Annie Giselman

Gospel Pioneers
Gospel Pioneers
Gospel Pioneers

I surely praise God for this wonderful Gospel. I was one who grew up without God and without hope, but I thank Him for the day He transformed my life from darkness into the light of this glorious Gospel!

My father was a Catholic, and I was taught the catechism and loved to hear the stories of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Daniel. My mother didn’t believe in God. When she was eleven years old her mother died, and in bitterness and disappointment she became an infidel—a hard woman—and therefore she taught me to be an infidel. When I would come to her wanting to know about Jesus, she would push me away, saying, “Religion is only a fable, a superstition. There is no God and no hereafter.”

How my heart would sink many times, and I would be so sad but would think, “Mother knows!” She always told me that a good name was all that counted, and her teachings took root in my heart, and I grew up without God and without hope. But how I thank God that He had mercy on one like me!

When we came to this country, we settled on the prairies of Western Canada. There my father disappeared and my mother lost everything she had, adding to her bitterness. With all her earthly possessions in a suitcase, she started for Portland, Oregon. She was a nurse, and came here to help in the flu epidemic of 1918. She knew she was a defeated woman and went hither and yon looking for reality.

When caring for a Bohemian woman here in Portland, she met someone who invited her to the Apostolic Faith Church. The first sermon she heard was from the text, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). She grasped at that as a drowning man grasps a straw. She went to the altar of prayer and was wonderfully saved.

I was married at that time and still lived in Western Canada. One day I received a letter from my mother, who told me she was saved and that God had changed her heart.

She said she had found God to be real and begged me to forgive her for the way she had brought me up. She wanted me to seek the Lord, but I answered, “Mother, I’m glad you are happy at last, but I cannot believe it.” Then mother prayed for me, and the founder of the Apostolic Faith church told her, “We will pray that the Lord will bring your daughter here.” That is just what He did!

I hungered to know God, but my heart was so filled with doubt, I couldn’t believe.

One day, in His own mysterious way, God brought me from Alberta, Canada to Portland, Oregon, among His people. Somehow the Spirit of God moved upon my soul. I hungered to know God, but my heart was so filled with doubt, I couldn’t believe. I went to the church and sat in the back and listened to the testimonies of some of those who had been delivered from deep sin. I was insulted that my mother wanted to class me with them. She answered, “You know, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. You must be born again.”

It was the mercy of God that His Spirit moved upon my heart awakened a desire within me to know God. I couldn’t help myself; I was compelled to seek God. But unbelief and doubt were so rooted in my heart that it was like battling against a stone wall. I wondered if there was a God in Heaven after all. For months I struggled with that unbelief. Finally in desperation I cried out to God, “Make a Christian of me. Make Yourself so real to me that I will know there is a God in Heaven, and I will give You my life and serve You. God, I believe; help my unbelief!”

On my way home one night from the church service, at about 11:00 o’clock, the Heavens opened. God saved my soul, and I was born again! For days I went around saying, “It’s all true! It’s all real!” Before that, how I hungered and thirsted for five solid months trying to battle against the powers of unbelief that had me bound and shackled. But that night God came to my rescue and set my captive soul at liberty. He saved my soul and numbered me among the redeemed of the Lord. He put such peace and joy in my heart. Oh, the glory of God that flooded my soul! I was a new creature in Christ Jesus. He blotted out my sins and made me a believer in a moment of time. I could never doubt again.

The next day I thanked Jesus for the meal I ate. I had kept a Bible in my trunk for years. Sometimes I would take it out and try to read it, but it was all closed to my mind; I couldn’t see anything in it and got nothing out of it. But after God saved my soul, I took that Bible out of the trunk and started reading it to my three little children. From the day that God saved my soul it became an open Book, and I believed it from cover to cover. Today my children are grown and serving the Lord with me in this Gospel.

There have been trials and persecutions through the years, but the Lord has always been my help and stay. It has been worth it all. I have been in this glorious Gospel for forty-eight years, and am pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus, looking to Him as the Author and Finisher of my faith.

The Lord sanctified me wholly—a second, definite work of grace. Then He baptized me with the mighty Holy Ghost and fire. I praise Him for that peace and joy in my heart, and I am determined to see the end of this Christian race.