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Stirring Experiences: 14. Tributes From Prominent People

      That it may be clear that I am unbiased in my conception of her saintliness, permit me to quote from the pen of some who knew her well.


* * *

      My very dear Brother Surbrook:

      We have just learned of your great sorrow, and are shocked beyond expression. We informed the congregation yesterday and called the church to prayer. You have many sympathizing friends in this place. We hardly know what to say. I have passed through this myself. Words do not go very far at a thee like this; however, it must be some satisfaction to know that thousands are praying for you. We are glad that you know so well how to lean upon the Everlasting Arm.

      Evangeline was such a sweet girl, and wife and I have remarked that she was never more beautiful than when we saw her at Kingswood Camp, last August. It hardly seems possible that she is gone, and that we will meet her no more until we meet on the other side; but such is life. If I had known she was going so soon, I would have sent a message by her to Seth Junior, (who died three years ago).

      Again expressing deep sympathy and love,

      Your brother and sister,
      Seth C. Rees and Wife.
      (General Superintendent of the Pilgrim Holiness Church)


* * *

      My precious Brother Surbrook:

      The Lord comfort and bless your bereaved heart The sad news came as a shock to us all; and in the Men's Bible Class I mentioned it, and at once we all bowed and prayed for you and Brother Shelhamer's; then Brother Bees spoke so feelingly of your loss, and the whole church fell on their knees and prayed that you would lean hard on the "Everlasting Arms," and find His grace sufficient. What must our loving Father have in store for you to so try your spirit of faith and love! Some great ministry, in some form, it must be.

      With deepest sympathy for you and the sorrowing loved ones,

      Out of the shadowland, into the sunshine,
      Cloudless, eternal that fades not away;
      Softly and tenderly Jesus hath called her
      Home where the ransomed are gath'ring today.


      Silently, peacefully, angels have borne her
      Into the beautiful mansions above;
      There shall she rest from earth's toiling forever,
      Safe in the arms of God's infinite love.

      "Out of the shadowland, over life's ocean,
      Into the rapture and joy of the Lord;
      Safe in the Father's House, welcomed by angels,
      Hers the bright crown and eternal reward."

      Brother and Sister Grout,
      Pasadena, California.


* * *

      Dear Brother and Sister Shelhamer:

      Our love and sympathy go to you in this time of your great sorrow. Your faith and trust in God will sustain you. The Gospel which you have both preached and lived will be a real source of comfort to you, and the Christ whom you have loved and served will he to you the real and living presence, assuaging your grief and binding up your broken hearts.

      You have, and will have always, the memory of the beauty and sweetness of her life in whom Christ was crowned, and who has made the world richer and better by her devotion to her parents, and to the cause for which you have given your lives.

      Her life here in Hermon has left a fragrance, not only for her friends, but also for those coming after she had gone. Her praise is on everyone's lips. Her life goes on and she is "yet speaking."

      Please express our sympathy to her husband, and to the other members of your family.

      Yours in Christian love,
      Rev. R. H. Warren.
      (Pastor, Hermon [Los Angeles] Free Methodist Church)


* * *

      My dear Brother Surbrook:

      Please accept my deep and sincere sympathy in your great affliction. Your wife was a young woman of rare and saintly character; our memories of her, especially when attending Houghton, New York, camp meeting, are very pleasant. She helped to make the way of Holiness attractive to all who knew her; especially did her life commend the pilgrim way to young people. And now you have lost her companionship -- for a little while -- and she has gone on before. Your loss is great, but you will doubtless find great consolation in the Gospel of Christ in your present Gethsemane of sorrow.

      Sincerely yours,
      I. F. McLeister.
      (Editor, "Wesleyan Methodist")


* * *

      Dear Brother Surbrook:

      I have already written to Brother and Sister Shelhamer my sympathy for them and for you because of the great bereavement that has come to your hearts. I have twice suffered a like affliction and know something of the loneliness of your heart.

      J. T. Logan,
      (Editor, "Free Methodist")


* * *

      Dear Brother Surbrook:

      I have just learned of your dear wife's death. We feel so sorry with you, and desire to have you know that we deeply sympathize with you at this time.

      I have imagined what it would be like if I were in your place. We assure you of our earnest prayers and Christian fellowship. May the Lord uphold you with the right hand of His power and supply to you His wonderful grace.

      Yours in Him,
      W. R. Cox.
      (President, Greensboro Bible School)


* * *

      My precious Brother Surbrook:

      Let me extend to you my very deepest, heartfelt sympathy in your great loss. I know my words are empty and I fear will only tear the wound open again; but you are a Christian! You do not weep as those who have no hope. Mrs. Slater and I loved you both very much and respected Evangeline as a Christian woman of sterling worth and character. She is not dead, -- no, never!

      Her lot is more wonderful than ours. She came to the crossing and slipped over the bar, nor did she go empty-handed. Your interest in Heaven is now increased many thousandfold. And so we pray that you, with more tenderness, more feeling, will buckle on the armor a little tighter than before and will press right on.

      Please do put your arms around Brother Shelhamer for me and whisper in his ear a great, big God bless you.

      Chas. L. Slater.
      (Assistant General Superintendent, Foreign Missionary Department, Pilgrim Holiness Church)


* * *

      Dear Brother Surbrook:

      We are indeed sorry to learn of your wife's sudden going to Heaven, and we share with you your great loss. May God in His infinite mercy bless you and comfort you in your great bereavement.

      Albert M. Ewing.
      (Indiana District Superintendent, Pilgrim Holiness Church)


* * *

      My dear Brother Surbrook:

      May the Lord bless and comfort you, my dear friend, in this your hour of supreme sorrow and loss.

      Sister Surbrook was indeed a rare character -- perhaps too rare a flower to bloom long down here. She was a great blessing to so many; you two seemed to have been formed for each other, and now she is gone. In the arms of Jesus she is safe forever from any harm or pain, and she will be there waiting for you! No question about that. Do all you can for Jesus, win souls, and it will not be very long. God's love will see to that.

      Yours and His,
      P. W. Thomas.
      (President Colorado Springs Bible Training School)


* * *

      Dear Brother Surbrook:

      I have just heard of the death of your wife; even though I have never met you, I feel you have sustained a very great loss, and I want you to know that you have my heartfelt sympathy at this time of your great sorrow.

      Evangeline was a wonderful girl. We have known her from her childhood and it seems hard to understand just why she should be taken so early in life; but the God who is too good to do a wrong, and too wise to make a mistake, knows what is best.

      I sometimes think if we truly love our dead we should be so exalted by their glorious gain that we cannot think much of our loss. Their gain is eternal, while our loss is only temporary; their gain is infinite, while our loss is finite. Let your thoughts follow Evangeline to the place where she has gone, and do not let them remain behind with the earth which she has so profitably abandoned.

      You have our love, sympathy, and prayers at this time. God's blessings on you!

      F. Lincicome, Evangelist.


* * *

      Our dear Brother Surbrook:

      Word came to us about the home-going of your precious wife. How our hearts ache with yours, for Dr. Babcock truly knows the sadness and what it means; and he wants you to know he sympathizes with you. We are both praying that God will not only sustain, but comfort, your lonely heart.

      Mrs. Surbrook was a beautiful soul, was rich in God and a wonderful, pleasing, and gracious heart all the while. She had a wonderful personality. All who met her loved her, and her rich experience in God made us all feel closer to Him by being in touch with her. Her health always seemed to be good. It was a delight to be near her and see her. What a blessing she must have been to you and the folks; but her task is done, her fight is over, and her soul is at rest.

      With deepest sympathy, love, and prayers for you in this lonely hour, we are

      Yours as always, Rev. and Mrs. C. H. Babcock.


* * *

      Dear Brother Surbrook:

      I read a little verse a short time ago that seemed to strike a keynote. Maybe you know it.

      Think -- for Evangeline

      Of stepping on shore and calling it Heaven!
      Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God's hand!
      Of breathing a new air and finding it celestial air!
      Of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality!
      Of passing from storm and tempest to an unbroken calm!
      Of waking up and finding it Home!

      Rev. Orvel Sickler.


* * *

      Our dear Brother and Sister Shelhamer, and Professor Surbrook:

      Having received announcement, through the columns of our Church paper, of the sudden and sad death of your beloved daughter and wife, Mrs. Evangeline Surbrook:

      We, the Quarterly Conference of the Seattle and Tacoma District, Washington Conference of the Free Methodist Church, now in session at Centralia, Washington, wish to convey to you our deep sympathy and condolence because of this strange bereavement that has so suddenly and unexpectedly fallen upon you. We are confident that your loss is her gain, and sincerely pray that the grace of comfort you have so frequently ministered unto others may, at this time, prove to be sufficient to uphold you in this most trying moment.

      Rev. John Timbers, Pres.
      Rev. D. A. Cohagan, Sec'y.
      Bishop Wm. Pearce
      Rev. W. H. Wilson
      Rev. R. L. Pickett and wife
      Rev. E. P. Boyd and wife
      Rev. J. D. Lockard
      Rev. Hugh C. Elliott
      Rev. W. R. Cain
      Rev. F. R. Dawson and wife
      Rev. L. W. Anguish
      Besides these, many laymen.


* * *

      Dear Rev. and Mrs. Shelhamer:

      I spoke to our congregation Sunday morning of the time-going of your dear daughter, Sister Evangeline Surbrook, and of your sorrow. Brother Stevens suggested that the church have a part in expressing our deep appreciation of her, for her beautiful Christian spirit and acceptable work among us last November. A motion was so presented, and by a standing vote the entire Church and Sunday School authorized me to convey to the husband, the parents, the brother and sister, our sincere sympathy for you in this bereavement. It was an early translation, and a gain to her, "taken away from the evil to come," though a great loss to her loved ones and many friends in the Holiness Movement.

      Be assured, therefore of our fellowship with you in this sorrow, and may His abounding grace give you comfort and peace.

      Very Sincerely in Christ,
      J. J. Coleman. (Pastor Wesleyan Methodist Church, New Castle, Ind.)


* * *

      My Dear Brother Surbrook:

      I am, of course, a stranger to you, but I feel that I know you as a brother and fellowman; and we wish to express our feelings of sympathy with you in this crisis of your life. These gales wrestle with us and test our moorings, but they drive us past the surface, and deep into God.

      Likewise they seem to be needed, in one form or another, to break into our very being and bring with them, not more purity, but more of the precious Christ. He will not fail you; He has not failed you.

      Our wives, in their motherhood, far outstrip us in their capacity to take in Christ; and His "gentleness" has made them great. They reach the depths, and then scale the heights before us. Howard W. Jarrett. (Pastor Nazarene Church, Detroit, Mich.)


* * *

      Evangeline was the sweetest and most Christlike person I have ever met, and it seems so strange that she should have to die and others so wicked should live. But of course we are not to question the infinite leadings of God.

      A former student.


* * *

      Dear Brother Surbrook:

      "My Jesus, as Thou wilt!
      Oh, may Thy will be mine;
      Into Thy hand of love
      I would my all resign;

      Through sorrow or through joy,
      Conduct me as Thine own,
      And help me still to say,
      My Lord, Thy will be done."

      I can hear you say, "Yes, Lord, Thine be done." We were in your brother's meeting in Saginaw when the message came, and what a hush and spirit of sorrow came over us as we listened to the shocking news.

      Rev. Henry V. Dekker.


* * *

      Our dear Brother and Sister Shelhamer:

      It is with deep sorrow that we hear of the sudden departure of your precious and godly daughter. We can hardly make it seem really true that she has gone.

      We feel that such as she are so much needed in the home, in the church, and in the world. Sometimes my heart grows hungry for the type of piety that fully abandons for the glories of the Cross, and we fully believe she was of that type.

      Rev. David McLeod
      Rev. Jennie C. McLeod.
      (Pastors Pomona, Calif., Free Methodist Church)


* * *

      Dear Sister Shelhamer:

      We have read and re-read the paper, and shed many tears. I have never had anything to break me up as this did! There are no words to express our deep sympathy to your family and Brother Surbrook. Your loss is Heaven's gain. Our girlies cried and said, "Mother, I want to grow up like Evangeline." Days and days they would sit, at intervals, and read the paper and look at her picture, until a sacred silence came over us. I said the other day that I considered it a rare and choice blessing to have personally known and loved you folks. I feel sure, as the years go by, your lives will prove greater blessings to us, and the memory of your precious daughter will always linger with us.

      Ada F. Schultz, Grand Rapids, Mich.


* * *

      A Tribute to Evangeline Shelhamer Surbrook

      The life of this young saint came under my observation during a revival meeting in which she assisted her father. She was not only capable in presenting truth, but was a burden bearer who could hold on in fasting and prayer. She was a real pilgrim. At a time when it was popular to wear bobbed hair and short dresses, she wore neither, but dressed becoming to those professing to be pilgrims. Her life certainly testified that God can save young people up to the point where they enjoy being pilgrims and worth-while representatives of a Holiness church. Conversion and entire sanctification were definite experiences in her life, maintained by a careful prayer-life and a close walk with God. These things, along with her humility and gentleness of spirit, impressed us that here was a young person truly in earnest to get to Heaven. May her mantle fall on the young people of the Holiness ranks.

      Rev. D. M. Wells. (In Free Methodist Paper)


* * *

      Dear Brother and Sister Shelhamer and Brother Surbrook:

      Others have written of many things concerning our dear Evangel me, to which I heartily agree; but I feel like mentioning some points which impressed me as exceptional in so young a girl, when she was attending high school and college here in Hermon, (Los Angeles) Calif.

      She had a real experience in grace which made her young companions hungry, and caused them to ask her to pray for them and with them. She was active in the spiritual work of the college, church, and missions, entering every open door when she could find time.

      She took the Bible way us her parents do. The real way of Holiness is not popular. So many times I have been surprised and grieved to see young people whose parents were clean and radical, yet they themselves were semi-worldly, following the trend of the age and the example of their young associates rather than taking the narrow way. Evangeline believed in her father and mother; she did not consider them as "old-fogy" and "behind the times," "too radical" and "too peculiar," but gave herself with all her powers to the great work they were doing for God and souls.

      Mrs. Bertha B. Smith,
      Los Angeles, Calif.

Back to Walter L. Surbrook index.

See Also:
    Stirring Experiences: 1. My Struggle For An Education
    Stirring Experiences: 2. How I Escaped Adventism
    Stirring Experiences: 3. How I Escaped Modernism
    Stirring Experiences: 4. How I Escaped Marrying the Wrong Girl
    Stirring Experiences: 5. A Rare Jewel
    Stirring Experiences: 6 . Called Higher
    Stirring Experiences: 7. Mysteries
    Stirring Experiences: 8. Obituary
    Stirring Experiences: 9. Funeral Messages
    Stirring Experiences: 10. A Vision of Heaven -- By A Student
    Stirring Experiences: 11. Evangeline's Bible and Diary -- By Her Mother
    Stirring Experiences: 12. Notes From Her Diary
    Stirring Experiences: 13. Her Brother's Poem
    Stirring Experiences: 14. Tributes From Prominent People


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