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S. O. SUSAG
By S. O. SUSAG
Minneapolis, Minnesota [Illustration: (S. O. Susag, his wife and children, taken about 1898)]
This book of a few of my experiences is written to show how the pioneer ministers worked, and how the Lord worked with them through his Holy Spirit. One outstanding fact in those days, when even though their training was limited, was their burning passion for souls shown in labors, fasting and prayer, and a heaven-born conviction and zeal for the truth. The Holy Spirit had revealed to them an unshaken faith in the Word of God; a faith that would not waver in the most trying and, to man, surprisingly unreasonable cases. My prayers are that this book will bring faith and encouragement to many a soul who is seeking God for help when all other help has failed.
I should not have waited so long before doing this writing, for because of that waiting the incidents are not written in the order which they should have been, and so many have been forgotten. Since many have indicated an interest in my experiences, may this book as it goes forth in Jesus' name bring honor and glory to God.
--The Author Year 1948
Ever since this book was first published for the author, S. O. Susag, by the Standard Printing Company, Guthrie, Oklahoma, in the year of 1948, it has been in steady demand. These many testimonies of outstanding answers to prayer have been an inspiration of faith to many people, and they will continue to be an encouragement to every earnest and honest seeker for an increase of faith in God's precious promises. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8.
In contemplation of printing this fourth edition, the undersigned publisher contacted S. O. Susag's daughter, Mrs. Art Rustand (Goldie Susag), and requested further information about her late father. In February, 1976, she relayed the following notes of interest to the reader:
"My father was born in Steinkjer, Norway, on March 28, 1862. He came from Norway to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was in the store business for a while. In 1892, they moved to Paynesville, Minnesota, where they engaged in farming. After they moved to the farm he was converted, and in the year of 1895 he received his call from God to the ministry of the Word. He traveled as a missionary to the Scandinavian countries for many years. He also served as pastor in Grand Forks, N. D., and as an evangelist for years. In fact, at the time of his death, which was in Culbertson, Montana, when he was 90 years of age, he was traveling around holding services. His death was attributed to his age. He was up and around until three days prior to his passing. At the time of his death he made his home with his second wife in Medicine Lake, Montana. He died on July 8, 1952, and was buried beside his first wife (my mother) at the Church of God Cemetery near Wendell, Minnesota."
--Lawrence D. Pruitt Guthrie, Oklahoma, March 8, 1976
"And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them and not forsake them." (Isa. 42:16). This Scripture seems to fit into my life's experiences.
I was born in Norway. My parents were Lutherans. When I was two years of age an incident occurred which I have never forgotten. It was this: My Grandmother on my mother's side--a very godly woman--used to visit us at least once a month.
On the occasion to which I refer, as she was about to leave us, Grandmother said to my mother, "Ellen, I would like to speak to you 'under four eyes' (that is to say, privately). Does the child understand anything that is said?" Her reply was, "No, he doesn't understand." Then Grandmother proceeded to say, "I have been wondering what would be the best way to pass out of this world without being a trouble to anyone, and the Lord has shown me that someday I shall lie down as usual to go to sleep and wake up in glory and this may be the last time that I shall see you; so now, my daughter, I feel constrained to urge you to seek the Lord." Again she said, "I am sure the Lord has shown me that I shall go that way." Four years later she went to glory just that way.
My parents had not given their hearts to God, yet they taught us to live right. The only religious services we ever attended were those held once a month in a country chapel. Other Sundays we would sing together in our home and father would read a sermon to us out of a book.
We would then repeat the Lord's prayer and sing another song.
One afternoon, when I was two and a half years old, a number of we children were invited to a neighbor's for lunch and play. As we passed the pantry window on our way in, we saw a number of dishes filled with nice red berries. One youngster suggested that we help ourselves to the berries, and this we did. After a few mouthfuls I began to scream and ran home. Mother, hearing my screams, rushed out to meet me and, picking me up in her arms, asked me where I was hurt. I couldn't tell her but kept screaming. Finally mother began to chide and shaking me, said, "Tell me where you are hurt." Still I could not speak, then mother fell upon her knees and cried, "Lord, my child is dying in my arms and I cannot find what is the matter with him." I was then able to speak and tell her the cause of my trouble. Putting my hand over my heart I said that I was having pain there and not in my stomach. Mother questioned me as to whether the lady had given us the berries, and I told her, "No," that we had helped ourselves to them. She said, "I will tell you how to get rid of your pain: Go and tell the lady what you have done and giving her your hand ask her to forgive you, and I am sure the pain will leave you." Mother went with me and when I confessed to the lady she took me up in her arms and wept with me. After confessing the pain all disappeared.
* * * * *
When I was about eleven years of age it seemed that a voice was continually speaking to me and saying, "You ought to be a better boy; I want you for a preacher." I did not understand at the time that it was the Holy Ghost speaking to me. Mother often wept over me and said, "Child, O child, what shall I do with you! You make me more trouble than all the other eight children put together."
At the age of fifteen I was confirmed and at the following preaching service I was supposed to participate in taking the Lord's supper (as was the custom of the church). Before that service I went out into the woods to pray. I asked the Lord to forgive me for partaking of the Lord's supper, for to refrain from taking it would bring disgrace upon my family.
From that time on, the Lord continued to talk to me, saying, "You ought to be a better young man." It seemed as though I could not be better at home in Norway so I determined to sail for America.
I had been in America about a year and a half when I met a distant relative who was thought to be lost in this country, because his family had not heard from him for two or three years. He invited me to go into a saloon with him and have a glass of beer. We went in, and also played several games of pool.
In the meantime I took off my coat and hung it on the back of a chair. In the inside pocket of my coat I had my billfold containing about one hundred dollars, all the money I had, and also my valuable papers. When I went to reach for my money my billfold was gone. The saloon keeper seemed to know what had taken place and handed me five dollars. I had no work as there was none to be found. It was the custom in those days for the saloons to give a free lunch with a glass of beer. I went at noon every day and bought a glass of beer so I could have the free lunch that went with it. I lived that way for about two months.
During the late winter I got a job at night work, which consisted of pushing loads of stone in a wheelbarrow for the building of the Stone Arch Bridge over the St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River for the Great Northern Railway Company. The planks upon which we had to walk became very slippery and on one trip the man ahead of me slipped back in the wheel of my wheelbarrow upon which I had a large stone. The force of his fall threw both stone and wheelbarrow into the river. The man behind me, seeing what was happening, flung himself face down over his wheelbarrow, and in the dark, grabbed me as I was going over the plank into the river. He caught me by one of my arms and held me until help came and I was pulled out. I was hanging from his hands about fifty to seventy-five feet above the river.
After that experience I could not make myself walk those planks anymore, so I was again out of work and so terribly discouraged. A few nights later I walked onto the Tenth Avenue bridge intending to jump off into the river to end it all. As I took hold of the railing someone from behind me called out and said, "When you jump, your troubles will begin." I looked, to see the man who had spoken but there was no one on the bridge. The way he spoke had sent a chill through me. It was after eleven o'clock at night and I seemed to realize that it was the Lord who had spoken to me.
After sometime in America I found that I was still the the same young man as before in Norway. It seemed that I was unable to do better. Thinking to improve matters, I decided to go to school and study for the ministry. After two semesters in the college certain things happened which turned me into an infidel. I quit school, went into business and got married. Soon after I contracted tuberculosis of the lungs, and the doctor said there was no help for me, as both my lungs were like soup. During the depression of 1892 I lost all I had. In my sinful condition I called on God and He healed me.
We then moved to the farm and one afternoon a young man came to our home and asked me to attend a service with him that evening. In answer to my query as to what kind of service it was to be, he informed me that two women evangelists were conducting the meeting. I replied that I was not in favor of women preachers but I would go with him as I was not afraid the women would hurt me. As a matter of fact, it was through these women that I was partly awakened spiritually, but did not yet give up my infidelity.
One evening I was very tired and sleepy and went to bed at precisely nine o'clock. I went to sleep at once and had a dream. I dreamed that I had become a minister of the gospel and that I was traveling all over the
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