I thank God for His mercy that followed me all the days of my life. The first time I ever prayed was when I was overseas in World War I. At 17 years of age I enlisted and went overseas with the regular army. Some of those men had seen twenty years of service, and I did everything they did, trying to find something to satisfy my heart. But I never found it.
While overseas I prayed to God, promising if He would just bring me back to the States I would live a different kind of life and not do the things I was doing. When the war was over, I returned to Portland and went to work as a streetcar conductor. I went deeper and deeper into sin, forgetting all about my promise to the Lord. But He didn’t forget. Finally in 1921, I stood on a street corner and heard an open-air meeting with testimonies from people who said they had prayed an honest prayer and God had delivered them from their sins and set them free.
I went to their meeting place and prayed a prayer that God answered. I had been smoking two and three packs of cigarettes a day, and at night would try to sleep between coughing spells. That night I slept like a baby. When I awoke, the desire for cigarettes was gone. That was a miracle to me.
After serving God for a while, I made the greatest mistake of my life. I failed God and went back into sin. I operated a taxi business, again going deeper and deeper into sin. One day, when I returned to my taxi stand, some people from the Apostolic Faith Church were there to talk to me about the Lord. I often wished they had asked me to pray right there. I was so sick and tired of that life of sin! But they did promise to pray for me.
A few nights later, I awoke with a terrible fear gripping me. I was afraid to go to sleep; afraid I would awaken in Hell. And that wasn’t the only time it happened. I went back to working for the Government in San Francisco, thinking I could get away from that terrible conviction. The fear left me for a while, but then it came back even in the daytime. Finally, I gave up. I promised the Lord if He would again give me the peace and victory I had known, I would be faithful. God answered that prayer and took me back.
A few months later, I went into the service in World War II. My companions never saw me drink or smoke, and they never heard me curse or swear. It took more than signing a card to give me such victory. It took the love of God to change my sinful heart. When I left my outfit, some of the boys told me they couldn’t lay a finger on my life.
I returned to my taxi business on the coast and operated it like a Christian should. A few years later I prayed, “O God, if I can just get inside the gates of the campground, I’ll never want to leave.” For the past twenty-four years I have had the privilege of living on the church grounds as caretaker and watchman. I have thought many times of the Scripture: “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates” (Proverbs 8:34). Now, retired and living across the street, I can still see the tabernacle with the name Jesus. I thank Him that He has guided and kept me all through the years. I have the blessed hope of soon seeing Him in Glory.