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 I've Never Been Sorry

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"What Is Your Excuse For Living?

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Our History

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 I've Never Been Sorry

by Anna Kalis

"Hertha, we have the best Sunday school teacher in the whole church!" I remarked to my girl friend one day. It was evident by her reply that the feeling was mutual.

Who was this "best Sunday school teacher?" Hans R. Waldvogel, the minister's son, who taught a class of eight lively teen-age girls in the German Baptist Church of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

But why did we feel then - and still do, after more than fifty years - that he was "the best Sunday school teacher?" First of all, his teaching poured forth from the heart of one who had the love of God in his life and saw the value of each one of our souls. He was interested in each individual and treated us in special ways! He literally gave himself to us, and in so doing he gave his time for us "kids." Along with this, he had unique surprises for us.

To this day, I prize the Chinese tea cup which he gave me one Christmas. (Of course, each girl in the class got a similar gifts.) On another occasion each one of us got a silver spoon. Pictures were not as common and plentiful then as they are today. So, when he took our pictures, it was quite an event. (One of his special hobbies was photography in which he became quite proficient.) All in all, he became our hero.

But, more than this, he was our example of Jesus and what Jesus would do in everyday circumstances. We had heard and read I Timothy 4:12, "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity," but now we saw this verse lived out before our eyes. "One example is worth a dozen rules." He portrayed this life to us so casually in his everyday life! His example was the greatest Godly influence in my life.

In addition to being our Sunday school teacher, he was also the Sunday school superintendent. Realizing the importance of memory work, he inspired all the Sunday school to learn Bible verses which he selected, but, as might be expected in this, his own class excelled. During the week, our teacher worked in Chicago at Bayardi Jewelers, one of the finest jewelry firms in that city. Our teacher had Hertha write the Scripture passages - we got a new one each week - in her beautiful handwriting on the back of a "Bayardi Jewelers" calling card. Althought they were in German, Hertha and I could not be stumped for memorizing them. In this way, we learned such verses as, "Trachtet am ersten nach dem Reich Gottes und nach seiner Gerechtigkeit, so wird euch solches alles zufallen" (Matthew 6:33). and "Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt . . ." (John 3:16), and whole chapters, such as, Isaiah 53 and I Corinthians 13, together with all the books of the Bible. All this in German! Over fifty years have passed, and I still can quote many of these verses by memory even though I have had very little occasion to speak German for many years.

In the midst of these years came World War I. How disappointed we were when our dear teacher had to enter the service of Uncle Sam at Camp Grant, Illinois. But he did not forget us! He wrote me several ties, and on my birthday sent me an elegant postcard with a prayer. And then how happy we were when he returned to us!

All this was too good to last, however! One Sunday morning our teacher was missing. He was gone! The sad story was circulated that our beloved teacher and superintendent, the son of our pastor, had been bewitched - verhext was the German word used, and it sounded so w-e-i-r-d -- by the "tongues people!" We were requested to pray for him that the Lord would enlighten and deliver him. But my heart could not accept that he had been verhext. I knew he had a single eye toward Jesus, so I just said, "No way - that's not it." Actually, he had gone to live and work with Mr. and Mrs. George W. Finnern, pastors of the Peniel Pentecostal Mission, located only a few blocks away, but the separation between us was complete so that we saw little or nothing of him at this time.

Not long after this, while in the ninth grade in junior high school, the Spirit of the Lord dealt with me forcefully. One early Monday morning, I felt so guilty and needy I wept bitterly. My mother did her best to console and convince me that I wasn't that big a sinner, but I went to school very conscious of my need of being "washed in the blood>" I seemed to walk softly before the Lord for some time, and then, in revival services which were held at the Baptist Church at that time, conducted by the father-in-law of our pastors' other son, Gottfried Waldvogel, I surrendered my life to God! All the teaching I had received in Sunday school was working, and I found God's peace and joy as I bowed before the cross. (Here I should add that in the end all eight girls in our Sunday school class were converted - the result of our teacher's prayers.)

Hans Waldvogel's mother told him of my salvation. He was happy about it and sent me a nice word of encouragement to keep following Jesus in the way of life. My conversion opened up a new door, and as the hart panteth after the water brooks, so my soul began to pant after God, and soon "He brought me into His banqueting house."

I knew where my former Sunday school teacher was ministering, and so, one day after I was saved, I ventured to sneak into the Peniel Pentecostal Mission and see for myself what Pentecost was like! I was deeply impressed with the joy of the Lord manifested in the free spirit of worship and the warm outgoing hearts of the people there, while our church was so formal. Once I had tasted of the blessing of God in that place, my soul hungered for more. By hook or crook, I was determined to get into those Pentecostal meeting. I would go, as usual, to the Baptist Church, stay through the song service, then leave and literally run from my church to the mission, ten or twelve blocks away! How my heart thrilled in anticipation! I came in late to the mission services, but  my heart was hungry, and I was always helped and encouraged.

When my parents found out what I was doing, they were greatly alarmed over my "going overboard." My father, who was still not saved, was not too pleased even about my going to the Baptist Church, and the Mission was certainly w-a-y out! Both of my parents became very hostile and tried every conceivable thing to get me to stop going. It resulted in the only strapping I ever got from my dad. Mother decided to take my lovely wrist watch from me until I would quit my foolishness. (In those days, very few girls my age possessed a watch.) In my heart, I said, "Goodbye, watch." God had worked in my heart, and I was determined to be true to Him.

One Sunday afternoon, while home alone, I went into my bedroom and, weeping, poured out my soul in prayer. It was a heartbroken cry that the Lord would help me and help my parents to understand. I did not realize the window was partially open and that the neighbor lady heard my prayer. But she did and told my mother about it. This moved my mother and helped to change her attitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 I've Never Been Sorry 

Anna Kalis

Anna Kalis
October 23, 1905
July 21, 1992

 

There were others, besides my parents, who persecuted me. In those days, Pentecost was really despised. Those who attended their meetings were called "Holy Rollers." When I went to the mission, I had to pass a lot where a number of neighbor boys regularly played. When they saw me coming and knew where I was going, they would invariably call out, "Here she comes!" Then they would stop their playing, go into a huddle, and sing a well-known "holy-roller" song, "Oh, There's Honey in the Rock."

One day, as I was walking along the railroad track, praying, the Lord gave me the wonderful verse, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution!" This was a real blessing and encouragement to my heart.

In the meantime, I had been introduced to some fine ministers, such as, Elder and Mrs. Brooks, Mrs. Martha Robinson, and Mrs. Judd, all of the Faith Homes in Zion, Illinois, ten miles to the south of Kenosha, who often came up to minister in the Peniel Mission. Often, I felt that the wonderful victories given me were due to this brand "battery of God's elite servants" who prayed so much for me and taught me the way more perfectly. I am indebted to Mrs. Judd, especially, who taught me so untiringly. At one time in particular, the Lord used her to teach me to be very kind and submissive to my parents ("You do not know it all!"), to take time out with them, and to discuss the things which interested them, etc. This was a great victory, for I do believe my foolish heart often made me to act as if I knew all the answers. I endeavored to obey this word of wisdom, and, undoubtedly, this led them to be more tolerant with me about the Mission. As I became meek and walked humbly before Him and them, He worked for me.

Now came a big surprise: One day, Mother told me that I might just as well take my brother Frank to Sunday school. I could not believe my ears. "Where? What do you mean?" I stuttered.

"Well, he might just as well go where you go!" she replied.

After all, Frank was familiar only with the lovely Baptist Church, its nice choir loft and the big clock that ticked away. (Often, when all was so silent, he would count the clock ticks and look for the "Amen.") The Mission was so different - a little storefront, certainly a very neat and well-kept place in very good taste, but the praises of the Lord were loud, and many outsiders, especially young fellows, would gather in the doorway and make fun of us and play pranks! (How well I remember a Sunday afternoon meeting when they opened the door and let a cat in! She finally came all the way to the front bench and perched on its back. A few minutes later, they pushed in a dog, but fortunately someone knew how to handle the situation!) Now, I was bringing my brother, and I wanted him to like it, so I prayed that all would be done "decently and in order."

When we came, the entire Sunday school was already praising the Lord with their whole heart! The Lord overruled all my foolish ideas, however, and, not long after, my brother was gloriously saved! Another great miracle took place at that time - five of the Sunday school boys of about the same age as Frank followed the Lord. So Frank had real fellowship. (With the intercession of the prayer meeting, each one of these boys eventually became missionaries or ministers of the gospel.)

When I was sixteen years old, I spent a few days with my girl friend, Betty, in Chicago. Hans Waldvogel was holding evangelistic services at Bethel Temple in that city at that time, and the young people all were blessed by his ministry. I seized the opportunity to go to theses meetings. With real expectancy, I went to church. When the altar call was given, I went forward. Hardly did I reach the altar when the fire of God fell on me, and I was baptized with the Holy Spirit. I was never the same after that! I go a new hunger for Jesus!

That was fifty-three years ago, and today, I am most grateful to have experienced that it is the Spirit that quickens and makes alive! Soon I heard His voice calling me to serve Him and could not settle for anything else. To prepare for this, the Lord led me in 1926 to go to live with the Finnerns who had been my ministers in Kenosha but had moved to Chicago the previous year. From them, I received real help and training for three years. There, we had dynamic street meetings and a very fine Sunday school. This did much to prepare me for my future work.

Rudolph & Anna Kalis

On September 14, 1929, I was married to Rudolph Kalis by the one who had been the great influence on both of our lives - Hans Waldvogel. Our one great desire for the wedding was to have Jesus manifest Himself to us all and to all the guests. To that end, we invited about twenty ministers, several of whom were used of God in the meeting which followed the ceremony! These ministers greatly influenced my father who was still unsaved but for whom we had been earnestly praying. Up to that time, he had thought Pentecostal ministers were a simple, inferior class of people, but the array of fine, intelligent ministers at our wedding impressed him. It was not long after this that while at work he had a vision of Jesus on the cross and was gloriously converted. Now all of our family were saved.

After our marriage, we went to New York intending to work with Brother Hans Waldvogel. (My husband had been his assistant for almost two years prior to that.) We were just getting settled in the new Faith Home in Woodhaven when Brother Waldvogel got a request to send a couple to help out for a few weeks in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I was truly disappointed, but, not for long, for we saw it was God's call to us. Those few weeks became forty-six years!

It is thrilling to know that Jesus calls us! How wonderful that He enabled me to hear His voice, "so charming and so wondrous!" May He enable all of us to hear Him and by Him be made whole! The miracles, the healings, the conversions,the tent meetings, the park meetings, the weeks-of-prayer meetings, the transformed lives, and what He did in our united lives during the past forty-six years make me say with all my heart.

I've never been sorry I heeded God's call;
I've never been sorry I yielded my all.
My walk with the Master grows sweeter each day;
I've never been sorry one step of the way!

...more

 

 

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