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Eliza's Testimony


Eliza Șerban
I have known Eliza for a good, many years from meetings in her church and in youth camps in Romania. She was a Christian girl, very pleasant with a wonderful sense of humor. On the other hand, she was thin and sickly, having to be very careful about her diet. She was also plagued with fears that tended to cloud her life and keep her from enjoying the tremendous blessings of the gospel.

She married Sammy Șerban, a friend and also brother of a missionary. They honored me by asking me to speak at their wedding, but to my great embarrassment, I forgot to bring my passport to the airport and consequently, was denied my flight to Romania. Someone else took my place at the wedding. Sammy got a job as an engineer in London, but I would see them on rare occasions at a family camp, when they came to visit Romania. They have two sons, Luca and Patrick.

While living in London, Eliza became sick and went through surgery. It was after the surgery that she had several brushes with death (I can’t recall how many times, but there were several.) and actually had to be revived by CPR on one occasion. In fact, the doctors told Sammy that it was over. One night, before the CPR experience, they said definitely that she would die. I think Eliza would agree that, in herself, she was not yet ready to face death.

At this point, we will begin to read her letter and learn of a continued illness and her deep, spiritual needs, and then… we will see how the Lord intervened and turned her life right side-up. I bring this letter before you, in order to show you the joy, power and blessing that there is in the promise of the Father, given clearly in His word…

Hi Brother Lowell!!

Wow! It has been ages since we last spoke, but it doesn’t seem so distant to me, as I follow your blog. I have been reading and re-reading some of your articles, especially on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the First Corinthians study.

Luca and Patrick in Hong Kong
We live in Hong Kong now since February, 2019. While I was in London, at one dark moment in my life, I realized that, if we continued to stay in London, there was a good chance that my children might not believe. That is, they would not see God’s power and, I thought that Luca and Patrick might get an intellectual understanding, but would not know the reality of God.

This was before I stumbled across a YouTube video of the life of Jackie Pullinger (who came as a missionary to Hong Kong from the United Kingdom, when she was 22). It is called The Law of Love. After that something happened to me and I had a burning desire to go to Hong Kong. Sammy was, of course, unimpressed and, because I kept at it for so long, he got upset with me. I just prayed one of the few genuine prayers that I prayed during that period of my life (I usually could not really pray). I said, "God, if it is your will for us to go to Hong Kong, make it happen that Sammy’s work will send him there. In Jesus’ name. Amen."

Then I forgot about my prayer. I had a very dark year to a year and a half in London, It was dark spiritually, just living superficially, and towards the end of 2018, I started reading 1 Corinthians. I do not know, nor remember how, but suddenly chapter 12 and 14 seemed so clear to me. I looked around, and did not see anywhere the contents of those chapters and I earnestly desired them. However, I was told by a friend, not to seek the extraordinary.

Needless to say, I found out too late, why my spiritual life almost died. I had learned the doctrines of  fatalism and cessationism!! There was turmoil within me and, even though I was reading my Bible at that time, after hearing a sermon, I was so distressed that I went home and closed my Bible without picking it up for months. What I heard was very deterministic and cessationist. A depression came over me, especially after the death of a friend.

Sammy & Eliza
Shortly before that occurred, Sammy came home from work and told me that his boss needed someone to go to Hong Kong to start a new team. Sammy thought of me and the discussions we had previously had about Hong Kong. Fast forwarding through that period, unexpectedly everything went very smoothly in making this big move, in spite of my depression. The boss was so happy that Sammy was willing to go and, after we accepted, I remembered my prayer, which I had totally forgotten. I just knew that God had sent us here and my longing and desire was to see His power. I hoped that finally I would get what I was looking for, not a faith on the surface, but to experience the God, Who is the same yesterday, today and forever!

We came to Hong Kong and I was still a mess in this deep depression, and I started to slide into weaknesses, from which I had been delivered, when I became s Christian. Things did not go well, and the fact that God had brought us here began to fade. We started going to a small, international church, where I met a very godly, Indian family. They have become my friends.

After a while, out of nowhere, I got a bad pain in my back and abdomen that did not go away. After tests, the doctors told me that I needed surgery and that it would be difficult, due to my many previous abdominal surgeries. Of course, I accepted my fate, but I was afraid of death.  It was again a very dark time and I told a few women here in church about my condition. The Indian lady was different from all the others. She immediately asked, if she could pray for me and after church, she took my hand and prayed. She asked that the tumor would just disappear - no mention of surgery. I was a bit upset with her, because, I thought, she did not understand that I needed surgery for the situation. After she prayed the second time, I think, the pain went away… although my mental pain persisted.
Every time I talked to my friend and mentioned surgery, she said they were praying that there would be no need for surgery. And now, after seeing four doctors in two different hospitals in the space of 3-4 weeks, having taken the “CT” that diagnosed my problem, and after doing a scan, nothing was there. Consequently, they sent me for an “MRI” and again, nothing could be found anymore! When I asked the doctor if the tumor could have gone away by itself, he told me, “No, it was too big!” He did not have anything else to say and neither did I.

It made me realize that God still sees me… He really sees me!! Something strange happened next. I directly asked my friend, if she prays in tongues (I do not know why I did that as tongues was not of interest to me. I think, it just came out of curiosity). She was a bit shocked at my direct question, but she answered, “Yes.” She began to share some things about the gifts of the Spirit, about tongues, along with prayer and faith. She told me that when she prayed for my healing, she did not feel anything special, only she knew that God is willing to heal. It was a new thought for me, as I had come to believe that His will is only suffering and that healing is not in His will, so I did not even expect it.

I disagreed with her on many things, one being the belief that I just explained, a fatalistic acceptance of all circumstances. I thought that this was the only true doctrine and it was ‘meat’ instead of only milk that some Christians were drinking. I thought that churches, outside of those that I went to, did not have pure doctrine and are liberals, or perhaps they had a prosperity gospel.

She did challenge me, but it was in a very gentle way, and told me she also grew up with the same mentality that I had. However, living in Dubai, a Muslim country, their church was like a New Testament one. They saw prayers answered and experienced the power of God, and it was not only manifested in healings. In Arab countries, Christians have only God to turn to with their big problems.

I still argued with her, but could not deny that she was far godlier than I, and her family also was very godly, as well as kind, loving, helpful and caring. They had faith in God and were honest and sincere. If she said that she would pray for me, I could count on it, because that is what she would do. It was so unlike me... I had a ‘sound, clean, true’ doctrine, so I thought, but I did not have the true biblical picture. She lived in faith, and God was with her.

I wanted that. I felt my world crumbling, because things that I thought were sure and safe for years and years, actually were not true. Subconsciously, I had believed for many years that God wanted me to be miserable and that we must accept all, for all has been predetermined. Therefore, instead of running to God, I was running from Him. I was taught that He does everything, even the work of the evil one. Now, I’m so shocked at this teaching that I can’t mention it anymore. Resigning everything to fate, is what I transformed into accepting God’s will, just because it happened. It was not that I knew from God specifically, what His will was in my case, as Paul did (2 Cor.12:7-9). 

I also believed for many years that the gifts and the baptism of the Holy Spirit were only for the godly Christians, like missionaries, but not for me. They could never happen to me, because I’m not special. I did not believe you, Lowell, or understand, when you once told me I should pray for the Baptism of the Spirit at Lepșa (where there is a Romanian campgrounds). I had no faith that it could happen, as I thought, it was not for me, because I’m not a special Christian, like the ones I looked up to.

My mistake was that I put men in such a high place, that if I saw them godly or with experiences I did not have, then I took everything they said, as if it were all correct... as if it were Bible-truth. (I did not realize it directly, but it is what I actually did.). That is why I fought to accept all that people I admired taught, even if inside of me, everything was saying “no”, and there was turmoil, many tears, and sleepless nights. The story is very long.

This is where your articles enter into the picture. I started to read them again and I started to read some things from What our Hands Have Handled". I realized that you were saying that everything is NOT to be resigned to fate, but that we are to go to war in prayer and trust in God. This is not what I was taught about prayer. I re-read your blog, talked to my friend, and I realized I had been afraid to ask God for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit for fear that I would get a demon. All that I heard about speaking in tongues and the gifts was that it can come from the evil one, and you might get an evil spirit.

My Indian friend showed me the verse that says, "How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Lk.11:13) I also read a booklet from D. L. Moody’s friend, R. A. Torrey, who quoted the same verse. So I saw that God would not give me a demon, if I ask HIM for the Holy Spirit.

My problem was that for years I could not really pray. I did some things that looked like prayer, but I could hardly call them real prayers. With few exceptions, I was daydreaming on my knees, feeling very sleepy and letting my mind go to other things. I could NOT fix this problem and for a long time my prayer had been, “God, just help me to pray!”

Now, I asked my friend to pray for me that I would be filled with the Holy Spirit, and she prayed for me. I felt no emotion, not like I did, when I was a young Christian, but now there was a small state of calm in my heart. Before this, I had been upset with Sammy and I could not rid myself of this attitude. I knew that this was not right, but I could not correct it, so I couldn’t pray, having this state of mind. After my friend prayed, I felt a small quiet down deep inside me. I could barely perceive it, but the anger was there no more… just a calm peace and nothing else!

I expected something else. I think maybe I still do, but at any rate, I went home and that evening I was alone in my kitchen. Again, I asked God to help me pray. I read again that portion, in which He said that He will give to those who ask (read the entire portion, Luke 11:9-13), and faith came over me. I understood the verse and I believed. I asked God to help me to pray, and then I said a word in a language that was not Romanian or English. Suddenly, like a fountain, came a complete language that I did not know and I prayed in shock and with many tears.  There was always so much that I wanted to say in prayer, but only then I could do that. To make it short (this is hugely long), after that my prayer life has been changed... transformed! I can pray in tongues and also in languages that I know, (Romanian and English) and there is a boldness in prayer that I did not have before.

I believe that I was guided by God to talk to two friends and my sister, because I see it produced fruit in their lives, and they shared with me that it helped them. One wrote to you about what had happened to me. I never helped people before, but always needed people to help me and carry me.

It has been an intense journey and still is. I followed your study on 1 Corinthians, but before I read about the gift of tongues, I received the gift. I waited anxiously to see what you had to say about it, as it was so new and sometimes I am unsure concerning what the Bible teaches. I read many times the study on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as I did not understand many things, but now I do understand much more!

I know there is more to know about God. I am aware that I can get spiritually lazy and I still am shocked about how the castle that I had built and thought was true and strong, has crumbled to pieces. That is why, I do not take what any man says, as I did before. It is a new and strange place for me to be.

I’m sorry, it is past midnight in Hong Kong and this is a huge and chaotic email (Lowell's note: I took the liberty to make some adjustments), but I had to send it, now or never! Thank you for so much help you have given me in key moments of my life and for your example, friendship and caring!

We have prayed for Leah. How is she? I am sorry that you go through this difficult time. (You might want to read about Leah in the previous article.)

Many blessings,



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