After his conversion and call to the ministry there began a happy period of his life when God's blessings rested upon the young man, and everything seemed to go just right. He began a tent meeting in his own home town in Jeffersonville, and for a young preacher of twenty-four years of age, just entering the ministry, the campaign was remarkably successful. It was estimated that as many as three thousand people attended a single service and large numbers were converted.
At the baptismal service which followed the revival, some 130 persons were baptised in water. It was on June 11, 1933, as Brother Branham was baptising converts in the Ohio River at the foot of Spring Street in Jeffersonville, that a strange Light, like a star, suddenly came whirling down and hung over his head. There were four thousand people sitting on the bank watching, many of whom where witness of this unexplainable phenomenon. Some ran for fear; others fell in worship. Many pondered the meaning of this remarkable occurrence. As it was with Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:3-7), so it was with Brother Branham, a Voice spoke from the Light and said...
"As John the Baptist was sent to forerun the First Coming of the Lord so you are sent to forerun his Second Coming..."
Many years later, Bro. Branham had these words carved on the inside of the door of his home in Tucson, Arizona.
As the news of Brother Branham's unusual ministry began to spread people came from near and far. In the fall of 19933, the people who were following the minsitry of William Branham built him a Tabernacle, which to this day retains the name of "Branham Tabernacle". The next few years was a fruitful time in which God's blessing rested upon him as he increased in favor with God and man.
It was during these years that he met a wonderful Christian girl, Hope Brumback. After some months of courtship the young lady accepted William Branham's proposal and the two were married. The following narration is by Bro. Branham himself as he, in his simple, but always dramatic style, tells the story of his bashfulness, the proposal by letter, his marriage, and the events that followed:
I was just a little country boy and was real bashfull. Considering how shy I was, you probably wonder how I ever got married.
I met a fine Christian girl, I thought she was wonderful. My standard for a woman called for one that didn't drink or smoke cigarettes. It was hard to find such a girl then and it is worse than ever now. I loved this fine girl and I wanted to marry her, but I didn't have nerve enough to ask her. But I knew I had to ask her soon - she was too good a woman to waste time with me - she would get someone else. I only made twenty cents an hour and her daddy made several hundred dollars a month. Every night when I would see her, I would say, "I'm going to ask her tonight." And then a great big lump would come up in my throat and I just couldn't do it. I didn't know what to do. You know what I finally did? I wrote her a letter and asked her.
Well, that letter had a little more romance in it than "dear Miss." I did my very best to write a good letter, although I'm sure it was poor. So in the morning I got ready to put it in the mailbox. But then the thought occurred to me of what would happen if her mother got it. But I was afraid to hand it to her. Finally I got up enough courage to put it in the mailbox on Monday morning. Wednesday night I was supposed to meet her and take her to church. All that week before Wednesday I was really nervous. wednesday night I went to see her. As I was going over to her place I thought of what would happen if her mother came out and said, "William Branham!" I knew I could get along alright with the girl and with her father, but I wasn't so sure of her mother.
Finally, I went to the door and called for Hope, the girl's name. She came to the door and said, "Will you step in?" I said, "If you don't mind I'll just sit on the porch." I made sure that they wouldn't get me inside. She said, "All right, I 'll be ready in a few minutes."
I had an old Model T Ford, but she said, "It's not far to the church, let's walk." This alarmed me and I was sure something had happened. She went on to church but she didn't say anything. I was so nervous that night I didn't hear what the preacher said at all. she just kept me in suspense!
After we left the church, we started walking down the street - it was a moonlit night. But still she didn't say anything. At last I decided that she hadn't gotten the letter. This made me feel better. I thought that perhaps the letter had been misplaced by the postman. Then she turned to me and said, "Billy, I got your letter." Then I thought, "Oh, what am I going to do now?" Finally I asked, "Di-di-did you read it?" She said, "Uh-huh." Well, she just kept walking on. I thought, "Why don't you say something?" I got more nervous than ever.
We were getting close to her house. But that's all she said, "Uh-huh." Now we were at the steps. Then we were almost to the door, and I thought, "Boy, don't get me on the porch, 'cause I might not be able to outrun them, so you tell me now." And so I kept waiting. Then I said, "Did you read it ALL?" And she said, "Uh-huh". I said, "What did you think about it?" She said, "Billy, I would love to marry you. I love you!" God bless her soul. Now, she's in Glory.
Then she reminded me that we'd have to tell her parents. I said, "Honey, listen, let's start this our with a fifty-fifty proposition. I will tell your daddy if you'll tell your mother." I was rooting the worse part of it off on her, to begin with. She replied, "All right, but you tell daddy first."
I agreed to speak to her father on Sunday night. When the time came I kept putting it off and it was getting late. Hope kept looking at me and then at here daddy. Mrs. Brumback was crocheting and Mr. Brumback was sitting at his desk, typing away. I thought, "Oh my, what if he says no." I started out the door, saying, "Well, I guess I'd better go."
I walked toward the door; Hope came behind me. She said, "Aren't you going to tell him?" "Well", I said, "I'm trying to, but I don't know How I'm going to do it." So she suggested that I call him outside. She walked back and left me standing there. I said, "Charlie, could I talk you just a minute?" Mrs. Brumback looked up! She looked at Charlie; She looked at Hope and then to me. Charlie went with me out on the porch.
I said, "Sure is a pretty night, isn't it?" Charlie said, "Yes, it is." I said, "I've been working so hard, even my hands is getting calluses on them."
He said, "You can have her, Bill."
Oh, my! I said, "You really mean it Charlie?" He said, "Yes, Bill, I mean it. I would rather that you have her than anyone that I know because I know you'll be good to her, and you will love her."
I said, "Thank You, Charlie, I sure will do that." I don't know how Hope got by with her mother but we got married. I don't believe there was any place on earth that was any happier than our little home. It was wonderful. We didn't have much furniture in that house - a folding bed, an old rug and breakfast set, old stove that I bought from a junk dealer and put new grates in it. But, friends, it was HOME, and I would rather live in a shack and have favor with God than live in the best houses there is.
Everything went lovely. My wife saved her pennies to get herself a gingham dress. I felt so good when I would do something for her. After two years a little boy came into our home - little Billy Paul. When I first heard him cry in the hospital I seemed to know that the baby was a boy, and I gave him back to God before I even saw him.
Bro Branham had decided to take a fishing trip. He journeyed up to Lake Pawpaw in Michigan for a few days. When his money begin to run our he had to start back towards home. On His way back as He crossed the Mishawaka River he saw a great number of people gathering for a meeting. Wondering what kind of people they were, he decided to go into the meeting. That is where Bro. Branham first became acquainted with Pentecost. With the open vision ministry that he had, he knew that 'everybody was genuine". Inspite of a few False 'Anointed Ones' in the camp, he was still interested in what these Pentecostal had.
This was a Pentecostal Convention. They were quite demonstrative, and all this was a little new to the Man Sent From God. The people sang, praised the Lord and clapped their hands with joy, as they worshipped the God of their Salvation. Then the Preacher got up and began to preach on the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. The longer he preached the more convinced Bro. Branham became that maybe there was something to this. He decided to stay until the following day. His decision to stay would indeed bring a 'turning point' in his own ministry, but it would also lead to heartbreak because of a 'fateful decision' of disobedience, made under pressure from others.
Not having money for a hotel room, He went out in the country and parked in a cornfield that night and slept in his old car. For breakfast the next morning he had milk and stale rolls, but that didn't matter because his heart and mind was hungering for more of what he was hearing in this Pentecostal convention.
Next morning I got up early and returned to the church. By the time he got there, quite a number of people had already gathered for morning worship.
During the Evening service there were a large number of preachers sitting on the platform. The leader said, "We haven't time to hear you all preach so we are going to ask each one just to get up and tell us your name." Bro. Branham stood up, identified himself as William Branham, Evangelist, Jeffersonville, Indiana: He sat downing, not knowing what awaited him the next day. From this point we'll let Bro. Branham, in his own words relate what happened:
The following afternoon, they had an old colored man get up and preach. He was rather decrepit and I was a little surprised to see them choose such a fellow to preach before that great congregation. He preached from the text, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth, when the morning stars sang together." Well, that old fellow picked up about ten million years before the world was ever formed. He just about covered everything in heaven, came down the horizontal rainbow and preached on everything on earth up till the Second Coming of Christ.
By the time he had finished he was as spry as a young man. In fact he said, as he went down from the platform, "You haven't got room enough for me to preach." I realized that God had done something for that man that He hadn't done for me. When he started preaching I was sorry for him, but when he got through I was sorry for myself. These people had something that I didn't have, and I wanted it. That night I went out in the cornfield again and slept. In the morning, since I supposed nobody knew me, I decided that I would put on an old pair of seersucker trousers. My other pair had gotten rather creased from using them as a pillow. This was the last day that I could stay as I only had enough money left to buy gas to go home. I went back to church and when I arrived the people were already singing and shouting the praises of God. I went into the service hungering for more of God. I wanted the Baptism of the Holy Ghost if God would give it to me.
The minister in charge got up and said, "We have just had the testimony service led by the youngest preacher here. The next youngest minister is William Branham of Jeffersonville." He said, "If he's in the building, would Rev. Branham please come forward to bring the Message this morning." I was almost in a state of shock. I looked down and saw my seersucker trousers. So I just sat real still. In fact, I had never seen microphone or a public address system before, and I certainly, didn't want to get up there and preach before all those powerful preachers.
They called again, "Does anyone know the whereabouts of Rev. Branham?" But I only crouched down in my seat lower than before. The call was repeated again.
The colored man sitting beside me turned around and said, "Do you know who he is?" I couldn't tell a lie, so I said, "Yes-sir, I know him." He said, "Go get him." I said, "Listen, I'm Brother Branham, but I have on these seersucker trousers and I can't get up on that platform." But the colored man said, "These people don't care how you are dressed. They care about what's in your heart." Well I said, "Please don't say anything about it." But the colored man didn't wait any longer. He shouted out, "There he is! There he is!" My heart Sank; I didn't know what to do. But the night before out in the cornfield I had prayed, "Lord, if these are the people that I have always wanted to find, that seem so happy and free, you give me favor before them."
Well, the Lord gave me favor with them, but I hated to go up before the crowd in the seersucker trousers. But everyone was looking at me and I had to do something. So I went on up to the platform. My face was red, and as I turned around I saw the microphones and I thought to myself, "What are those things?" I prayed, "Lord, if You ever helped anybody, help me now." I opened the Bible and my eyes fell on the verse, "The rich man opened up his eyes in hell." And I preached on the text, "And then he cried." "There were no Christians there, and then he cried. There was no church there, and he cried. There were no flowers there, and he cried. There was no God there, and he cried." Then I cried; and then the people cried. I had been a rather formal preacher, but as I preached something got hold of me and the power of God came down upon the congregation.
After the service was over, Bro. Branham walked outside. One preacher after another came up to him with invitations to hold revival meetings in their areas.They were wanting him to come to Texas, Florida and all around. He got a piece of paper and took down names and addresses, and in a few minutes he had enough revivals lined up to last me throughout the year. Well, he was one happy man. He jumped into his little model 'T" Ford and down through Indiana he went.
When he reached home, he began to tell his wife, Hope, about his experiences at the Convention. He said, "I have met the happiest bunch of people I ever met in my life. They are really happy, and they are not ashamed of their religion." He told her how it had affected him and his ministry. Then he showed her the invitations and said, "Will you go with me?" She said, "Honey, I have promised to go with you anywhere until death separates us." May God bless her loyal heart.
Informing his mother of his intentions, she wholeheartedly gave him her blessing. But not all would bestow their blessing on him. His mother-in-law vehemently opposed it, stating that she wasn't about to let her daughter be dragged into such "trash" as that. In spite of her mother's strong opposition, Hope's desire was to go with her husband. It was at this point that Bro. Branham made a decision. The results of that decision would follow him all the days of his life. He was later to say that the decision he made was the greatest mistake of his entire life. We'll once again let Brother Branham tell you in his own words what happened:
And friends, what I say now, let it be for your education. Let my mistakes result in your blessing. Friends and relatives warned me against accepting what I knew was God's call to me. I allowed their attitudes to influence me. Some said that the people I had met at the convention were trashy people. I later found out, and I say it reverently, that what was called "trash," was the "cream of the crop."
I was told that my wife would not get enough to eat, that she would eat one day and starve the next. Others told me that it was my job to stay there and look after the work in Jeffersonville. I listened to them and finally decided not to leave. Little did either I or my friends realize then that in eight months the Ohio River would overflow its banks and my family would be caught in the tragedy of the awful flood.
It was at this time that the anointing of God which had come upon me, now left me. It never really returned until five years later. My church, up until that time had been a growing prosperous church, but now it began to drop off. Everything went wrong. With my church going down, I didn't know what to do. Then began the dark period of my life. In 1937 the Ohio River flooded it banks, and was responsible for the death of so many people, including two of those that were the dearest to me in all the world.
When William Branham prophesied of the 1937 Ohio River Flood, little did he realize the direct impact it would have on him and his family. Six months before it happened he told his church that, in a vision, He saw an Angel come down from heaven, place a measuring rod on Spring Street, in Jeffersonville. The measure on the rod read 22 feet. Some in the congregation made light of it. But it did come to pass with tragic results.
nd as he (Saul)
journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly there shined round about
him a Light from Heaven; 9:4 And
he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why
persecutest thou me? 9:5 And he
said, who art thou Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom thou
persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the goads.
9:7 And the men who journeyed with him, stood
speechless hearing a Voice but seeing no man."
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