“God Is So Real”
By Paul Froese
Editor’s note: This article is reprinted from the book, Our Pentecostal Heritage, published by the Illinois District U.P.C. in 1963.
It was indeed a memorable occasion in September of 1928 when we were first introduced to the Pentecostal message in Belleville, Illinois. Pentecost was not very well known at that time. Brother J.O. Underwood had a church not too far from our home, but we belonged to another church and never ventured too near.
On the above-mentioned date, Dr. Charles S. Price came to our city and preached the first divine healing sermons I had heard. It was illuminating as well as astonishing. The things we saw and heard amazed us. The sick were healed by faith through prayer. Miracles of all description were wrought. Naturally, this brought crowds, and we were part of them. In these meetings we had our first contact with the supernatural power of God. One of my sisters was slain by the power of God, and was taken home in a car. She did not regain her natural senses until the next day. This was all new to us, but we knew it was God.
After this revival closed we had not been fully led into the Pentecostal way. In about three weeks Brother N.J. Gall came to Brother Underwood’s church to conduct a revival. We went to the revival and again we saw the real demonstrations of God’s power. This revival was similar to the “Price Healing Campaign”. During this meeting, we heard the Jesus Name message. We found it was in the Bible and what we had was not the full gospel. On the 25th of October I was baptized in Jesus’ name. Two weeks later I received the Holy Ghost in the City Hall of Belleville. The revival had to be moved because of the large crowds. 97 received the Holy Ghost and 69 were baptized in Jesus’ name.
What a change came to our family! All but two were saved and filled with the Holy Ghost in this revival. Only those who knew us before could realize the great change that had taken place. God is so real. He is just the same today as before. He still saves and fills believers with the Holy Ghost. We need to meet the conditions of the Word of God. We cannot bargain with Him; only on His terms can we be saved.
The depression years soon followed. God proved Himself to be the provider, for we had a large family. On occasions we thought we hardly had enough to satisfy our own hunger, but other families were invited to share what we had. After the meal, we discovered that everyone had had enough to eat, and some food was left. This happened many times during those years.
In 1933-35 we all attended the “Pentecostal Bible Training School” conducted by the P.M.A. At the close of the school, I settled in Belleville and attended my home church. The next few years, after I married, we started getting ready for the active ministry. On Sunday afternoons, my wife and I conducted a Sunday School class at an old sawmill in the country near Freeburg, Illinois. These were trying times. Roads were very bad. Many times, after we had gone as far as we could in the car, we had to walk over a mile to reach the location. Many times we got stuck in the mud thinking we could make it through. One person we taught in that rural Sunday School is now a member of the Apostolic Church in Belleville.
The sawmill closed after a few years and the people moved away. We considered what we should do next. In the year 1939, we made our next move. Brother R.R. Tripp resigned our home church. We were asked to serve as minister and later as pastor of the Apostolic Church. We served that church for 19+ years. It was a humble beginning, but after erecting a new building at the location of the present church, we devoted our full time to the work. We built a new parsonage later.
I was ordained to the ministry in Anderson, Indiana on April 13, 1941, by Brother H.A. Goss and the late Brothers B.H. Hite and S.S. Grant. To this calling we have tried to be faithful to our Lord.
In January of 1958 we were asked to come to Pinckneyville, Illinois to serve as pastor. We are happy in our field of labor and thank the Lord for His blessing.
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In Memory of Paul Froese, Sr.
Rev. Paul Froese, 1912 – 2002
This article is reprinted from the Pentecostal Herald, August 2003.
On April 17, 2002, heaven received a great saint and warrior for the kingdom of God.
Paul Froese was born in Belleville, Illinois, on August 22, 1912, to Theodore and Rosina Froese. He was filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost in 1928, and shortly thereafter began his ministry. He evangelized with his brothers and sisters throughout the Midwest before attending Bible School in Louisiana, Missouri, and Dallas, Texas.
In 1937 Brother Froese married Eileen Wolff. The following year he was asked to become interim pastor of his home church, the Apostolic Church in Belleville. Shortly thereafter he was elected pastor of the church, and remained there for 19 and one-half years. In January 1958, he accepted God’s call to go to Pinckneyville, Illinois. He pastored the First Pentecostal Church of Pinckneyville for thirty-eight years, retiring in 1996.
Brother Froese was the first youth president of Illinois after the merger of the Pentecostal Church, Incorporated, and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ in 1945, forming the United Pentecostal Church. He also served as district Sunday school director in the ‘50s and was the first foreign missions director in Illinois, a position he held until 1979.
Brother and Sister Froese had five children, Ruth (Dehne), Paul, John, Deborah (Fritchley), and Marie (Sawyer). He enjoyed thirteen grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.
Brother Froese was a 'fixture' at the Illinois District Camp. He worked at the camp from 1943 until shortly before his death, and was involved in the construction of both the Murphysboro camp and the present facilities at Wapella. When he was not involved in the tabernacle he could be seen riding his motor scooter, and later his golf cart, across the grounds, working security or helping any way he could. His son, Paul G. Froese is the current camp caretaker.