We left Holland by way of Flushing. Ran from Amsterdam to Flushing in the night. This brought us perhaps within fifty miles of the actual battle field in Belgium. It was quite close enough to suit all of us. We arrived in Flushing at 2 a. m. and went on the boat. Sailed for Folkestone, England, the next morning. They did not dare cross the channel at night on account of submarines and mines. We sailed very slowly, reaching Folkestone just at dusk. After a weary trying wait of two hours, huddled on the deck in the dampness and cold, we finally passed the doctors and the customs, were locked in a compartment in the train and on our way for London. The train was overfull, so they put us in a first class compartment, the kind only the royalty and millionaires usually ride in there. The English officials were very kind to us. We landed at Victoria Station, London. It had been a long trying trip, especially for my wife and the children. We had had practically no food since the day before. Food prices had jumped to terrible proportions. Profiteering had begun in earnest. It was a “survival of the fittest.” Every fellow was making all he could. We reached London 10 p. m. and they wanted us to go to a hotel. The prices charged were so exorbitant that I got a Cabby to drive us across the city five miles, to the Pentecostal Home conducted by Sister Cantell, an American woman, at 33 Highbury, New Park, N. We reached there exactly at midnight, more than tired but happy to be at rest with friends.
They welcomed us heartily at the Home, got a warm, midnight meal for us, and we were soon safe in bed and sound asleep all well and peaceful. Thank God! I spoke several times in the Home with much help and blessing. Most of my messages were against the war spirit. I spoke once at the Central Pentecostal Mission. The Lord gave me a strong message against the war spirit in christians. The leader said if he were a young man he would enlist himself. They were opening their meetings with a “War Hymn.” The Conscription Act had not yet passed. My message dropped like a bomb in the camp. But some thanked me for it later, especially some of the missionary student young men, members of the P. M. U.
One sister called on the Lord to bless them in their “Holy War.” They had General French, Joffre and Kitchener on their list for special prayer. No doubt they needed it, with the Kaiser and the rest of the War lords in every country. London seemed covered with blood. “Our war on German trade,” and “Death to German trade,” was displayed everywhere on banners, on the business houses and the delivery wagons. These banners frequently ran the length of the buildings. They were the most conspicuous thing in London. Any firm or delivery wagon refusing to carry and display these was boycotted promptly and forced to the wall. It looked very much like a coldblooded affair, a plain “Commercial War.” The whole sprit seemed entirely too mercenary. The young men enlisting seemed to be in high glee at the prospect of going to war. It was too much like a theatrical performance, instead of a grim necessity and tragedy as they had taken it in Germany. It made it hard for me to believe in the perfect honesty of their purpose in spite of the sentiment at times voiced in the connection. My soul became sick of it all. It seemed entirely too professional. I had not seen anything of that kind in Germany.
I spoke at Pastor Saxby’s Mission Sunday morning. Here God gave me a strong message against the war spirit also. But it was very differently received. The leader thanked me warmly. He had come into Pentecost, with his congregation, from the Baptist Church. The other mission was really Church of England. They had never severed their connection fully with the State Church system.
I went to the steamship company in London to get our passes to Liverpool, which they had promised me when I bought our tickets in Amsterdam, but they refused at first to issue them to me without the extra money. They finally gave them to me, but very unwillingly. I had been promised them, so they could not very well refuse. This saved me at least $14.00. I had left our trunks in the station in London until we should be ready to go on to Liverpool. After much prayer, and entreaty in the matter, they allowed me to ship them on without opening them. In fact they did not even charge me storage, a thing they were entitled to. God was working on our behalf. They had examined our grips at Folkestone carefully and removed all German newspapers, etc. I had a stack of German Illustrated War Magazines in the bottom of my trunk, which I wanted to get through to America, for souvenirs. They were cleaning everybody out of all of these things that they could get hold of. I had a number of other things from Germany that they would have confiscated, which would have been quite a loss to me. I wanted them for keepsakes. But I prayed hard to get them through. And through I got them. That was one reason why I had wanted to ship from Rotterdam.
We reached Liverpool safely. Stopped at a reasonable hotel. The women who ran it seemed to have a heart and were very kind to us. However the people on the streets were very suspicious of strangers. September 30, I ran over to Halifax to spend a day or two in the mission with Sister Walshaw with whom I had worked before, and to say good-bye. I received a letter from Brother Polhill of London with five pounds ($25.00) in it. This was very kind of him.
I spoke twice at the mission in Halifax. The Lord wonderfully blessed us. They gave me $20.00. Returned to Liverpool and found the family well and, safe. October 3 we sailed for New York City. We had a smooth journey without incident. While the “St. Paul” sailed under the American flag yet the crew were all English. We were not really off of English territory until we landed in New York, were watched up to the three mile limit by English gunboats. Reached New York City the evening of October 10. It seemed good to be on U.S. soil again, though I had left my heart in Europe. Under the circumstances I realized that I had done the wise thing in bringing my family back to America. But I long to go back and preach the Gospel in Europe again.
It cost us at least $250.00 to come home. We had considerable expense of one kind and another before we got out of England. I managed to get our trunks out of Liverpool also without opening. That was a great victory as the passengers were subjected to a very rigid examination at the dock. It was only effected through prayer. I was very glad when we finally passed inspection and were allowed to board the vessel. We only had about $2.00 left when we reached our friends in New York City, but we were home and safe. It seemed good to be away from the spirit of suspicion and murder. America was not yet in the war. It took two hours to get through the customs at New York. The children were so tired they went to sleep on the baggage. We went direct to the Pentecostal Home at “Glad Tidings Hall,” 454 W. 42nd street. We got to bed in good time and slept soundly, in America once more. We were very thankful to God for bringing us safely through the war zone.
We had been absent on this mission trip from October 27, 1912, to October 10, 1914. In money we had received during this time: From America, $368.34. From Finland and Russia, $367.00. From England, $324.03. From Germany, $188.40. From Norway and Sweden, $177.25. From Palestine, $8.00. From India, $1.00. Making a total of $1434.02.
I spoke nine times at “Glad Tidings Hall.” Spoke at a German Mission once, at St. John’s Street Noon Day Prayer Meeting once, and at a Colored mission at 134th street twice. They gave us $45.00 at “Glad Tidings Hall.” I brought the family to my mothers home at Carversville, Pa. Found her well after our two years’ absence. I then went to Newark, N. J., for a convention at Bethel Mission. Preached three times with much help from the Lord.
While taking a walk one day in Newark on the street the wind blew a ladder down from the side of a house just as I was passing. Some painters had been using it. The painter shouted and I jumped just in time to escape it. The ladder broke in two pieces from the force of the compact with the sidewalk. I had been in direct line with the ladder just before I jumped. And so the devil wanted to pay me for my work in Europe. But God protected.
I went to Philadelphia and preached three times at the Highway Mission. Since returning to America we had now had almost $100.00 given us. I went back to New York City and took part in a Conference. Spoke four times with much help from God. I also spoke at two or three other missions in New York, Swedish and colored. Came back to Philadelphia and spoke twice at Highway Mission. Then I ran up to mother’s again to see the family. Came back to Philadelphia again. A Convention was just starting at the Highway Mission. I preached nine times during the week. The Lord kept all other workers away, though a number had written they were coming. I had a special mission to them at this time.
I was seized with the grippe the day before the Convention started. The devil tried to kill me. I came near dying the first part of the week. A number of times I got out of bed to go to meeting so weak I could hardly crawl to the hall. I feared I would die while preaching. Death seemed hanging over me. I felt like an empty shell. I could only support myself by hanging over the pulpit desk and preached as a man walking on the brink of eternity. It was a strange experience. I do not remember ever preaching under such weakness before. In the natural I should have been in bed thinking about dying. But the Spirit moved mightily upon me and within me with the message. When I would return from the meeting I would go to bed again.
Finally the family I was staying with became so alarmed at my condition that they decided to have my family come down and be with me. I had been praying for this very thing. God had a strange way of answering it. We were praying about our future. I did not know what to do or where to go.
I went to the Grace Baptist Temple, corner of Broad and Berks streets, and testified before my old pastor, Russell H. Conwell, once more. Then I ran up to Carversville and brought my family to Philadelphia. The fight was still on at the mission. No other workers had yet arrived at the Convention. I preached twice more and then felt relieved of my burden for the place. I had delivered my soul. My feet had almost touched the cold waters of death during this ministry. Doubtless it was at least partially for their sakes I had had a very solemn ministry and messages. Other workers now arrived.
The Lord now showed me clearly that we were to return to Los Angeles, Cal. One brother, not a member of the mission nor even Pentecostal, gave me $50.00. I ran back to New York City and preached at “Glad Tidings Hall” again over Sunday. They gave me $13.00. God wonderfully blessed the message. I then returned to Philadelphia and spoke four times more at the Highway Mission. The leader, Brother Reel, handed me $100.00 in cold cash. Then I knew we were bound for Los Angeles. I went to the railroad office and bought our tickets clear through without a break. I remembered wishing the last time we had crossed the Continent by stages (in 1912), that the next time we crossed it we might be able to go straight through. The journey was so long and tiresome. God had given me my wish in that also.
December 14 we left Philadelphia for Los Angeles. It was my 43rd birthday. We went clear through in a tourist car without change. It seemed so good not to have to change cars on this trip. We had seen two hard years of service since we left America, with no certain dwelling place. To be dragged out of cars in the middle of the night had become a nightmare to me. The Lord was rewarding us for our unselfish service in Europe. We arrived in Los Angeles safely once more. Friends met us at the depot and took us to a home, 109 S. Grand Ave., where we stayed for a week and then found other more permanent quarters for the time.
And now we have been sitting in Los Angeles for almost ten years, years of trial and seeming inactivity largely. And yet we thank God for His mercy and protecting, providing love and care. We long to return to Europe again, or at least into some more active service for God. Will the reader please pray that God’s will may be done. It may be a time of waiting and preparation. But we pray it may not be long until we shall hear the summons to go forth at least one more time, in Jesus’ name, before He comes. We have absolutely no heart or interest in any other matter.