From Convent to Pentecost

Chapter 34

Uncle John’s Conversion

Charlotte, something wonderful has happened to me since you left,” remarked uncle John. His face was beaming to me as he spoke and related his conversion to me step by step.

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur are my next-door neighbours. He was an alcoholic and was very cruel to his wife and children. They were often very hungry and were deprived of the necessary clothes and the very essentials of life. Paint had worn off their house and it looked more like a shack than a home.

One Sunday morning I noticed the entire Arthur family leaving the house, all dressed up in nice clean clothes as though they were really going somewhere.

My wife, Maime, had taken a serious illness. Who should knock on our door but Mr. and Mrs. Arthur asking if they might pray for my wife. This good-for-nothing drunkard asking to pray in my home really astonished me. He must have noticed the expression on my face for he told me he didn’t drink any more.

Nor did he do any of the other wicked things he used to do. He said God had saved him from all of that.

Then without rosary beads or prayer book they began to pray for Maime. How they prayed! Heaven couldn’t help but listen. And God answered their prayers. Maime rose from her sick bed and lived another year.

When Maime died about a year later she left me very lonely and broken-hearted. She and I had walked this long road together and now I had to finish traveling alone. My lonely heart reached out for a friend — someone to help. The Arthur’s filled that vacancy.

They sort of pampered me and often would bring me a bowl of hot soup and a tasty snack or a delicious pie. Mr. Arthur asked me to go to Church with him. I was lonely and curious to see what kind of church could perform such a miracle in Mr. Arthur’s life. I was eager to accept his invitation.

The Full Gospel Temple seated about twenty-five hundred people. The two balconies were filled with young people, about five hundred in number. And they began to sing. I wondered if Heaven would be like this. I went along several nights trying to understand the preaching, and not realizing that the singing I heard was by those who had been filled with the Holy Ghost.

As the evangelist came to the close of his sermon one night, I felt a heavy burden of conviction and I ran down the middle aisle with both hands raised toward Heaven crying, ‘My God, I’m lost! Pray for me.’

Charlotte, I’m sixty-seven years old and I have never missed taking Holy Communion every morning for several years, but I left a pool of tears on that altar as I wept before God. When I arose someone suggested I get back down on my knees and worship the Lord. They told me He would fill me with the Holy Ghost. And in a matter of minutes the Lord gloriously filled me with the Gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Uncle John’s joyous expression and animated spirit, as he told me of his conversion, were very convincing. However, I just couldn’t understand all he was telling me. I do remember that I was rather disgusted when I heard uncle John praying for me both morning and night. Now that I understand, I’m so thankful that he did pray and that God answered those prayers.

After I had been back with Uncle John about two years, one gray morning he arose not feeling very well. He said he was sick but that he had to go down to the office for a while. He returned early in the afternoon and went back to bed. On Tuesday he grew worse. And on Wednesday even worse. Thursday he called me to his side and told me he was going home to be with Jesus. He told me that as soon as he was gone he wanted me to send a telegram to his two sisters and to my father. He also asked me to tell them his funeral would be in the Full Gospel Temple.

With fear and amazement I asked him if he had ever told the family about leaving the Church. He told me he hadn’t, saying he was an old man and felt he couldn’t take the criticism and probable ostracization of the family.

And Friday afternoon at 4:30 the death angel came for Uncle John. My world seemed to collapse. The only true friend and relative I could trust and lean upon had taken the death route to a City beyond.

I sent the telegrams as instructed. However, not a relative came to Uncle John’s funeral, They never sent any messages of sympathy. They didn’t send a wreath or a spray of flowers — not even a thistle. I was the only relative who followed the casket to its resting place.

The Pastor’s wife sat beside me in the mourners’ pew so I would not be alone. At the cemetery, Aunt Maime’s relatives approached me and told me to remain in Uncle John’s home as long as I desired. They told me to go to same Corner Grocery and purchase everything I needed, and that when the estate was settled everything would be taken care of.