Louis Brant Biography, Iowa Evangelist - Gospel Introduction


Oliver Smith had been preaching the gospel since the end of 1917 and into January 1918, in the little Mississippi River town of Clayton, six miles from Garnavillo. Souls were saved and Oliver continued to visit in the area from time to time. In August of 1918 an assembly of Christians gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ was formed in Clayton, just before the fire that destroyed the Louis Brandt home.

One of the converts in Clayton, Susie Ricker, had previously worked for Mrs. Fred Kramer (Matilda, also known as Tillie), who was Louis' older sister. After Susie was saved she brought Oliver to Garnavillo to visit Tillie, because she knew that she had an interest in eternal things, as they often talked about such matters together. Seeing this interest, Oliver began preaching the gospel in Garnavillo in an unused church building (now the Garnavillo Historical Museum). Although invited, Louis and Amanda did not attend any of these gospel meetings.

On June 2, 1919, Tillie accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. One day after that she asked Louis, who was driving a team of horses to Elkader, if she could ride along with him. On the way home, Tillie said to Louis, "Louie, I got saved and I know now that I'm going to go to Heaven." He answered, "Well, Tithe, that must be a nice thing to know. But if anybody can know that, why don't our preachers tell us?" Tillie replied, "They don't know anything about it." To which Louis responded, "Well, they ought to, as they go to college and study the Bible. They should know it." "Yes," Tillie said, "they should, but they don't." That was the end of their conversation but Louis thought it must indeed be a nice thing to know.

Although many people came to hear the gospel in Ganavillo when Oliver first proclaimed it, the local preachers discouraged the people from attending his meetings and the numbers dwindled considerably. Oliver often came on a Sunday afternoon during the summer months to have a gospel meeting, as he could use the old church building at any time, but it was only a few members of the Brandt and Dettmer families who would attend.