Chapter 4

The Conversion Of William Branham

His Conversion

Not being born again, the strange and peculiar experiences in his childhood and teen years would at times trouble the young man. He was already aware of the Light that stood over him at birth, the visions, the Voice in the Whirlwind and the strange rushing sound of wind when he tried to smoke and drink whiskey. Some people had told him that "these things" were of the Devil. This troubled him more because up to this time in his life he had no knowledge of what the Scriptures taught about it.

William Branham, the boy, though he had these remarkable manifestations in his life, yet he was not converted. For a time he still resisted the call of God on his life. At the age of fourteen he was seriously wounded while hunting and had to spend seven months in hospital. God dealt with him then, but still he did not take heed. Nevertheless the urgency of the call became more an more concious to him. Inasmuch as his parents were not Christians he did not get any encouragement from them. As he became older the enemy tried to stifle that 'still small voice' that was ever speaking to his heart.

He Goes West

When he had reached the age of 19, he decided that he would go out West to work on a ranch. In September of 1927, he told his mother that he was going on a camping trip to Tunnel Mill, about fourteen miles north of Jeffersonville. He told her this, knowing that if she were aware of his true intentions to go West, she would plead with him not to go. When his mother finally heard from him, instead of being in Tunnel Mill, he was far away in Phoenix, Arizona. In reality, down in his heart, he knew that he was running away from God.

Of his experiences in the West and the call of God which was ever upon his heart he says.....

I remember the first heard of cattle I helped drive out of the mountains. I thought I was a real cowhand. When evening came I rode off that horse, got my blanket and used my saddle as a pillow. And there was an old guy there we called Slim. And another guy from Texas with a guitar, and they were playing songs. Old Slim was playing a comb with a piece of paper behind it. The herd was all settled down for the night. And after a while they begin to play "Down At The Cross Where My Saviour Died; It was down there for cleansing from sin I cried." My heart bein to jump. I took the blanket and pulled it over my head to keep from hearing it because I was a sinner.

I lay there pretending I was asleep. But when I pulled the blanket down, I thought, "Now, it'll all be over, because they've stopped playing their music and gone to bed..." But when I looked up, them big stars was hanging just above me. Something said: "Who put them up there and Who's holding them in place?" Just then the wind come through those whispering pines and it seemed like there was a voice that said, "There's a land beyond the river that they call the sweet forever. And we only reach that shore by faith's decree." I got my blanket and pulled it around my hears again.

Brother, God is so great He will find you, I don't care where you are. Don't try to hide from Him. you're fighting a losing battle.

And a 'losing battle' it would be for William Branham. This life, chosen of God, would eventually succumb to the Heavenly Fathers Will. Almost beaten into the dust from whence he came, Bro. Branham would rise on wings of faith to serve his God.

A Sad Message Arrives

One day the young man received a letter from home informing him that one of his brothers was very ill. It was Edward, the one next in age to him. He did not think the illness was serious and believed everything would be alright. However, one evening a few days later, he returned to the ranch from the city, and as he was coming through the mess hall, there was a message given him which read, "Bill, come to the north pasture. Very important." He immediately walked out to the pasture and the first person he met was an old Lone Star renger whom they called "Pop." He had a sad expression on his face and he said, "Billy boy, I have sad news for you." At the same time the foreman came walking up. They told him that his brother, Edward, had died.

You can imagine the shock this was to the young William Branham as he realized that he would never again see his brother alive in this world. Events begin to move swiftly from then on. Each time he resisted God, tragedy or sorrow of some kind would come to him. When he yielded and obeyed God, the Lord would bless and prosper him. Would that we all could learn by what others suffered, rather than by our own bitter experiences.

In his own words, Bro. Branham explains his thoughts at the time and how he felt.....

When I realized the news of my brother's death, for a moment I could not move. It was the first death in our family. I remember wondering about whether or not he was ready to die. As I turned to look accross the yellow prairie, tears ran down my cheeks. I remembered how we struggled together when we were lads and how hard it was for us - not enough food to eat and not enough clothes to wear. BUT , Oh how I remember that day when mother gave us Pop corn in our school lunch. That was a real treat. So to be sure that I got my share of it, I went out before noon and took a good handful before my brother got his share. How I wished I could have told him that I was the one who took it. Thinking of these things, there on that prairie, God began to deal with me again - but as usual I kept pushing it to the back of my mind.

I made ready to return home for the funeral. During the funeral services, Rev. Mckinney of Port Fulton church preach and exhorted those not right with God to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour then and there. God began to deal with me again. Oh, how I grasped my seat, resisting the call of God.

After the funeral, I wanted to go back to the West but mother begged me not to go. I agreed to stay if I could find work. I did get work with the Public Service Company of Indiana.

Sickness Strikes

About two years later, while testing meters in the meter shop at the gas works in New Albany, I was overcome with gas, and for weeks I suffered from it. I went to all the Doctors I knew. I could get no relief. I suffered with acid stomach caused by the effects of the gas. Finally, two specialists in Louisville, Kentucky said it was my appendix and advised surgury. I didn't understand it because I had no pain in my side. Still, they insisted on surgury. Agreeing to have it done, I insisted that they use local anesthetic so I could watch the operation.

After surgury, when they were taking me from the table to my bed I felt myself getting weaker and weaker all the time. My heart was hardly beating. I felt death upon me. My breath was getting shorter. I knew I had reached the end of my road. Oh, friend, wait until you get there, then you will think of a lot of things you have done. I knew I had never smoked, drank, or had any unclean habits, but I also knew I was not ready to meet God.

God Speaks In The Hospital room

It began to grow darker in the hospital room, as though it were a great woods. I could hear the wind blowing through the leaves, yet it seemed a great way off in the forest. You have probably heard of a puff of wind blowing the leaves, coming closer and closer to you. I thought, "Well, this is death coming to take me." Oh! my soul was to meet God; I tried to pray but could not.

C loser the Wind came, louder and louder. The leaves rustled and all at once I was gone! It seemed that I was back again a little barefooted boy, standing in that lane under the same tree. I heard that same Voice that said, "Never drink or smoke." And the leaves I heard were the same that blew in that tree that day so many years agao. But this time the Voice said, "I called you and you would not go." The words were repeated the third time. Then I said, "Lord, if that is you, let me go back again to earth and I will preach your Gospel from the housetops and street corners. I'll tell everyone about it.

When this vision had passed, I found that I felt better. My surgeon, who was still in the building, came into the room and looked at me with a surprised look. He said, "I am not a church-going man, my practice is so great, BUT I know God has visited this boy." After a few day I was allowed to return home. This time I would not forget the call of God's warning.

I started out to seek and find God. I went from church to church but found nothing to satisfy the hunger and thirst in my heart.

One night I became so hungry for God and a real experience that I went out to the old shed, at the back of the house and tried to pray. I did not know how to pray, so I just begin to talk to Him as I would to anyone else. All at once there came a Light in the shed and it formed a cross. A Voice from the cross spoke to me in a language I could not understand. It then went away. I was spellbound. When I came to myself again, I prayed, "Lord, if that is you, please come and talk to me again." I had been reading my Bible since I had returned from the hospital and I had read in 1st. John 4, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God."

I knew that something had appeared to me, and as I prayed it appeared again. Then it seemed to me that there had been a thousand pounds lifted from my soul. I jump up and ran to the house and it seemed as though I were running on air. Mother asked, "Bill, What has happened to you?" I replied, "I don't know but I sure feel good and light." I just couldn't stay in the house any longer. I had to get out and run.

I knew then that if God wanted me to preach he would heal me, so I went to a church that believed in anointing with oil. They anointed me, prayed the pray of faith, and I was healed instantly. I saw then that the disciples had what a lot of the ministers do not have today. The Disciples were baptised with the Holy Ghost, enabling them to heal the sick and do many mighty miracles in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

After The Lord healed me, I began to pray for the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. One day about six months later God gave me the desire of my heart. On that day as I knelt in the woodshed to to pray, a Light came in and formed a Cross. It was then that something swept over me and I experienced an exqisite feeling I had never known before. It felt like rain pelting down over my body. I knew then that God had baptised me with the Holy Ghost. He spoke to me in that Great Light telling me to preach the Gospel, pray for the sick and He would heal them regardless of what disease they had. Obedient to His Voice I went forth preaching and praying for the sick, and the Lord has confirmed His Word with signs following.


The Pillar Of Fire Appears

And preach he did. The fame of him began to spread throughout Indiana and Kentucky. The element of the Supernatural followed him in Public and Private life. He began to hold services in a tent. For a young Baptist preacher, William Branham's tent meetings were quite successful, drawing crowds of up to almost 4000 in one service. It was at the end of one of these successful meetings that God came on the scene and confirmed the ministry of His Servant and gave him his commission for these last days. It was June 11, 1933, a hot summer, Sunday afternoon. Again almost 4000 people had gathered to witness a Baptismal service being conducted by the little Baptist preacher. Some had come only to mock BUT they were about to witness something they would remember for the rest of their lives.

As Brother Branham was about to baptize the seventeenth person he heard a Voice which Said, "Look Up!". And at that moment a blazing Star came whirling down out of the heavens with the sound of rushing wind audible to all. It hovered right above the Prophet. As many ran in fear, and others knelt in prayer, a Voice spoke from there, and said, "As John the Baptist was sent for the forerunner of the first coming of Christ, you have a Message that will bring forth the forerunning of the Second Coming of Christ." The Prophet stood in fear and trembling before God.

And I went back, and all the people there, the--the foundry men and all them, the druggist, and all of them on the bank. I had baptized about two or three hundred that afternoon. And when they taken me out, pulled me out of the water, the deacons and so forth went up, they asked me, said, "What did that Light mean?"

A big group of colored people from the--the Gilead Age Baptist Church and the Lone Star Church down there, and many of those was down there, they begin screaming when they saw that happen, people fainted.

A girl I tried to get out of a boat there, sitting there with a swimming suit on, a Sunday school teacher in a church, and I said, "Won't you get out, Margie?"
She said, "Billy, I don't have to get out."

I said, "That's right, you don't have to, but I'd have enough respects for the Gospel to get out where I'm baptizing."
She said, "I don't have to."

And when she set there snickering and laughing at me baptizing, 'cause she didn't believe in baptizing, so then when the Angel of the Lord come down she pitched forward in the boat. Today the girl's in the insane institution. So you just can't play with God. See? Now, later on... A beautiful girl, went to drinking later on, was hit with a bottle, of--of beer bottle, cut all of her face down. Oh, a horrible-looking person! And there that happened.

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