"Let's show what we're made
out of. Let's get something
down in here to show love and
respects. And respect the next
man, and love him, whether
he's right or wrong."
Frankly, you would be hard-pressed to find two families more
opposite than the Branhams and the Mays.
by Rebekah Smith
At the time of the Great Flood of 1937, the dike that had managed to keep Jeffersonville dry during the deluge of 1907, failed utterly. An unbelievable volume of water swept into the city, as the normally mile wide Ohio River was transformed into a twenty mile-wide muddy maelstrom. More than half the city was completely covered by flood water. In the down town areas, it reached depths of 22 feet above street-level. Even the land that lay beyond the river's immediate reach was affected, and thousands of homes were damaged as their foundations shifted in the water-logged earth, cracking wall sand ceilings.
Any conveyance that would float was pressed into service by a team of rescuers whose job it was to transport people trapped by the rising water to safety. My father was a part of that brave effort. His small, flat-bottomed fishing boat became an ark of safety for hundreds of individuals as he criss-crossed
his patrol area, listening for calls of distress. He saw first-hand the destructive force of raging water, and he determined that if he were ever able to build a home for his family, he would make sure that it set on high ground, beyond the grasp of the precarious Ohio River.
One particular area that caught his eye was a piece of the Ewing's farm, located just off the road leading to Utica, and up-river from Jeffersonville. It's gently rolling hills remained dry and unaffected by the
river's attack, and the farm animals continued to graze peacefully there. Whenever he was sent into the low-lying areas that surrounded the farm to effect a rescue, he would study those acres of high ground carefully. "It's good land," he decided."Someday I'd like to build a home there."
The ten years that followed the Great Flood of '37 brought about transformation in Dad's life that not even he had expected or imagined. Periods of great heartache and desperation were followed by a brief spell of seemingly quiet life, as the pastor of a small church, and employee of the local utility company. But in 1946, that momentary tranquillity came to an abrupt end, for it was never God's intention that the ministry of William Branham be confined to a small town on the banks of the Ohio. For the next two years, as Dad began the healing campaigns that would take him around the world,
he was not able to spend much time athome with my mother, brother, and I myself, where we lived in a tiny, two room house across the street from the Tabernacle. Our quarters were fairly primitive, even for 1946! But, it was the best housing that either of my parents had ever had in their entire lives, and, as time would prove, they were not people who aspired to a grandiose lifestyle nor did they dwell on accumulating goods. The ministry was flourishing, and that's all that mattered. They were satisfied.
But in 1947, Brother Jack Moore, a pastor and a businessman from Shreveport, Louisiana, came to Jeffersonville to visit our family for the first time. He was so touched at the sight of our very humble living conditions that he immediately determined to bring about an improvement. In August, during a meeting in Calgary, Alberta, Brother Moore took up an offering from the large crowd that was gathered, with which he intended to start a building fund for the construction of a new home for our family. To his, and everyone else's surprise, the amount collected in one evening was $28,000.00, more than enough for the house, and the land to build it on.
Dad told us many times that he immediately knew exactly where he wanted to build. Parcels of land were being sold along either side of a narrow, dirt lane that stretched across the Ewing's farm, including the very spot that had caught his attention years before. A tower for high-voltage lines had been placed on one edge of the two-acre site that he favored, but it did not diminish his enthusiasm one iota. He purchased the land, and on Mother and Dad's seventh wedding anniversary (October 23, 1948), we moved into our new home - livingroom, dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms, one bathroom, den, and a single-car garage. Our new address was simple: Branham's, Ewing Lane.
At times, our neighbors must have been completely baffled by
the 'goings on' at the Branham house.
Ours was the first home to be built in the area. Dad decided to locate the house on the extreme edge of the property, even though he knew that when a home was eventually built on the one-acre lot next door, it was bound to be in close proximity to us. Gradually other homes began to go up in the area - the Windell's on the corner, the Davis' across the street, and others - but it was four years before anyone moved in next door.
Ralph and Jan May, and their year-old daughter, Vicky, moved to Ewing Lane in 1952. They built their home - a two-story of brick and siding - at the very edge of their lot, about six feet from our property line. Mr. May was the service manager at the Chevrolet dealer ship in downtown Jeffersonville. Mrs. May was a nurse at the Clark County Memorial Hospital. They were quiet neighbors that kept to themselves and maintained a picture-perfect front lawn, along with very productive vegetable garden in their back yard,which they generously and frequently shared with us. Vicky
and Sarah, my sister, were the same age,and as they grew up they became playmates. But otherwise there was very little socializing between the two families. We really didn't have a lot in common.
One of Mr. May's favorite past times was drinking beer, an activity which he engaged in every evening while sitting on the steps at his back door. We kids would watch to see how many bottles he could down before his wife called him to dinner! Mrs. May was responsible for keeping the front lawn trimmed to perfection, while wearing the shortest shorts ever seen in Jeffersonville.
Meanwhile, on our side of the fence, on any given morning there just might be three or four cars bearing out-of-state license parked in the driveway. They probably arrived in the middle of the night (perhaps even waking up the Mays, whose bedroom window faced the gravel drive). While waiting their turn for Dad to pray for them, the cars' occupants would fellowship with one another. Sometimes they would sing; sometimes they would shout and praise the Lord.
Frankly, you would be hard pressed to find two families more opposite than the Branhams and the Mays. Yet, for all on differences, we have continued to live side-byside in harmony, as good neighbors, for forty-four years (my brother, Joseph, and his family still live in the house on Ewing Lane). And, we still have respect for one another.
Most adults understand the meaning of the word "respect," but in demonstration, we often fall short of the true definition: to show consideration; a courteous regard for others. As Christian parents, it is our duty to impart the principles of courteous behavior to our children, and we have a right to demand that they act accordingly. But the fact remains that unless we are able to
show respect, they will never learn respect. And often, respect starts with the little things, the simple courtesies.
The Mays never attended a service at the Branham Tabernacle, and, to the best of my knowledge, my father and Mr. May never once had a conversation regarding our doctrines or religious practices.(Dad was always careful about giving people more information than what they were ready to be responsible for. "Live the Life," he would tell us. "Don't force people to' listen to what you believe. Wait for them to open the door.') The Mays never asked, so they didn't know much about our beliefs.
At times our neighbors must have been completely baffled by the 'goings on' at the Branham house, like the time that Brother John Ryan prayed in our back yard for two days and nights, stretched out face-down on the ground. Mrs. May came to the fence to ask if she could be of help (as a nurse), and when she was told that he was in prayer, she had her daughter, who was playing with friends in her backyard, go to one of the other children's home, so that they wouldn't disturb Brother Ryan.They never ridiculed; they never snubbed, and they never tried to"straighten us out." And, the Mays never failed to address my father and mother as"Reverend and Mrs. Branham" (even though the other adults in the neighborhood were always called by their first names). And, by their actions, they taught their daughter to show the same respect.
When Vicky was five years old, one day she and another little boy who lived in the neighborhood, Chris Dickerson, decided to explore a construction project on the street behind ours. Foundations were being dug for new homes, and the huge piles of dirt drew the childrenl ike a magnet, even though
they had been warned away from the site by their parents. A downpour of rain the day before had turned the hills of dirt into perfect mud - perfect for sliding down, that is.
Dad was working in the garage when Vicky and Chris came walking in, globs of mud dripping from their jackets and boots. "Reverend Branham," Vicky asked, "would you walk us home?"
"Oh my!" he said, acting surprised, and trying to keep from laughing. "Did you fall down? Are you hurt?"
"No, we're not hurt," she reluctantly admitted, "and we didn'tfall down. We had fun, but if we go home like this our mothers will spank us because we were not supposed to be in the mud."
"I'll bet that you're really sorry now that you went there, aren't you?" Dad questioned
The guilty pair stood there for a moment, then admitted, "Yes, we're very sorry, and we want you to tell our mothers that we're sorry.They'll believe you."
Dad asked them to stand still while he went for his camera, and he snapped the picture that you see at the right. Then, hand in hand, the three of them went first to Vicky's house, then to Chris', where Dad conveyed the apologies of the
children to the astonished mothers."They have repented," he explained, keeping his tone of voice very serious. "I feel that they are sorry for their disobedience and will try to do better in the future."
Needless to say, Dad saved them both from spankings that day. But when he related the story to us later, I remember that what really impressed him was the expression of respect that he felt the children demonstrated by coming to him. And to him, that was also proof of the parents' respect.
For many years, it worried me that such wonderful people as the Mays seemed to be completely uninterested in church, or anything to do with the Lord. I prayed for their salvation. I wanted Mr. May to stop drinking beer. I wanted Mrs. May to quit wearing shorts and let her hair grow. But it never happened.
In 1965, when An Exposition ofthe Seven Church Ages was in the process of being proof read, I was one of many who read aloud to Dad from the manuscript. One day, I read in the Sardisean Church Age about those who, in the second resurrection, are granted Life on the grounds that they have been kind and good to the brethren. I just had to ask. "Dad, does this pertain to people like the Mays. Will they be in Heaven because they have been so good to us through the years?"
"Don't worry about the Mays," he told me. "Because of the respect they have shown,and because they taught their child to respect the office I hold, they will be granted Life on that Day."
Mr. May died three years ago, but Mrs. May still lives in the house on Ewing Lane. She is still a good neighbor, even though she probably does not know any more about Bible doctrine now than she did forty years ago. But when you talk to her you realize that the respect is still there, and in her case, I know that that's
On November 9, 1965, the worst power failure in history occurred on the East Coast of the United States. Seven states, plus two Canadian provinces went black. Parts of two more states were also plunged into darkness. The failure was blamed on a faulty switch at a power station.
The following month in Yuma, Arizona, Brother Branham made reference to the blackout, noting that "it's a sign."
"Isn't it a strange thing that not long ago, on the East Coast, the big blackout? They couldn't understand it. Texas blacked out last week. They can't understand it. Don't you realize that that's a sign? Don't you know the nations are breaking? Israel's in her homeland, and these signs are indicating that we are at the end! The same time it's blacking out, don't you know that's a sign, and that the prophet said that there shall be Light about the evening time - that there will be a Light come forth in the evening time, when the blackouts and things are going the way they are now!"
THE RAPTURE 65-1204
On July 2nd, and again on August 10th of this year, the United States experienced major blackouts along the West Coast that lasted for several hours. The first outage knocked out electricity through much of California and about 15 other Western states, creating a host of problems on city streets and in office buildings where computers, fax machines, lights and air conditioning units shut down on a sweltering summer afternoon. During the last outage, nine states were affected, stretching from British Columbia to Mexico. Various causes have been suggested for the power failures, including heavy demand, and a tree that had grown too close to the power line (reminding us of just how vulnerable our present society really is, and how easily it can be brought to a complete halt).
First in the East, and now in the West. We believe that once again, we have been shown a sign of the time.
Sister Jacqueline Roark asks prayer for the salvation of her children, and that the Lord lift her burden of loneliness.
Sister Sabina Hill desires the prayers of the saints regarding the severe headaches and watering eyes she is experiencing.
Sister Joyce Kirk writes: "We have 3 married children that need a real relationship with our Lord Jesus.Please pray [that] the Lord's will be done in all of our family. Save and deliver and transform us all into the likeness of our dear Jesus."
From the Ivory Coast, Brother Worl asks the saints: "Remember us in prayer, and the condition of our country, Liberia. We left our parents, family, and relatives there,and are here in the Ivory Coast as refugees. But praise be to God, who has given us this Message as a place of refuge in these last days!"
Please pray for Sister Retha Gibson of Hot Springs, Arkansas,who has recently been diagnosed with cancer of the liver. Her husband, Brother Curtis Gibson, is also in need of healing for a heart condition.
P.O. Box 78270
Tucson, AZ 85703-8270
Phone (520) 297-9765 FAX (520) 297-7283
Editors: George & Rebekah Smith
is published monthly by Believers International Inc.,
a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to the furtherance of
the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Message of His prophet,
William Marrion Branham.
All Things Are Possible, Only Believe