It began to grow darker in the hospital room, as though it were in a great woods. I could hear the wind blowing through the leaves, yet it seemed a great way off in the forest. You have probably heard a puff of wind blowing the leaves, coming closer and closer to you. I thought, “Well, this is death coming to take me.” Oh! my soul was to meet God, I tried to pray but could not.
Closer the wind came, louder and louder. The leaves rattled and all at once, I was gone.
It seemed then that I was back again a little barefooted boy, standing in that lane under the same tree. I heard that same Voice that said, “Never drink or smoke.” And the leaves I heard were the same that blew in that tree that day.
But this time the Voice said, “I called you and you would not go.” It repeated the third time.
Then I said, “Lord, if that is You, let me go back again to earth and I will preach Your Gospel from the house tops and street corners. I’ll tell everyone about it!”
When this vision had passed, I found that I had never felt better. My surgeon was still in the building. He came and looked at me and was surprised. He looked as though he thought I would be dead, then he said, “I am not a church-going man, my practice is so great, but I know God has visited this boy.” Why he said that, I don’t know. No one had said anything about it. If I had known then what I know now, I would have risen from that bed shouting Praise to His Name.
After a few days I was allowed to return home but I was still sick and was forced to wear glasses on my eyes because of astigmatism. My head shook when I looked at anything for a moment.
I started out to seek and find God. I went from church to church, trying to find some place where there was an old-fashioned altar call. The sad part was I could find none.
I said that if I ever was a Christian, I would really be one. A minister that heard me make the remark said, “Now Billy boy, you are going off in fanaticism.” I said that if I ever got religion, I wanted to feel it when it came, just as the disciples did.
Oh praise His Name. I got religion later on and I still have it, and by His help, I will keep it always.
One night I became so hungry for God and a real experience that I went out to the old shed in back of the house and tried to pray. I did not know how to pray then so I just began to talk to Him like I would anyone else. All at once there came a Light in the shed and it formed a cross and the Voice from the cross spoke to me in a language I could not understand. It then went away. I was spellbound. When I got to myself again I prayed, “Lord if that is You, please come and talk to me again.” I had been reading my Bible since I had been home from the hospital and I had read in I John 4, “Beloved, believe not all spirits, but try them if they be of God.”
I knew that a spirit had appeared to me and as I prayed it appeared again. Then it seemed to me that there had been a thousand pounds lifted from my soul. I jumped up and ran to the house and it seemed as though I was running on air.
Mother asked, “Bill, what has happened to you?” I replied, “I do not know but I sure feel good and light.” I could not stay in the house any longer. I had to get out and run.
I knew then that if God wanted me to preach, He would heal me. So I went to a church that believed in anointing with oil and I was healed instantly. I saw then that the disciples had something that most of the ministers do not have today. The disciples were baptized with the Holy Ghost and so could heal the sick and do mighty miracles in His Name. So I began to pray for the baptism of the Holy Ghost and got it.
One day about six months later, God gave me the desire of my heart. He spoke to me in a great Light, telling me to go preach and to pray for the sick and He would heal them regardless of what disease they had. I started preaching and doing what He told me to do. Oh friend, I can’t begin to tell you what all has happened: Blinded eyes opened. The lame walked. Cancers have been healed, and all kinds of miracles have been done.
One day at the foot of Spring Street, Jeffersonville, Indiana, after a two weeks’ revival, I was baptizing 130 people. It was a hot June day and there were about 3,000 people present. I was about to baptize the 17th person when all of a sudden I heard that still, little Voice again and it said, “Look up.” The sky was like brass on that hot August day. We had not had any rain for about three weeks. I heard the Voice again, and then again the third time it said “Look up.”
I looked up and there came from the sky a big bright star, which I had seen many times before but that I had not told you about. Many times I have told people about it appearing and they would only laugh and say, “Bill, you are only imagining that. Or maybe you were dreaming.” But praise God, this time He had showed Himself visible to all, because it came so close to me I could not even speak. After a few seconds had passed I screamed and many people looked up and saw the star just over me. Some fainted while others shouted and others ran away. Then the star returned back into the sky and the place where it had left was about fifteen feet square and this place kept moving and churning about or as though waves were rolling. There had formed in this place a little white cloud and the star was received up in this little cloud.