My church again was very gracious in permitting me to go. The congregation was fortunate in securing the services of Evangelist Velmer Gardner during my absence and the church moved along at high tide. Indeed, Brother Gardner was to receive a great inspiration from the campaign we later held at Eugene. Shortly after that a new ministry of healings and miracles began to follow the campaigns held by this Evangelist.
Whether to leave my church permanently, and follow the work that seemed providentially indicated, was becoming a matter of increasing concern to me. It was not easy to make a decision to leave those one loves, especially a church that you have seen grow from a small struggling group to a strong and vigorous assembly. Finally in prayer, God spoke directly and told me to go ahead, nothing doubting, and He would see that I should be led step by step in my part of the great work he was beginning to do over the land.
Shortly after the first of the year I arrived at Shreveport, Louisiana, and talked the entire situation over with my friend, Brother Jack Moore. Together with Young Brown we drove to Jeffersonville, Indiana, where Brother Branham was resting at his home for a few days. There we had an inspiring time of fellowship. In the course of our fellowship we discussed the possibility of publishing a magazine to report on the Branham Meetings. There were some problems to be worked out. Previously, Brother Branham's meetings were being represented in a magazine edited by a good Christian brother in Texas.
The problem that had arisen was this: Brother Branham realized that since the meetings in the Northwest his campaigns had reached a scope that believers from all the various groups were now attending. Any magazine that would be used in the meetings would go into the homes of all these groups. If the campaigns were to be organized on an inter-evangelical basis, it was evident that the magazine must also be of the same character. It was therefore decided that a message should be sent to the brother mentioned above, asking him if he felt free to establish his paper on an inter-evangelical basis, and, if so, then Brother Branham would continue to use that magazine as his official publication.
We parted for the evening and all of us placed the matter definitely in the hands of the Lord. In the morning we met Brother Branham again, and he seemed to have received a peaceful assurance. He said that he had heard from heaven that night. We carefully listened to what he told us, and in the months which followed we indeed witnessed the exact fulfillment of what he said.
Events now moved swiftly. The brother previously mentioned notified us that he did not feel he was in a position to make his magazine inter-evangelical, as had been suggested. Thus THE VOICE OF HEALING was born, and it fell upon the writer to become the editor. It was agreed at the time of its inception that in its pages there would be no discussion of minor matters of doctrine that might precipitate argument and confusion among the Full Gospel people, but it was to proclaim the message of the Great Commission, the sounding of God's last call to the un-saved, the healing of God's people, to the end of uniting them in spirit, and preparing them for Christ's Coming. At that time, THE VOICE OF HEALING was considered only as an organ of Brother Branham's own meetings. Later, because of his weakened condition, he was forced to leave the field for a considerable time, and in the Providence of God, with Brother Branham's concurrence, the magazine then became the official organ of America's great healing ministries, though of course featuring Brother Branham's ministry.
It is interesting to note that many of the dear brethren who's ministeries were reported in the 'Voice Of Healing', testify to the fact that their inspiration and calling to the ministry had its inception while they attended some of the Branham campaigns. To God be all the glory.
Arrangements had been made for members of the Branham party to join at Miami, Florida, for a six-day campaign in the early part of the year of 1948. In the meantime, a strange rumor gained circulation that Brother Branham had died. It was immediately after the beginning of the new year that the rumor was first heard, and it wouldn't die down. Up and down the breadth of the land the story was told and retold. We made every effort to reassure people that the report was untrue. Still, excited persons would write, phone and telegraph us seeking confirmation. The rumor continued to persist until the first issue of THE VOICE OF HEALING appeared in April, 1948.
It was a remarkable example of the propagating power of falsehood, and we found it impossible even to trace its source. The rumor, unlike so many, was not malicious in its character. The origin of it no doubt sprang from the fact that the continuous labors of our brother, going as he had into the long hours of night, praying for the sick, had severely sapped his strength to the point that it was now noticeable to his audience. Many nights Bro. Branham would continue to pray, under the Anointing, seeing one vison after another, until he would have to be literally carried off the platform. Nevertheless, God was not yet through with His servant. And although it was true that Brother Branham was to go through months of sore physical trial, he was destined (by the Grace of God) to emerge the victor, with a greater ministry than ever.
In Miami, the tent had been pitched far out on the outskirts of the city. No preparation for securing united support of the churches had been made, since the campaign had been scheduled at such short notice. Most any other meeting under such circumstances would have been doomed to failure. Nevertheless, word soon got around, and the tent in a few days was filled to capacity. Many wonderful miracles took place, and the altar call on Sunday afternoon witnessed hundreds of men and women coming forward to give their lives to Christ.
It was while we were in Miami that Brother Branham met the noted Evangelist F.F. Bosworth. Brother Bosworth, back in the Twenties, held healing campaigns attended by great audiences. The largest number of people ever gathered under one roof in Ottawa, Canada, attended the Bosworth meetings there and some 12,000 sought the Lord for salvation. Many such campaigns took place over America and Canada and the newspapers from time to time featured stories of the marvelous miracles taking place in them.
Naturally, meeting with Brother Bosworth was a memorable event for the whole party. All were particularly impressed by the sweet and godly spirit of this brother who had been so signally used of the Lord. After Brother Bosworth had attended a few of the services, he said:
"Although God has given me meetings of tremendous magnitude, yet, I have never witnessed miracles taking place with such consistency so early in the campaign. In my campaigns I often have to labor for several weeks, before faith had risen sufficiently high for outstanding miracles to occur. But I see in Brother Branham's meetings, such miracles were taking place the first night."
Brother Bosworth was invited to speak at one of the evening services in Miami and later he found it possible to go with the party to Pensacola and to other northern cities where Brother Branham had been scheduled to come. God had indeed blessed us in Miami, now we looked forward to the Pensacola Meetings. I can certainly concur with Bro. Jack Moore's statement in a previous chapter that Bro. Bosworth and Bro. Branham fell into a bond of Divine fellowship and love that was maintained throughout their lives.
W e had made arrangements to hold the next campaign in Pensacola. But before this could be done a number of ministering brethren had business to attend to. Bro. Branham himself need a few weeks of rest, which inculded a trip to Pheonix.
At the day appointed, approximately a month later, the party arrived in Pensacola with Brother Branham to begin the meeting. This was to prove a most interesting campaign. It was not to be without mishap, for a high wind coming off the gulf struck the tent and caused some damage. One service had to be held in the local arena while repairs were made. However, under the expert direction of Rev. D. L. Welch, one of the cooperating pastors, the tent was repaired and re-erected and the campaign continued in the Canvas Cathedral, without further interruption.
The climaxing service and one never to be forgotten was on Sunday afternoon. The large tent was not only filled but many were standing on the outside as Brother Branham began to give the story of his life. When our brother relates this story he doesn't just tell it, but he relives it. And not only he but those of his audience also find themselves reliving it with him.
For the space of an hour and a half, the great gathering of people was carried away as it were, as they listened with deep interest to the story of his early days of poverty and privation, his conversion and God's dealing with him, and again the tragedies in his life and finally the eventual triumphs. But never did the speaker tell this story in a more moving way than he did that afternoon.
As we observed the audience, we saw strong men freely applying their handkerchiefs as copious tears streamed unashamedly down their cheeks. The writer never saw an audience more moved. Finally, as the evangelist brought his message to a close and the altar call was given for sinners, a most remarkable scene transpired. Apparently almost every sinner in the vast congregation stood to his feet requesting prayer that he might be saved. Various estimates of the number which responded to this one altar call were anywhere from 1500 to 2000 people. It was the greatest response in one service we had ever seen, and doubtless has been equaled few times in the history of evangelism.
It was obvious at once that there was no place to accommodate such an enormous number of seekers and there was nothing else to do but to let them pray where they were standing. Can any one present that afternoon ever forget that scene? People wept as they confessed their sins, and called upon God to have mercy on their souls. As the moments passed, here and there, those tears of repentance were turned to tears of joy and soon many shouts of victory sounded through the tent. How many names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life that afternoon, only the angels of heaven know, but it must have been a great number.
A number of startling miracles took place during the brief campaign, but there is not room to describe these. However, the circumstances concerning the deliverance of a violently insane man was so remarkable that we must give space to a few of the details concerning it.
As has been mentioned, because strong winds had forced lowering of the tent, one service of the campaign was held in the local arena. This insane young man had been brought from a state institution to the meeting that night, to be prayed for. At the close of the service, those who had brought him tried to lead him from the building, but he refused to go. When our attention was called to this, we secured the services of a half dozen men and took him from the building by force. So strong were the powers that possessed him, that it required no little exertion to accomplish this, but at length we had him safely seated in the automobile, so we thought, and left him, supposing that there would be no further trouble.
Imagine our dismay, when a couple of minutes later there was heard a hoarse cry, and turning we saw him run from the car toward a group of women and children who were standing and talking near the door of the arena. His headlong dash occurred so suddenly and unexpectedly that we scarcely knew what to do. The people at the door fled in every direction before he reached them. Then furiously he turned and charged, with arms flying, toward one of the members of the Branham party, who was standing by.
Demons have power to break chains, and to do other superhuman feats, but fortunately they are powerless before the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Though struck at time after time, the brother was not harmed or even touched, no not by a single blow. Something supernatural parried every thrust made by the demon-possessed man.
How long this might have continued, it is impossible to say, but just at that moment two policemen who happened to be in the vicinity, hearing the shouts and cries of the women, rushed up, and seeing what they supposed was a common brawl, began questioning both. At this moment, however, the insane man, with fierce imprecations, charged the officers, and they soon found that they had more than their hands full. Over and over on the grass they rolled and tussled, and finally the officers had to resort to rather stern measures before they could handcuff and subdue their refractory assailant. A call to the police brought out a squad car, and finally the man was secured and taken to headquarters, where he was placed in a special cell for the night.
After they drove away, we shall never forget the tears of the unfortunate man's sister, who had been responsible for bringing him to the meeting. She came and pleaded with us with anguish of soul that Brother Branham would pray for him. Of course, it was impossible for Brother Branham to respond to the multitude of calls that came daily from those who would desire him to visit sick and confined people. But so urgent and grief-stricken was the sister, that finally Brother Jack Moore consented to tell Brother Branham about the case in the morning.
The following morning, Brother Moore 'started' to relate the story of events of the previous night to Brother Branham. Then occurred that marvelous manifestation of the Word (Heb. 4:12), discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart. Through this 'sign' that the Angel gave him he was able to witness events that take place at a distance, and even before they happen. We are indeed reminded of the exploits in Elisha's ministry, when he beheld the plans of the King of Syria even before they took place. Or of Christ Himself, when He saw Nathanael at a distance by other than natural sight.
In this case God had already (by vision) shown Brother Branham this insane man, that he would pray for him that day, and that the man would be healed. Our Brother explained Bro. Moore every detail of what would happen. The scene of the deliverance was identified by him in the vision by the presence of a car with a red appearance, and the manner of the clothing worn by the man who would be delivered.
Arrangements were then sought with the Pensacola police for the release of the young man. But they, remembering the trouble that they had had the night before, perhaps could be pardoned for their refusal to let him go unless he were taken outside of the city limits and never returned. So finally a rendezvous was arranged on the Gulf beach, where all the parties concerned would meet.
But when Brother Branham arrived and looked carefully at the cars, he made the remark that all was not what he had seen in the vision. While he hesitated, Brother Moore decided to drive his new De Soto up some little distance from where the insane man was, as his daughter and another sister were in his car. Brother Branham then got out and walked to where the young man was standing. He noticed at once that the his clothing was exactly the same as what he had seen in the vision. But WHERE was the car with the red appearance?
Then a peculiar thing happened. As Brother Branham told it afterward, "I looked back toward Brother Jack's car. Most of the beach was of white sand. But where the car had just been parked, there was a bank of red clay. The sun reflecting from the red clay on the highly polished tan sedan caused it to appear red. I knew then that this was exactly what I had seen in the vision. Everything was in order. I approached the young man and said,'Thus saith the Lord, the evil spirit shall leave you NOW, and you shall get well.' Instantly the young man was delivered and entered into a normal conversation."