A PRAYING ENGINEER


| January/February 1967



Engine

Courtesy of Eiffel G. Plasterer, Huntington, Indiana

Eiffel G. Plasterer

Huntington, Indiana

Lafayette Truman was a praying engineer. I knew him as a veteran Erie Railroad passenger engineer during the years of 1907 to 1921. At that time engines and engineers rated very high with me. Almost every Sunday morning or night I would see Mr. Truman in Sunday School or Church, and I often heard him pray and witness for Christ. He intrigued me. Here was a real 'He' man that ran a mighty engine and yet was so kind and gentle and so dynamically enthusiastic for God and Christ that there was no doubt as to whose side he was on. He was a tall man with a bald head that verily shined. His gracious smile radiated a genuine love for boys and girls.

My first recollection concerning Lafe Truman was on a Sunday after church when my sister, Carrie, excitedly exclaimed to my mother, 'Mr. Truman is the engineer'. Carrie was about to leave home for school and in the morning she would be going on the train to Chicago. She had a feeling of security that the man at the throttle was going to be Lafe Truman. She could trust him.

In 1920, I was teaching a Sunday School class of boys. I wanted the boys to hear Mr. Truman's story. Without hesitation he accepted the invitation. Once again, I heard him tell how God had blessed him and how wonderful it is to be a sanctified Christian. The details of his story were fixed in my mind so indelibly that they remain clear in memory to this day.

He said, 'Christ through the Holy Spirit may be a constant companion with you, if you give your heart to Him and completely accept Him. Before I start out on a run, I always ask God to protect my passengers against any harm. To this day none of my passengers have ever been hurt on my trains. I talk to God any time. You do not have to speak out loud. You do not have to shut your eyes to pray. I look right down the tracks and pray.'

A few weeks later, I left home for college. And all too soon the years rolled by and I lost track of Lafe Truman. I knew that he had been in many wrecks and that people had been killed in these accidents. But how about those people that he felt responsible for-his passengers? Had ever any of them been hurt? What, I often wondered, had become of Lafe Truman?