This article was written by Paul Froese and is reprinted from the 1963 Edition of The Pentecostal Heritage of the Illinois District. The first part relates how the Froese family was introduced to Pentecost and the result of Grandpa (Theo) Froese's conversion (separate item).
Rev. and Mrs. Paul Froese
(Note: Bro. Paul Froese served as Sunday School Director for a number of years in the Illinois District. His work in this department was appreciated by the district.)
It was indeed a memorable occasion in September of 1928 when we were first introduced to the Pentecostal message in Belleville, Illinois. Pentecost was not very well known at that time. Brother J.O. Underwood had a church not too far from our home, but we belonged to another church and never ventured too near.
On the above mentioned date, Dr. Charles S. Price came to our city and preached the first divine healing sermons I had heard. It was illuminating as well as astonishing. The things we saw and heard amazed us. The sick were healed by faith through prayer. Miracles of all description were wrought. Naturally, this brought crowds, and we were part of them. In these meetings we had our first contact with the supernatural power of God. One of my sisters was slain by the Power of God and was taken home in a car. She did not regain her natural senses until the next day. This was all new to us, but we knew it was God.
After this revival closed we had not been fully led into the Pentecostal Way. In about three weeks, Brother N.J. Gall came to Brother Underwood’s church to conduct a revival. We went to the revival and again we saw the real demonstrations of God’s Power. This revival was similar to the “Price Healing Campaign”. During this meeting, we heard the Jesus Name message. We found it was in the Bible and what we had was not the Full Gospel. On the 25th of October I was baptized in Jesus Name; two weeks later I received the Holy Ghost in the City Hall of Belleville. The revival had to be moved because of the large crowds. Ninety-seven received the Holy Ghost and 69 were baptized in Jesus Name.
What a change came to our family. All but two were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost in this revival. Only those who knew us before could realize the great change that had taken place. God is so real. He is just the same today as before. He still saves and fills believers with the Holy Ghost. We need to meet the conditions of the Word of God. We cannot bargain with Him; only on His terms can we be saved.
The depression years soon followed. God proved Himself to be the Provider, for we had a large family. On occasions we thought we hardly had enough to satisfy the hunger of our own selves, but other families were invited to share what we had. After the meal, we discovered that everyone had enough to eat, and some food was left. This happened many times during those years.
In 1931, my brother Carl, three sisters, another lady, and I started in evangelistic work. We conducted meetings in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. Finances were not what they are now. Often we did not get enough money to pay the expenses of traveling from one meeting to another. On one occasion we had to be towed from Evansville, Indiana to Belleville, because we did not have the funds to repair the car. Yet those were wonderful years. God proved himself to us in many ways.
In 1933-35 we all attended the “Pentecostal Bible Training School” conducted by the P.M.A. At the close of the school, I had settled in Belleville and attended my home church. The next few years after I married, we started getting ready for the active ministry. On Sunday afternoons, my wife and I conducted a Sunday School class at an old saw-mill in the country near Freeburg, Illinois. These were trying times. Roads were very bad. Many times we had to walk over a mile, after we had gone as far as we could in the car, to reach the location. Many times we got stuck in the mud thinking we could make it through. One person we taught in that rural Sunday School is now a member of the Apostolic Church in Belleville. (Eula Witkus)
The saw-mill closed after a few years and the people moved away. We wondered what we should do next. In the year 1939, we made our next move. Brother R.R. Tripp resigned our home church; we were asked to serve as minister and later as pastor of the Apostolic Church. We served that church for 19 ½ years. It was a humble beginning but after erecting a new building at the location of the present church, we devoted our full time to the work. We build a new parsonage later. (1956)
I was ordained to the ministry in Anderson, Indiana, on April 13, 1941, by Brother H. A. Goss and the late Brothers B.H. Hite and S.S. Grant. To this calling, we have tried to be faithful to our Lord.
In January 1958 we were asked to come to Pinckneyville, Illinois to serve as pastor. We are happy in our new field of labor and thank the Lord for His blessings.