In rummaging through a trunk yesterday I found a small diary which gives glimpses of Evangeline's heart life.
In it she describes part of her itinerary of evangelism with her beloved father and with others.
She speaks of the summer she insisted on staying at home with little Esther (then about eight years of age), that they might take summer school work and give their mother a chance to evangelize. Imagine my reluctance in leaving the two jewels in Los Angeles, and also my intense loneliness when I was perched up in one of New York City's big 400 room hotels all alone, while conducting a revival there!
I had several calls that summer but canceled the last one to give vent to my bursting, lonely heart. After I had traveled clear across the continent and at last with great exuberance opened the door upon my darlings who were not expecting me, I was met with, "Mamma; what made you leave your camp meeting to come home? Why, we are all right". To my surprise, instead of doing nothing, the dear girls were assisting one of our pastors in a tent meeting at Venice, one of California's beautiful beaches.
Evangeline sometimes sang or spoke in the various missions of Los Angeles. She was a member of the College Trio which was often called to sing in religious services. During the winter months our three children accompanied us to revivals over week ends, as their father was kept busy in and around Los Angeles holding such meetings.
On Saturday morning, March 4, 1924, she wrote in her diary: "O Lord, Thou art my only comfort Blessed be Thy name! Jesus, please heal my broken heart. Amen!" The dear girl was passing through a severe trial at that time but knew where to find solace and comfort.
Evangeline was very modest. She often preached but did not call it that. In her diary, December 12, 1926, she writes, 'Today is to be a big day. Papa preaches in the A. M. I think I'll sing, 'The Love of God.' Oh, how matchless His love is!" At night she wrote, "Three services were too much for Papa, so I had to 'talk' in one of them." This was at Columbus, Ohio.
On their way to their next meeting they stopped at Rev. and Mrs. Whisler's, in Indianapolis. She wrote, "Slept last night at (Sister) Whisler's. This A. M. I played and sang for them, 'This World Is Not My Home.'" (Her most popular song: prophetic of her short life.)
She stopped off at Greenville, Ill., (College) and had a fine visit with many of her old schoolmates from Los Angeles.
"During the rest of the winter, Papa and I held meetings," she writes, "at Redlands, Cal., for Brother and Sister Cochrane, Santa Monica, for Brother and Sister Reynolds, at the Nazarene Church on the avenue for Brother Morrison, and at Phoenix, Ariz., for Rev. and Mrs. Elvis Cochrane.
"After this meeting, Papa and I came back to California and held a meeting for Brother Wells, in Huntington Park.
"The following summer was one of the saddest and yet most victorious summers in my life. I fasted and prayed a good deal of the summer."
November 4, 1927, she writes, "Kingswood College, Kentucky. Tomorrow is my birthday -- twenty-three years old. Oh, how good and patient and loving God has been to me through all these years! My heart is inexpressibly heavy tonight. I want so much to go to Heaven but don't begin to deserve such relief. O dear God, please, please, compel me to do Thy will."
"O my God, my mind is so bewildered and I have no wisdom to know what to do.
"Savior, help me or I die."
"I will be more careful to obey Thy checks this year and forever after. I pledge myself, though all unworthy and broken, to be clay in Thy blessed hands. If Thou canst possibly use me somewhere, oh, please speak plainly to me, or rather, help me to know Thy voice.
"'Not for ease or worldly pleasure, Nor for fame, my prayer shall be; Gladly will I toil and suffer, Only let me walk with Thee."'
"I'm so unworthy but I'm so grateful for Thy mercy. Blessed be Thy matchless name! I need Jesus every hour. Good-night, Diary."
During Christmas vacation of that same year, she accompanied Brother and Sister Butler to Hartford City, Ind., where she assisted them in a revival.
Then followed her engagement to Rev. W. L. Surbrook, President of the College.
They were married during the summer, between camp meetings, scarcely losing a day from their tour of evangelism which had kept Evangeline either with her father or with me, or both, that year until her marriage.
After this, they went to Kingswood and she assisted in the teaching, but was excused from this work long enough to accompany her husband to his meetings in Ohio. Her last revival was in Indiana with her father, for Rev. J. J. Coleman, pastor of the Wesleyan Church. This was about three months before her departure.
We trust, sweet girl, to see you again after our battles are fought and the victory won. We hope we have your sympathy as we toil on, while you have been more favored and are at rest forever. Farewell, Evangeline. Mother.