Cliff Baltzell

Gospel Pioneers
Gospel Pioneers
Gospel Pioneers

From the days of my childhood, God has protected me and faithfully guided my footsteps. As a young boy, I thought that I could find reality in the pleasures of this world. Before reaching my teens I was playing with a band in Northern Iowa where we lived. I traveled with the band to out-of-town places, playing for celebrations, a dance, and participated in other worldly affairs. But while taking part in all these things, I often felt heavyhearted and wondered why I could not be happy. However, I had good reason to be grateful that I was still alive.

When only eight months old, I was stricken with a serious affliction that brought great concern to my parents. I began having convulsions, and as I grew older the seizures were more frequent and more serious. However, I lived a normal life, par­ticipated in school activities, played my horn, and attended church and Sunday school. At thirteen years of age, I was taken by my father to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for a physical examination. On returning home, I began taking thirty doses of medicine a week. Life then became more of a burden to me.

The following year, I was sent to visit my grandparents who lived in a little log cabin near the Black Hills of Wyoming. After each meal the Bible was read, and everyone present knelt to pray. This deeply impressed me. I wanted God in my heart and life. I needed Him! A cousin, who was also visiting there, said he had read in one of the first Apostolic Faith papers ever published about the great outpouring of the Spirit of God in 1906. At that time many people were being saved, sanctified, and baptized with the Holy Ghost, and others were being healed. He said that he had received these experiences himself. I was interested in all I heard. God was talking to my heart and drawing me nearer to Him.

He completely delivered me from those seizures.

One night I was asked to read the Bible before we prayed. I opened to the 24th Psalm and read it aloud. Right then and there, God convicted me through His Word. I knew I was a sinner and would go to Hell unless I got right with the Lord. I asked for special prayer as we dropped to our knees. I cried to God for mercy, asking Him to forgive me of my sins. He forgave me, and He saved me. The joy of Heaven sprang up in my soul and I exclaimed, “The whole world will believe when they see what God has done for me.” I felt I wanted to tell the story of God’s saving grace the rest of my life. And I have done so to this day.

The Lord not only saved me, He also sanctified me, and then baptized me with the Holy Ghost all that same night. I walked the floor praising Him in a language I did not know. What I had received from the Lord gave me a good spiritual founda­tion, and from that time on I began living a new life. I became a happy teenage boy and enjoyed pleasures I had never known before.

My health began to improve, too, as soon as I was saved, and I took no more medicine. I knew that as I waited and trusted God, He would heal me. And He did! He completely delivered me from those seizures.

I longed to be where I could worship with God’s people, and the Lord saw that longing in my heart. One day a copy of an Apostolic Faith paper, pub­lished at the headquarters in Portland, Oregon, was given us. How happy we were to locate the people who believed the Gospel in its fullness as we did!

I had a purpose in my heart to secure a job and be in every Gospel meeting.

Step by step God led us into the way He had planned for us. After a severe winter in Wyoming, when the temperature dropped to 45 degrees below zero, our family decided to move to Port­land, Oregon. Before we began the journey West, my consecration was: “I am going to Portland to serve the Lord with all my heart.” I had a purpose in my heart to secure a job and be in every Gospel meeting.

Little did I know that the job awaiting me would be in the Apostolic Faith printing plant. But that is where I was given the opportunity to work, and I am still there almost sixty years later. It is the joy of my heart to help print and send out the same Good News that we received so many years ago.

God has given me one joy after another in His service. I have played my horn in the church or­chestra for more than 55 years and also sing God’s praises in the choir.

The Lord gave me good health all through the years; but not long ago, I had a problem with my heart. It was quivering and palpitating at a rapid rate. After this condition had continued for some time, I thought: “I cannot live like this.” But there was not a tremor in my soul. I was happy to think that I might soon be with the Lord in whom I had put my trust. However, after the ministers anointed me with oil, and prayed for me according to God’s Word, He healed me. Now I can serve Him with a well, strong heart.

I can truly say that when I found the Gospel, I found reality, happiness and many side benefits.