Alice Jane Schaffer Blythe's Personal Testimony

Alice Jane Schaffer Blythe's Personal Testimony

My Four Encounters With God

I count it such a delight to be able to tell you about my encounters with God. I have had four great encounters with the Lord. I was eight years of age when I had my first encounter. I was born on a homestead in eastern Colorado, and my parents did not go to church. The only church I knew anything about was when I visited my grandmother and went with my Aunt Martha to the Christian Church. I used to wonder why they passed the little glass of juice around, but they would never let me have any. Aunt Martha had palsy, and she would shake so bad I would wonder if she was ever going to get it to her mouth, but she would always get that little sip and pass it on. I'd been taught at home that we were always supposed to share, and I thought that those were pretty selfish people not to share the cup with me.

When I was eight years of age, we had a big storm at our farm. It was one of the worst storms we had ever had in our area, and it blew away all the granaries and outbuildings and ripped all the tar paper off the tar paper shack we lived in. It was a wicked storm, and I shall never forget the optimism of my parents, even though they were not Christians. The first thing my father said to my mother was "Mama, let's freeze ice cream." Now some of you wouldn't understand that, because, you see, we didn't have any ice, except when it hailed really bad and backed it up against the barn. That's the kind of storm we had, so we got to freeze ice cream.  After the storm was over, I went with my father to milk the cows, and while I was sitting milking a cow, I was listening to all the night sounds. It was later than usual--the storm had made our chores later. There were the frogs croaking down on the creek. There were all kinds of night insects giving forth their little songs, and I thought, "Isn't this a wonderful world!" Then a voice spoke to me. It wasn't a literal voice, but it was so deep inside my spirit, I knew that it was somebody talking to me. The voice asked, "Do you know who made it all?" I answered out loud, "No, I don't!" And again the voice said deep inside of me, "When you get to the house tonight, ask your mother."

So, when I got home that night and returned to the house and we had separated the milk and fed the little calves and done all the chores, I said, "Mama, who made everything?" My mother always had one pat answer for us kids when she didn't really want to answer us. She said, "Oh, Daniel Webster." I said, "Now mama, I know better--I know it wasn't Daniel Webster -- who made everything?" She said, "Well, when supper is over tonight, go get the black book in there in the bookcase, and when you open that book and read it, you'll find out who made everything." So that night by a kerosene lamp at the table I opened the black book, the Bible, and when I opened that book, the first line I read was, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." I remember as an eight year-old child how excited I was. I said, "That's it, that's my answer! But who is he? Who is he?" So I read on. The marvelous thing about the first few chapters in Genesis is that even a child at eight years of age can read it -- there's not that many difficult words in it. I read about creation and the creation of Adam and Eve.

When school started that fall, I took my Bible with me on the bus, and the first thing I said to those kids on the bus was "How many of you know who made everything?" Nobody else knew either. They were all a bunch of heathens, too. They didn't know. So I said, "If you all will sit down and be quiet, I'll tell you." And I opened my Bible and began to read. That was my first encounter with God. I do not think I was saved at that time, but I met God as my Creator.

By the time I was thirteen years of age, we had moved from the farm and were living in Chivington, Colorado. A Methodist preacher came down to our little schoolhouse and began to preach the way of salvation. It was not long until he had some Methodist evangelists come -- a man and woman who both were preachers. They expounded the way of salvation and preached about the cross, and on the second Sunday night of that revival, I gave my heart to the Lord. It was a beautiful experience. I'll never forget how I met Jesus as my Savior. I'd already met Him as my Creator, but that night I met Him as my Savior. I remember my fear when I felt my heart pounding -- I never had felt anything like that, and I knew I had to get up and go up to that altar. I was sitting in a row with my classmates, and I was afraid that they might laugh at me, but all of a sudden the urge was so great that I stood to my feet and moved out into the aisle. As I stepped into the aisle, a light went before me and led me down to the altar. It was an actual light, and it enveloped me. It was like I was walking in light. I went down to the altar and gave my heart to the Lord. When I followed the Lord, my family was all saved. My mother, father, and four sisters were saved in that revival meeting and had a tremendous experience from God. We were in a Methodist church, and we served God in that Methodist church for several years.

When I was fifteen years of age, my daddy took all of us to Kansas to visit my maternal grandparents. When we arrived there, we were all still so excited about our salvation and about the change that had come into our lives. Daddy's life was so changed, so tremendously changed. He had been a chain smoker. He would unhook the horses when we were on the farm and go to town to get a bag of Bull Durham tobacco before he would get mother a bag of flour or sugar. The night he gave his heart to the Lord, he came home and took the cigarette papers and bag of Bull Durham tobacco out of his pocket. He hung the bag of tobacco up on a nail by the window at the kitchen table and put the cigarette papers in the window, and he said, "Mama, leave them there." They stayed there for a year and my father never smoked again.

My father was a man with an extreme temper and he would curse. He was a good daddy to us, but he would get so angry at the animals, he would curse. After my father got saved, I never heard him curse again. That night, God cleaned up his mouth. God made him different, till the whole neighborhood knew that Trenton Abrams had gotten old-time religion.

While we were there in Kansas on that visit, a neighbor lady came in and heard my mother talking about our salvation and how we had been saved. She said to my mother, "That's not like Methodist people are in our town. We're not like that here." She said, "Leona, you need to go with me down to the courthouse. There's some people holding some special meetings down in the courthouse, and you sound more like them than you do like Methodist people." Well, my granddaddy was city judge, and he knew what was going on in the courthouse, and he wasn't really excited about mother going. But finally, on the very last night, when daddy was coming to get us and we were getting ready to leave, this lady came and said, "You're going with me to that meeting tonight!"

So my mother went with her, and they went down the steps into a room in the courthouse, and as they stepped down in there, she heard the most awful noise she had ever heard, like a lot of people. She couldn't figure out what was happening. Mother said, "What is that?" The lady that was with her said, "It's okay, Leona, come on, it's not going to hurt you, everything's all right." When they got to the door of the place where they were having this meeting, the noise was so loud that my mother said, "I'm not going in there!" So the lady opened the door and just sort of pushed her into the room, and when she did, the power of God hit my mother. She had her hands upraised in the air and she, too, was praising the Lord!

When the meeting was over that night, the evangelist's wife asked my mother, "Have you received the Holy Spirit?" Mama said, "Oh, yes, I got that when I got saved." Well, the lady did not argue with her, but she asked her, "Did you speak in tongues?" My mother said, "What's that?" So when the meeting was over the lady opened the Bible and told my mother about the experience of Pentecost, reading about it to her from the book of Acts. It was all brand new to my mother.

When we got back home, we found that the Four Square people, Aimee Semple McPherson's church, had put up a big tent meeting in Lamar, Colorado. Lamar was about 28 miles from where we lived, and my aunt and uncle had gone down to that tent meeting while we were gone. The evangelist's wife had done the same thing with my aunt that the other lady had done with my mother. When the meeting was over, she had taken her into a back room, which was their custom. FourSquare people often took people who were hungry for more of God into a back room and began to expound to them the way of the Lord more perfectly. So she began to tell Aunt Valie about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and she gave her the scriptures. My Aunt Valie was a wonderful saint of God, and so was my Uncle John. When they got home from the revival, my aunt took what the evangelist's wife had told her so seriously that she would sit up by the table reading the Scriptures after Uncle John had gone to bed. So one night, Uncle John went off to bed, and went to sleep. Aunt Valie had been sitting by the kitchen table when he left, and the next thing you know he heard the most awful rucus, it scared him, and he got up out of the bed and ran into the kitchen. There was my aunt with her hands in the air, dancing around the kitchen floor, talking in a language, a jabber, he had never heard her talk in before. So his story was that she fell on the floor. He tried to get her up and she just laughed and talked more in that jabber.

So, the very next morning after we had come back from Kansas, there was a knock on the door of the grocery store my father was running.  We lived in the back of the store. My daddy opened the door, and it was my uncle. He said, "Trenton, I tell you what, Valie's lost her mind." He said, "She has lost her mind over this new religion. I want you to let Leona come home with me." I was old enough at that time that I could tend the grocery store that day while my father worked. So I tended the store, and my mother went with my uncle out to their farm to be with my aunt.

Well, Uncle John went to bed that night, and he thought that Aunt Valie was safe in the hands of his sister Leona. But the next thing you know -- he had hardly dropped off to sleep -- he heard the most awful commotion, and he got up and went into the kitchen. There was my mother and my aunt talking in tongues. They were dancing around the room, they were praising God, they were laughing, they were crying, they were praising the Lord. And my uncle said, "I began to weep. I knew it was God." So he came the next day and brought my mother back, and for one solid week we had a meeting at their house. I received my Baptism and so did one of my sisters.

Well, in the meantime, my mother had gotten the address of the Assemblies of God District Superintendent in Denver, Colorado, and she had written a letter there for them to send somebody down to us. The Methodist preachers had quit coming to our schoolhouse. So they sent down a couple from Denver, and they started Pentecostal meetings in our little schoolhouse. And it was in those meetings that I met my Lord. I had met Him as a Creator, I met Him as my Savior, and I met Him as my Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. I was filled but I didn't know what I had, but that night in my uncle's home I lay on the floor for two hours speaking in tongues, and the glory, the ecstasy, the greatness of this wonderful Holy Spirit made Jesus more wonderful to me. It made my Creator greater. So much was explained to me by the Holy Spirit. Isn't this what Jesus said, "When He is come, He will tell you all about me—things that I have not even been able to tell you here, He will unfold to you great things. He will talk about Me." So, that was my encounter with the Lord as my Baptizer.

My next encounter was also around the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I could really and truly say that from the time that I was saved, when I met Him as my Creator, there was a desire to read His Word, even though I did not understand much back then. But when I became a Christian, I began to read the Bible. I wanted to read it all the time. I just wanted to read it. When I wasn't working, I wanted to read the Bible. And when I received the Holy Spirit, I wanted to read it even more. I wanted to read the Word of God. I had about a mile I had to walk to school, so I would hurry and get ready so I would have time to kneel by my bed and read my Bible and pray before I went to school. One morning -- I was close to 16 years of age -- kneeling by my bedside, it was as though I saw the globe, the world, drop down in front of me, but I do not think I saw it with my eyes. I have an explanation for spiritual understanding. Whenever you hear the voice speak to your spirit, whenever you see that which the Spirit reveals to you, it's far more impressive and far deeper and greater than what you see with natural eyes or hear with natural ears. And so I saw this globe in front of me, and then I saw something like a cloud or shroud drop down and began to cover it, and the voice of the Lord said to me, "This is what sin has done to my world. Will you help me penetrate the darkness?" And I remember so well, I said, "Yes, Lord, Yes, as long as I live, I will help penetrate the darkness -- the darkness of sin." And I can say this day at the age of 85, that I've not been perfect in it, and I have failed many times, but I have never drawn back. I have never ceased to have that urgency in my spirit to penetrate the darkness of this world and bring light to people who sit in darkness and deliver them from the bondage of sin.

Pentecost is wonderful. Many people do not understand, and many people do not even know about the Holy Spirit, or remember when Pentecost came at the turn of the century. Many churches never preached about the Holy Spirit. They didn't know, and even in my day they would say, "Well, our church never says anything about the Holy Spirit." People do not know what they miss. I just want to tell you that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit makes a true difference in your life. I'm not talking about just some kind of experience. I'm talking about the genuine product from heaven's laboratory. I'm talking about what Jesus promised us He would give us.

In the book of Acts, Jesus said, "If I go away, and I will go away, I will send you the promise of the Father, and when He has come, He will reveal himself to you." This is Scripture in the gospels. It's Scripture throughout the entire New Testament, in power and demonstration. When you think about the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, we don't believe in three Gods, we believe in one God. I say it something like this: It's like the sun. The sun gives light, and the sun gives heat. The sun, we can say, is Father God. The light is God the Savior, Jesus, and the fire, the heat, is God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Presence of the Holy Spirit, and the Power of the Holy Spirit, is what God gave as an antidote for fallen humanity.

At Calvary, Jesus paid the price for us, but even though mankind could be born again, they still had to have a power within them, a force within them that would help them to conquer their flesh and the world and the devil. It couldn't be done from the outside in. It had to be done from the inside out, and that's what the Holy Spirit does. Jesus saves us, and we become a new creature in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit's birth is very important, and the Holy Spirit's baptism is essential. It is essential. How do I know it's essential? Would Jesus have said, "I go away so I can send it to you"? Jesus said, "I'm going away. It's expedient that I go, because if I do not go, you will never be able, even though I've paid the price for you, even though I've redeemed you. This must be applied. It must be applied by the Holy Spirit."

You see, God the Father is the President of the company, Jesus is the initiator, and the Holy Ghost is the administrator. Jesus is the one who initiated it. Jesus is the one who laid the foundation for it, and the Holy Ghost is the one who administers what Jesus did for us. The church today is dead unless it has the power of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit will make a difference in your life. You will break your "alabaster box". You will place your last penny in the treasury to pay your tithe. It will enable you to walk the second mile. It will enable you to give your cloak when you've only been asked to give your coat. It'll make you become fishers of men. It'll make you a true ambassador of Christ. It'll make you a laborer in the harvest and a lover of souls. It will make you weep like Jeremiah for the lost. It will make you speak with the wisdom of Solomon. It will make you fight like David. It will intercede like Ezekiel, laying his life on the line. It will make you pray like Daniel and David and Paul.

Pentecost will make a weak church strong, a cold church hot. Pentecost will make kings to tremble. It will unlock prison doors. It will unshackle prisoners. Pentecost will make the lame to leap and walk and the blind to see. It will make the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak. Pentecost will save your unsaved children. Pentecost will jettison you out of your earthly orbit, where you have been spinning around in space, trying to live for God and work for God on a human plane with human principles, and it will put you in a spiritual kingdom orbit where the Holy Ghost will take over. You can't be jettisoned out of one orbit into another orbit without fire. That's where the Holy Ghost comes in -- the fire of Pentecost, Hallelujah! The fire will break and consume all fleshly, earthy, Satanic resistance. It will make a difference in your life! If you do not know about Pentecost, find an Assemblies of God church, or a Pentecostal church that will tell you all about it.

Part 2 - Earlier Days on the Colorado Prairie

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