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Steps of Faith

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Laura stood by the bedroom window—the one that looked out over the quiet woods. She could recall in detail the many experiences of her long life. She could remember exactly the day she found that scrap of paper from The Alliance Weekly advertising meetings led by Rev. Frederick H. Senft in Altoona, Pennsylvania. What she couldn’t remember was what compelled her to attend. In retrospect, she knew it was the Holy Spirit that led her there, since that’s where she met the Lord Jesus.

It wasn’t long after her conversion that she followed God’s call to the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College) in New York, where He laid India on her heart. By 1902 she was preaching throughout central India, despite her shy nature.

Rev. Earl R. Carner came to India only a year after Laura. He told her that he’d grown up in Western Pennsylvania and surrendered his life to God in 1900. As he expressed his passion for lost people, she realized it mirrored her own. She became Laura Carner in 1907 and continued to preach throughout unreached India for 46 years.

Laura loved seeing the fervor of young Indian men as they heard about and accepted Jesus as their Savior. If only more Americans would catch part of that flame and live lives of full consecration to the will of God! It takes great courage and patience to move through suffering in order to glorify God in missions—something that Laura thought should be inspiring to any man of God.

Earl got sick with malaria at the end of his first year, and a missionary came and prayed for him all day and all night. In the morning he commanded Earl to get up, dress and eat breakfast. Earl stepped out in faith and was healed. Many years later, Laura had a perforated stomach ulcer and had to be hospitalized in Poona, which was quite a cross-cultural experience, even for her! Her illness became so severe that there was no hope for recovery. But the Lord spoke words from Micah 2:10 to her, and she quickly demanded to be released from the hospital. She rode the train on a stretcher to Bombay, ate her first foods and worshiped God: “The life I now live as a mortal . . . I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Through Earl’s healing, and then Laura’s, they and the Indian people appreciated Jesus as Healer in a new way.

At a frail 97 year old, Laura brushed tears from her cheeks and averted her gaze from those deep woods. Those tens of thousands of people in India they told about Jesus were unforgettable—particularly those who came to faith in the Lord Jesus. For Laura, those steps of obedience were because lost people matter to God, and they mattered to her.

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