Two Moves of God
Some of you may have noticed the name of Pastor Elmer Anhalt in a recent Lifelines Memorials column. Pastor Anhalt was an active supporter of the LEM who served on its board and often preached on its behalf. Before he died at 90 years old, he wrote down his life testimony entitled, “The Guidance Of Jesus In Our Lives.” To bring praise to his Savior, we’d like to share part of his story with you.
In 1965, while serving a Buxton, ND parish, Pastor Anhalt received a letter of call from another ND congregation. He prayed sincerely for the Lord’s leading. In the middle of a certain night, he awoke suddenly and decided to pray again. Said Pastor Anhalt, “As I was praying, I heard a voice . . . saying, ‘Send the call back; I have something else for you!’” After thanking the Lord for His answer, Pastor Anhalt went back to sleep. When he told his wife about this, she mentioned having heard that the pastor in Hendrum, MN had just resigned. Pastor Anhalt declared, “That’s it! We’re going to Hendrum!” That was in mid-October, but he heard nothing from Hendrum until mid-December. Still having no official word by late December, he prepared his Buxton resignation letter in faith. Finally in mid-January the official Hendrum call came - just in time for Pastor Anhalt to include his resignation letter in the Buxton annual meeting. Of Hendrum he remarked, “I have never been so sure that I was in the right place where the Lord wanted me to be!” The move to Hendrum was a move ordained of God, but it was only a prelude to the move of God yet to come.
In every sermon at Hendrum, Pastor Anhalt tirelessly preached the need to personally repent and trust Jesus as Lord and Savior. He continued these themes in Confirmation. So serious was he that he even told the confirmands of his sadness in knowing that some of them would not mean their Confirmation vows and might not be among the saved on Judgment Day. Pastor Anhalt further emphasized repentance and salvation by bringing LEM evangelists and youth ministry teams into the church and by taking the youth to the annual LEM Mid-Winter Youth Conference. In 1970, one young man with an especially sinful reputation went along to that conference and, to everyone’s surprise, responded to an altar call to receive Jesus. According to one, “This news spread through the community like a shock wave. God had everybody’s attention.” Within a short time, three other high school boys were converted and began meeting independently for Bible study and prayer. As revival spread and other youths were saved, the group grew. Often they would meet spontaneously for fellowship in the church basement or at a nearby farm. At the revival’s peak, thirty or more enthusiastic Christian young people would gather on log seats around a bonfire in the woods for singing, testimonies, and prayers. Having a burden for their friends, they also organized a youth-led evangelism crusade. The spreading revival had quite an impact on those early 1970’s high school graduating classes. Forty years later, one recalls, “It was an exciting time . . . to experience the reality of Jesus in our lives!” Another testifies, “I marvel at the privilege that was mine . . . to be part of that true move of God.”
A high percentage of the youth revival activities were extracurricular and unsupervised by the church. Although this concerned some, Pastor Anhalt did not seem worried. He knew that through the preaching of God’s Word a solid foundation had been laid, and he was fully confident in the Holy Spirit’s work in the hearts of his youth. In later years, he summed up those revival years: “We feel good about this and thank the Lord for the increase . . . The Lord is good and full of blessings. Praise his name!” We at the LEM praise the Lord too and pray that He might move once again today in reviving power.
(Special thanks to Mr. Wayne Almlie and Pastor Byron Meline, two of the youths who were touched by God during the Hendrum revival, for their major contributions to the second half of this article.)Log in to add a comment
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