I want to thank the Lord that the Apostolic Faith people came to Medford, Oregon, and established a work. It was in Medford that I was saved.
I had never seen a soul saved and had never heard anyone tell me that if I would pray, God would save me. I had been seeking peace in the world. The things of this world seemed to come my way. I had a good home and pleasures that wealth could bring, but the more I gained, the more miserable I became. Oh the heartache and fear that gripped my heart, because I didn’t know that Heaven could be my home!
I remember one day as I was leaving the church where I held five offices, I said to a young woman, “I don’t believe God will ever turn me out of Heaven,” but before I got down those steps that morning, God said to me, “Your righteousness is like filthy rags in my sight.” My heart sank.
After I was married I became worldly. I wanted to have a good time and the devil led me step by step until I was doing many things that I knew were wrong. I was going to theaters but I did not want anyone in the church to know it. My heart was full of condemnation and I was miserable. Later I became sick in my body and needed help physically and spiritually. I said, “God, some way if you will only let me know that I will go to Heaven, I will give you my life.”
I began to name my sins to God. Every time I prayed tears would flow down my cheeks.
One day a lady came to my home and handed me an Apostolic Faith paper. I had seen my sister at the point of death. I knew these people had prayed for her and God healed her and saved her. True to her mission this little woman told me, “You can know you are saved.” But she didn’t leave me there. She told me how to pray. She said, “If you will confess your sins to God, He will forgive you and you will know it.” I began to name my sins to God. Every time I prayed tears would flow down my cheeks. Finally it seemed God showed me my life and the deeds I had forgotten about. I felt He was holding my sins against me, and as He showed them to me I confessed them and said, “God forgive me!” I found that He keeps a record of all we do.
I prayed for three days and nights trying to surrender all to God. I gave Him everything I knew to give. One day I dropped on my knees alone in my bedroom. I shed tears of repentance and again told God I would do anything He required of me, if He would just give me the witness in my heart that I was saved. I wanted something more than just making up my own mind. I wanted to know I was saved.
Later I attended an Apostolic Faith service where I knelt at an old-fashioned altar. They gathered around and prayed with me, but I did not seem to get a witness of salvation. Finally, one of the ministers came and knelt by me and asked, “Are you really in earnest?” I said, “I have been praying and weeping in my home for three days and nights, and I want to know I am saved, I don’t want to guess about it.” He began to quote Scripture to me, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
I knew I had come to God and had confessed my sins, and that very moment my faith took hold of God’s promises, and I knew I was saved! I said, “Oh God has saved me!” I jumped to my feet praising God. I had a most wonderful witness in my heart. I knew my name was written in Heaven. Later He sanctified me and baptized me with the Holy Ghost and fire.
I thank Him that He has kept me for over fifty years. As I grow older I realize it won’t be long until my work on earth is done. I have a peace that flows like a river. I walk and talk with the Lord wherever I am. I praise God for His love and His care for me.
Hazeldell Barnum was a minister in the Apostolic Faith church for many years.