Remembering Harvey Soderholm

Compiled by June Sparks, first published in Compass, Winter 2020 edition.

Remembering Harvey Soderholm: A link in the Chain

Harvey Soderholm was a lifelong labourer who served the Lord with The Navigators from the 1950s. He passed away on 11 June 2019, after suffering a cardiac arrest the previous week.

Harvey came to know Christ as his Saviour in 1952 during a five-year stint in the Navy. When walking on his way into a church service, he saw a man with a Bible and asked, “Can you answer my questions from that book?”

The man replied, “I’d like to try”. That discussion would lead to Harvey’s choice to follow Christ.

These sailors lived what they believed …

While observing men on his ship who claimed to be Christians, he noticed one set of sailors who called themselves Navigators. These sailors lived out what they believed and he began spending time with them. As he grew, he discipled others in the same way he had been discipled. He joined the Navigators full time in 1958.

In 1970, Harv and his wife, Joyce, moved their family to Australia, where they worked for eight and a half years, starting the collegiate and community works in Melbourne while also mentoring Navigator leaders from across the country. He also joined a Navigator team launching the ministry in Tonga.

A memorial service for Harvey was held in Melbourne on October 13, 2019. Stories were told of his not only discipling students, but taking road trips with them and meeting and ministering to their families as well. Multiple spiritual generations came from Harvey and his family’s ministry everywhere he went and lived.

Costa Englezos, who was at Harvey’s memorial service, gave this testimony. While introducing Harvey at a discipleship conference, he asked people who had been directly influenced by him to stand up. Several people stood, and Costa then asked those who remained seated to stand if they had been influenced by those already standing. As he went on through the generations of Harvey’s influence, all who were at that conference were standing in the end. Such was the outcome of his life that so many people would consider his faith worth imitating!

Harvey lived out 2 Timothy 2:2 which says: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

Harvey was known for his teaching skills and he used unique sayings to drive points home. Things you might have heard him say include:
– “It’s clearing!” (during a downpour)
– “I am a victim of prayer!”
– “If your output exceeds your input, your upkeep will be your downfall.”
– “What does the Bible say?”
– “Think! Think! Think!”,
– “Everyone should memorize scripture!”
– and especially, “You are a winner!”

In the words of Barry Wyatt, Soderholm’s life can best be described thus: “a heart for God, a heart for God’s Word, a heart for people. Harvey really did live those things … they were palpable and lived with real energy and focus. Inevitably they flowed through to the way in which he shared with people and sought to make disciples.”

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.” ~ Psalm 116:15

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