ELSIE AND ALONZO OTT were among the early pioneers of the Apostolic Faith work. Elsie told of their desire to attend their first Apostolic Faith camp meeting: “I wanted to camp on the grounds so badly, but we had three small children. We also had a cow and some chickens on our hands. We didn’t know what to do, but thought we might sell the cow and chickens if we could find someone to buy them. So I asked Sister Crawford and some of the workers to pray, and we got so many buyers for them that we hardly knew who to let have them. God wonderfully opened the way for us to camp.” Elsie and Alonzo set an example of godly living before their children, who also became Christians.
Years later, their son, Paul Ott, testified: “I will never forget that Sunday morning, March 11, 1923, when I stepped out into the aisle at Sixth and Burnside and headed for the place of prayer. I made a total commitment to God that day, for time and eternity. The devil said, ‘You can’t keep it; you can’t live it if you do get it,’ but I was determined I was going to try. I prayed with all of my heart and Jesus came in. Oh, what a wonderful change! The love of the world that I couldn’t give up, the Lord took it out slick and clean.”
Paul’s daughter, Jane Ewers, tells her story: “It is just amazing how God can talk to a little girl, and He talked to me. I was sitting in a children’s meeting orchestra when God called me. I could hardly wait to put my violin away. I went down and prayed, and that day the Lord made a real change in my heart. That was just the beginning. Over the years, God somehow helped me, and now I can watch my own grandchildren learning the way.”
Jane’s son Brian, a father of two toddlers, testifies: “I am thankful that the Lord saved me when I was nine years old. He really grounded me when I was young. He kept me through high school, college, and now at work. He helps me to be a light there. I am so thankful that He gave me a strong desire to stick with the Gospel no matter what comes up.”
The band of zealous believers who gathered with Florence Crawford in the mission hall at Front and Burnside, and the faithful saints of God who followed after them, were instrumental in shaping a God-given message into a worldwide ministry. These Gospel pioneers determined to proclaim without fear or compromise God’s power to save the repentant heart, sanctify the converted soul, and pour out the Holy Spirit on sanctified believers. Believers today must cherish and preserve that spiritual heritage, and determine to pass it on to the next generation.
1. Why is it important for believers to instruct and train the upcoming generations?
2. What are some environments where instructions should take place?
3. Name at least three Biblical examples of people who passed their spiritual heritage on to succeeding generations.
Leaving a Spiritual Legacy
What type of spiritual legacy do you want to leave to future generations? Psalm 78:4 speaks of the importance of “shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.” Are you communicating your faith to others in both word and deed?
Here are some steps you can take to make sure your children receive the spiritual legacy a Christian parent desires.