Incidents in Travel and Soul Winning – By Elmer & Julia Shelhamer

Chapter 14

Deliverance From Death

I have escaped from death miraculously at least a dozen times, but have space here to refer to only one instance. This occasion was at Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I was invited there by the “A. E. B.” (African Evangelistic Band) for their Annual Convention, January, 1933. This was their second convention, one being at Sea Point (Capetown) the previous September. Wife and Esther were with me there.

This, as far as we know, is the only movement in South Africa which stands for Holiness as a distinct second work of grace as believed and taught by Wesley and his co-adjutors. The two Misses Garret of Simonstown, Captain Dobbie, Brother Williamson and others of Capetown, are the leaders. Under them are young men and women doing evangelistic work throughout the country. Most of the big churches refuse their services though they work without salary and are interdenominational. We should pray for this noble work and assist them in every way possible. I felt led to donate nearly two hundred dollars’ worth of books to be sold and proceeds used as they desired. This is strictly a faith work and any donation to them will be money well invested. Through them many doors were opened to us. Captain Dobbie became our manager and proved himself to be a great, all-round leader.

But I started to tell about my healing at Port Elizabeth. Some twelve of us were entertained in a large house, rented for the occasion. One day we had “curried lamb,” of which I am very fond. However, when I ate two bites I felt checked and ate no more. But it was too late and I had a case of ptomaine poisoning. I thought I would die. In fact, I told an attendant where to bury me, and to wire wife six hundred miles away. They all prayed, and I was spared, though not entirely well. I pulled myself out of bed and preached two and three times daily, after each service going back to bed again. I asked to be excused; but when I saw their hunger and disappointment I could not refuse, though I was so weak I had to sit and preach.

Finally, the convention being over our good big Brother Gush took me about one hundred miles to the next point. On our way he bought some nice, golden prickly pears and prepared two for me, which I ate. This gave me a relapse, and I now thought surely I would die. Satan was pleased, and for the first time granted a great concession: “If I cannot get you to cool off and compromise, I will consent for you to go to Heaven, but will put a stop to your doing my kingdom any move damage.” Oh, how in that hour of intense pain, I felt his sullen wrath. It seemed I was left alone with a fiend, in a strange land among strangers, and all was so dark. Again, I told them I must be dying and to wire wife.

But. blessed be God, He did not forsake me, but came to my relief. Oh, how I appreciate life since then, and feel that I am immortal till my work is done. I am satisfied that many good men die before their time simply be cause they give up too soon. “According to your faith (or lack of faith) be it unto you.” Satan must go to headquarters and get permission before he can kill me. Hallelujah!

“Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.”


“In hope of that immortal crown,

I now the cross sustain;

And gladly wander up and down,

And smile at toil and pain;


“I suffer out my three-score years,

Till my Deliverer come,

And wipe away His servant’s tears,

And take His exile (Elmer) home.”