FRED A. POWELL (Nazarene)
For about three months after my wonderful conversion, I really rejoiced in the Lord. The
Lord used me to win many souls to Him. In fact, the first young man to be called to preach under my ministry was reached during the singing school at Murphy’s school house. He was not a very promising prospect, in fact, he looked quite hopeless to me. There were about sixty young people in the school and numbers of them had good talents. If, I had been the one calling a preacher, he would have been the last one of that group I would have called. He was fourteen years of age; his hair looked as if it had never been combed; his knuckles were rusty and all but ran back on his wrists; his sleeves were too short for his long arms; his voice was changing; and he could scarcely keep his pitch when singing the scale. But, then, man looketh on the outward appearance, but God on the heart. Isn’t it wonderful that such is the case?!
This lad said to me one day, “Brother Powell, I want to talk to you privately.” We invited
him in to the house but he refused, saying that he wanted to walk and talk with me. We walked down the road a ways and he began to cry. He said, “Brother Powell, I’ve something to tell you that I’ve never told another soul.” He looked into my face. Then said, “God is calling me to preach.”
I tried to encourage him all I could and told him that if he would be true to God that God
would bless and use him. Well, as hopeless as he looked; he was true to God and I saw him develop into a good preacher. He has preached now for many years. If we furnish the man, God will furnish the grace. It is wonderful what God can do. Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!
More and more settlers were coming into the country and different communities were being
established. I was kept busy for singers were scarce in that cow country and I was called to assist in revival meetings over all that part of the country.
When I was converted I thought that all my trials and disappointments would be over
forever. I had been taught in the Calvinistic doctrine of the Hardshell Baptists that if a person was
ever once saved, he could not be lost. For months I did not realize that the carnal mind was in my breast for God was blessing me and giving me souls in my ministry.
One day a young man claimed I had insulted him in my school. When we were outside of
the building he made a lunge at me. Quicker than I can tell it, I went to pieces, for carnality raged in my breast. I was running to attack him, for he had already slapped me, when God checked me. He seemed to say to me, “Are you not a pretty Christian?”
Immediately I fell to my knees and began to beg my assailant to forgive me. I was fortunate
to have a friend near by who came to my rescue, otherwise, I would have taken a good beating. He saved me from further attacks from my angry assailant. But, indeed, I did take a beating, an inward beating from a smitten conscience. I prayed and asked my attacker to forgive me. He did not, but God did. Back at the service that night I made a statement to the people about the awful happening asking then to forgive me. God came upon the scene and we had a great service.
Within one year after my conversion, I broke with God three times over carnal rages.
Finally, I reached the place where I decided that if this was all God could do for me, I was really ruined. About one year after my conversion, I was singing in a camp meeting at Murphy’s school house. A large tent had been pitched and the Reverend Solomon Irick and Virgil Couchran with old Brother Lovelady, a Methodist preacher from Texas, were my co-laborers.
The strong preaching on holiness done by these brethren caused me to want to be sanctified
more than I wanted anything else in the world. I began to seek to be entirely sanctified. But as I began to seek, the devil told me that I must not go to the public altar for it would just ruin the meeting if one of the workers in the camp went to the altar. I agreed to go out into the corn field that afternoon and settle it. But the devil went right along with me. Then, I began to pray. But the heavens were like brass, and it seemed that my prayers went no higher than my head. I wallowed around in the corn field until it was almost time for the evening service. I looked around me and that corn field looked as if a horse had wallowed in the rows. I went back to the service without victory. I prepared myself for the service. Although I made myself clean on the outside, I did not feel clean on the inside. I did my best that evening but it seemed that all my singing was very flat. I had already decided that my case must be settled and the victory must be gained. Still, the devil insisted that I could not go to the public altar.
The next day I went back to the corn field. Still I found no victory. It seemed darker than
ever to me. I went to the corn field for the third time. There I made up my mind that if it ruined the campmeeting, if it ruined my reputation, if I lost all popularity, I would go to the public altar. I must have the victory. In the morning service as we began to sing for the altar call, I turned the singing to one of the pupils and literally ran for the altar. I expected it would take hours for me to ”die out,” but as I threw up my hands and fell at the altar, I found that I had already died to everything but the public altar. I was not at the altar more than three minutes before the Holy Ghost fell upon me in purging and purifying power. God had sanctified me wholly. Oh, what a morning service!
Why did I have to go to the public altar? I think I know now, for seventeen other young
people followed me and they said it was one of the most glorious services of all of that
campmeeting. What a change God’s work of holiness made in my life and in my Christian work! That campmeeting was held in 1909 and I have been a constant worker in the Church of the Nazarene from that date to this, which is 1957. I have seen many hundreds of souls find God up and down the land from that good day to this. Oh, how it pays to go with God!
Source: “The Singing Pioneer” by F. A. Powell
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts