I was born in Finland and did not know anything about this Gospel when I was a child. I believed God in a way—it was sinning and repenting, always trying to do the very best we could, and after death we might know the outcome. That did not satisfy me. The Lord continued to call after my young heart. My grandmother used to read the Bible stories to me and tell how beautiful Heaven was, and I wanted to go there. She used to sing a song to me, “Children who love the Lord can go to Heaven.”
We were taught in the Catechism that we must fear and love God and keep His commandments. But I still didn’t have the power to love God or to do His will. For many years I didn’t know that we could be saved in this world. Then when I was about ten years old, we received an Apostolic Faith paper published in Portland, Oregon. After that I didn’t have any excuse, because then I knew what it would take for the Lord to save me. I put it off and said I was too far away from Portland so I couldn’t do it.
Somewhere in my young life God showed me something and gave me a vision of what a real Christian should be and what the fellowship of Christian people should be like. I longed to come to America—to Portland, Oregon. I thought, if I could meet the people of God maybe I would get saved and serve the Lord. God was so faithful and brought me here to Portland. I had promised God when in Finland, that if I ever found the people of God I would walk the way God wanted me to walk.
When I came to this country I wanted to understand English. My church was very precious to me and I reverenced my church, but I knew I had never been a real Christian. He brought me among the Apostolic Faith people, but I had hardened my heart and put off seeking God. I wanted to see the world, but God never ceased to talk to my heart. I was so ashamed of myself for not yielding my heart to Him, when I realized people from all over the world wanted to come to Portland to give their heart to God.
At the Apostolic Faith camp meeting in 1922 I made up my mind I wanted to be forgiven, I wanted to know God and be His child. I wanted to know that I was saved. When I left my seat to go to the altar, I said in my heart that I didn’t care if the whole world knew that I was going to pray and find God. When I prayed to Him for forgiveness of my sins, He saved my soul. It was so wonderful. I wanted to serve God and I went to church faithfully. It seemed my life didn’t amount to anything, but I was praying for others. I thought I couldn’t do anything for the Lord, so I would just go to church. When the booklet “Cogitations of a Tin Soldier” was published, it stirred me in my soul. I prayed and I felt there was something somewhere that God had for me to do; so I started consecrating my life to Him.
The Bible became a new Book to me. It was so plain that one must be born-again, something I had never realized before. I saw just what it took to serve God. Later I was asked if I wanted to give my time in the service of the Lord. I thought, how did I ever get to the place they would ask me this? I said, “Yes, if I am worthy of it, I will.” I had made the consecration and was so happy that I got to the place where I could do something for God. It seemed life began for me right then, and I never was so happy in all my life.
God has been so good to me all the years of my life. He has given me the privilege to work in the home of the founder of this Gospel; I loved them and honored them. I thank God that He has kept me. He has helped me, and I still want to follow His way and do His will. I thank the Lord with all my heart for all His goodness to me.