Feature

Through the Valley

Adapted from a 1962 interview with Ora Woodberry (1890–1966)

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When Mother and Father, John and Kittie Woodberry, were missionaries in China, the Chinese were resistant to the Fourfold Gospel, particularly the doctrines of the coming King and of healing. I believe their reaction to Christ as Healer is why God brought about the events of 1896, our first year on the field.

The Lord spoke to Father, Will you go with Me through the valley? Father, knowing what it meant, said, “Yes, Lord,” and a week of many calamities began. My brother Earle got smallpox, and our brother Roy, tired of the quarantine, asked Mother if he could take his sled out on the ice of the river. Roy had not been out long when he slipped through one of the waterholes in the ice. He floated under the ice for a whole mile before his body emerged near a French gunboat. A knock came at our door, and a French sailor said, “We have your little boy. Would you come tend to his funeral?”

Roy used to go with Father to the medical college, and there was a student who refused to give his heart to the Lord despite knowing the good news. He used to take Roy’s New Testament, tear it up and sing, “Jesus hates me, this I know.” When he heard that Roy had died, he asked Father to let him sit by my brother’s coffin. There, God saved the student. That man and his brother became real firebrands, helping to open up Hunan Province to the gospel.

That same week, Father got smallpox. The day he was taken to the hospital, a little lad took sick with the same ailment. People openly proclaimed, “John will die because his trust is in the Lord, but we’ll bring this child through with medical means.”

The doctor sent for Mother, saying Father would be dead within the day. Mother began to pray, “Lord, you say in the Word to call for the elders in the church, but there are no elders here I can call. Show me what to do.” The Lord told her, You go and anoint your husband. She went to the hospital with a little bottle of olive oil, knelt down and quietly began to sing the doxology. Father joined in, instantly healed.

The nurse came to the door with a shroud over her arm for Father, and the doctor, walking by the room, heard the singing and exclaimed, “Why, Mrs. Woodberry, what have you done with your husband?” Three days later Father came home, but the little boy who was admitted to the hospital at the same time died.

Often revival will come after a hard time, and after that, great blessing upon the work. God wants to bless, but He knows that His children are better for it if they go through these tests.

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