As AN INTRODUCTORY—
When Elder Branson announced a short time ago, “The Lord must needs go through Graysville,” the people no doubt were startled, and wondered, “What’s the matter with Graysville?” To an outsider, he would say, “I have just been up there; I don’t see anything wrong with those people; no one has been murdered at that place; didn’t see anybody drunk; didn’t see any fights, or hear of any disturbance in any way; everybody attending to his own business; all looking pleasant; so I fail to see what’s the trouble.” To an insider it was thought that the preacher had overstepped his grounds, and was misjudging things. “We have been attending to our own business; have been going to church regularly; we have paid our debts; have kept up all our dues; we wonder if he thinks we are not Christians!”
WELL, Elder Branson has been here and has preached every night for a week or more. He told the people what he thought he ought to tell them. He showed them—in spite of all their study—what the Bible had to say about the way Christians should live if they expected to go to heaven. He told things in a plain way; and he told them God’s way; and the people listened. The result, Christians and sinners, as they were exhorted to come forward, filed into the same pews, all alike; hardly could you tell one from the other as they confessed their sins and thanked the Lord for what he had done for them, and promising, by his help, to change and follow him more closely in the future. It was strictly a REVIVAL. So by the end of the meeting, the last night, Sunday, all had made a complete surrender to the Master— —all “sour looks” had been discarded, and “what’s- mine-is-yours” feeling appeared to go over the congregation as they filed out of the church, all PRAISING THE LORD FOR HIS COMING THIS WAY.
A FURTHER REPORT BY THOSE WHO LED THE MEETING FOLLOWS:
A revival meeting lasting for more than two weeks has just been closed in the Graysville church and school. This has been one of the most spiritual meetings ever held in Graysville and has resulted in many conversions and an awakening of the entire church membership.
About February 12 the school faculty began a series of studies with the students on “Steps to Christ,” taking the chapel hour each morning for this work. These lessons took deep root in the hearts of many of the youth and a good spiritual movement was started. Those in charge of the students’ prayer bands began working among the young people through these bands for the purpose of enlisting them in the work that was beginning, and the first meetings of the revival in which the church took part was held Sabbath 13. The following week, instead of conducting public meetings in the church, the town was districted and eleven prayer meetings were conducted each evening in different homes; at the same time the work continued to go on in the school and among the small bands of students who were working together.
All took hold of the work in these meetings most earnestly and a great work was done in this quiet way. The leaders held a special meeting together daily, planning their work in the meetings and holding special seasons of prayer for the success of the revival.
Friday night, Feb. 19, meetings were begun in the church, and for ten days two meetings a day were conducted, aside from some special meetings that were held in the school.
From the first it was evident that God was working among us, and to the first appeal that was made there was a ready response.
Just the day before the meetings were transferred from the private homes to the church the fire came and destroyed the girls’ home. To all of us this seemed like a great calamity, and so it was in many respects; but, yet the Lord used this as a means of turning the hearts of a number to Him who, no doubt, could not have been reached in any other way. Many who had such a narrow escape from the jaws of death were made to realize most vividly the uncertainty of life and the importance of being constantly ready for whatever the future has in store for them. Who can say therefore but that the fire was a great blessing in disguise sent upon us from the heavenly Father above?
The evening services in the church were well attended, many times every seat being filled. Upon some occasions when the invitation was given at the close of the service for individuals to come forward and give themselves to the Lord, as many as 50 to 70 would respond. As with the disciples before the day of pentecost, it was often true in these after- meetings that words of penitance and confession, mingled with songs or praise for sins forgiven, words of thanksgiving and praise were heard, while from others prayers were ascending for forgiveness and acceptance with God. The entire church was stirred and many things that have long existed in hearts that has been a source of discouragement to them and has separated them from the blessings of God were swept away.
Three special meetings were conducted during the last week with the students in the school. These were especially good meetings, and by far the larger part of the young people took an active part.
Sabbath, February 27, seemed to mark the climax in the spiritual tide that had been continually rising in the meetings. Differences between brethren were cleared away and there was indeed a heartfelt confession of sin. It seemed as if heaven had come down to earth, and it was not hard to recognize the presence of heavenly visitors among us.
We will not attempt to say how many conversions there were during the meeting. The last night of the meeting there were probably no less than one hundred who arose and declared that they had gained definite victory over sin during the meetings. Some of these were church members, others were backsliders, while still others were giving their testimony for the first time in life.
This week will be devoted to the work of oganizing the young people for definite work among their friends who have not as yet been reached and we hope that in this way the work of revival will continue among us. We trust that this spiritual awakening is only a foretaste of still better things that the Lord has in store for his people. We were pleased to have Elder C. B. Stephenson with us during most of the meetings, and appreciated the assistance he rendered the work.
W. H. BRANSON.
LYNN H. WOOD.
L. A. HOOPES.
Source: Southeastern Union Field Tidings, March 3, 1915.