Joy in Serving Jesus
October 01, 2015
God spared this woman’s life and sent her to mission fields in the Caribbean, South America, and Africa.
How I thank the Lord for His goodness and mercy to my soul. It seems as if He has been especially good to me. Many blessings have accrued in my life since infancy.
When I was a toddler, my parents pulled up stakes in Kansas and came west in search of reality. My father walked the streets of Portland, Oregon, investigating the churches in that city. Then he heard about the Apostolic Faith Church, and said, “I want to see what it is all about.” When he and my mother went to a meeting, though, he did not like it. As the congregation got down to pray he asked my uncle, “How long does this last?” My uncle answered, “It depends on the kind of start they get.” My father said, “I’m going to leave, and I’m not coming back here.”
However, my parents did return after some faithful neighbors helped my mother pray through to salvation. My father held back and did not surrender right away, but the Lord knew how to deal with him. One night, he came under such conviction that he shook in his bed! He got out of bed, and on his knees, he prayed through to salvation. From then until his dying day, the Apostolic Faith was his church.
Family devotions became a regular part of our schedule. Twice daily, Dad took the Bible from the shelf and insisted that we children lay aside what we were doing and listen to the Word of God. Then our family prayed together.
On Saturday nights Mother would bring out a picture scroll of the life of Christ and tell us the story of Jesus. One was the scene of His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. When Mother would show us the next picture of Jesus nailed to the Cross and tell us that this took place just a few days later, my heart would break. I had a tender conscience as a child, and I knew that I must repent of my sins and become a Christian if I wanted to go to Heaven. However, I was also stubborn.
Finally one night, as a teenager, I felt heavily convicted of my sins and repented. Christ forgave me and made a genuine change in my heart. He took out all the rebellion and stubbornness and made me peaceable. It was true that I had not gone very deep in sin, but there was a noticeable change in my life.
A short time later, I lay on my bed one summer afternoon and pondered the question: What can I do with my life to gain the greatest happiness? It was no mere chance that the answer came very clearly: Become a worker for the Lord. What a challenge for a teenager! At the age of fourteen, I suddenly felt quite grown up. I sensed that the carefree childhood days of swimming, hiking, horseback riding, and playing baseball with the boys—all high on my priority list—were changing into days of responsibility.
I was eager to answer God’s call. But how would I do so? The early training I had received in my Christian home certainly played a significant part in bringing me to that moment, and helped me to take the next step. My mother had taught me the precious lesson of always doing what my hands found to do. One day, while working in a prune orchard, I told my mother, “I want to learn to play the violin and become a teacher.” With the money I had earned picking prunes, I bought a violin. Then I began walking two miles to take violin lessons. Later, I also studied voice and the accordion.
What a thrill it was when, at age fifteen, I was asked to play in the church orchestra. My dream was beginning to materialize. For many years I played my violin for the glory of God. Another great privilege the Lord granted me was to help at the headquarters office in Portland, where Gospel literature is printed and sent throughout the world.
The Lord gave me a Christian husband, and we enjoyed serving the Lord together. Then, I developed a very serious tumor, which was sapping my strength. Year after year it became more serious until I was hemorrhaging very badly and growing weaker. Finally, I spent most of my time in bed. It seemed as though the sun was setting on my life. Then the Lord stepped upon the scene and took control of the situation that I might help to “fight the fight of faith” a little longer.
As I prayed and rededicated my life to the Lord and read His Word, He dropped a promise into my heart: “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:32). I held to that promise, although I did not dream how near the brink of death I would go. Ministers from the Apostolic Faith anointed me with oil and prayed for me according to James 5:14-15. My husband and members of my family often knelt beside my bed and wept and prayed for my healing. Still, my condition continued to worsen.
Since childhood I had witnessed many marvelous miracles of healing through prayer, and I could not doubt the healing power of God. My father had been healed instantly of appendicitis, and my older sister had been healed of a goiter when her neck measured seventeen inches. My little sister had broken her arm, but one day she went into the parlor and saw a picture of Christ with outstretched arms. Soon she came running into the other room with both hands extended and exclaimed, “This is the way Jesus does.” Her arm was healed! All this had made a lasting impression upon me, and I knew that what God had done in the past He could do again.
Then came the memorable day when I had a visit from the Lord himself! One of our ministers and members of my family were in my room praying. I turned my face to the wall, and from the very depths of my innermost heart I uttered a few words of total commitment, “Lord, I love You!” Oh, the glory that filled the room! I knew that my prayer had gone through. The hemorrhaging stopped. I began gaining strength. It was wonderful to sit up and even stand, after having been so weak that I had needed to be spoon-fed. The swelling soon diminished, and the hard lump, which had been about the size of a large cantaloupe, disappeared.
At the time of my healing, my husband was pastoring a small church. We felt a call to go into foreign missionary work, and soon we had the opportunity to make a tour through the West Indies. That was the beginning of our missionary efforts, resulting in the establishment of many churches throughout the islands. The Lord allowed us to make twelve trips of several months duration into that area, and also into South America.
Another trip took us to West Africa for several months, where the response to the old-time religion was an incredible blessing. There is no greater thrill than to see sinners converted, to feel with them the joys of sins forgiven, and to see the sick healed through the prayer of faith. Not only did we see God heal, but we experienced it. My husband became very ill with malaria. The precious saints in Africa and all over the world prayed for his healing. The Lord raised him up and gave us these extra years together, telling the story of Jesus.
It is grand to be a Christian. How thankful I am that I surrendered my life to the Lord when I was still young! The joys of service far overshadow any sacrifices I have made for the Lord. Today I have a bright hope of someday seeing Jesus.