There were five of us children, and my mother died when I was just nine years old. My dad was disabled and couldn’t care for us, so we were raised by other people. I missed my mother’s teaching; she would gather us around her knees to read and pray with us.
When I was fourteen, the opportunity came to go to a Bible school. After confirmation, we went to communion. That was the first time I talked to the Lord in prayer, and He spoke to me so plainly, “You are not ready to take communion.” I said, “Lord, I know I am not ready but what am I going to do? I have to go with the class.” A Voice came back to me, “Pray to your mother’s God.” I did pray to my mother’s God, and earnestly. I told the Lord that I was just an orphan, and nobody cared what happened to me. He spoke right back, “Don’t worry, I will be with you all the days of your life.”
For some time I lived a Christian life by myself. But eventually I quit praying, because there was no time. I didn’t realize that I had backslidden. My fiancé moved to America and I joined him. I became lonesome for Sweden and cried myself to sleep many times. A friend told me to come to Portland, Oregon, because it was just like Northern Sweden. I found it was true. My finance and I married in 1907. We joined clubs and went to dances and shows, and never thought about the Lord.
Then one day my husband had a heart attack, and the Lord spoke to me—He talked, and I knew it! He said, “Yes, your husband may die, but where will his soul go? He is not saved.” That was the first time in years that I had thought about eternity. I just cried and cried and finally said to the Lord, “Please, don’t let him die. Let him come back home.” He had his own sawmill so he was at camp. I thought if he could just make it home, I could get him to go to the Apostolic Faith Church with me.
I told the Lord that I was just an orphan, and nobody cared what happened to me.
I told my friend, Hartvig, that when I said goodbye to my husband that week he said, “You may not see me again.” Hartvig said to me, “Why don’t you try the Great Physician? He never fails.” I didn’t know what he meant, because I had never heard of divine healing. I said, “There have been so many doctors, and they have all failed.” He said, “The Great Physician, Jesus, never fails!”
That week I went to the Apostolic Faith Church. I was going to find out for myself. I tried to listen to the sermon but all I heard was, “You are a sinner. You have no business here. This is for God’s people. Get out of here.” I thought it was the Lord talking to me, and I thought He was right. I could see the people’s faces, how happy they were and how wonderful they looked while inside me was a tiger. I thought, What am I going to do? Get up and run out? It would look awful to run out on a sermon. When the meeting was over and everyone rose to sing, I beat it for the stairway.
I went home and said to myself, “I will never go back there again.” I was under conviction and the enemy was fighting. That night I must have said ten times, “I’ll never go back!” That went on for a couple of days until finally I said, “Well, maybe I had better go back once more.” I was so upset and that voice haunted me so, I just had to go back once more. I felt at peace after I determined to go back, and I went that very night. I sat down and a voice started telling me I had no business there. I was under such terrible conviction, but I didn’t know what was ailing me. My thoughts were in such an uproar.
After the service, just as I was going to go down the steps, Sister Shelly reached out her hand grasped mine. I don’t think I had ever seen such a sweet face. I thought, She looks like an angel! She said, “How did you like the sermon?” I said, “I didn’t like it.” She said, “You didn’t? What was the trouble?” I told her what I had heard all through the meeting. She stood there smiling at me, and then she said, “But you were not listening to the Voice of the Lord; you were listening to the voice of the enemy.” I said, “Does he talk like that? He was accusing me for coming here, saying I had no business coming. He said this place was for God’s people not a sinner like me.” She said, “Yes, that is the way he talks, but the Lord says, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ and, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.’” Then she asked, “Will you go to the altar?” I said, “You don’t know what a terrible sinner I am. The Lord won’t have any use for me, so there is no point in my going.” She said, “Oh, but the Lord brought you here and wants to save you. You didn’t come by yourself.” I hesitated, so she said, “Have you ever read the Bible?” I said, “Yes, when I was fourteen, but not since then.” She assured me that the Bible was God’s Word. Then she said, “Now may we go to the altar?” I told her I would defile that altar because I ran away from the Lord after I once knew Him. She said, “But He calls you again, and now He wants to save you.”
. . .it seemed Heaven opened and I was flooded with such joy that it thrills me all over again to think about it!
I told her I felt so unworthy. She said, “Well, let’s kneel right here. The Lord will meet an honest heart anywhere, and you have an honest heart; you can see yourself a sinner. God can do something for you where He can’t do anything for someone who comes so self-righteously that they don’t feel they need Him.” She started to pray for me such prayers as I had never heard. She poured out her heart and soul for me—a stranger. I couldn’t understand how anyone could show such wonderful love for a stranger. She kept praying for me until I said, “Don’t pray for me like that. God can’t have mercy on me.” Then she quoted several Scriptures and asked if I believed the Bible was God’s Word. I said, “Yes, of course, I believe.” The moment I said, “Yes, I believe” and really meant it, it seemed Heaven opened and I was flooded with such joy that it thrills me all over again to think about it!
That night as I went home I was so happy, and it seemed like I didn’t walk on the street—I was in the air. When my husband came home, I was reading the Bible. He looked at me and said, “Well, I don’t think you are reading the right thing. Many have lost their mind over that.” I got up, walked over to him and said, “John, I wish I had been as sane all my life as I am tonight.” I couldn’t sleep that night and was in and out of bed. I was so afraid that I would lose this new joy and it wouldn’t seem natural when I woke up in the morning, but it was still there, and it was natural!
I couldn’t convince my husband to be saved. I told him, “If you will go down to the Apostolic Faith Church and have the ministers pray for you, God would deliver you,” but he wouldn’t go. I put in a prayer request for him to be saved and healed. The next Sunday we listened to the radio broadcast. When they started to pray he was lying down, and he raised up and said, “Did you request prayer for me?” I answered, “What makes you think so?” He said, “I don’t know, but a different feeling went through my heart. My side has ached all morning, and it doesn’t ache any more. There is a warm feeling going through me.” I just praised the Lord. I knew right away that God had healed him. He said, “I will go to church tonight,” and he did.
Monday morning, he went back to the logging camp, but the following Sunday went to church with me again. That night, he raised his hand for prayer. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Somebody came and got him and he went just like a lamb to the altar. I went to pray with Sister Shelly after telling her my husband was praying. When he got saved, he got up from the altar and looked for me. Sister Shelly and I both got up and walked over to him. He was so happy and so joyful. It surely was wonderful! Later he admitted to me, “You didn’t have to tell me you were saved that first night. I saw it. That look on your face had never been there before.”
Later, the Lord sanctified me when I reconciled with my brother, and filled me with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Lord is good!