My Conversion and the Baptism of the Holy Ghost

Personal Testimony by the Former Actress, ANNA LEWINI.*



It is twelve years ago since I was converted. When I look upon my life, it is so plain to me how God has led me and let everything work together to the one object, my salvation.

Tender words, stern words had God spoken to me before, but never had it sounded as a special call to me, I may say alluring, drawing. But when I heard a sermon delivered by Pastor Barratt, from Norway, at a little private meeting, God’s word laid hold of me so mightily that I said to my colleagues again and again: “I am quite overwhelmed.” In simple words the life of Moses was described.

It was on Saturday afternoon. Before I go further I will say that I only went to the meeting in the afternoon out of curiosity. Nothing else took me there. I had heard so much from the newspapers about the so-called “Pentecostal Movement” and “speaking with tongues,” that I wanted to go and see for myself what it was like. Strangely enough, several times there had been invitations to the “private” meetings, and several of my colleagues had been there, but it had always happened that I did not know anything about the time they were held. And it was just the same this time. Seemingly by pure accident I heard it. Now I can understand why I was kept away. The devil does not like to see that a soul gets saved. It was an evening meeting. I went to some of my friends and told them about the events of the afternoon.

At that time I was actress at a theatre in Copenhagen. I rejoiced to live, and had a good and even temper and disposition, so it was neither sorrow nor adversity which drove me to God.

I got one of my friends to accompany me to the meeting. It was crowded. There was preaching, but, strangely enough, I do not remember what it was about. There was praying, singing, and different testimonies, but there was no “speaking with tongues” that evening. I was not at all affected by what I was seeing and hearing, but two things astonished me. First, the joy that filled these people, and then the love I experienced. There was something about these people which I had not met with before. I stood and looked with wonder at their happy faces. I seemed to have, in a fairly large measure, what the children of the world call a light-hearted temperament, but I could see well enough that this was something different.

The actor who had accompanied me to the meeting was much laid hold of, and was very angry because during the evening I spoke and laughed about different things. Indeed, the whole thing was so strange to me. I shall never forget, for example, the effect it had upon me when, after singing a couple of hymns, they invited everybody to join in prayer, and the greater part of the assembly knelt down.

As a child I was accustomed to go to church and Sunday school, but after my confirmation I went absolutely away from everything pertaining to the Christian life, went quite out into the world, and I can say that as the years went by I became more and more averse to anything that had the slightest tendency towards religion. What has happened to me is in truth a miracle.

It was about 11 o’clock, and the meeting did not look like closing. I said good-bye to my companion. Had I been overwhelmed in the afternoon, he was now. The next day (Sunday) I had to act at the afternoon performance at the theatre, but in the evening I was free. I then resolved to attend a meeting which was to be held in the “College House,” I think at about 7.30. Oh, how I remember every hour, yes, nearly every minute of those days! When I came out from the theatre the sun was casting its last beams over the city. It was with a beating heart I went to the meeting. What would happen? and how would all these things end? Was it only emotion, or what was it? You must constantly remember how strange the whole thing was to me, and how suddenly I had been thrown into it. No wonder that a thousand thoughts and questions were pressing me.

As there was plenty of time, I went to my friends in whom I had confided the previous evening. I met the lady of the house. Her husband was not present; it was he who had attended the meeting with me the evening before. She began the conversation. She told me of the impression the meeting had had upon her husband the evening before. The same had happened to him as to me: he was quite overwhelmed. I asked her if she did not think he wished to go to the meeting that evening.

“No, he dare not.”

“Why not?”

“No, he dare not go there any more, for he feels that he would be convinced, and if that happens he cannot remain any longer at the theatre, and then we shall have nothing to live upon.”

He confirmed later on what his wife had said to me. (A few months later they both got saved. He is now in the glory and she has Ieft the theatre.) So I went alone. I promised myself that this should be the last time.


Oh, how I see everything before me! When I came the hall was crowded. I forced my way through the middle entrance, where the people were standing in a close crowd. Not a seat was to be found. Then suddenly someone got up and left his place. I was not slow in taking it. It was a front seat opposite the platform. It was just like the evening before, singing, preaching, and praying by turns. All went well. I joined in the singing as well as I could. But now we came to a hymn, the first verse of which reads thus (from Danish):--


“There never was anyone like Jesus on earth,

So merciful, loving and kind;

There never is anyone like Jesus so great,

Especially to the sheep gone astray.

He gave up His life and He shed His blood,

He sacrificed all things for me;

With the devil He fought till the victory He gained,

My Jesus did not spare Himself.

But sacrificed all things for me.”


That song sealed my fate. It was as if God revealed Himself to me between the lines. I can still feel at this moment what was going on in my heart. While the tears were streaming from my eyes, I strained myself to catch every word. It seemed as if the whole song was addressed to me. In reality I did not understand it at all, but still I felt that everything was so direct to me. Now the ice around my heart was broken, and Satan was indeed afraid. He immediately spread his net around me. He told me that the whole thing was nothing, and, to tell the truth, I knew nothing. Only one thing was evident to me: I was feeling very miserable. Still, I tried to explain the whole thing away. A terrible struggle ensued. How I rejoice at this moment that I, by the endless grace of God, received power to withstand these great temptations! Yes, it is all of Grace. We can do nothing in or of ourselves. I thank God with all my heart for the victory. Hallelujah!

I cannot realise or understand at all that I, so unworthy as I feel myself to be, should have come into this glorious life.


I have no words to describe the happiness that fills my heart. Yes, it is true what you sing in an English chorus:--


“Tis joy unspeakable and full of glory,

And the half has never yet been told.”


But the greatest poet in the world would not be able to describe the wealth of glory I have experienced after my conversion. It seems to me sometimes as if a little corner of the veil had been lifted up, so that I was able to look into “the Holiest of all” for a moment.

When the meeting was ended, they said there would be an after-meeting, but only for those who wished to draw nearer to God in prayer. They made an earnest request that all those not wishing to take part in the after-meeting should leave the hall, as they did not want to have curious spectators. On the one hand I could say I did not remain behind out of curiosity, but on the other hand I did not feel I could take part in the prayer meeting in the way they meant.


It was as if I were fixed to the spot. During the singing of a hymn the people should leave. I wanted to go, but I could not. Then I went to a window recess and hid myself. Yes, I must have come


but now I was right in the very midst of it all! Most of them knelt down, and I stood in my little corner and followed all with the greatest interest.

When the prayer meeting was over, they sang another hymn. Had I wept during the last, it certainly was no better now. With joyful faces and full hearts they sang:--


“He hath cast all my sins behind His back, He never sees them more;

As far as the East is from the West are they far from me,

He never sees them more.”


This was too much for me. Here I stood before something in which I had no part. Oh, how I envied their joy! One could tell by the expression on many faces that they could sing this song with all their heart. It was not only something that they had learned by heart; they had the assurance that what they sang was a reality. And so Christianity ought to be. Our words and actions should just be convincing to the world. They should see that it is nothing tacked or pasted on, but that it is a real experience.

How I wished to cast myself down and cry to God, but I could not. At the present, everything in and around me was confusion. I did not know which way to turn. What was it that was happening to me? Now I know. It was the fight between light and darkness. It was a special call of grace from God to me, I stood before--the great decision of my life. This was the call, but the hard thing was that I had to choose for myself. Satan did not spare any means to make me irresolute and despairing.

The after-meeting was drawing to a close. A young girl came up to me and asked if I was saved. I did not answer a word, but in my heart I was very angry at this “sauciness.” I went out.


The next day was but one great struggle. “My wings were clipped.” I could not fly. With one blow the world had become changed to me. It was as if we looked through a camera, all was turned upside down. I had no peace. I never knew before how I was bound to the world and its joy. But to choose, that is what I had to do.

Glory be to God! He has been and will be the strongest under all the circumstances of life. It was He who conquered for me. I understood what it implied, understood that the choice I now made meant life or death here and in eternity. I learnt much by these struggles. At last the day after dawned, that is, Tuesday, 27th April, 1909. I had got admission to a special meeting for the assembly.

That evening was the deciding point for me. I had in the intervening time from Sunday evening prayed as best I could to get clearness on these points: if a God existed, and how to believe in Him; and God answered my poor but sincere prayer. The question was asked if anyone would come forward to be prayed with. Sitting close beside the speaker’s platform, I knelt down to be the object of the believers’ prayers. In that moment I gave my heart to Jesus, and dedicated my life to Him, and He took me


“The joy of salvation” which David speaks about I partook of fully the following day. When I awoke the next morning I could indeed exclaim: “Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.” And since then? I can only say: “Marvellously the Lord has led me ” God’s grace has been great. Little did I know what it meant when I said:


but it became my motto from that day. During the first days I had to suffer much scorn and scoffing, but it soon wore off, because I at once took my stand wholly and fully. You who read these lines remember that the more whole-heartedly you take your stand for God’s cause, the easier you will come through opposition. I was, as everyone who has been so suddenly converted, looked upon as mad.

At length it was May 13th, 1909, a few days after my conversion. Also a glorious day to remember. Then I received


with signs following as they are spoken about in the Scripture, and spoke in new tongues, as they did in the early days of the church.

The Lord led me forward step by step. God does not try us beyond our ability, and I have also seen that only as I first gave all into the Lord’s hand was He able to help me. From ten to twelve days I pleaded with God in prayer, waiting to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Everything I knew of I laid down at the foot of the Cross. So one day, after having had a long wrestling in prayer, I said: “Now I cannot pray any more; dear Lord. Now Thou must give it me if it is Thy will. I can do no more!” And it was to that point I should be brought. Only by grace! and by faith.

In the evening there was a meeting, and I went thither. Now I had almost given up the thought of being able to receive this blessing, which I so ardently longed for. I did not know my Bible well enough to understand that “the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and Fire” is for all God‘s children. But, glory be to God, it was also for me! And if the Lord was able to give this glory to me, there is no one who need give up hope. It is also for you, dear reader; the whole, the full blessing. During the last days sometimes it was as if a strange power took possession of me. I was not master over this myself. I cannot describe it. But it was as I say, as if an unseen power reigned over me. Ignorant as I was of the nature of that for which my whole heart was longing after, I did not understand that this was just the beginning. It was the power of the Holy Spirit which was about to prepare the way. I am so thankful to God that I was so ignorant. Therefore no doubt has ever arisen in me, but that it was the power of God’s own Holy Spirit which at that time wholly took possession of me.


The least doubt would be a sin against the blessed Holy Spirit--that Spirit which has unfolded such glorious beauties that our tongues have no words in which to express it. Then the after-meeting is beginning. I knelt at a chair. What I was asking I cannot remember. In a moment there came a brother and laid his hands upon my head (Acts viii., 17; xix., 6). Instantly the wonderful and indescribable came to pass. A joy unspeakable was flowing through my heart and all my being. I would give thanks and praises to the Lord, but He Himself took my speaking organs, and I began to make a joyful noise


This lasted for two hours or more. The interpretation of what was said there in a strange language I did not get, but there was no need of that. I know there were songs of praises and thanksgiving to the Lord for what He had done to me.

It is now twelve years ago, and the holy fire is burning quite as much within me at this moment as on that evening when God met me in His wonderful manner.


From: Confidence, No. 128, January-March 1922, pag. 7, 10-12, Sunderland, England


*Translated from Danish by Ada Griffiths