ILLINOIS INNER MISSION SOCIETY
The Awakening at Stavanger
By Peder Fostervold
(Our dear departed brother must have written this not so long before his passing, while he was ill and suffering, so I shall translate as much as we have room for—word for word.—Ed.)
At Christmas time, 1905, Dagfin Aske—or Ellefsen, as he also was called, was converted to God in his blacksmith shop. God works in one soul and through one. Dagfin went to T. H. Varland, one of the few Christians, and asked him to start prayer meetings and small meetings in homes. And happy was Varland to get the meetings started. The minister had just moved and the group had no real preacher with them. But the Spirit was at work just the same.
To begin with only Varland, the newly converted Dagfin, another new convert, Aksel Vaag, John Osthus, Zacharias Syverson and Sivert Arneson took part in prayer and testimony. More people began to attend. So they began to have the meetings twice a week—Wednesday and Saturday evening. Among others who attended were a number of newcomers from the Stavanger Amt district, Norway. As the meetings continued there came to be a peculiar hunger among the people, and the houses could not hold the crowds, so they began to meet in the Stavanger Church. People came from far and near, the revival spirit slowly broke loose and began to spread around, but they began in these little house meetings and through these humble lay-brethren.
The Wednesday night meetings were held in the Stavanger Church, but the Saturday night meetings began to be held farther and farther away—at Hodges Grove, at old Fox River and away down in Westland and other places. They paid no attention to parish boundaries, but went where there was an invitation. People were awakened and found life and God, both young, middle-aged and even older people. Brother Varland sent for 60 Bibles for the newly converted.
There was not much, if any, human pressure at these meetings. Very little urging was present, but the Christians fell on their knees at the close of the meetings through the urging of the Holy Spirit, and seeking souls came and knelt with the Christians for the first time.
Privately and in daily life there was much spiritual conversation. Few came into the blacksmith shop of the very first convert unless he admonished them to give their hearts to God. When neighbors met along the fences or in the cornfields, they would stop their horses and talk about the one thing needful. Sometimes you would find them kneeling over in the field. When they saw the unconverted they asked God for strength to admonish them to seek the Lord.
Of course the devil was not idle when he was losing so many. From the very beginning there had been opposition. As usual the enmity came from the unconverted church members. The Deacons had planned to lock the church and keep it locked. One of them was going to find out for sure about this new “thing,” at least before he locked the church against them, And he did find out—he and his family were converted to God. His name was Ludvik Seal.
The ordained ministers finally got very interested in this. Deputations were even sent to find out what this movement really was. Many were against it, but ministers like N. G. Peterson at Lisbon, and Aarrestad at Morris understood it was from God and encouraged the newly converted. An outstanding layman from Norway, called Viking-Rasmussen, who later was ordained, was also of much help to the newly converted.
However, when some of the new converts wanted to join the Stavanger congregation they had a hard time to be admitted. The usual weapon was used against them: “They were not good Lutherans.” One by one was examined pretty thoroughly as to the Lutheran doctrine. One broke out crying and said he knew little about Lutheranism, but he knew he was a sinner saved by grace. Most of the others said the same. Long consultations were held whether they should be admitted to membership. If it had not been for Pastor N. G. Peterson from Lisbon who was asked to lead the meeting, very likely they would not have been admitted at all. Finally, however, and with hesitation, they were accepted into the church.
The Spirit of God did not allow the young converts to pout or get mad. I wonder if our present-day Christians are strong on this point?
They had no special preachers at their meetings. The blacksmith testified, bathed in tears, which made a powerful impression. Ludvik Seal, the converted deacon, testified about the great change in his life. “I went to church and communion and kept lulling myself to sleep. I was on the way to hell with my big family. What an awful thing to live in such self-deceit. I imagined I was on the way to heaven, but I was going to hell.” Mrs. Martha Johnson came 6 or 7 miles to the meetings in her buggy. Later her husband was converted.—So far Peder Fostervold.
This was a blessed and most encouraging report. It is sad, however, that brother Fostervold in a later sentence or two at the close lets us surmise that a large number backslid after this revival. If so, very likely some of the ice-cold churches they joined had much to do with it. We shall not only plow and plant, but water, cultivate, help, encourage the young converts—and God must give the increase.
On the back-ground of this wonderful revival the Illinois Inner Mission was started and organized at Gardner, Ill., in January, 1907. Among the founders were Sjur Myhrebo (chosen leader), Filip Oakland, T. H. Varland (elected secretary), Severt Arneson, Andrew Jager, Rasmus Thompson (elected assistant leader), John Edmunds (treasurer), Lars Severson, Thor Christenson, Ingebrekt Olson, N. J. Qually, L. J. Seal, John Osthus, Lars Rasmussen, Ole DahI, Jonas Jelsa, Andrew Osthus, Jacob Vetteland, Stene Hill. Six of these brethren had been converted in an awakening at Stavanger.
God’s favor and blessing was upon the newly organized Inner Mission from the beginning. At the next three-day meetings in the Stavanger church a strong awakening spirit was present. They kept on till past midnight. At least three souls gave their hearts to God in one night. A pastor Lonne from Elliot, Ill., helped along. 17 new members joined, among whom was a new convert from the Stavanger revival, Elias Rasmussen, who now is pastor of the Norwegian Memorial church in Minneapolis.
Some of the new converts felt in their tender hearts they ought to give to help the cause of the Inner Mission, but had little or nothing. So they borrowed a dollar each to give. But then they felt it was too little. They had to pray over it together—in the barn. After prayer they decided to give $6 apiece. How they got hold of the $6 brother Fostervold does not tell. But they were blessed in their souls, and God has blessed them since.
The Illinois Inner Mission grew up to be a strong society with men who were not afraid to labor, sacrifice and give to God’s cause. In the course of time they began a tent- mission which required much extra work and efforts. They were among the first, if not the very first of the Inner Missions, that started tent-meetings. They have made use of many outstanding evangelists: Ludvig Hope, J. Daasvand and others from Norway, the late Prof. Broen and a great number of laymen’s pastors and lay-evangelists here among
us. Souls have been won and the new life in God’s people has been greatly strengthened. But through misunderstanding and opposition all God’s work progresses; as everywhere, so here. As Filip Oakland once remarked to the question about the progress of the work: “Hated yet loved —in evil report and in good report.”
The leading brethren in 1940 were Ole Erickson, Joliet, president; Knute Bjelland, Newark, vice-president; T. S. Sandeno, Gardner, secretary; Lars Espevik, treasurer; and also Sivert Berke, Martin Bjelland and Pastor L. L. Mastad.—May the new song of the saved souls never die out among the brethren. God has called them by name to labor for Him. May they always be found faithful.
(Information furnished by Secretary T. S. Sandeno)
They sing forever the new song
Sjur S. Myrebo, Minooka, Ill., the first leader of the Inner Mission, and otherwise an outstanding servant in the church of God, was born at Olen, Sondhordland, Norway, March 17, 1850. He came to America at an early age and married Julia Mickelson in 1875. They had 11 children. He and wife were converted while young and God called Sjur into definite service for Him. He prayed his way into God’s work. He attended the Hauge Seminary at Red Wing, Minn. for two years, but God did not lead him into the ordained ministry. He did, however, receive spiritual impulses and a wider vision, which was of help later in God’s work.
He was heart-and-soul in all inner mission work. He did not neglect his family, but conducted worship in his home twice a day. He studied God’s Word a great deal and was often found on his knees in prayer. He was a personal worker for Christ and held prayer to be very important, “A Christian,” he said, “must be in the world, but the world must not be in the Christian.”
The former Hauge Synod made use of the talents God had given the brother and sent him out as lay-evangelist here and there. He also scattered Christian literature. He believed in the printed word. He also sang the gospel in such songs as, “Der er kraft i Jesu blod” (There is power in the blood of Jesus) and “Tiden forsvinder som en drom” (The time is passing as fast as a dream) and many others. He was gifted as a leader and was a pillar of strength in the Inner Mission as well as in the local church. He was also a liberal giver. His children have followed father in the upward way, among whom is Mrs. Rev. T. J. Severtson, and Mrs. Rev. Torbjorn Hanson and Mrs. Sam Kettleson.
In March, 1918, he was called into the joy of the Lord. His life and testimony were spiritual guide posts, which guided many into life eternal. His widow survived for a number of years.—”A jewel lost on earth is forever kept in heaven.”
In Filip Oakland, Newark, Ill., whose acceptable time to enter heaven came on May 24, 1924, the brethren in the Inner Mission lost a real pillar of Grace. He was a gifted lay-evangelist both in the former Hauge Synod, where he often would take a leading part at the large annual conventions, and in all inner mission activities and local church-work.
During the 24 hours he was ill, he enjoyed heaven on earth in the midst of great suffering. He lived not by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God, While dying he desired his pastor, L. L. Mastad, to sing. He sang, “Jesus kommer, ja han kommer, snart at hente sine hjem”—”Jesus is coming soon to take His own home.” He used Oakland’s name in the song: “Jesus is coming to take Oakland home.” Just as he sang these words God actually took him home—an unusual co-incidence.
The Inner Mission felt it should have a special memorial service for the beloved brother. He had been its secretary up to the time of his death and he died just as the meeting was being held at Newark. Many testified how God had blessed them through the departed brother. He had looked forward to this meeting with joy. Now he was in the redeemed audience in glory. This was on May 28th, the evening of the funeral. But the brother continued to live so strong in the hearts of the brethren that they had to continue on the 29th in the same tenor—with memorial speeches and memorial testimonies, not to praise the departed, but to praise God for His mercy through the departed, to encourage one another and admonish the unconverted. In the evening of the same day, which was Ascension Day, the young people had their testimony meeting. The presence of the Holy Spirit with brotherly love and unction from heaven and a Grace that melted the hearts were manifested throughout.—How much more of this we shall experience when we enter heaven itself.
Filip Oakland was born in the Valestrand parish northeast of Haugesund, Norway. Johan Oakland, Irene, S. B., also a beloved Inner Mission leader and lay-evangelist, was his cousin. There was something peculiarly sweet, savory and attractive in Filip Oakland’s personality, voice and manners. Christ was living in him, and death was gain.
We also have room for a passing word about other leading brethren in the Lord, who have carried the burden and heat of the day in God’s Work.
John Edmunds, Elliot, Ill., another founder of the Inner Mission and its treasurer for a while, went home about 20 years ago. His widow, a sister of the Erickson brothers and a helper in God’s work, is still with us.
John Uhr, Ottawa, Ill., another strong supporter and for a time an officer of the Society, had a good testimony. He left us some 15 years ago.
Tobias Varland, also from Ottawa, was another of the founders and for some time secretary. He was a real brother of prayer and interceded for others, my self included. He joined the redeemed audience of perfect praise some 10 years ago. He always stood up for the living truth.
—And a host of other men and women who labored here and did what God wanted them to do, are now singing the New Song and waiting for us in heaven. May the friends, who are still with us, live daily in the blood-bought pardon and serve God in love.
I nearly forgot Nils Nilson, of Lisbon, and Jacob Vetteland, of Joliet. Nilson came as a child to America and was a soldier in the Civil War. He was converted to God, while in the war, at a prayer meeting in the Camp. He came home from the war with the peace of God in his heart. He was a very helpful brother in Inner Mission work and a leader for some years.
Brother Vetteland was converted while young, and began to testify. He was one of the founders of the Inner Mission Society and also a pillar of strength in the local church work at Joliet. He was truly a brother, encouraging others and drawing them up on higher ground. He was born March 19, 1866, at Egersund, Norway. He died at Joliet Dec. 4, 1932.—Nils Nilsen died Sept. 15, 1923, age 83. They are gone, but not forgotten.
Another beloved brother, T. Erickson, Ottawa, went home about 1937. Nils Quale died April 20, 1940, age 82. He was an old veteran in inner mission work.
Some of the living brethren not before mentioned are very active in the society and its work. There are Knut Fosse, an old inner mission veteran, the Boe brothers, Hans Boe, whose grandmother, Helga Vormeland, bore a living testimony in Norway, Tom and Jacob Erickson, the Eddy brothers, T. Monson, Mrs. P. Range, Conrad Tofte and many, many others, who by their means, or hospitality, or labor, or prayer and testimony or otherwise are strengthening God’s work. It is fine that a number of younger Christians are also with them and take part. It is good that Jesus made a will that lawyers cannot break and that we can all come in on it.
Besides the tent-meetings, which are a real Gospel campaign every summer, the brethren had ten larger meetings in 1940. They gave about $180 to various good causes and missions. They laid aside $200 for buying a new tent. They don’t believe in going into debt.
May the brethren be in close touch with the heavenly wireless in these dark days, and never be like those rivers that freeze up at the mouth, but confess His precious name in word and deed.
Andrew Olson—A letter
We should not forget our old veterans and their many and various experiences, so we are glad to print this letter:
“I have lived at Rhinelander, Wis., since 1896. We have no inner mission society. But we used to belong to the Western Wisconsin Mission, which is far away. We have had “vennestevner” — fellowship meetings — in our home until the minister spoke against it. Then the meetings died out. So we understand that not all the ministers are in for lay-activity. Most of those that came to those meetings have now departed. They were all Haugeans.
“The Eielsen Synod (another branch of the Haugeans) sent their ministers up here in former days. Then we had prayer meetings and lay-activity. Among their pastors who visited us were Wiek, Bianess, S. M. Stenby, and Stensether, all of the Elling Synod. They have all held meetings in our home. The younger pastors seem to have less use for prayer meetings. At our last prayer meeting the minister spoke against it, and since we have not had any. We have just a few who stand fast on the solid ground and the teaching we received from Norway.”
We hope the men of the Elling Synod continue to visit the aging brother and encourage him in his faith. The Hauge Federation ought to see to it that he is visited. We still live in a free country, brother, and no preacher can shut the door to your own house. Keep on with meetings.
Andrew Olson is a brother of Iver Olson, who worked so faithfully the last years of his life in the Chicago Inner Mission on North Avenue. A member of that mission, John Olson, has written a poem to his memory. We shall print the second verse, which gives a true picture of Iver Olson:
“Saa ofte vi hørtc dig vidne
For baadc store og smaa,
Men dog det skjønneste minde
Er troeslivet dit sorn vi saa.
Det var ei blot de ord du talte,
Nei, livet i Gud lyste klart,
Med hele din fremfaerd du malte
Et biled saa skjønt, underbart.”
Let us remember brother Andrew Olsen in our prayers. God grant him grace to be faithful unto the end.
Lutheran Prayer Circle of Joliet, Ill.
(Information by Mrs. Ole Erickson)
These friends are few, yet they have not denied His name and they have kept His Word. Old Lydia in Acts 16 was one of the leaders of a prayer circle that the world paid no attention to—out by the river-side. The Valdense Christians in the dark age of the Roman Catholic church, when it was at the very darkest, had such prayer circles. Revivals have very often started out from prayer circles, though it has seemed dark for a long time. But keep on pulling at the bell-rope of prayer!
The present Prayer Circle in Joliet was started about 1925. The members were 5 or 6 to begin with: Mrs. 0. Eddy, Mrs. G. Berg, Mrs. A. Pedersen, who went home to be with her Savior in 1940, and Mrs. J. Vetteland, who is waiting to receive the message of home-coming, and also at times Mrs. Iver Eddy. Those who are mostly active now are Mrs. 0. Eddy, Mrs. G. Berg, and Mrs. Ole Erickson. When they come together they pray and sing God’s praises and give of their means to God’s work. In 1940 they sent $31 to the evangelistic work of the Hauge Federation.
The friends have experienced that God has been true to His promises, that where there are two or three gathered in His name, there He is in the midst of them. God grant them special grace to carry on, like the widow who came again and again to the unjust judge. She obtained her rights at last. Shall God answer the prayers of His children who cry to Him day and night?—But when He returns, shall faith be found on earth?—May God encourage the sisters. Hope more will join them, also a few men, though it is not always so easy for the men in the day-time. But we certainly need the help of Aaron and Hur to hold our hands up in these last dark days. It would be wonderful if Jesus when He returns should find us at a prayer meeting.
We surely are thankful for the unusual interest Mr. and Mrs. Ole Erickson have shown in making it possible to publish this book.
The Early Inner Mission in Chicago
(Information by Kr. Petterson)
It is easy to get mixed up about all the different Inner Mission Societies in Chicago, so I shall enumerate them here, both the dead and the living ones.
1. The first one we know of, aside from the Scandinavian Y.M.C.A., was started in 1884 or ‘85 by Christians of the Trinity Church. They met not less than three times a week—at least for awhile: Sunday afternoons and Tuesday and Friday evenings. In 1887 lay-evangelist Hoff from Norway arrived and labored for several years among the friends. He was a man of prayer and an outstanding personal worker. Many souls were added to the Lord. John Holland, who later became minister in the former United Church, S. Staalesen and others were used by God. People flocked to the meetings, and both distress under sin and joy over salvation were experienced.
In 1809 J. N. Kildahl of the former United Church arrived in Chicago as pastor of the Bethlehem church. He took a real interest in the Inner Mission and was with the brethren whether he was asked to speak or not; but he also spoke often and encouraged the work. The revival that had started was founded on a sound Biblical basis. But by 1894 the splendid work of the society seemed to have been completed, at least it discontinued. Some of the members moved away; new churches, like Saron Free Church, started up and many members became active there. Not less than four of the active members went to Africa in 1892, Malla Moe and Emilie Forbord among them. It was the well-known Franson who was instrumental in sending them out. Others became active in Norwegian Young People’s Societies in various churches, etc. Many have praised God, both on earth and in heaven, for the spiritual work done by the earliest Inner Mission in Chicago from 1884 to 1894.—So far Kr. Petterson.
2. The first regular Inner Mission was founded in 1910 by the help of Ludvig Hope and the Inner Mission people of Illinois. Until its division in 1918 it carried on a great work.
3, 4. These two branches lingered on more or less in a declining and difficult way until 1928, when there was not much left.
5. The present strong Inner Mission on North Avenue that started up in 1928 and which even in 1940 started a tent-mission—a great undertaking. May God carry it through the many difficulties in the large city.
6. The Chicago Lutheran Home Rescue Mission founded in 1934. It carries on its soul-saving activity among all nations at 1701 W. Monroe St., and has started the Rainbow Lake Bible Camp at Trufant, Mich. Edw. Nelson is the chief promoter of all this great work for God.
7. The Hauge English Lutheran Inner Mission Society of Chicago, organized in 1937, which also is described in another place. It carries on a blessed testimony and tent- meeting work, mostly on the South Side.
8. The Scandinavian Y. M. C. A., which Edw. Hanson describes. It has been and still is a genuine soul-winning institution like the rest. Its mission hall is on N. Kedzie near North Avenue.
9. The Norwegian Young People’s Societies of the Landsforbund, which also carry on a soul-saving activity. They often have real evangelistic meetings where many have found peace with God.
Besides all the above-named there is a great soul-saving activity among the Norwegian Baptists, Methodists, Salvation Army and the Free Evangelical church. For them all let us praise God from whom all blessings flow. And we must not forget all the other mighty work for the salvation of souls by all the other nationalities in the great city. Through churches, rescue missions, Gospel tabernacles, over the air, and on the street corners a tremendous amount of personal work is carried on. The great representative of heaven, namely the Holy Spirit, is carrying on a wonderful work in the midst of all the appalling wickedness in Chicago—and in other great cities. May the works of the devil soon be destroyed!
Hauge English Lutheran Inner Mission of Chicago
(Information by Sidney Swensen)
Here we have a young and very active daughter of the older inner missions in Chicago. A group of younger Christians with Edward Nelson in the lead felt the stirring in the tops of the trees and launched out for the Lord to win lost souls in 1937. They held a series of tent-meetings on Laurel and LeMoine Avenues in North Chicago. They definitely organized October 23, 1937, under the present name, taking “Hauge” along in the name to show that the movement was part of the Hauge revival movement both in Norway and here among us. That showed a fine spirit in these younger English speaking brethren. Their organization joined the Hauge Federation at its yearly meeting at Fergus Falls, Minn., in 1938, which was another encouraging step.
The organization continued somewhat as a branch of the Lutheran Rescue Mission on Monroe street and had tent meetings in North Chicago for two years. They felt led to move to South Chicago at First Street and Ashland Avenue South, in 1940. The younger Christians, mostly members of the Ebenezer Lutheran Church, were completely in control. Edw. Nelson and the other leading brethren on the north side had their hands full with the Rescue Mission at 1701 W. Monroe.
The brethren who now in 1941 are at the head of the Inner Mission are Sidney Swensen, president; A. J. Olsen, vice-president; Frank Larsen, treasurer; Raymond Swensen, secretary. Others on the tent-committee are Ole Boe, C. Oas, James Erickson and Henry Erickson and F. Jacobsen.
We are thankful that the Spirit has kindled a fire in the hearts of these brethren. May it be kept burning! They have their own tent and had a blessed series of meetings in 1940. May the same fire spread to other young Christians here and there to launch out for the Lord and for the salvation of souls. May the regenerating fire of the Holy Spirit be kindled among us. Remember this mission and these brethren when you pray.
The Norwegian Lutheran Inner Mission of Chicago
By Martin Andersen
Living Christians from Norway who had experienced the miracle of a new birth were active in organizing this mission in the home of Mrs. Sara Nilsen, August 21, 1928. Among the first members were Peder Erickson, Johs. Treland, Lars Halle, Peder Monsen, Rudolf Nilsen, Jacob Aase, Edward Nelson, H. C. Hansen, Pastor M. E. Sletta, L. Wennerud, Mr. and Mrs. Hans Carisen, A. Meland, Th. Ellefsen, Haakon and Olaf Monsen.
For some years the mission has hired a hall, which is now a real “Mission Hall” on 3018 W. North Avenue. But as the way to God for many often goes through the stomach, and as there were many down-and-outs that loitered around the mission, the brethren, though many of them are hard up and without employment themselves, started giving free lunches after the Saturday evening services in 1930. This by the help of some very faithful and devoted women they have been able to keep up ever since. These Saturday evening meetings are usually crowded, and physically and spiritually they spread much sunshine to many who are utterly down and out. Sinners have found peace with God at these meetings, and started to live new lives.
For awhile the brethren had what in Norway is called “free communion” in the hall, which meant much for brotherly love and was a source of spiritual strength.
In the summers the brethren have attended “stevner” or fellowship meetings with brethren from farther away— in Ottawa, Racine and other places, where the gifts of grace have been made use of in testimony, song and prayer. They also have a fine string-band that plays at all the meetings in the mission hall, which is a special source of blessing.
The Inner Mission has a fine auxiliary in the Ladies’ Aid, which raises money for the need of the mission, and where they testify, sing and pray at every meeting.
They also have an active sick-committee which visits the needy in homes, at hospitals and asylums, and at other places of deep need. As far as they can they distribute clothing and shoes to the needy ones. In the basement of the mission hall a number of homeless and down-and-out men find a home and stay for months, in some cases for years at the time.
Every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas the brethren have special festival meetings with free meals for all the needy ones. These meetings are very large and are held in large church basements.
On Tuesday nights the mission has its prayer, testimony or Bible meetings. In 1939 the mission bought a tent and started its own tent-meetings. They continued for some two months and called in evangelists. These meetings were very well attended and proved a great blessing. Often evangelists from Norway have labored among the brethren. Halvor Andresen, Slordal, Jorgen Ness, Knut Rettedahl, J. Daasvand, and A. Dorumsgaard are a few of these. Evangelist Ingolf Martinussen has held very well attended Bible hours among them every fall and spring.
Peder Ericksen was the first leader of the mission. Rudolf Nelsen was his assistant. The present leader is Peder Monsen, 2501 St. Louis Avenue. John Olsen, 1930 N. Spaulding, is treasurer. As the work has been done mostly among Scandinavian people, the Norwegian language has been used, except at the tent-meetings, when the languages have been used alternately.
Such a great work for the Lord requires means. The annual budget, however, is only $800. Hall-rent, light, etc., cost money. The friends are toiling on in absolutely unselfish devotion, coming often long distances on street-car or in auto with never a cent in human recompense.
The fire of the devil is terribly hot in Chicago and leads to a still hotter fire in hell. May God strengthen the brethren to carry on, knowing that their labor in the Lord is not in vain. May also the friends outside Chicago remember the brethren with means to reach as many lost souls as possible.
Absent from the body, present with the Lord
Mrs. Sara Nilsen, in whose home the Inner Mission was organized in 1928, had her heart in God’s work and took part in prayer and testimony.
Mrs. Bertha Tallaksen and Mrs. Malla Johnson were among the sisters who were “last at the cross and first at the grave” when it came to unselfish service for the Lord. Bertha came home from the mission where she labored Saturday night, and Sunday morning she was home with the Lord. She knew in whom she believed.
Iver Olson, who is described elsewhere, was leader for a while—a leader by the grace of God. His strongest point was to encourage others. There was a brotherly, loving and encouraging atmosphere about him. He could make things go and get others to work with life and alacrity. God called him up to the marriage supper of the Lamb July 5, 1938. Age 81.
Mr. and Mrs. Hans Carlsen were among the founders of the mission in 1928. She left to join the blood-washed throng about 1934. He continued with us until 1940. He was rich in spiritual experiences and gave himself to the ministry of prayer. He prayed for God’s people and many that he knew, both here and in Norway—prayed for them by name. Your heart hardly could remain empty when brother Carlsen prayed for people by name. You would perhaps not know the names. But it felt like finding “Honey in the Rock.” It shall be wonderful to meet him in heaven.
These and many others have now arrived in the everlasting territory and have been ushered into the presence of the Lamb.
Among those who have worked a long time unselfishly in the Mission, and are still toiling on, may be mentioned: Mr. and Mrs. Martin Andersen, Edward Nelson, Mr. and Mrs. A. Knutson, Mr. and Mrs. Malmberg, Granberg, Mr. and Mrs. Peder Monsen, Ben Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Ole Reitan, and a number of others. God strengthen their hearts to carry on. The Mission reaches a great number that never set their foot in any church. It is a real station of salvation. Remember their work in prayer and with gifts. Martin Andersen closes his report by saying: “May the fresh spiritual stream pulsate freely and a lay-activity with new power flow in among our people on this side of the ocean. May the motto of Hauge be our motto: ‘I have sworn obedience to the Holy Spirit, and God has given me grace to be faithful.’ May God grant us to go on in the same spirit !“
The Bethany Inner Mission joined the Hauge Federation and has always, or nearly always been represented at all the annual conventions of the Federation. They make it a point to keep the interest of the Federation alive among them. Often we hear from them in the “Indremissionsvennen.” They deserve a special place in our hearts and our prayers. Remember the name and address of the treasurer, John Olsen, 1930 N. Spaulding, Chicago, Illinois. “Stir me to give! Stir me to pray !“
Chicago Norwegian Lutheran Inner Mission
(Information by P. F. Eriksen)
This Inner Mission, which was organized in 1918, should not be forgotten, though now for various reasons it has ceased to exist.
Among the lay-brethren, Pastors H. A. Hanson and T. J. Alvestad were along in starting the movement; other ministers were against it, as usually is the way with so many. They had their meetings Sunday afternoons. They kept themselves carefully from all criticism of others. It worked quietly for a number of years, and perhaps has not set deep marks. But it was a real blessing to those of God’s people who took part and attended.
Among the supporters, besides the two pastors, were P. E. Eriksen, president; Edw. Nelson, vice-president; Rudolf Nilsen and Iver Olson. Also others were among the leading brethren. They joined the Hauge Federation and were supporters of the “Indremissionsvennen.” Bethany Inner Mission on North Avenue, which now is doing so much blessed rescue mission work, is a continuation of the older mission.
May the bread that was cast upon the waters by these brethren come again after many days. It was a labor, though somewhat forgotten by the people, that has been recorded in God’s Book of Remembrance.