Healing and Revival
"Missions and Healing"
Charlotte (Lottie) W. Sisson's reputation is often overshadowed by her older sister Elizabeth Sisson, but many people forget that she had a healing and missionary ministry in her own right. Lottie was born on December 6, 1849, the youngest of five children. Her father, William was a whaling captain. The family included mother Elizabeth, older sisters Francis and Elizabeth, and twins William and Isabel. Their father must have died early because by 1860 the family was living in New London with her mother's father and brother. They don't appear to have been a particularly religious family. There is no written record of Charlotte's conversion but her sister, Elizabeth, was not converted until she was 21. The family came into contact with Sanctification teachings in the 1860s and attended a Holiness meeting in 1871 with William and Mary Boardman and Lucy Drake (later Osborn). They not only taught on Holiness but it is likely that Lucy Drake gave her dramatic testimony of being healed under Dr. Charles Cullis in Boston in 1870.
Charlotte was initially trained as a teacher and taught school for a few years. She became a deaconess under Dr. Charles Cullis. Around 1877 she went to India in the Bassim Mission for seven years, leading a small girl's school with 30 students. Charlotte went in the style of George Mueller, with no salary and entirely dependent upon God's provision, but under the auspices of Dr. Charles Cullis's Faith Missions. Cullis regularly reported on her work in his ministry publications. Eventually she was joined by her sister Elizabeth in the ministry. After seven years she became very ill however, and was forced to leave India. She and Elizabeth went to the Bethshan Healing Home in London, run by their friends the Boardmans and the Baxters. In 1883 Charlotte had to return to the United States. She visited Carrie Judd (later Montgomery) at her Faith Rest Home to recover and to give missionary talks. Around 1884 Charlotte started to return to India but stayed for a time working at the Bethshan Healing Home in London. In the 1886 she returned to Ankola, in Central India to serve in the Ellichpoor Faith Mission with a couple named Fuller. She only stayed a short time, however, but adopted an Indian girl named Hera, and returned to the United States with her the next year.
Charlotte returned to the United States in 1887 and became an active member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). She was a speaker for the C&MA at their annual Old Orchard Convention in the summer of that year. She also spoke at meetings in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1888 with A. B. Simpson. Her focus was on missions. Both Charlotte and her sister Elizabeth were good friends with Carrie Judd. A photograph still exists with Carrie leaning on Charlotte in a pose of deep friendship. Charlotte returned to her family home in New London, Connecticut and lived there with her mother and adopted daughter. In 1890 she was listed as one of the Vice-Presidents of the C&MA under A. B. Simpson's Presidency, which shows how deeply she was respected within the C&MA community.
After 1890 things changed for Charlotte. Her sister Elizabeth, who had been traveling with Carrie Judd, came into disrepute because of her support for a prophecy given in a Maria Woodworth-Etter meeting in Oakland in 1890. Elizabeth returned home and the family seemed to withdraw into themselves for over a decade. Charlotte's name no longer appeared in C&MA periodicals or Judd's "Triumphs of Faith" magazine.
After the Pentecostal outpouring the Sissons began to have a context for the things that had happened to Elizabeth and also a forum where their teachings would be accepted once more. Charlotte wrote an article for the December 1901 Triumphs of Faith magazine. Her sister Elizabeth traveled west and opened a healing and evangelistic home in Santa Cruz, California. Charlotte remained to take care of her ailing mother and adopted daughter.
From this time on Charlotte's life was overshadowed by that of her sister Elizabeth. Elizabeth began to speak and write in Pentecostal settings. Charlotte often traveled with Elizabeth, but her voice was no longer prominent. She became Elizabeth's support and companion. They traveled across Canada and the United States in the early days of the Pentecostal Movement. In 1908 they traveled together to the British Isles. By 1910 Charlotte and Elizabeth were back home with their brother Francis. Their mother had died and the family used their house as their ministry headquarters. They also had a couple of elderly boarders to help make ends meet. Elizabeth became a prolific writer but Charlotte remained in the background as her support and prayer partner, possibly because her eyesight was deteriorating. By the 1920s the three sisters were elderly and frail. Charlotte had become blind but still had her hope in Christ. In September 1934 Elizabeth died at the age of 91. Charlotte was the only remaining Sisson sibling left. She died shortly after Elizabeth on November 19, 1934.
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