Sixty Years of Serving God Together
The families of a church are integral to its continuance. For example, the City of Dallas, Oregon, has a population of 14,760. One block off the main street is the Apostolic Faith Church, which was built in 1927. Twenty years after the church opened, Pete began attending, followed by Janet three years later in 1950. In the years since, they have faithfully continued to serve God there. They took their children to services from infancy, and in time their children grew and married, grandchildren were born, and now there are great-grandchildren who are being raised in the Apostolic Faith Church. On May 8, 2013, the DeBusks celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. This is the story of the quiet success and joy that comes with making God the center of life and then continuing to walk with Him one day at a time.
Janet: My heritage goes back a long way. My grandmother was an old-time Methodist, and my mother prayed through to salvation before I was born. One day as she sat in her rocking chair reading the Bible, she realized she was a sinner, turned from her sin, and the Lord wonderfully saved her. She began looking for a church that preached the truth, and sometime after that was given a box of fruit jars which contained an Apostolic Faith Church paper. After reading the paper, she felt she had finally found what she was looking for. She wrote to Florence Crawford, the founder of the Apostolic Faith in Portland, Oregon, and Sister Florence wrote back to encourage her. The church began sending the papers on a regular basis, and they were a real blessing.
Eventually, Mother was able to save up enough money for us to make a trip from our home in Drain, Oregon, to Portland, and we stayed in Portland for three months. I was never able to get away from what we heard while we were there. I knew that what was preached was the truth! I had a tender heart and always wanted to do what was right.
As I got older, however, I began to look around, and it seemed as if everyone was having fun and I was missing out. I had been raised carefully and had not done worldly things. I thought if I could just get married and have a family, everything would be wonderful. When I did so, though, I found marriage did not bring happiness. My husband had not been raised like I had, and there was nothing but misery and disappointment in our home.
After our first child was born, I dreamed one night that I saw the devil standing beside Judy’s crib. He looked at me and said, “I am watching her too.” This really spoke to my heart and I realized that if I did not tell her about the Lord, nobody would. From that time on, I purposed in my heart to serve the Lord, and He saved my soul when I prayed for forgiveness.
In 1949, my husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. I was left with two children, but the Lord was faithful to take care of us. In 1950, God opened the way for us to move about thirty miles from Philomath to Dallas, Oregon, to be near our church. Jake Heizelman, one of the men at the church, had a moving van, and he and another Christian brother came and helped us move. The brother who came along to help was Pete DeBusk. After a time, an interest developed between us. He would come to the cannery where I worked and give me a ride home. And on Friday evenings, he would come to visit and play with my children. In May of 1953 we were married, and God blessed us with four more children. It has been such a privilege to serve the Lord and to raise our family in the Gospel. God has answered prayer for us so many times.
Once when our son Tim was six years old, he became very sick and was unable to walk. This went on for six weeks, and he was not getting any better. He said to us, “I want Brother Gander [our pastor at the time] to come and pray for me one more time.” Brother Gander came and anointed Tim with oil and prayed for him. The next morning he got out of bed, put on his clothes, and asked for his breakfast as if he had never been sick. What a blessing to serve a God that hears and answers prayer!
Later, when Tim was grown and living in Alaska, Pete would go down to the church during his lunch hour to pray for him to be saved. He held on in prayer, and the Lord brought Tim home and wonderfully saved him.
Another time Pete broke his arm and was unable to work for four months. The Lord provided for our needs during that time, and we were able to live on $84 a month. I can never begin to tell all that the Lord has done.
It has been such a joy to serve the Lord down through these many years. The Lord gave me my sanctification one day while I was washing windows in our house, and later He filled me with His precious Holy Spirit. I had the wonderful privilege of teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, and playing in the orchestra. I can truly say that serving God is better now than when I started! I wouldn’t trade the Gospel for anything and am looking forward to my home in Heaven.
Pete: It was my privilege to be brought up in a Christian home. My dad was saved when he was a young man, and he wanted his children to serve God. My three older brothers were named Paul, James, and John, and my name is Peter. When we were growing up, sometimes people would say, “Here come the Apostles!” Our dad was faithful to read the Bible to us. Whenever we were unable to get to church on Sunday, we would have church in our home—praying and singing the precious old hymns. I could never get away from what I heard in the Bible. I knew that someday I would have to stand before God and give an account of how my life had been lived. God was faithful to talk to my heart all my growing up years, and by the time I was twenty years old, above everything else I wanted to know that my heart was right before God.
Just before Christmas in 1947, our family moved from Bend to Dallas, Oregon, and I began attending the Apostolic Faith Church there. On Christmas Day I went to Portland for the church’s Christmas concert, thinking there might be a prayer meeting afterward. Although no prayer service was scheduled, God saw my heart. As I stood beside my uncle that night, God dropped His love into my heart, giving me the knowledge of sins forgiven and great peace and joy! He took the love for the world out of my heart and made me a new creature in Christ Jesus. He gave me the assurance that if I should die that night, Heaven would be my home.
About a year after I was saved, I awoke in the middle of the night with an attack of appendicitis. The pain became intense, and I could feel my appendix swelling. I prayed, consecrating my life to God and asking Him to heal me. In a short time the pain was completely gone, and I was healed. That was more than sixty years ago, and I have never been troubled with it again.
Another time I was working at Fort Hill Lumber when my arm began hurting. When I rolled up my sleeve to see what was wrong, I found two red streaks going up the entire length of my arm from blood poisoning. The foreman told me I needed to go see a doctor. Instead I went to the home of our pastor, and he and another Christian brother prayed for me. The Lord heard and answered those prayers, and I did not need to go anywhere for further help.
The Lord gave me a wonderful Christian wife in 1953, assuring me that she was the one I was to marry. We established a family altar, and the Lord blessed our home. It was a privilege to read the Bible with our children, passing on the heritage that had been given to me.
When my father’s health began to decline, I would go to see him in the morning on my way to work, and he often would ask me to sing the old hymn, “Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” One day while I was there, the Lord let me know that He was going to take Dad home to Heaven. It was an experience I will never forget. He passed away in 1958.
My mother had a great deal of sickness in her life, and she struggled to pray through to an assurance of salvation. When she neared the end of her life, she loved to have me read the Bible to her, and one day as I was reading, the Lord let me know that my mother was saved. I asked her, “Mother, if the Lord should call you today, you’re not afraid to go are you?” She answered, “No.” The assurance that she went to Heaven has meant so much to me, and I thank the Lord for it.
God has been so faithful to us down through the years. Many times when I was going through a trial, He has given me a hymn or Scripture to encourage and bless me. The Lord allowed me to teach Sunday school, drive the Sunday school bus, sing in the church choir, and play in the orchestra. We have had the privilege of raising our children in this Gospel, and most of them are saved and serving the Lord. I have so much to thank the Lord for!
One of Pete and Janet’s sons, Tim, is Director of Caribbean Work for the Apostolic Faith organization, and pastor of the church in Medford, Oregon. He shares some memories of his growing up years.
Tim DeBusk: Our family lived on a small farm, and I saw how hard my parents worked. Every year they planted a large garden, and they also raised our own beef and chickens. Dad milked the cow early every morning before he went to work at the mill, and once again in the evening after work, so we always had fresh milk and cream. Mom was a great cook and made large dinners every day for our family, using fresh produce, meat, and milk from the farm. Yet with all they had to do, Mom and Dad always took time to read the Bible and pray both morning and evening with us.
Sundays were a special highlight for me. If I got up early enough, I could go with Dad on the old German-made Sunday school bus that we called the “Green Goliath Express.” Following Sunday school and church, we always looked forward to a big Sunday dinner. Often Mom and Dad invited other folks from the church to join with us. My older siblings had made friends with the young people at the church in Portland, and quite often some of them stayed for the weekend and were at our house as well. Our parents never complained about the extra work. Many Sundays after dinner, Dad read us different testimony tracts from the church, and I was spellbound by those amazing accounts of conversion.
Our parents made sure we had good times together. Dad enjoyed deer hunting and took us boys along with him. Almost every year our family went on vacation to the Oregon coast, often to a rustic little cabin at Seal Rock. Sometimes we stayed in a tent at a campground in Siuslaw National Forest. Another main annual event was a trip to Portland for camp meeting. On our way there, we stopped at Bob’s Hamburgers in Salem, and everyone had a 19-cent hamburger and fries. That was a big splurge for our family!
While my parents were caring for our physical needs and giving us enjoyable times together, they were also carefully teaching us about God. As I grew older, for a time I shrugged off their teachings and went my own way. When I came home late at night, having done the wrong thing—everything that my parents had taught me not to do—my mother would meet me at the door. She would say, “If something happens, you know where you’re going.” There was not much I could say in response. Her comments would certainly ruin the night! But she was on the job and pointing me to Jesus all the time. I had seen the old Gospel way. My parents had followed God faithfully without wavering, and I was spoiled for the world.
At high school graduation time there was a party for all of our class. One of my friends was the quarterback for the football team, and we were outside in the backyard. Lots of music and activity was going on inside, but we just sat down out there. We had never had a religious discussion, but he turned to me and said, “Tim, you know it’s not here.” I could not say a word. I knew that God was speaking; my parents’ prayers were following me. It was a few years after that before I knelt at an altar of prayer and poured out my heart to Jesus, but I’m so thankful they kept on praying.
Through my entire life, Mom and Dad have been true Christian examples. Our parents gave my siblings and me a rich heritage, and I thank God for it.