In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He so minutely numbered the generations, set the bounds of their habitations and destined their paths, companions and maneuvers that I, Elbert Jefferson Lambert, should make my natural appearance on September 28, 1906 as the firstborn son of Charles B. and Ida Burchfield Lambert near Amity, Arkansas. I am the oldest of four children born to that union. My grandfather, father and I were born within one half mile of each other.
I came up the "hard" way. My father was physically weak, suffered much, and met many hardships trying to "eke out a living" on a little rocky farm in Clark County, Arkansas. He was very zealous, but because of physical handicaps, was unable to realize his ambitions.
I received my early education at Elm School and Amity High School. It became necessary that I stop my pursuit for a higher education in order to help support our family. Therefore, I acquired a teaching license and began teaching school in my sixteenth year. I taught my first school at Dobyville, near Okolona, Arkansas in 1922-23. I taught at Dobyville, Hickory Grove, Lenox, Alpine, Elm and Cedar Bluff, all in Clark County, Arkansas, for the next few years. I was politically inclined and made every effort possible to become acquainted with all the people of that county.
When I was about seventeen years of age, I became a member of the Shiloh Church of Christ (Kelly division of Missionary Baptists) and began teaching Sunday School classes. I can well remember my first "testimony" given in a "testimonial meeting" at Shiloh Church. I quoted John 3:16 and explained it to the best of my ability. The brethren began at once to solicit me to enter the ministry. As a result of my attempts in speaking upon religious subjects, I was ordained to the work of ministry by order of Shiloh church while yet in my "teens."
I pursued the vocations of preaching, teaching, and farming several years. All this afforded me opportunity to give vent to my great zeal and high ambitions. I was very conscientious in everything I attempted. Continuous study and strenuous activities in early life had its lasting effect upon my nervous system.
On November 17,1928 I was married to Myrtle Hancock, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hancock, granddaughter of the late Elder J.H. Langston, of Alpine, Arkansas. She gave birth to our only son, Charles Thomas, on April 6, 1930. She was immediately possessed of pneumonia and departed this life May 3, 1930. I adored her so greatly that the shock of losing my companion drove me to the point of insanity.
The year 1930 was an epochal year in my life. All earthly possessions were taken from me and debts accumulated. My health was Impaired for life and my ambitions thwarted. Confidence in myself was destroyed and I was forced to give up teaching. Three cars were wrecked and I was made to "look up to see the bottom." Little did I know that behind a frowning providence was the smile of a gracious God! In that same year (1930) a son was born, Jesus appeared as my Savior, and I was added to Cedar Hill Primitive Baptist Church of Christ near Amity, Arkansas. I was baptized by Elder A.D. Wall and began to be exercised as a minister of God's grace in the same year.
Four years were spent wholly in the college of tribulations located In the Furnace of Affliction. The relief I experienced during this time was during the fleeting moments in communion with God and my brethren. I could never adjust myself to fit in the home of my father and mother who were keeping my son. I could not feel at home anywhere and felt this would always be the case. I did not think I would ever marry again because I felt unable to assume the responsibility as the head of a family and that I would never be able to love anyone else enough to engage her companionship for life. I was mistaken in this idea.
I met and married Dessie Mae Williams, daughter of Leander and Mary E. Williams of Dalark, Arkansas, in the year 1934. The wedding was solemnized by Eider John T. Everett, November 18, 1934. This gave me a new lease on life. The Lord blessed us with mutual love to the extent that she was and is a real, true companion to me.
I was ordained to the officeship of elder by order of Cedar Hill Church, while the South Arkansas Primitive Baptist Association was in session with Whitewater Church, near Fordyce, Arkansas, third Saturday in September, 1934. We lived at Dalark, Arkansas for some time and I assisted in serving churches in that vicinity for several years. New Hope Church of Near Hope, Arkansas, was the first church I attempted to serve as pastor without assistance of other brethren.
We have had our place of residence at Dalark, Camden, Cullendale, Hampton, Tinsman, and Calion, Arkansas as well as Lillie, Louisiana before moving to Winnsboro, Texas in 1949. I re-entered the teaching profession during the period of World War II when there was a shortage of teachers and took the responsibility of principal, Tinsman High School, Tinsman, Arkansas and taught in the high school there four years. With exception of this I have devoted my time to serving churches and visiting the brethren in the different sections of the country from 1934 until the present time (1955). I have visited churches in the states of Arkansas, Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington as well as in the province of Ontario, Canada. I am now attempting to serve four churches as pastor; Hopewell and Good Hope Churches near Winnsboro, Texas; Paran near Hawkins, Texas; and Bethel near ElDorado, Arkansas.
Elder E.J. Lambert
As found in the first pages of Elder Lamberts book, "Tried In The Furnace"
Signs of the Times
Vol. 161, No.2.