It was in 1917 that my aunt left the Portland camp meeting to go to eastern Oregon to tell our family of the wonderful things that God was doing. At that time, my father was already a Christian, but my mother was not.
As to my father’s conversion, he would often tell how in the darkest hour of his life he happened to walk past a little country church just as they were singing the invitation song. The people were going forward to pray and when he walked into the church he went forward too. As he prayed, the minister held out to him this promise out of the Bible, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). His past life came before him and he realized what a lost sinner he was. He promised he would straighten out the crooked places in his life if God would but lift the load of sin that weighed him down. My father said, “As quick as you could snap your finger, I knew my sins were gone.” He had no more desire for cigarettes and liquor; even his language changed.
My mother had an experience with the Lord, but she had drifted away from Him. She was again hungering for reality when that news came from Portland. My parents decided to go and see for themselves.
I was just a little boy when our family came into Union Station by train on October 29, 1917 and was met by a group of people from the church. Those people showed us love that I feel to this day. After attending a few services, my mother again felt the joys of salvation. My parents were so overjoyed to find the people of God that they never went back to live on that farm. My mother felt like Peter when he told Jesus: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
So it was my privilege to be brought up in the church right here in Portland. Year after year I heard testimonies in the services of people from all walks of life who had been transformed by the Blood of Jesus. My parents lived the Gospel of Jesus Christ before me every day. I was taught to read the Bible and to pray. Talk about a wonderful heritage! I had the best.
There was no time to go for help, but I fervently called upon the Lord.
I knew what the Word of God said but I rebelled against it in my teen years. His mercy has been great in my behalf, because I spurned the love of God. For many years I attended church and heard the blessed Word of God go forth. It used to strike conviction to my soul. I would only pitch it over my shoulder and say, “Someday I want to be a Christian. Some day before I pass out of this world I am going to give my life to God.” One night as I was traveling down a busy street on a bicycle when I should have been in church, catastrophe came my way and I nearly lost my opportunity to seek God. I was hit by an automobile and laid there unconscious. My brother picked me up and with my head in his lap as he sat on the curb, he prayed, “Lord, if you save my brother’s life, I’ll serve You to my dying day.” He had, so far, rejected the Lord also.
My brother stood by his word and went to church and knelt at the altar in true repentance. God saved him and he lived a Christian life before me. That struck real conviction to my heart because I knew how he had lived before. On a Sunday morning in January, 1931 I got honest with the Lord. After a few minutes of earnest prayer the change came into my life also. The lying and stealing that I knew were wrong, but that I was obsessed with, were gone. The turmoil and misery that came with Holy Ghost conviction went out of my life. God gave me a deep settled peace. I have had many years of victory in my life, not victory over myself but victory over sin through the mercy and grace of God.
The Lord has often answered prayer for us and undertaken in serious cases. God has healed my body many times. As a child I contracted spinal meningitis. My body was all twisted out of shape with repeated convulsions. Little hope was held out for me or that I would be in my right mind if I did live. The ministers were called to my bedside and I was anointed with oil according to the fifth chapter of James. God healed me completely. He has protected my life through four heart attacks and even spared me from death when the Lord made me stop just before a tree fell in front of me.
Some prayers have been answered in an instant of time. Once our son, as an infant, was suddenly unable to breathe. There was no time to go for help, but I fervently called upon the Lord. He was there! He answered right away and our baby started breathing again.
I thank God for the privilege I have had to go out and work for the Lord. It has been on my heart many months to work for the Lord. I didn’t dream it would ever be possible, but God has made it possible. I desire your prayers. We are leaving Friday (February, 1953) to board ship and go to Japan. We don’t know where our destination will be, but we know many souls will hear the Gospel and that many souls will be saved from sin.
I am thankful for the part I have in the service of the Lord and the privileges He has given me to see souls saved. Most of all, I thank God for the hope of eternal life in Heaven. How wonderful it is going to be to get out of this sin-cursed world and to worship the Lord in Glory! My purpose is to make Heaven my home.