Charlotte Bean

Gospel Pioneers
Gospel Pioneers
Gospel Pioneers

When I was young, I had a dear grandmother who took all of us children to church and Sunday school when we went to visit her. She was a real Christian, and everyone in town loved her, but she passed away when I was nine years old. Thought she brought my mother up the right way, my mother did not tell me how to be saved. It seemed she just did not know how to explain it, although she had been saved when she was very young. However, she lived a good life before us and brought us up carefully, teaching us what was right and wrong.

As I grew older, I realized I needed God. There was a longing in my heart to make Heaven my home, but I never knew I could pray through and really get the witness that the Lord had forgiven my sins, so I just took on a form of religion. I thought if I had my name on the church roll, that was all I needed, and at fourteen years of age I joined a church.

I had strong willpower and was sure that I could do right and keep away from things I knew were wrong. However, it was not long before the realization came that I was a failure; I could never live a Christian life in my own strength. I thought, What is the use of trying? I decided to throw it all overboard and go out into the world; maybe there I would find satisfaction. But I never found happiness. I went on in that condition until after I was married and had a family. I tried to bring up my little children in the way they should go, but I could not teach them what they needed. While I knew right from wrong, I did not understand salvation.

How grateful I am that the Lord did not leave me in that hopeless situation! In His mercy, He sent a woman our way from Portland, Oregon, who preached the old-time-religion. They were having cottage prayer meetings in different parts of the town and I went one night just to see what it was all about. As I went in, I could feel the presence of God. I was a sinner, but I knew that the Lord was in that place. I sat there and wept like a child as the people began to testify. Some were men and women whom I had known almost all of my life. They told how the Lord had taken sin out of their hearts, and now they were living for Him. I knew they had something real, and that God could do the same for me. I raised my hand for prayer that night, but I did not kneel in prayer with the others. As I went home, though, I realized they were praying for me. I could hardly eat or sleep because the Lord was talking to me. I began to count the cost.

My sister’s husband was a Christian, and one night they were having a meeting at their house. I decided to go although I did not know why. As I entered that house, they were singing “Sinner, Be in Time.” I thought, Oh, I do want to be in time! After the meeting was over they did what they ordinarily did in a cottage prayer meeting—they prayed for those who were seek and in need of a healing touch. My daughter, Alberta, only five years of age a that time, was with me. She had an infection in a gland in her neck. The doctor had operated on her, but it was coming back much worse than before. They asked me about her, and I told them of her condition. They said, “Do you want us to pray for her?” and I said, “Yes.” As we knelt, however, I began to pray for myself. I knew I needed God worse than my daughter needed healing for her body. My children were in need of a Christian mother!

I could hardly eat or sleep because the Lord was talking to me. I began to count the cost.

I did not pray very long, but I prayed earnestly and I meant every word I said. I asked the Lord to save my soul and forgive me of every sin that I had ever committed. I told Him, “If You will save me, I will witness for You as long as there is breath in my body.” Well, it wasn’t but a few minutes until the Lord came down and saved my soul. I had wanted to know all of my life that I was right with God. I used to say that if the Lord ever saved me, I wanted the old-time religion like my grandmother had. I really got it that night, and I knew it!

It still amazes me how the Lord can completely change a heart in a moment of time. During the meeting that night, I had noticed another woman. I had no reason to have anything against her, yet I thought, I just don’t like her. But after the Lord saved me, I went to her and put my arms around her, and it was only the mercy of the Lord that I didn’t break the bones in her body, I loved her so. What a difference God made!

When the Apostolic Faith people opened a church in our town, I began to attend. I had been saved and thought that was all I needed, but all at once I began to want something more. I did not know about the deeper spiritual experiences, but I got real desperate. One day I said to the pastor, “Sister Cline, I’m not satisfied. I have such a hunger in my heart. What is wrong?” She quietly said to me, “Sister, the Lord wants to sanctify you.” She never told me anymore, but I began to pray, and one night I went to church and the Lord sanctified me. It was more precious than words could ever tell. I went home with such joy in my heart, and I thought, Well, I have all the Lord wants me to have.

However, it was not long until it seemed again I had such a hunger in my soul for more of God. About that time, our pastor came again to my home. It seems the Lord would always send her just when I had a need, and I told her about my hunger. I asked, “What’s wrong with me anyway?” She said, “Sister, the Lord wants to baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire.” So I prayed at home, and at church that night I received my baptism. Though I did not fully understand about the infilling of the Holy Spirit, God had been faithful to my soul.

Before being saved, I had wondered what my husband would say if I became a Christian, but as God worked in my life I thought, I don’t care, I want to make Heaven my home. My husband never put a straw in my way, and after I was saved, I began to pray for him. At times the enemy would come around and tempt me to give up. Every time I would get to the end of my rope, the Lord would show me that if I held on in prayer, my husband would be saved. And he was, one Sunday morning in our home. I’ll never forget how the Lord came down in our kitchen—just the two of us alone there with God!

Those experiences were many years ago, and many things have come into my life since then. I have had trials and tests—things that I never thought would ever come my way—but the Lord was always there to help me. When our daughter, Helen, was just three years old, she had typhoid fever. She lay for two months just wasting away. My husband and I would take turns sitting up with her. Those hours of the night were long. It was so cold in the house, but I would sit there and pray the best I knew how, and one day the Lord raised her up. Another time our daughter, Marie, was sick with scarlet fever. The doctor had given her up, but we sent a telegram to Portland, Oregon, and we prayed, and God healed her.

In March of 1925, we went through a tornado—the worst in recorded history at that time. Several of our relatives were killed in that storm, including my in-laws. Our children were at school and my husband was working away from the home. He normally did not come home on Wednesdays, but when I saw the dark clouds, I prayed that he would come home, and he did. The winds hit with fury. In the middle of the storm a fire started. There was a pipe going from the stove to the wall in the house, and the tornado was so strong that it knocked down the pipe. Fire started coming out of the stove. I prayed while my husband literally held up that pipe to keep the fire from spreading to the house. Our seven-year-old son, Emmet, was at school when he saw the storm coming. He ran into the cloakroom and all the children piled in on top of him. The wind took off the top floor of that two-story building and collapsed the brick walls. Several children died in the collapse, but Emmet was safe. I’ve heard him testify so many times that he was only seven, but he knew how to pray. He knew God would do something to help.

I thank God for all He has done for me through the years, and I want to serve Him to the end.