HENRY M. WILLIS (Evangelist and Missionary)
While prospering in a financial and business way, he never forgot to send largely of his
earnings to his parents at home, whose main support he had now become. He was ever a dutiful son and labored without a murmur or complaint; not alone for selfcare, but gave most of his earnings for the care of others.
While thus demonstrating his aptitude for worldly success and endeavor, earning good
wages as a commercial traveler and doing in the meantime as much work for Christ as it was possible for one to do situated in like circumstances, he was beginning to feel, more and more, the claims of God upon him, as a chosen worker, and that these claims could not be set aside by anything less than to give himself and his whole time to the service of the Lord. The call sounded louder and it became evident that God had marked out for him, a different line of operation from that which he had chosen for himself and upon which he was now entering so successfully and for which he seemed, in every way, so well adapted.
It was about this time that he received a call from a firm in Pittsburg, Pa., with an offer of
$500 per year more than he was now receiving. He went to that city to negotiate with the parties, and to engage in answer to the calls of business. But the impression of a call in another direction was growing deeper, and the fact that God had set him apart for himself was becoming more evident to his own mind. He could not rest and went to his hotel, but he became so worried that he was sick and prostrated.
At this hotel, in his room, for three days the struggle went on. He was fighting the battle
with God’s special claim, and it was soon to be decided who should win in the strife. The call of a business career was before him with its offer. His father was an invalid and moneyless, and he was now largely responsible for the care of the family at home. To give up business and engage for Christ was the impulse of conscience and the voice of God. It might bring with it its poverty and weight of persecution and great things to be suffered for the name of Christ.
But in this three days of awful struggle and self examination, which he afterwards
characterized as his “three days in the tomb,” the Lord triumphed gloriously. Young Willis surrendered to do the whole will of his heavenly Father, even to giving himself and his time entirely to his divine service; to go anywhere, to be anything or to do anything at the command of the Savior. No sooner was the decision made than the Holy Spirit came upon him in Pentecostal power and he received the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ. He was filled with the Spirit — every chamber and court of his being.
Source: “Soul-Saving or Life and Labors of Henry M. Willis” by Joseph D. Simms
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts