For nearly three years invitations had been coming to Brother Branham to conduct a series of healing meetings in the Scandinavian countries. Various circumstances had hindered him from making such a journey, although from the beginning he felt assured that these calls were of God. In January, 1950, at the time that the writer rejoined the party, Brother Branham asked him to make arrangements for the trip to Finland.
This was a step of faith, as at that time there was no money available for the passage (air tickets one-way were $2200 for a party of five) and in fact, because of certain recent circumstances Brother Branham had some unexpected obligations to meet. Nevertheless, in campaigns held during February and March, the Lord provided sufficient funds to meet these obligations and to secure air reservations for the entire party. Early in April, the party (which included besides Brother Branham, Rev. J. Ern Baxter, Rev. Jack Moore, Howard Branham and the writer) upon concluding three days of services at Glad Tidings and Manhattan Center, in New York City, prepared to leave for Europe.
On this date at three o'clock in the afternoon, the party boarded the large overseas airliner, Flagship Scotland, and took off for London, England. It was on April 6, 1909, that William Branham was born. April 6, 1917, was the day that America relinquished her historical isolationism and entered the European War. Historians tell us that it was on April 6, in the year 30 A.D. that Christ died on the Cross. Perhaps the members of the party might be excused for thinking that April 6, is a day of significance.
Moving along over the Atlantic at better than 300 miles per hour, and at an altitude of over 20,000 feet, the plane which carried the party landed on the following mid-morning at the Northolt Airport near London. Several days were spent in visiting historic buildings and shrines of the world's largest city. The climax of the party's stay in that great metropolis was the visit to Wesley's chapel. While there we also saw the Wesley residence, entering last of all the room in which John Wesley prayed every morning at five A.M. Before leaving, we all knelt down and had prayer. It was a moment not to be forgotten.
After two days in Paris, which was spent visiting the historic landmarks, we continued our journey to Finland via a Scandinavian airliner. On the 14th of April, we landed at Helsinki where we were met by several ministers including Pastor Manninen, who had given us the invitation, and Sister May Isaacson, our American-born interpreter, whose knowledge of the Finnish language contributed greatly to the success of our meetings in Finland.
The first service at the Messuhalli witnessed a crowd of 7000 in attendance. After that, several thousand waited outside all afternoon, standing in a line four deep and a half mile long, so that they might be assured of a seat in the largest auditorium in Finland.
During a five day interlude, when the auditorium could not be obtained, the party went north to Kuopio which is not far from the Arctic Circle. Faith was very high in this city and some marvelous miracles took place. One of these was the healing of little Veera Ihalainen, a war orphan, whose photograph is shown elsewhere in this book. She was marvelously delivered from wearing a brace and using crutches, after she had in faith touched the coat of Brother Branham as he passed by.
Two or three evenings the people just passed by and Brother Branham said a brief prayer for each one. By the time that each service was over there was a good-sized pile of crutches and canes which had been discarded. Brother Baxter spoke at the afternoon services, and his messages were received with great interest. Brother Moore and the writer took the morning services, and prayed especially for the deaf mutes and the blind. As many as seven or eight were healed at a time, one after another. One boy learned words so fast that he was used as an interpreter to communicate with the others who were prayed for. One incident that highly intrigued the audience was that the deaf mutes when their ears were opened could learn English words as fast as Finnish.
One event, which will never be forgotten by the members of the party, and which happened while they were at Kuopio, was the raising to life of a child that was run over and killed in an automobile accident, the circumstances of which had been shown to Brother Branham in a vision two years previous. The writer had recorded the vision in the 'fly-leaf' of his Bible. We shall let Pastor Vilho Soininen, of Kuopio, relate this remarkable incident:
"On Friday afternoon a remarkable and startling incident took place which meant much to Brother Branham and to those of us who happened to be its witnesses. Three carloads of us made an unforgettable trip to nearby Puijo Observation Tower situated on a beautiful scenic elevation. The outing was one of the most precious I can remember, because of the blessing of God upon us. Then as we were returning from Puijo, a terrible accident occurred. A car ahead was unable to avoid striking two small boys, who ran out into the street in front of it, throwing one down on the sidewalk, and the other five yards away into a field. One unconscious boy was carried into a car just ahead of us and the other, Kari Holma, was lifted into our car and placed in the arms of Brother Branham and Miss Isaacson who were sitting in the back seat. Brothers Moore and Lindsay were in the front seat with me.
The night we left Kuopio a great crowd of people assembled at the station and sang in their usual minor key, the beautiful Finnish songs. As the train pulled away from the depot, the singing gradually died away, but the pleasant memories of the days spent in Kuopio will not be soon forgotten.
Returning to Helsinki Brother Branham continued services for several more days in the Messuhalli. One morning we ventured out to the edge of the "Iron Curtain." At one point we were only six hundred yards from the Red soldiers. The Finnish guard surrounded our car and warned us that this was no place to be. We were glad to return to our hotel. The Communist element strongly opposed our meetings, and indeed demanded our arrest. A former Chief of Police of Kuopio, a very influential man, was present and intervened for us, and we were permitted to continue the services without interruption. Three days were spent in resting at the close of the campaign, in a castle owned by a wealthy Christian lady. We were treated as kings while there.
However, when the Moscow news broadcast was turned on one evening, we were startled by the announcement (interpreted for us) which declared that American spies were operating under guise in Helsinki. We knew to whom the Moscow radio was referring, and were by no means elated over the notoriety which was being given us. In the case of a sudden outbreak of hostilities, we knew that all gates of exit would be closed immediately, with Russian guns only ten miles from the capital.
Once a rumor was circulated that a break had come between America and Russia, over the shooting down of an American plane by the Soviets. It proved to be only a rumor, but it kept us uneasy. Fear dominates Europe, and most of the Finnish people know that it is only a matter of time until the dam of Communist power will sweep over the boundaries, and push the world into the throes of Armageddon.
On the day that we left Finland, we received a special letter from one of the ministers of the State Church, informing us that there had been a mass meeting of the ministers of the church, and that after considerable discussion, the body under the inspiration of the Branham meetings, had voted to accept the ministry of healing.
Brother Branham wrote in reply a letter of thanks and encouraged the brethren to believe God for mighty things within their ranks. Though we were given to understand that the whole group who had gathered had voted to accept the truth of Divine healing, we knew that did not necessarily mean that every minister in the State Church had endorsed it. That some opposers might later appear might be expected, but the overwhelming sentiment in favor which appeared in the letter we received that last morning was indeed encouraging to us, and made us feel that our journey to Finland had not been in vain.
After a last farewell to our kind friends in Finland, we boarded a plane and two hours later were in Oslo, Norway. There we found a similar interest among the people. Unfortunately, there had been reaction in the government circles against the ministry of Divine healing. The Health Administrator had clamped down with a ban against praying for the sick, and we being foreigners, knew that the moment we should disobey this prohibition we would be expelled from the country.
Nevertheless there was an unexpected and remarkable result of the ban. The city's ministerial group in a mass protest meeting of two hundred ministers "took only one minute to literally shout their unanimous agreement that protest should be made." The following protest was then drawn and signed by some of the most illustrious names in Norwegian religious life.
To the Norwegian Government Oslo
Healing through faith and prayer is an inherent part of the Gospel, and is as an anchor in the life and work of Jesus Christ. Throughout the ages this doctrine has had a firm position in the commonwealth Of Christian life and preaching.
Oslo, May 5th, 1950.
H. Asak-Christiansen, General Secretary of the Norwegian Baptists. Eivind Berggrav, Bishop of the State Church. O. Hallesby, Professor and noted author. Ludvig Hope, Chief Secretary for the Salvation Army in Norway. J. B. Jarnes, Vice-Chairman of Evangelical Churches Fellowship. Nils Lavik, Member of Parliament and Vice-President of the West Norwegian Home Missionary Society. Dr. Alf Lier, Chairman of the Non-conformist Parliament and President of the Methodist Conference. Thv. Storbye, Chairman of the Evangelical Preacher's Fellowship. Alf Bastiansen, District Minister of the State Church. Daniel Braendeland, Editor.
From Orebro, the Branham party went north to Ornskoldsvik which lies only a short distance south of the Arctic Circle. Some 6000 people, it was estimated, jammed in and around the tent. It was said, and we have reason to believe that it is true, that this was the largest religious gathering in the history of the world, near the Arctic Circle. Although at that time it was yet in the middle of the month of May, it was sufficiently light at midnight to take a picture of the tent!
From Ornskoldsvik, we traveled south to Stockholm where is located the largest Pentecostal Church in the world of some 6500 active members and a Sunday School of about 5000. Our visit with Brother Lewi Pethrus and his son, Oliver, who was our interpreter while there, was a highlight of our stay in Stockholm. Utterly unassuming in appearance, yet endowed with wisdom by which he has guided to a great extent the fortunes of the Full Gospel movement in Sweden during the past forty years, Brother Lewi Pethrus charmed all of us as we listened to him in private conversations, as was our privilege on two afternoons.
Brother Pethrus has a simplicity of faith and yet a spiritual shrewdness that has enabled him to build on strong foundations, until today the Full Gospel work in Sweden is renowned throughout the world. Brother Branham's ministry was well-received in Stockholm, and indeed when it came time to leave, Brother Pethrus expressed the hope that Brother Branham would find it possible to return again soon to Sweden. And so the trip overseas came to a close. Brother Branham and all of us had enjoyed our stay in Europe, but we must admit that we were glad when our giant airliner took off from the Stockholm field, and we began our journey home.
When our plane landed safely at Idlewild the following morning, it was with happy smiles that the members of the Branham party put their feet once more on American soil. Brother Branham was back in America. The Scandinavian trip was now history.
Eagerly he looked forward to a well-earned rest and a vacation trip in the mountains. Soon however, he would be back again to continue to preach and minister in the great summer campaigns, and to finish the course that God had given him, knowing that the Lord would keep him from every evil work, and preserve him unto His Heavenly Kingdom. As Daniel of old, he would rest and stand in his lot at the end of the days.