Emil Hegg - Visiting from Switzerland - Sunday a.m., December 22, 1979

Psalm 107:1-2, "O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good." This could be the experience of all of us.  A thankful heart is precious to God.  If we have thankfulness in our hearts, we will not become trouble makers.  Our Father loves us so much He only seeks the best for us.  

The first testimony of my father was the 7th, 8th, and 9th verses of this Psalm.  Over 40 years ago the truth came to our little village, right up on the top of a mountain.  There were only about 300 inhabitants.  My parents were God-fearing, praying people.  My father was the treasurer of the church.  My mother filled her place also, but they were very disappointed in the church.  I am glad to say that the Lord was looking down.  We were a large family - 10 boys and five girls.  Two died young, one brother and one sister.  My parents were very occupied to give us the material things.  We were very poor.  Father and Mother were also trying to give us something for our hearts.  Every morning and every evening, Father would read to us from the Bible.  He always talked to us about these things.  Father was very anxious and sometimes wept.  I went into my parents room and found my mother kneeling and praying, it was 2:00 in the morning.

When I was 13 years old, I heard them speaking together.  My eldest brother came home a little bit drunk. They asked each other, "What is happening?  We have 6 or 7 children still growing up, and what will happen to them?  We can't find God."  Father said it is still the only hope we have.  I can never forget the picture, my parents standing by the window, late at night, worried about their family.  I knew then that I wanted to live my life so that I would bring joy to my parents.  They prayed together.  I don't know what they prayed for, but it was not long after that the servants of God knocked on our door.  They wanted to know if they could have a little place to put up their tent to have some gospel meetings.  Father answered, "O, yes!  You can put it here, right next to our house."  They were to come back on Saturday.  On Friday the preacher came, with other members of the church and they turned my father right around.

Saturday a.m. three workers came and my father refused to let them put up the tent on his ground.  The younger servant of God didn't say anything, but I saw his eyes fill up with tears.  However, our neighbor gave them permission to put the tent on his property.  Sunday afternoon they had the first meeting, and at our church was also a service that afternoon.  My father went to the church and told them he was going to the meeting in the tent, because, he said, "It is surely the hand of God!"  When my father came home he said to my mother, "You must go."  Father would go to one meeting and mother would go to the next. One evening they took us all with them, because neither of them wanted to miss the meeting.

My father told the preacher, "Before you judge these men, you must come and hear them."  He came. Father sat beside the clergy.  The brother worker spoke about John the Baptist.  The clergyman was so restless, he couldn't sit still.  He heard how John the Baptist ate, how Jesus sent out his disciples, from Matthew 10, etc.  The preacher had a hymn book in his hand, but after the meeting the brothers did not use that hymn book anymore.  (Emil said it was kaput.)  That same day Father said to the clergy, "We have found Jesus.  We have found the right way, and that right way is found only in Jesus."  My brother and I went to a field to cut hay.  The clergy came to speak to Father to try and turn him again, but my father said, "We cannot go back.  It is our firm decision."  He came again, but this time when he went away he said, "I can't change them anymore."

The last night of the mission, the older worker asked, "Where can we have the meeting?"  For a little while nobody moved.  It was a very quiet moment.  Then Father and Mother stood up and said, "We will make room for you."  Four of us boys slept in one room.  Mother told us we must move in together.  Six of us brothers slept in that same room.  We crowded together, but we were happy to do so.  That same evening a room was free for the three brother workers, the homeless preachers of the gospel.  It was like day and night, such a change in our lives.

My eldest brother was not willing to serve God.  He was married and his wife was worldly.  He went his own way.  In 1939, Mother made her choice to serve God and in 1948, she died.  Oh, how she loved her eldest son, and how she tried to help him.  

I went into the work in 1947.  When my companion came for me, my mother asked him to have a gospel meeting for my eldest brother.  Fourteen days before this she had told my brother that I was going out to preach the gospel.  He was deeply touched and his eyes filled with tears.  He refused the invitation to attend that gospel meeting.  My mother said to him, "Perhaps this will be your last invitation."  And it was. Not long after that I received a telegram telling me that my mother was dead.  She could never invite him to a meeting again.  I went home, and I went into the room where her body was, and saw her in her coffin.  I thanked God for a mother that prayed for her children, for those who are fathers and mothers in Israel.

The door opened and my eldest brother came in.  He couldn't see me.  I was behind the door.  He knelt down and cried.  When he did see me, he came and put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Emil, do you think that there is any hope for me?"  He made his choice that day.  He was baptized in 1949 and in 1950, a church was put in his home.

We give God thanks for parents that pray for their children.  I am glad to see fathers and mothers here that we know pray for their children.  And you children, I would like to say to you, value praying parents.