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Trials And Triumphs Of Faith by Mary Cole

Chapter XXII Caring for my Aged Mother

Provision had now been made for the removal of my mother to the Old People's Home at Anderson, Ind. As there was not sufficient help at the home then to care for her, I took that duty upon myself. As soon as help should come, I was to be free to go and be in meetings what little I was able, except when I needed to care for her, either when she was sick or when they were short of help.

In the days following my coming to Anderson, I went to Sioux Falls, S. Dakota, to visit a sister who was needing some special encouragement. It was mid-winter. Some told me before I started that there was danger of my being snow-bound, and advised me to take plenty of provisions with me; but as I did not anticipate any such difficulty, I did not heed the warning. We got along pretty well until about ten miles from Sioux Falls. The recent heavy snows had so obstructed the way that the engine could not pull through. It would run a little way into the drift, then back up, and again push its way into the drift as far as possible. It kept working its way forward in this manner from one o'clock in the afternoon until very nearly midnight, when we arrived at Sioux Falls.

Sure enough, my provisions did run out on the way; but with the generosity peculiar to most people under like circumstances, the other passengers, although strangers to me, helped me out and supplied all the food needed. Doubtless many of these people knew nothing of real salvation, but their liberal-heartedness proved that sin had not effaced all of the marks of God's love from their hearts.

I remained six weeks at Sioux Falls, during which time I had but little chance to do missionary work other than to encourage the sister whom I went to visit. However, I did go out and put Trumpets in some of the yards and on the porches of neighboring houses. Possibly some of these papers may have proved silent messengers of salvation. Sometimes when the mercury was ten degrees below zero, and the snow deep on the ground, I would go out and walk and distribute Trumpets or tracts. In spite of the cold and snow, I enjoyed my stay. I did what God directed me to do, and I trust that he has blessed my labors. At any rate, the sister whom I went to visit has written me a number of times that she does not know what she would have done had not God sent me at that time to help her through the difficulties she was then encountering. On my return trip I took a severe cold while traveling in a chilly car. My train was late and did not make connections at Chicago. I telephoned out to the Faith Missionary Home, and they gave me an invitation to come and remain over night. I accepted their kindness and was soon in the home where I had spent so many years in the work of the Lord. That evening I made a call on a dear sister that I was anxious to meet, and by the time I got back to the home again I was real sick. I had taken a severe attack of the grip and was suffering greatly. Most of the workers were gone to meetings in different parts of the city, but a sister who had remained at home, laid her hands on me and prayed the prayer of faith. I was able next morning to resume my journey back to the Old People's Home at Anderson.

Although my system had been greatly weakened and rendered more liable to taking cold than it had been before, yet I was well enough so that I soon went about fifteen miles to the little town of Cammack and assisted Sister Maud Smith in a two weeks' meeting. Soon after my return I took a severe attack of pneumonia. Prayer was offered, but the disease seemed to be stubborn. I was anointed, and prayer was again offered, but the battle was still on. So we called in some more of God's ministers and again had prayer. This time God healed me, and next day I was able to go down to dinner. Nevertheless, I remained weak for some days, but soon felt almost entirely restored to health.

In about two weeks, however, I took another attack of pneumonia, one more severe than the first. Again we had a stubborn fight. We prayed three times before any effects were visible. Pleurisy was setting in, and I had begun to spit blood. My temperature had reached 103-3/4 when God gave the witness from heaven that he healed me. I did not get strength nearly so quickly as I did before, and had to keep my bed most of the time for two days. Nevertheless, I never doubted once my healing, and indeed it had been accomplished. I have never suffered from that affliction since.

This is only one of the many times that the Lord has come to my rescue and touched my body. Sometimes I have been healed instantly, and at other times God has given me the witness that I was healed, but my strength returned gradually and it was several days before I could be about as usual. However, the healing came. God was doing the work in his own way, and he always has a purpose and reason for any method he may use. Let us not question the method he uses, but trust him.

Since coming to the Old People's Home I have not been privileged to go out much to help in meetings. This has been partly due to the fact that Mother has needed much care and also to the fact that my strength has not been equal to the exertion. But I have had the privilege of helping in other ways. Very often the old people in the home need prayer for their healing or help and encouragement in their souls. Besides, I have had the privilege of giving help and encouragement to some of the workers in The Trumpet office, and also to others living nearby. I am very thankful for these opportunities.

The Lord has also been helping me to trust him for means to support his cause in the Missionary field and other places. Although I can not give much, yet I appreciate the privilege of giving the little. At first I felt led to purpose forty cents a month. The Lord provided this sum every time. For a year I kept up this purpose and never once had to borrow. The Lord also provided means for me to help his cause in other directions. The next year I felt led to ask God to help me trust him for fifty cents a month for missionary work. I never failed to have my money ready at the proper time. The third year I felt like trusting the Lord for seventy-five cents a month, paying this amount in advance. One consideration that made me reach the decision to pay in advance was that if God should call me before the month was out I should not be in debt. I have never been disappointed. Sometimes the Lord gives me happy surprises in this as well as in other things. If we give God a chance, he will develop our faith to trust him for means as well as for other things, if we are not able to work and earn the money, and have a desire to help his cause. During the present year in which I am writing, I am trusting the Lord for a dollar a month for foreign missionary work, and early in the spring the Lord gave me enough to pay my purpose for the whole year. He made it clear to me that I should use the money for that purpose.

The Lord has helped me also to trust him for my clothing and other needs, and for the needs of my mother. He is such a present help. A number of times I have asked him for money in the morning, and before the sun went down I had all that I asked for. |According to your faith,| says the Word, |so be it unto thee.| |The desire of the righteous shall be granted.|

Some persons have thought that God did not answer prayer for the healing of old people, since they would soon have to die anyway. We know that God will not make them young again, as that is not his plan; but since coming to the Old People's Home I have witnessed the healing of many aged people. In fact, my mother, the oldest inmate of the home, has trusted God for a number of years. The older she gets, the stronger her faith seems to be. Every time these old people are afflicted, the Lord answers prayer. In asking God for healing, they seem childlike, and simple, fully expect God to heal them when they call upon him.

One of the inmates of the home, an old lady in her eighty-seventh year was at the point of death. From appearances one would have supposed that her end was near. She had no hope of recovery. Her burial clothes were made ready. She had been prayed for a number of times, but was still suffering great agony. She did not know what was causing the suffering, but thought it might be appendicitis. Some of us, however, could not be satisfied to let her die without making further effort for her healing, so we sent for Bro. E. E. Byrum. She was again anointed and prayed for. While we were on our knees, God assured my heart that he would hear and answer prayer. Her suffering did not seem to decrease, however, immediately, and in less than an hour Brother Byrum was again called. He came at once, as he had remained in the house. The second time he offered prayer that God would relieve her of her suffering. Although her condition still looked discouraging, yet God made us know that she was going to get well. Although she did not recover very rapidly, yet for one of her age the change was marvelous, and not long afterward she had her usual health. A year or more afterwards she was able to return to Pennsylvania to visit some of her folks. She concluded to remain there and is still living in that State.

One of the aged brothers in the home was greatly afflicted. His mind was giving way somewhat, and he got into a very melancholy condition, thinking that he ought never to leave his room, and especially that he should not be out-of-doors. It could easily be seen that if he continued very long in this condition, he would not only lose his mind but be bedfast and perhaps die. He desired very much to be sanctified and asked several of us to come to his room and pray for him. We went to his room and talked to him on the subject of sanctification, and while he was surrendering all to the Lord, we had him consecrate his will that he would be out-of-doors all that the Lord wanted him to be. He promised he would do so, and the Lord sanctified him. In the two years or more that have passed since then, he has not broken his promise, but has remained in the house only when the weather prevented his being out. As a result, his mind is almost entirely restored, his body is much stronger, and he is not like the same person.

In the four years I have been in the Old People's Home nursing my mother, I have noticed that the older people get the less able they are to comprehend anything new. For this reason it is hard for an old person to grasp the promises of God for salvation; but if they have been saved in their younger years and have lived a consistent Christian before they come to such a great age, they will every year grow more and more like Jesus, trusting him more fully, and seem more humble and thankful as they draw nearer the grave. I have been more strongly impressed than ever before that people should seek God while they are young before they become unable to grasp the promises. I feel the more impressed to sound a warning because there are some in the home with whom we have labored again and again, but who are so aged and infirm that seemingly they can not reach a decision to seek until they find. Their unsaved condition, in view of their extreme age, puts them in a very serious place.

The spiritual workers in The Trumpet Family sometimes take me with them to visit those who need help in the city. One day we went to see a man who was on his death-bed. He had never known God. When we first went into the room, we did not know that he would be able to talk with us much, but we prayed earnestly that God's Spirit would work with him. That was all we could do at that time. Later we went and had prayer with him again, talking to him about his soul, and prayed earnestly that God would spare his life until he could obtain salvation, and that God would keep his mind clear so that he would be able to meet the conditions. We went to see him the third time. In the meantime other workers had been to see him, and he was becoming concerned about his soul. While one of the brethren was praying with him, he grasped the promises that God would save him, and was able to rejoice in the Lord. When I went to see him a little later, he seemed to have complete victory and was very happy.

While thinking of this occurrence at a later time, it seemed to me that I had done nothing toward the brother's salvation, since I was not present at the time he was saved. But the Lord began to talk to my soul: |Paul may plant, and Apollos may water, but God gives the increase. Are you not willing to plant and let some one else water? Are you not willing to be coworkers with others for the Lord?| I saw the point and answered, |Amen, Lord, I am willing; any way to get souls saved.|

One day my mother was taken suddenly ill. Her affliction was overflowing of the gall. It seemed that she would strangle to death. She was anointed and prayer was offered; then we sent for the elders and again had prayer, but it seemed that she was dying. A few hours later, thinking she was dying, we sent for some of the elders and a number of us gathered about her bed. The blood seemed to be settling under her skin as though she were mortifying before she died, and the Superintendent, who was standing near the bed, said he was sure he heard the death-rattle in her throat. Even at that time we offered prayer the third time, and all these more pronounced symptoms disappeared and she looked natural once more. She remained quite sick, however, for several days. God had made it clear to one of the brethren that we had offered the prayer of faith and that her life would be spared for a time. She is still living at this time, a marvel of God's divine power.

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