Were born, grew up, were married and had their two children in East Belfast County Down, Northern Ireland. In August 1963, Ivan Stafford of International Tape Evangelism Fellowship was instrumental in getting them involved in a ‘shut-in’ visitation tape ministry. Des along with co-worker Alan Roy would cart the extra heavy reel-to-reel tape players to people who were housebound, so they could listen to ministry. A regular weekly ‘shut-in’ Ministry commenced with six visits each Monday evening. The last visit of the evening meant leaving the tape player with one of the ‘shut-ins’ overnight, the following morning Dorothy would collect the machine with a one year old baby in arms, and a three year old trailing at her feet, the tape recorder got to ride in the pram.
By then Des caught the vision of not only a ‘shut-in’, but the need to build up a library of good ‘Sound’ teaching tapes. November 1963, Des had the joy and pleasure of recording Evangelist Stan Ford from Dorset (UK). Stan was having an Evangelistic Campaign in the Old Victoria Hall Belfast, the climax of that series of meetings was an after Church Rally. The Old Victoria Hall was filled to capacity, Stan rose to his feet and made an announcement that electrified the meeting, “President Kennedy of United States of America, has been assassinated”. A hush came over that meeting, Stan then gave his testimony, what a night that was! Keep an eye open for the MP3 of that meeting, soon to be available for downloading.
Only nine months after getting involved in the tape ministry in Northern Ireland, Des & Dorothy migrated to Australia, settling in Brisbane. Before departing they shared their sadness about leaving with one of the ‘shut-ins’ who said, “Dessie, how do you know that the Lord isn’t preparing you to commence a shut-in visitation work in Australia”, then they had peace.
1964, folk discovered that Des had quite a collection of reel-to-reel teaching tapes as well as testimonies, so instead of commencing a ‘shut-in’ ministry a ‘Tapes Duplication Ministry’ began followed by an ‘on site’ recording of Conferences and ‘Special Ministry meetings’ of visiting speakers. No such a thing as fast copiers in those days, copying reel-to-reel was chip-monk style, double speed. Then came the ‘Compact Cassette’ a new era began and High Speed Copiers came into play a big role in providing the ‘on the spot’ copy at the end of a meeting. The name ‘Sound-Words Tape Ministry Queensland’ was chosen based on Paul’s Letter to Timothy, ‘Hold fast the form of ‘Sound Words’. Life indeed was ‘full’ with never a dull moment, evenings, weekends, holidays all taken up recording and copying tapes, all while Des was still in full time secular employment. However it all became too much and Des cried to the Lord for a way out. He decided it had to be one or the other, so in March 1980 he resigned from his job, with no guarantee of income (and no money in the bank) they went ‘full time’ in the Tape Ministry.
Most of their recordings were made at Christian Brethren Assemblies throughout Brisbane and the South East Corner of Queensland, including Bible Studies at various Christian Youth Camps. Likewise they had the privilege of recording the annual Baptist conferences. They made over 300 recordings of Peter Brandon during his nine visits from 1980 – 2006. Des & Dorothy then retired as Dorothy’s health declined.
Des also digitised about 2,000 of his recordings and donated a computer and 8 cassette deck system which digitised 8 cassettes at a time.
Des & Dorothy’s recordings are identifiable by codes like 0008 or 2125. When edited the codes will have an S placed before them ie. S0008 and S2125. ‘S’ standing for ‘Sound Words Tape Ministry Queensland’.