Anna Eberhardt (1904-1995), Assemblies of God missionary to North India for 43 years, has a rich testimony of coming from a Catholic background, receiving salvation and the baptism in the Holy Spirit, attending Bible school, and serving on the mission field.
Born in a small village in Austria-Hungary called Obesenyo, Anne Eberhardt and her family were Catholics. The town only had one church and one school, and both were Catholic. When Anne was about six, her parents, her aunt and uncle, and another couple decided to travel to the United States in search of a better life. Anne’s mother became so seasick on the journey that she decided that she would never go back to her homeland.
The family settled in Cleveland where Anne was raised Catholic, attended a Catholic school, and was confirmed in that faith. She had a love for the things of God, and one of the nuns said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if you would become a nun when you grow up.” But God had another plan.
When the influenza epidemic was raging around 1918, Anne’s aunt got sick with the flu and was given up to die. She remembered meeting some Nazarene people who had a strong faith in God, and she had seen a real change in their lives. This kindled faith inside her. Lying on her deathbed, the aunt prayed, “Lord, if You will heal my body, and let me live for one year, I will live that year for You.”
God answered her prayer. She felt the power of God come upon her, and she was instantly saved and healed. Then she prayed again, “Now, Lord, lead me to the people that live closest to the Bible.” Soon after this the aunt saw an advertisement for a Pentecostal church on East 57th and White Avenue called First Assembly of God, and she began attending.
Through her aunt’s testimony of healing and reports of the Pentecostal church meetings, Anne, at age 15 also began attending First Assembly of God. She was inspired by the ministry of J. Narver Gortner, who pastored First Assembly during the early 1920s.
Anne visited her aunt’s church and was saved during a campaign the visiting Argue family of Canada held in Cleveland in 1921 where she answered the altar call. That was almost 100 years ago. At a service the next day, Anne was baptized in the Holy Spirit and immediately began sharing her faith, although her parents did not approve of her newfound religion. She was not allowed to go back to the church.
However, Anne made friends with Elizabeth Weidman (later Elizabeth Weidman Wood), who became a missionary to China. Elizabeth worked in an office across the street from Anne, and met her for lunch each day as they talked about the Lord. Finally, after about six months, Anne decided to go back to the church, against her parents’ wishes. Her father said she would have to leave if she was going to attend the Pentecostal church, but before she headed out the door, he changed his mind, allowing her to stay at home and allowing her to attend the church of her choice.
About a year later, Marie Juergensen, missionary to Japan, spoke to the young people of First Assembly, urging them to consecrate their lives to God. After this, Anne earnestly prayed, saying she was “willing to be made willing to do His will.”
For a few years, Anne worked as a stenographer, secretary, and bookkeeper. Then she had an opportunity to attend Central Bible Institute (CBI) in Springfield, Missouri, and began to feel a call to missionary work. One Friday afternoon, A.G. Ward spoke to all the missionary prayer groups on campus about the leper work in North India. After that meeting, Anne thought, It would take a lot of consecration to go and work among the lepers. She never imagined that God would ask her to do just that.
Missionary Blanche Appleby spoke at the Bible school that evening and encouraged the students to offer themselves as a “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” Anne felt the Lord asking her if she would be willing to go anywhere with the gospel. She replied, “Yes, Lord, anywhere.” However, when the Lord asked to her to go to North India a struggle followed.
After earnestly praying all that evening and the next day, Anne felt a strong calling and peace that she was to go as a missionary to India. She joyfully completed the rest of her Bible school studies, keeping in mind that God had a plan for her life.
After graduating from CBI, Anne worked for one year in the editorial department of the Gospel Publishing House in Springfield, Missouri, and then pastored a church at Breckenridge, Missouri, for six months. She was approved for missionary service and sailed for India in February 1931.
Her first term of missionary service was spent assisting the Harry Waggoner family with a leper colony and orphanage in Uska Bazar. Next came a time of evangelistic work in the Kheri District, where she also edited the North India Field News, a periodical published by Assemblies of God missionaries. This was followed by 13 years of teaching at the Hardoi Bible Training School in United Province where Marguerite Flint was the principal. Next she was asked to start a night Bible school in Jabalpur and was there for nine years.
After years of missionary work in India, Anne said, “I have never been sorry I said ‘Yes’ to the Lord. That was my greatest decision up to that time; an experience as real as the day I was saved and the day I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.”
After retiring from missions work, Anne moved back to Cleveland and again attended her home church of First Assembly of God in Lyndhurst. She continued to be a wonderful encourager to many and guided some to also enter the mission field. She recorded much of her life story in a booklet called For the Glory of God, published in 1985. She passed away in 1995.
Anne Eberhardt obeyed God and dedicated her life to His service. Read more about her story in “From Catholicism to Pentecost” on pages 2-3 of the Nov. 29, 1930, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “The Three Phases of Sanctification,” by Donald Gee
• “Seven ‘Conventions,’” by Arthur H. Graves
• “Is It Possible to Be Happy?” by J. Narver Gortner
And many more!