My mother, Anna Elizabeth (Sutherland) Green, was born in Vermland, Sweden, on May 31, 1880. She came to the United States when she was about seven years old. She told us that her first memories of landing in New York were when she was given an orange (she had never had one before), and of seeing clothes hanging on a line with clothespins.
Her family settled in Montana, and as a young child she worked in homes as a maid. They had a rough life but she finally was able to attend school and later went on to college. She had two sisters, Ruth and Esther, and one brother, David.
Years later, her sister Ruth married, and Ruth’s husband wanted to move to Juneau, Alaska. They asked Anna to go with them. They were living in Seattle, Washington, at the time, and she did not want to go. She steadfastly said no until the morning they were to leave, and then she asked the Lord, “What shall I do?” The Lord spoke to her and said she was to go, so she went.
While living in Juneau, Anna was a nominal Christian with no victory. She played the organ and sang in the church choir. One evening an evangelist came to hold special meetings, and Mom went. The sermon was on sanctification. Mom thought maybe that was what she needed, so she went to the altar to pray. The Lord spoke to her and said, “I can’t sanctify you until you are saved.” She humbled herself and the Lord saved her at that time. She still hungered for sanctification, and it wasn’t long before the Lord sanctified her and gave her the same experience that the preacher had spoken about.
She prayed and asked God to fill her with His Holy Spirit, and He gave her the desire of her heart.
Her sister and brother-in-law moved to San Francisco to help rebuild the city after the 1906 earthquake, but Anna returned to Seattle. It was there that she met Alba Green, who was soon to become her husband. On their first date went to hear a visiting minister speak—Florence Crawford. Shortly before that time, Mom had heard about the baptism of the Holy Ghost as it was poured out in Los Angeles, California, in 1906. She searched the Word of God and found that this wonderful experience was promised to all those who believed and were sanctified. She prayed and asked God to fill her with His Holy Spirit, and He gave her the desire of her heart.
On April 7, 1911, Alba and Anna, accompanied by a group of seven friends, went to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island where they were married. They were affiliated with a group of believers in Seattle, and when the group decided to set up a church camp on Lopez Island, they went along. Mom and Dad lived on Lopez Island and fellowshipped with the group of believers there until 1921. All six of their children were born on Lopez Island.
During the summer of 1919, my dad was in a serious boating accident. He was returning to the island from Port Townsend, Washington, when his boat developed engine trouble. It then struck an object which broke a hole in the boat. Soon the boat was in pieces, and he was in the water for six hours before coming to shore on Whidbey Island.
Dad had wanted Mom to go with him that day, but she was six months pregnant with twins, and had four other children to care for. At the last minute, she said, “I don’t think I will go.” After the boat was far enough out in the water that she couldn’t call for them to come back, she wondered why she didn’t go when it was such a beautiful day. Later, after Dad’s accident, she knew it was the Lord stopping her. I know Dad would have tried to save her and the children, which means that all of us might have perished.
In 1921, the believers they worshipped with began to have problems and the group broke up. Dad told Mom that he wanted to be part of a church where he could bring up his children in the truth of the Gospel. He and Mom had heard about the Apostolic Faith Church and he decided to investigate it. Mom took us children to Cle Elem, Washington, to stay with Dad’s parents while he took a trip to Portland, Oregon. It took just one meeting. He liked what he saw and sent word for us to join him.
It took just one meeting. He liked what he saw and sent word for us to join him.
Not long after we arrived in Portland, one of my brothers contracted diphtheria and passed away. During his illness, the entire family was quarantined, so my Dad could not work. My parents were new to the Portland congregation, but at various times people from the church brought bags of groceries and supplies and left them on the porch. My parents felt genuinely loved and cared for! They had moved to Portland to attend the Apostolic Faith Church because of the teachings of the church and the Spirit in the services, but the kindness of the people wrapped a bond around their hearts.
In our home, both Mom and Dad taught us about God and His Word. They were faithful parents and lived exemplary lives before us. My mom was a caregiver. She helped in the hospital work that the church did, and was always available to help anyone who became sick. One thing that stood out to me was that whenever there was sickness in the church family, Mom would bake bread and take it to them. One day I said to her, “Mom, they are sick and can’t eat bread!” Her answer was that the folks caring for them could eat it.
Throughout the fifty-one years of my parents’ married life, they were very devoted to one another. They had trials and disappointments, but their faith in God held them steady. Because of their example, our family was grounded in the Gospel, and in the years since then, many of our family members have chosen to serve God.
Mom became ill in 1962, and I was privileged to take care of her during that time. In the early part of June, she had a vision of Jesus—she pointed to the corner of the room and said, “I see Jesus!” I knew that meant she did not have long to live, so I called the family together. We were all standing around her bed, and Dad was kneeling beside her, when suddenly Mom quoted from Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” She kept pointing to the corner where she said she saw Jesus. I would cover her hand with the blanket but she would take it out and point again. On June 29, I covered her hand one more time, and she left it there. That evening at about midnight, she passed on to her reward. I saw a faithful warrior enter into Heaven.
This testimony written by Anna Green's daughter, Ester.