Louis Brant Biography, Iowa Evangelist - Louis Conversion

LOUIS' CONVERSION

On Sunday, March 12, 1922, the Christians met at the Louis Brandt home for the assembly meetings and Oliver Smith was with them for the day. Since they were all family and was often the custom, they had dinner together after the meetings. When dinner was over, the ladies went to the kitchen to clean up the dishes and the men retired to the living room to visit. When the ladies finished that day, they joined the men in the living room and one of them sat down to the piano and the happy little group began to sing hymns.

This disturbed Louis greatly, as he couldn't participate in the fellowship that they were enjoying. He got up and walked through the kitchen into the laundry room and stood looking out the door. While standing in front of that glass door, he said to God, "I'll never pray again."

He vowed then and there that he would never get on his knees again to pray. He and his wife had agreed that when they were married, they would get down on their knees together by their bedside each night to pray. He would silently repeat the Lord's prayer, "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen." Matthew 6:9-13. But Louis had come to realize that God was not his father so he had long given up this prayer.

In its place he was praying the publican's prayer, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Luke 18:13. But that afternoon Louis lost the publican's prayer as well. He had assumed that God was obligated to save him if he prayed that prayer, but in the laundry room on that March Sunday afternoon, he gave up on that prayer, too.

Oliver stayed for supper that evening and when they finished eating, Jim Booth, the hired man, went to the barn to do the chores. Oliver and Louis went into the living room and sat down. Oliver began speaking to Louis about believing, as this is what troubled him so much. He always thought he did believe! Finally, for the first time Louis spoke up when he was being spoken to about God's salvation. He said to Oliver, "That's all right, Oliver, but how am I ever going to know that I believe?" With that Oliver replied, "Oh, maybe I see your difficulty." He took his Bible and opened it to John chapter 4 and read verses 46-50:

"So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way, thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way." As he was reading that last phrase, Louis was saved. Then Oliver turned to John 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed from death unto life." He that believeth hath everlasting life! It was as simple as that! Louis always wondered why Jesus had to die and now he knew!

Louis didn't say anything. Oliver didn't either, but he got up from his chair and went into the kitchen and said to Amanda, "I think Louie got saved."

Oliver stayed overnight that evening and Louis looked for an opportunity to talk with him the next day but it appeared as though Oliver was avoiding him. Finally, as they were standing on the porch before he left, Louis said, "Oliver, I had a kind of strange experience yesterday, but I don't know if I'm saved or not." His reply was, "Well, if you are, it will clear up to you." And with that he left.

The next several days were some of the most miserable that Louis had spent. Before that, he knew he wasn't saved and now he didn't know whether he was or not. But at the supper table on Friday evening, he looked at Jim Booth, his hired man, and said, "Jim, you ought to do what I did last Sunday evening." And Jim, in his southern drawl, said, "What did you do?" And Louis responded, "I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour." Amanda had been waiting all week to hear those words. She got up from the table and went into the kitchen and shed tears of joy. Louis later confessed the first one that he told that he was saved was the horse "Pete." He went into the barn and as he walked next to the stall beside "Pete" he slapped him on the shoulder, and said, "Pete, you got a new master today."

On Sunday morning, March 19th, the Christians gathered in the Elmer Brandt home to remember the Lord. As Louis was putting his team of horses in the barn, his brother, Elmer, came to him and said, "Lou, I heard you got saved." And Louis assured his brother that, yes that was true. After reading the scriptures together, Elmer said, "We'll need an extra chair this morning." Louis, knowing what his brother meant, said, "Maybe I ought to wait awhile." But Elmer, being a young Christian and not completely versed in the truth of scripture, responded, "You're saved, what do you want to wait for?" So Louis sat down with them and remembered the Lord before he was baptized. It wasn't until June 18th that Oliver baptized Louis in the Mississippi River at Clayton.

It was shortly after Louis was saved that the Christians cleaned up an unused schoolhouse, known as the West Side School, about a half mile from Sunny View Farm, and they began to hold their assembly meetings there.