This afternoon, our bishop’s wife slipped into my office while I was in a budget meeting and left a handful of pages on my desk. The pages were from a testimony that was read at a funeral that she had gone to yesterday. The testimony had blessed her and she thought it would bless me. She was right. And because it blessed me, I want to share it with you.
I never met Sister Eva Brown. I can’t ask her permission to share her story with you, but somehow, I don’t think she would mind. So, here’s her story, in her own words:
Thank the Lord for that wonderful day—October 12, 1933—about 11 on a Thursday morning. I was babysitting my almost one-year-old sister, Lynn, and preparing the noonday meal for my mother, father, and some of the other children while they were in the field picking cotton. On the night before, I had been in service just across the highway from my home in a tent meeting. The Lord dealt with my heart in that service. I did not respond to Him after the invitation and I went home after that service and was miserable.
As the day progressed, I became more and more convicted of my sins, and that I needed a savior. Mind you, I did not come out of a Christian home and I had a precious family, but no one professed a living experience with Jesus Christ. I felt a little insecure in taking the step to be the first in my family to profess a real experience with Jesus, but I could not resist the conviction I felt in my heart. I don’t think people today have convictions like I felt that day. I felt that if I did not get right with God, that I would die and be lost in eternity’s dark night.
There was no one home except Lynn and myself. I said, “Lord, I can’t live like this. I have to have help.”
Immediately I remembered Rev. James Epps was staying across the street and he came to the mailbox most mornings right in front of our house. I said, “Lord, if this is really You dealing with me, and I’m supposed to get right with You, will You please send that preacher to the mail box today, and if You do, I’ll ask him to pray with me.” I walked to the front door and saw Rev. Epps coming to the mailbox.
I was weeping when I called out to him. I had never met him except to shake his hand. But I said, “Would you come pray with me?”
I can see him now as he got a light step and came across the highway. I told him I had to have the Lord. We prayed together, asked Jesus into my life. Bless His name, I was delivered from my sins and my heart was filled with joy. From that morning until this, I have lived for Him to the best of my ability.
After the noon meal, I felt I had to find a place to pray and remembered the old wagon path just back of the house and a stump I had seen so many times there. I got the baby to sleep and I went out to that old stump just a few steps from our back door. I knelt by the stump. The Lord met me there that afternoon. I dedicated that place as my altar. Many times I went there to pray.
Sometime later, I began to feel that God had a work—a ministry—for me to do. So one night after I went to bed, I could not sleep. God was dealing with me, so I said, “Lord, I have to have an answer. I’ve got to know Your will for my life.” I know that to you who have no spiritual discernment, this would seem foolish, but the Holy Spirit seemed to say: “I’ll give you the answer if you’ll go to the stump.”
“But Lord, it’s night time and I’m just a young girl to go into the edge of the woods and kneel at a stump to pray tonight.”
But I couldn’t shake it, so as quietly as I could, I slipped my feet into my shoes and went out the front door and around the house. I knew if I was heard, I would be stopped. It was a beautiful autumn October night. A little hazy, but the moon was out. I had no problem seeing my way, but when I got almost to the stump, something said to me, “Take off your shoes.”
I took off my shoes and walked to the stump and immediately, the enemy tried to take advantage of the occasion and said to me, “Aren’t you afraid?” There were dogs roaming the woods and I could hear them in the distance. And you don’t know who else might be out this time of night.
“Lord,” I said, “I feel that You directed me to do this, and I don’t want to leave until You give me an answer.”
I don’t know that it would mean anything to any of you, but until I go home to Glory, it will be precious to me. I looked around me and saw a circle of light about the size of this building, like a beautiful rainbow of many colors. And it was real. It was so real, all around me. And it seemed to me the Lord said, “Nothing shall come inside this circle to harm you.” And nothing did. But the Lord met me that night in a special way. For me, the question was settled that was so heavy on my heart.
I was just a simple 19-year-old country girl with a 6th grade education and everything seemingly against it, but I knew I had to preach the Gospel. It wasn’t long after that I applied for a mission workers license and a local preacher’s license and was granted both of them.
I remember going before the examining committee and after many questions, they asked me, “If we don’t give you license to preach, what will you do?”
I said, “I feel like I’ll have to preach.”
One of the ministers said, “I wish we had a thousand like that.”
God has been good to me, brought me this far, supplied all my needs, and gave me a wonderful husband that has supported me all the way. And you know what? If I had to do it again, I’d do it again and hope to do a better job.
Let me leave you with one verse of scripture, Psalm 68:13: “Though you have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.”
It has been said that David reflected back to the time when Israel was in Egypt and they were feeding out of the fleshpots. They would drop crumbs among the ashes and then late in the day, the doves would swoop down and work their way in and out among the fleshpots and pick up some scraps of food. Then, they would spread their wings and fly away toward the sunset. And as the sunset glittered on their wings, they were beautiful. They were not spotted or smutty from going in and out among the fleshpots. Many times through the years, I preached from this scripture, remembering like the doves, we can live in a dirty world and keep clean.
God bless you is my prayer. Come go home with me.