I want to praise God for His infinite love and mercy, His purging, grace and victory. In looking back over my life, I think I was born to serve. When I was nine years old, my mother read to my brother and me about the little maid that was in Naaman’s house. She was a captive Israeli girl, and Naaman had severe leprosy. The girl told her mistress that the prophet in Israel, Elisha, could pray for him and he would be healed. Such a deep hunger came into my heart to be like that little girl that I went to bed weeping.
After that, my folks moved three times because of my health. The last place we lived was in the oil fields. A man who worked for my father told him where his wife went to church, and she came and asked my mother several times to go to church. Finally, my mother did go, and in a few weeks she gave her heart and life to the Lord. My mother and I were very close, so a little later I gave my heart to Jesus, too. I was saved from the time I was a teenager until I married.
My parents were very moral – no swearing or quarreling or insincere remarks. So when I married a worldly boy, the things I heard and saw were a real shock to me. I would bow my head in shame. One day I said, “Now that I’m married, I’ll have to put up with it.” Then I drifted with the crowd and began to go to the shows and dances.
My husband had an opportunity to make a great deal of money in the oil fields. He made so much that he quit work and we bought two businesses. It was his undoing, and for me, my heart became heavier and heavier with such weight, I longed very much for peace, love and purity.
One day my husband told me to go to Hell. Instead of making me mad, God showed me in a few seconds that from the time I had left the little church I had truly been going to Hell. I was sick and I knew I didn’t have long to live, perhaps four months, I turned to my husband and said, “I’m going there about as fast as I can go.” I went to the kitchen where I had been getting dinner, and I just looked up to Heaven and said, “Jesus knows I am going to Hell, but He wouldn’t deliberately tell me to go.”
I had done everything possible to please my husband and make him happy, hoping he would change. But only God can change a human heart.
The year of 1926 was our first camp meeting, and I have missed only three in the past sixty years.
About three months later, I went back to the little church where I had gone as a girl, with a very heavy heart. After the sermon, someone came and asked if I wanted to pray. I hesitated, and in that moment God said, “Would you be willing to forsake the old crowd?” I answered, “Yes,” and stepped out to go to the altar. As I stepped out, the awful burden I had carried so long lifted, and God’s peace came in. That was August 31, 1925.
The following Christmas I had a major operation. I feared some, but I prayed, “Lord, You know the future. If I can have any more than I have now, let me live. If not, let me die.” It was serious, but God miraculously brought me through.
The devil had tried to take my life two or three times through accidents. One time a man drove head-on into us and we landed with all four wheels in the air. The steel top of the car saved us. Another time, going over the grade to Bakersfield, California, a car coming toward us lost the rim off one of the tires. It started to bounce, bouncing harder and harder until it got to us, and it bounced completely over our seven-passenger car. If it had come through the windshield, it would have killed both my baby and me.
One day I was reading in Thessalonians about the Rapture when the dead saints will be raised and we who are ready will be translated and go with them into the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. A real hunger came into my heart. After talking to the Lord and praying, I said, “Lord, I don’t care what I have to go through between now and then, but I want to be ready when You come.”
In just a few weeks, I received my first paper from the Apostolic Faith Church in Portland. There I read how they observed all the doctrines of the Word. My heart leaped! In May, God spoke to me again and said, “Go to Portland, Oregon.” When I told my folks, my father told my mother she should go with me. The year of 1926 was our first camp meeting, and I have missed only three in the past sixty years.
My eyes were opened to many things that first camp meeting. I had studied the Word for many hours during the months before, so I judged all I heard and saw by the Word. There were no foolish gestures from the pulpit, but only the pure Word of God. I heard men testify who had been deep in sin, and when they surrendered to God, He made a definite change. He made them new creatures and they made restitutions for their wrongs. I thought to myself, “It takes God to do that.” I observed, too, that they preached all the doctrines of the Word and strove to observe them. That also appealed to me because we hadn’t been taught the doctrines of divine healing, restitution, tithing, the Lord’s Supper, foot washing, and a pure, sanctified life. And they dressed “as becometh saints.”
I have been with the Apostolic Faith since 1926 and have seen my father; mother and brother make Heaven, as well as two uncles. My husband and five of his family were saved because of the Lord’s keeping power. I have a deep purpose in my heart to be ready when Jesus comes for His Bride.