Dominic Lipsi

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Childhood

Dominic Lipsi was born September 10, 1916 at Philadelphia, PA to a Catholic family, parents born in Italy. He was the son of Giuseppi "Joseph" Lipsi and Autilia "Adeline" Lena Stiano Lipsi. Giuseppi was born around 1891, and Autilia born around 1895. He had five siblings:

  • Pavla "Paul" Lipsi, born Nov. 10, 1914, died Feb. 26, 1998 in Hillsborough, FL.
  • Risini "Rose" Lipsi (b. 1919)
  • Antonio "Anthony" Lipsi, born Sept 12, 1921, died June 21, 1984 in Lansdale, PA. Married Jean M. Prichard (1921-2015). Jean remarried David P. Wright (1922-2017) in 2003. Buried Montgomery Baptist Church cemetery.
  • Anna Lipsi, born Oct. 9, 1923 in Philadelphia. Married Frank S. Goff on Nov. 20, 1948 in Detroit. Died in Aug. 24, 1985. Gravestone imprint: "With Christ Far Better", she was buried in Berlin, NJ. Frank may have been son of William M. (1888-1980) and Leotia (1890-1978) Goff, also buried in Berlin.
  • Geneva Lipsi (b. 1931 Waterford, NJ)

Dominic's testimony

Margery shares the following testimonies. Dominic's mother was Roman Catholic, and his father was an atheist. By 1926 at the age of 10, Dominic was following his father's faith and dropped out of the church. In his late teens during the Great Depression, he accepted a job working for the Mafia in New Jersey.

In 1937, while searching for the truth about life after death, he and his friend Charlie visited Mr. Taylor, a vocational school teacher, who shared the Gospel with them, and gave them two tracts:

  • Salvation Made Plain
  • God's Remedy For Sin, Fear, and Doubt

Dom read them both on a train to a CCC camp in Georgetown, Delaware, and that night God spoke to him in a powerful way and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord and his life was completely transformed. He left the camp, returned home and went to visit the Taylors who discipled him. That summer he went nightly to tent meetings where "one of the best Bible teachers in America and a few from England" taught the Scriptures. In the Fall, he attended Camden Bible School and was faithful at church.

At the tent meetings he heard many good missionaries speak of the need of those who never heard the Gospel, he was especially impressed by one from Brazil, and from then on had a great desire to serve the Lord there. It was six years after he was saved he left for Brazil. Speaking Italian in his home was a help in later learning Portuguese.

Marriage

In 1943, in NJ, Dominic married Margery Elizabeth Riecke, born May 11, 1919, Marlborough, MA, daughter of William George Riecke and Esther Cleveland Barney Riecke. William was born Feb. 1882 in Charleston, SC. Esther was born 1885 in Mason, NH. William and Esther were married June 30, 1907 in Southborough, MA. Margery was raised in Collingswood, Camden, NJ.

Margery's testimony

"I, Margery Riecke Lispi, was born into a Protestant family where we were taught to respect and love God. We thought we were going to heaven on our good works. When I was 14 years old I was confirmed in a Lutheran church. Later a modernist preacher who denied the authority of the Bible became the pastor.

My older sister Louise went with friends to Philadelphia School of the Bible and got saved there. Because the Lutheran pastor did not preach the Scriptures she left the church and took me with her to a large Bible church where I was confronted with the truth that only Jesus saves, not good works.

Through the testimony of my sister, an excellent SS teacher and the preaching of the Word I got saved. We heard much about missions and had missionaries come to the church often: I was so interested. On Christmas eve that year I accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior and Lord and that night, alone in my room, I gave my life to Him to serve Him. I was 14 years old and from that time forth looked forward to being a missionary.

I thought it would be China because 6 years after being saved Louise went to China where she served the Lord so faithfully for 51 years. It was through her husband that we came into the assemblies.

In my last year of Bible School I met Dom at the young peoples missionary meeting in the church. We became interested in each other because of our mutual interest in missions. A year and a half after we started going together we were married.

We could not leave at once for Brazil because of the 2nd World War: no one could get a passport to leave the country. After Louise and David were born we were able to leave. Our home assembly Ashland Gospel Chapel commended us to the work of the Lord in Brazil.

We went to São Paulo where we arrived in November 1947 and were met, encouraged and helped in many ways by Edward Hollywell with whom we had been corresponding. What about China? The Lord knows, for by then the door to China was closed to missionaries and, anyway, Dom said if I were going to marry him I would have to go to Brazil!

After some months in the city of Sao Paulo, Dom began to search for a place where the gospel had not been proclaimed, as he realized that there were many gifted Brazilians as well as missionaries in that city preaching the gospel.

Edgard de Almeida told Dom about Campinas and opportunities there, so Dom went to Campinas on the train and went to the Presbyterian Seminary, where he met a young man who helped him to look for a house. After several visits he found one so the next week took the children and me with him to see it.

When Dom went to pay the first months rent, he was told he had to pay a one hundred and fifty reais bribe, so he replied that he would not use the Lord’s money to pay a bribe, so that was the end of that.

The next week he went again on the train to Campinas and met his seminary friend Antonio. They were in the middle of Campinas not knowing where to look when a man came along. Dom asked Antonio to ask him if he knew about a house to rent, but Antonio was ashamed to do it so Dom, who by then spoke some Portuguese asked the man. He said he did not know about houses in Campinas but in Sousas he knew of a new house being built.

So the next week when he went to Campinas he went to Sousas on the trolley car... He was told that the town tailor who also owned a store was the owner of the new house up on the hill. When Dom went to the tailor shop he found the tailor was the same man he had met on the street in Campinas!

Dom rented the little house on the spot and that is how we landed in Sousas. Though we have had difficulties (once our car was thrown in the river) the years in Sousas have been fruitful and happy ones. There was no protestant or foreigner in the town so we were quite a novelty, and that helped as folk wanted to talk to us.

With the Lord helping we started the Sousas assembly then had meetings in a home in Campinas (that turned into a work) then started Camp Bethel. Two years later we started the Vila Mimosa assembly in Campinas. Dom travelled to other places, including to the Indians in Mato Grosso.

One of the greatest blessings of our lives is that our 5 children all followed the Lord and, growing up, helped so very much in the Lord’s work. Since Dom went home to heaven in Sept. 2002 they have continued to help in assemblies and at camp. David and Jonathan are now living in US but are an important part of the work here. For these past 10 years Timothy has carried on the camp work with the help of his two children and the other grandchildren. Louise and Gary Bryar and Jeanne have also helped so much."

Furloughs

  • Sept. 1952 on the ship "Brazil" to NYC.
  • Jan. 1954 on the ship "Nruguay" from NYC.
  • April 1959 on the ship "Santa Rosa" to NYC.

Death

Dominic died on September 22, 2002. Margery died August 12, 2016. In 2016, Margery was the eldest living missionary worker in the CMML Missionary Prayer Handbook.

Sources