Our Journey into Truth
By Mary Kroeger
Both Ernie and I were raised in a traditional Bible believing church, and were firmly entrenched in its doctrines. We attended Sunday school and church faithfully, participated in the leadership of its programs, enjoyed Bible School and Bible College, yet remained woefully ignorant of the true message of the scriptures.
My journey into truth began one Saturday evening when I was preparing my Sunday school lesson. My lesson manual told me that we do not really see what the Bible teaches because we interpret it according to our preconceived ideas – according to our former teaching and the philosophies that we have accepted. As I read that, I said, “Thank you God, that is not our church. I know that we don’t live up to our doctrines, but our doctrines are pure and good.” After I was through telling God how wonderful our church doctrines were (as if He didn’t know), He asked me one short, simple question, “Are you sure?” That came as a shock, and it broke me up; I burst into tears and replied, “If that is not true, then teach me.”
About six months later we listened to a speaker who was saying that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is for today. That was against our doctrines, so I was furious, and began to search the scriptures to prove him wrong. To my great surprise, I realized that he was right and I was wrong. Two days later we were both baptized in the Holy Spirit and we experienced an inner joy and peace that was beyond description!
At this time we were already in our fifties, and we grieved over all the time we had spent in ignorance. One evening as we prayed, I said to the Lord that He would have to do a very fast cleansing work in me because I was already past half of my life, and I still wanted to work for Him in my newly found knowledge. God answered that prayer too!
At that time (in the seventies), fasting was the “IN” thing to do. I couldn’t fast longer than a day because I would become violently ill. So I prayed that God would enable me to fast at least three days. Finally it happened! On the fourth day I felt an urge to pray. After all, what was the use of fasting if we didn’t spend time in prayer? As I prayed, I had an out-of-body experience. I was taken out of my body, and from the sky I watched what was happening to me on earth. There, while I was standing on a platform, I was surrounded by a very angry mob of people who were shouting at me and trying to hurt me. I remember thinking that this cannot be true. People don’t hate me; they love me.
Yet it was true! I won’t go into the details of that very difficult time, but both Ernie and I experienced the consuming fire of our loving God! At the same time we experienced His loving hand on us. He led us, gave us visions, dreams and encouragement. We experienced such an intimate relationship with our Lord that we kept saying that it was worth it all!
In 1978 we felt the need for a little rest before the next onslaught. So we rented a little motel room, and armed with our Bibles and study books, we moved in. On the third night, God spoke to each of us individually. To Ernie God spoke audibly saying, “I am sending you to the nations of the world.” Ernie replied, “Thank you, Lord, that’s fine,” and then he fell asleep again. Then the Lord came to him a second time with the same message. Again Ernie replied, “Thank you, Lord, that’s fine,” and as an afterthought he added. “Do you mind confirming that with Mary?” Ernie wanted me to know that this truly was God’s will for us. To me God said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” In the morning, as we shared what the Lord had spoken to us, we felt an inner excitement, great joy and a deep peace! At the same time we wondered what the future held for us.
A few months later we made a 3-month trip around the world, speaking and teaching as the Lord opened doors. During the first part of the journey we traveled together with an evangelist from Australia and his party, then by ourselves. God did some amazing things and we rejoiced in His ability!
After we came home, we didn’t know what God wanted next. My parents were getting old and needed help. In January of 1981 I prayed and said to the Lord that I knew His message to us included more than one trip around the world, but my parents would not understand if we left them now when they needed us. To our surprise, within the next month and a half both my parents had gone to be with the Lord and there was nothing to hinder us from following His plan for us. That led us to more travels and some hard training, but eventually God brought us to Hong Kong and China where we would spend a number of years teaching."
Ever since we had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, we were very hungry for spiritual understanding. We were introduced to many new teachings, like “inner healing”, the prosperity doctrine, the name it and claim it faith, etc., but as we examined them in the light of the scriptures, we recognized the errors, and we had to discard them. Eventually we got to the place where we said, “God you will have to show us the way; we really don’t know what to believe.”
In our travels, we frequently had to wait for our plane in Minneapolis. There we met a friend who was very special to us. He was a Christian in a leadership role, yet in whom we did not detect any jealousy. This was interesting, and a new experience for us. He came to the airport and gave us books and pamphlets that explained the scriptures spiritually. Although they were written in a style that made it more difficult for us to understand, we realized that at long last we were getting the answers we had been looking for! They contained some wonderful nuggets! This was our introduction to the writings of Andrew Murray, A.P. Adams and Lloyd Ellefson.
As we studied our new treasures, the Lord began to reveal the scriptures to us and we began to recognize the lies that we had considered to be the truth. ... "Although we didn’t look forward to the rejection we would receive from the church, and even from Spirit-baptized believers, we knew there was no future in putting our faith in lies. As we were persuaded to believe the truth, we were again filled with tremendous joy!
With the passage of time, we became the transcribers and editors of Lloyd Ellefson’s writings. In this ministry of love, we were blessed beyond measure! When, in the late 1900s, Lloyd’s daughter took over this ministry, we were free to devote more time to personal study and writing.
We are very thankful for the many who have contributed the spiritual insights they have received, and passed them on to us and others. We thank God for His faithfulness, and for His revelation of Himself in Christ!