July 1, 2012

A Life that Belonged to God

The Apostolic Faith work in Norway celebrated its centennial anniversary in April of this year. In honor of that event, we are republishing the testimony of Odd Bruvoll, one of the veterans of the work in that country.

Growing up, I had the privilege to live in a Christian home with a mother who prayed to the Lord. By songs and reading the Bible, she was careful to put God’s Word into my heart.

From the time I was four years old until I was eight, I was very sick. I had eczema all that time, as well as asthma and bronchitis. Several times I was near death, and no doctors could help me. No medicines brought relief. My mother and siblings had to carry me around, and many times I heard my mother calling out to the Lord in prayer for me.

One day my mother received an Apostolic Faith paper from Portland, Oregon, and she read that they prayed for the sick and the sick were healed. She wrote a letter and received an anointed handkerchief which she gave me when it arrived. She came up to my bedroom and knelt by my bed, and there she told the Lord, “I’m leaving this child with You. I can’t pray anymore myself. You must save him. If he is going to be a child of Yours, let him live, but if he will go out into the world, take him now. I can’t see him out in the world.” Then she went back downstairs, leaving me there in bed until morning. When I woke up the next day, it was like waking up to a new life. I was totally healed! I played outside and could go to school because I was well.

Because I knew that the Lord had healed me, as I grew up I felt that in a way my life belonged to God. I always said that someday I would be a Christian. However, when I grew older, I thought that I wanted to try what all the other young people were trying.

I decided to attend the seaman’s school in Tromsø, Norway, because I wanted to be a captain and go out in Norwegian ships all over the world. What I didn’t know was that God had a plan in bringing me to Tromsø, because there was an Apostolic Faith Church there.

One evening eight of us from the seaman’s school gathered several bottles of hard liquor, intending to have a party. But that night, when I was at the point of doing things that I should not do, God intervened. When I got my coat off and was sitting down to drink, God talked to me. He said, “What are you doing here? Go to the Apostolic Faith Church and give your life to Me. I can use you.” I knew it was God speaking to me.

That was a critical point in my life. Thank God that He helped me make the right choice. I stood up among my friends and told them that we were not going to drink that night, suggesting that instead we go to the meeting at the Apostolic Faith Church. They asked me where the church was and I told them to just follow me; I had walked by the church every day on my way to school. All of us got up and walked to the church. When we went in, the people were singing, praying, and testifying, and I felt at home right away. I knew that I should give my life to God. Although I was just twenty-one years old, I thought to myself, I have found what I have been looking for and now I can start living for Jesus.

That night I was saved. Along with salvation, I received a hunger for more of God. The people told me about sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and that I needed to be ready for the Lord to come. I started praying and reading my Bible, and God became so real to me.

That summer, after work one day, Jesus sanctified my life and cleansed my heart with His precious Blood. I started seeking my baptism, and one Sunday morning God met me and baptized me with the Holy Ghost and fire. I spoke in another language, the witness of His infilling. It was wonderful, and God gave me the power to be in His service. I started giving out church papers, talking to people, and visiting hospitals to sing and play for those who were sick. I talked to them about Jesus and prayed for them.

God has done many wonderful things in my life. One time we were expanding the church in Tromsø, and needed to build a retaining wall against the neighbor’s house. I was working alone on a big scaffold, lifting blocks, when I slipped and fell, injuring my back. I was in terrible pain. X-rays were taken and it was found that my back was broken and the spinal cord and nerves severely damaged. The doctors said I was going to have a stiff back because it could not be repaired. I went home and told my wife, Solveig, that I believed the Lord would heal me, but the condition continued for more than a year. The pain grew worse and worse, and it was difficult for me to sleep.

The church people prayed for me again and again, but nothing seemed to help. Then one Sunday evening after almost everyone had gone home following the service, I felt I could not stand the pain anymore. Those who were still there anointed me and prayed for me again. Satan told me that they had prayed for me before and nothing had happened, and nothing would happen this time. But I heard a tender voice saying, “You believe and you will see the glory of God.” I held my hands up and said, “Lord, I believe I have been healed now.” At that exact instant I was healed. It was as if I received a brand new back. That was fifteen years ago, and I have never had pains in my back since. God did the job well!

My wife and I have faced other trials too. One time my wife was very sick. We were driving to a meeting when she had a brain hemorrhage. Her right side was paralyzed, and we had to lift her out of the car and carry her into the place where we were going to have the meeting. When we laid her down on the sofa, she told me, “I’m dying.” She felt the paralysis moving toward her heart, so we knelt down beside her and asked the Lord to stop whatever was happening in her body.

We took her back to Tromsø to the hospital. The doctors told us they could not do anything for her, so I took her home. She could not do anything for herself. I was the pastor in Tromsø by that time, and I told the Lord, “I am the pastor here but I have a paralyzed wife. You have said in Your Word that signs will follow them who believe—the blind shall see, the deaf shall hear, and the lame shall walk. Where is the power that we need, so that my wife can walk again?”

On Saturday evening, the fifth day after she had fallen ill, I felt that I should read the Word. I took the Bible, and it opened to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 3. I read how Peter and John went to the Temple to pray and told the lame man in the Name of Jesus to get up and walk. I felt God told me to say that to my wife. In obedience I stood up from praying, gave her my hand, and told her, “Stand up and Jesus will heal you!” She got up and was no longer paralyzed. I took her arm and we walked into the living room and back. Then I took a guitar, put it in her hands, and said, “Play!” She played with the hand which had been paralyzed. Jesus had done another miracle in our home!

The Lord has been so good to us. What God could do for Peter and Paul, He can also do for us. I praise God for His miracle-working power.

apostolic faith magazine