries and Australian pastors.
He even had a pilot friend who flew him and others into the Outback for Scripture distribution and ministry. Seeing the need to invest in men for the ministry, the Cases began a training institute patterned after the School of the Scriptures and a Bearing Precious Seed ministry. During 18 years of fruitful ministry, the Cases started five churches. Among the many lives influenced by the Cases are Australian missionaries serving in Tasmania, Spain, and Thailand.
The results of their obedience were unknown to them and others when Hershel and Juanita Case took that first step to “go a little farther.”