January 1, 2015

A Life-Changing Trip

Every day I thank God that He called me to serve Him. I was born on a farm in North Dakota, where there were five in our happy family. It was a secure home, and we went to church faithfully on Sundays. In time, I was confirmed in the church. This required learning Scriptures, taking several classes, and then answering a series of questions correctly. To be good and live the best we could was what we knew, and I did that.

In 1937, there were dust storms, hailstorms, and other factors that caused the crops in the area to fail. My dad felt it was time to move west, so our family sold the farm and moved to Seattle, Washington. I was a sophomore in high school and had been attending a small school, but I adjusted to the larger school and graduated.

After graduation, a woman offered to pay my round-trip fare back to North Dakota if I would help her cook for the harvest crews there. I was anxious to see my friends, so I went. Before returning to Seattle, I visited my paternal grandmother. She was about eighty-six years old and sitting in her room with her Bible when I arrived. Thinking Seattle was near Portland, Oregon, she asked me to go see my uncle there—a man I had never met—and give him a message. I promised to do so.

Soon after arriving home, I purchased a round-trip ticket and headed to Portland where I did not know a single person. That was quite an experience for a girl of seventeen! I had heard that my uncle was quite austere, and I was so afraid as I walked down the street from the bus depot that I felt like getting back on the bus and going home.

God did not let me do that. My uncle was a member of the Apostolic Faith Church, and I went to the church office to ask for him. When I walked in, everyone greeted me, and the love of Jesus showed in their faces. It was as if I were among a host of angels. Their kindness deeply impressed me, and I felt the Spirit of God.

When I met my uncle, we liked each other immediately. My plan was to go back to Seattle that day, but he and his friends at the church talked me into staying a few days to see the sights of Portland. Arrangements were made for me to stay in the home where he lived, which was with one of the ministers and his wife, Reverend Ray Crawford and Freda. They treated me so beautifully, probably more royally than I had ever been treated in my life.

My uncle had something else in mind besides showing me the sights of Portland. He took me to a church service. There I felt the Spirit of God again, and the Lord called me to serve Him. All of my life I had gone to church, but somehow the message of salvation had slipped by me. I knew that God had created the earth and everything in it, and that Jesus had died on the Cross for the sins of the world. That night, though, I realized I was a sinner, and Jesus had suffered and died for me. It broke my heart. The minister asked those who wanted to give their hearts to the Lord to come forward to the altar and pray. I responded to that invitation and wrapped my whole life up in my prayer. God forgave me of every sin and made me happier than I could believe. It was the start of a new life.

In a few days I went back to Seattle, but I longed and prayed to return to Portland. By the next camp meeting I came back, and the Lord sanctified me and filled me with His Holy Ghost during those services.

Jobs were hard to find, but God made a way, and I stayed in Portland. In time I met a young man in the church who had been saved a year before me. We married and had children, and not once did God fail us. When our children were half grown, I had a growth on my body the size of a lemon. I asked the Lord if I could live to raise the children, and God healed me. That was many years ago; our children are now adults and I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

After thirty-seven years of marriage, my husband passed away. It was a difficult time, but God helped me. Later, I married a widower from our church, and we had seventeen years together before he died of cancer. Now I am alone again, but God is with me and I can talk to Him anytime.

It has been a thrill to serve God through the past seventy-five years. Of course there have been difficult times, but through every situation there has been that peace which God put into my heart the night He saved me. Today I have a hope of Heaven.

apostolic faith magazine