A few months ago they expressed to the membership of Old Union Missionary Baptist Church, Bowling Green, Kentucky, their desire to collect written testimonies of their experiences of salvation.
It was the desire of these devoted young church members to collect these testimonies for the purpose of having them compiled into a volume for publication. Copies were to be made available to those who would desire to have one and also some placed in our church library for future references for those, who in future years, could read and have knowledge of what God had done for their forefathers and mothers.
I trust every testimony will be a blessing to the reader and that glory and praise will be given unto our Heavenly Father through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May God’s richest blessings be upon our beloved young people for their concern and labors in this work well done. They have sponsored and worked on various projects in raising funds to help with the cost of publication. (I Corinthians 15:58)
I will close my words with this statement of a psalmist, “Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” Psalm 107: 1-2
Elder H. C. Vanderpool, Pastor
Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1999
Yet we are already a part of the church today, and we must not overlook our present duty to serve God. This book is a part of how we have chosen to fulfill that duty. We would like to thank everyone who had anything to do with the compilation and/or publication of It Is Well with My Soul. God’s rewards will be greater than any thanks we may offer, but we do it just the same.
We would ask any reader to open his or her heart and share in the joyful testimonies of the members of this church who have sought out and found their Savior, Jesus Christ. Notice especially the words of Miss Laura Hargis, whose testimony begins our book: “Pray that I will be a soul winner for Jesus.” She could never have known that her testimony would be found and read, and that her wishes would echo through the years and inspire us to this endeavor. For we, too, pray that we will be soul winners for Jesus.
The Youth of Old Union Missionary Baptist Church
March 16, 2000
The following was found in a book that had been in the possession of Mrs. Avanelle Page since the Laura and Geneie Hargis sale in 1967. It was handwritten by Miss Laura Hargis. The account is copied exactly as she wrote it. Though long dead, through this testimony, she speaks from the grave. It makes true the passage in Revelation 14:13: “And I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from hence-forth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.”
A difference in being saved than just giving the Preacher your hand.
You must be born again.
When I was a school girl I attended a revival day and night for to weeks. The church was close to our school. The Teacher seemed to be a real Christian, he took us to church. I had never realized that I was a sinner at that time. A call went out to the sinners to come to the mourners Bench. I dident realize I was lost at that time. Bro Roberson came to me. In a few minutes that Precious mother of mine came to me she was loaded down with power from god. she wanted me to go to the mourners Bench which I did. I went from time to time dident feel no better nor no worse as I could tell. One night Bro Ben Roberson asked the mourners to come and give him their hand if anyone had been saved. so there was several School mates on the Bench with me that went and give the preacher there hand. so as I had sat on the same Bench I thought I had done the same thing. I thought if they were saved I am to so I went and gave the preacher my hand. Without any change at all that I could tell.
I went on for a few weeks Just feeling the same. There was another revival commenced which mother Father & I attended. One night the loard showed me I was lost and without anyone coming and Inviting me to go to the mourners Bench I hurdley made my way up there I was mourner for days and night. I had a heavy burden was lost I tried to pray best I could. Seemed like I was let down in a very dark place no light I realized I had done all I could. So I said loard take me Just as I am. Just as I trusted the Lord he saved my soul fill my heart with perfect piece joy and happiness. I ascended from that dark pit to a place of light everything was pretty. I didn’t shout as I wanted to so bad. I had to receive it Just like the loard was willing to save me. I thank him ever more for saving my soul. so I tell you there was a great change. I felt it to. I felt bran new through and through. I had held on wanting to shout like mother or someone elce. I became willing for Lord to have his way he saved me atonce and made me happy. If I had shouted & S I couldn’t bin no happier I don’t believe. I sang good old songs for 2 weeks & continued to feel so happy. Now sinners had you thought Just how fast you are going to Hell. sit down take your watch and look how fast you are going to Hell. every times it ticks you are nearer Hell please trust Jesus before its too late read 4 chapter of James. Pray that I will be a soul winner for Jesus. Pray for my lost Bros.
Note: My family didn’t know I was under conviction. Strangers had left literature in my front door and in my mailbox.
I hadn’t seen Margaret Board but twice before when I went in and sat down on the back seat of the church. Margaret came back there to me and asked me if I was a Christian, and I told her that I wasn’t and that I was so ashamed to tell anybody. That night I went up to the mourner’s bench and thought that maybe I could get saved in the daytime when Tim would be at work and not many people would be there. But God doesn’t work that way. He saves you when you give everything up and get willing.
Brother Overton was the pastor and Brother Darrell Russell was the helper. Brother Overton could sing the prettiest song and that night he sang it and I got saved. There was the biggest crowd when God saved me, and I got up and Margaret was the first one who came up to me. Everything and everybody looked so bright and I was so happy and I joined Old Union that Saturday night. It has been fifty-two years ago. I am so glad that all of my children have belonged to Old Union at one time or another. Brother Vanderpool has been a big help to my family. We all love him and Sister Vanderpool. Margaret Board has helped all of my children and Wanda, my oldest daughter, would take them to church when I couldn’t go. I love everyone at Old Union Church and ask you to pray for all of us.
On the way to church I told Betty I hoped Margaret wouldn’t be there. I didn’t want her to say something to me about me not being a Christian. Brother Overton and Brother Darrell Russell were at the door of the church when I got there and I made the statement, “If I ever get saved, I would be quiet about it and nobody would know.” When the service started that night, Margaret started toward me, and I left my seat and went to the altar. I felt like there was nobody there except me. I was blind and then the Lord saved me, and I shouted and didn’t even realize it.
Brother Overton made the remark to me, “I thought you was going to be quiet.” That next Saturday night I joined the Old Union Church along with my wife, Betty. We were baptized that next Sunday at Massey Mill Bridge in Drakes Creek.
On Wednesday afternoon, Ms. B.B. Tucker came and asked me to go to the altar, but I didn’t go, even though my heart was pounding in my chest so, it seemed like it would burst. I felt so bad that I had turned down her invitation to go and pray. I thought I would go with the next person that asked me. Cousin Grace Galloway came to me shortly after that, and I left my seat in the choir and headed for the altar (any of the front benches). I didn’t get saved that afternoon, but went back that night. My mother assured me that afternoon that she was praying for me. Brother Stewart was pastor and Brother William McDonald was the helper in the revival. Brother Andrew Wheeley was handling the singing. The altar was filled with saved people praying and trying to help the lost to find the Lord. I had confidence in all of them, so I depended on them, or something I could do, to bring salvation, but it wasn’t until I repented to God’s satisfaction and trusted in the Savior that I was saved. I stopped praying and Ms. Josie Dearing asked me what I was doing. And my answer was, “I’m just waiting.” That peace and joy came in my soul and that burden of sin was gone. I felt so light and the old kerosene lamp was so bright. The change was in me and not the lamps. Then Satan came and tried to make me think I had just gone to sleep. I’d never felt that way before, so I knew God had saved me. Ms. Tuck went in the house with me when we got home, and she could hardly keep up with me, I felt so good. That was July 23, 1930 on Wednesday night. I was baptized into the fellowship of Old Union Church the last Sunday of that revival, August 3, in Drakes Creek below the bridge and dam at Massey Mill.
I’d heard people tell of shouting, jumping or seeing bright lights. I didn’t experience any of these things – only a sweet peace and calmness. I told the church that night. I joined the church and was baptized at the end of the revival. I thank God for salvation and for my parents, who raised me at Old Union, where I could hear the truth.
The more he talked the lower I felt. Then he asked “Do you know God?”
The next thing I knew I was on the altar praying like I never had. After a time God delivered a sweet peace to me. I knew then that all those feelings of lost hope were gone. I told the church what had happened to me that night. The next weekend I was baptized at the creek.
Mrs. Leath moved away. I started not going to church. My parents did not go, but I knew what I had was always there. I went 22 years living in the world. But God never forgot me. The feeling was always there. I just did not do anything about it until God let me get down so far, I knew I had to do something.
I started to pray for help. I knew I could not do this alone. The world had me by the hand. So my prayer was answered. That’s how I ended up at Old Union, my first church, the church God wants me to be at.
44 years old
Babe in Christ
Things were a lot better after Daddy got saved. We went to church regularly, and it was so good to see him come home sober. I read my Bible every day and prayed, but after a couple of years I began to know that something was not right. I did not feel that I could still pray. The more condemnation I felt the more I read the Bible. I told God that I would always live a Christian life, but I’d wait until I was told to get saved. I thought it was impossible to turn everything over to the Lord. I had too much pride.
When I was thirteen, the burden just grew heavier and heavier. An uncle who was working in a field was dragged to death by a team of mules. At the grave site I stood and watched them throw dirt on his coffin. Our revival was soon after that. I made it through the revival without going to the altar, but the last night of the revival really frightened me. I thought the people would stop praying for the lost. The next week was so rough. Every time I felt the conviction, I would read the Bible. I know I was still trying to bargain with God.
On September 29, 1952, the weather was warm and I went to bed covered with a sheet, but sometime in the night I woke up cold, and got up to throw a quilt over my bed. As I spread the quilt over the bed, in my mind I saw the red dirt thrown over my uncle’s grave, and the thought hit me that, had that been me, I would be in Hell at that moment. Again I tried to find my Bible, but could not locate it. Something had to be done. The preacher had made the statement that if anyone needed him, day or night, to come to his house. I went in to my parents’ bedroom and told them, “I’m lost. I need to go see our preacher.” I don’t remember them saying a word, but they got out of bed immediately and took me to the pastor’s house.
We went into the dining room and knelt. We prayed for hours, it seemed. I remember it was beginning to get daylight, and when the preacher asked me if I meant business, I knew I could not leave there lost. I knew in my heart that this was my only chance. When I prayed again, the Lord saved me. I don’t know how or why, but I felt that sweet peace come into my heart. I knew that everything was taken care of for eternity. I quit crying and stood up, wanting a drink of water. They were still talking and rejoicing, but I don’t remember saying another word. I felt so clean and content. Later, I remembered the woman at the well. I don’t remember what that water tasted like when I went to the sink to appease my thirst, but the water I got on my knees has flowed peacefully ever since He saved me.
I have seen people standing on the outside of the church before it was time for service, waiting for the others to come. And as the people would arrive, you would see tears flowing down the cheeks, of brothers and sisters as they greeted each other. They would always hug each other, and then go inside for service. I saw people so happy in the Lord that they would shout, as tears of joy would roll down their faces.
All that didn’t bother me, until they were having revival when I was about eight and a half or nine years old. Back then, no one had ever heard of electricity, so there was no air conditioning and no electric lights. Lamps were set on little shelves around the wall for light. So they had sent two other boys and me to the spring to get water for the preachers. We had been playing as boys of that age would do. My best memory is this: the boys were still roughing around with each other, as I went out the trail next to the main road to fill the jar with water for the preachers. Suddenly, an awful feeling gripped my heart. I realized I was a lost sinner. It seemed my heart was pounding up in my head. There was no way I could go back to that church. For the first time in my life that church was a frightful place. My thought was that every one up there would know that I was lost, and I just couldn’t face that.
So I encouraged the boys to continue playing until church was over, even though I knew what my daddy would probably do to me. But I could face him much more easily than I could face that dreadful presence of the Lord.
When service was over, I met the preachers (Brothers Eldon Owens and Radford Wilson) at the door and apologized as I handed them the jug of water. I told them the reason I hadn’t returned sooner was that I had gotten sick. I had, but it was a different kind of sickness than I had led them to believe.
To make a long story short, that incident started about ten years of running from the trouble that was so active in my heart. During those ten years, I was so mean that I suppose the Devil was ashamed of me. I think everybody had given up on me ever being saved, except my parents. They would ask prayer for me at church and at cottage prayer meetings they had back in those days.
It was on a Sunday night, January 29, 1956, at Stonepile Baptist Church in Clarkesville, Georgia, that the load of sin that had so burdened my soul was washed down the mountain of Calvary into the Sea of Forgetfulness. I was on my knees with tears falling to the floor; my heart was breaking. The preacher had preached to me that night, that “he that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” But I couldn’t understand how he could have meant that for such a vile, wicked, wretch as I was. Finally, the Spirit of the Lord helped me to trust him with all my heart, and when that burden was lifted, I could not then, nor can I now, describe what I felt in my heart. It did take me about thirty minutes to fully understand what had happened to me. When I went home that night, I slept like a baby. No worry about going to sleep, as I had had for so long, because I knew where I would go. When I woke up the next morning, everything looked so clean. I felt so clean with this indescribable peace in my heart. It looked like someone had scrubbed the whole world. It never looked so beautiful before. I now knew that what I had witnessed in my youth at that Old Time Baptist Church was real!
I have been saved for almost forty-three years, and I still have never figured out why He could love me, but I am so glad He did. When I surrendered to preach, I got the most encouragement to do so, because if the Lord would save a nothing like me, He would save anybody.
These forty-three years I have been trying to tell people what I feel in my heart, but have been unable to do so. Perhaps when the new Morning comes, all the praise that has been dammed up in my heart will mix with the song of those sacred choristers, whose restless singing will echo through the ceaseless ages of eternity.
On this morning when I woke up, I felt God for the first time, and from this day forward I knew God was real, because I had personally felt him in my heart. I knew for the first time that I did not have God, and if I died I would go to HELL. I was under conviction. As the day went on I couldn’t eat, and I couldn’t sleep that night. I knew this sick feeling could only come from God, and I couldn’t stop it, and I am so thankful that it didn’t go away until God saved me.
I told my Momma that morning that I was lost, and she asked me if I was just scared, and I told her I knew I was lost. My Momma told me to pray, and beg God to save me, and she started to cry. I went to our old shed, and prayed, I begged God to save me, and I prayed at my bed at night, and I prayed when I was alone, because I didn’t want people to see me pray. My preacher asked me if I wanted to come to the altar and pray, and I said no, I will pray at home. I decided that I would pray at my bed at night, and I would get saved on my bed, this was my plan. God wanted me to go to the altar, on the front bench. I did not want to pray in front of people, but I wanted to be saved, I wanted this feeling to go away. God wanted me to go to the altar, and God wanted me to be willing to give up everything and anything that stood in my way, but I didn’t want it bad enough to pray at the altar. I didn’t get saved that year, because I wasn’t willing to give up what stood in my way. I knew that God wanted to and would save me if I would go to the altar and pray, God was waiting for me.
Years later, when I was sixteen, it was in July, there was a revival at Old Temple Hill this is where my family went to church. I was not allowed to miss church, no matter what. This night the night that would change my life forever was a night I didn’t want to go to church, I was tired and bored. I went to church that night and thought I would read the words in the song book to pass the time, I hoped the preacher would not preach long, and it would be a short service. That night the preacher which was Brother William Howard preached about the end of time, he said that when God comes back and if we are not ready that we would be left, and we would burn in HELL for eternity, and we would beg for a little drop of water but we wouldn’t get it. Brother Howard read from the Bible, about one being taken from the roof and the other left, and one being taken from the bed and the other left. I was so scared, and for the first time in my life I heard the gospel with my heart and not my ears. I had been to church all my life, and heard preachers preach, but this was the first time I heard the message with my heart. God opened my heart, and I am so thankful. I was scared, and I understood that if God came back right then that I would not go to Heaven with my Daddy and Momma, I would be left. The preacher gave an invitation to go to the altar and pray, and I was so scared that I wanted to go really bad, so I said if somebody comes and ask me to go pray I am going, and people were asking others to go up and pray, so I wanted somebody to come and ask me. After I waited only a few minutes and nobody came, I got up and went. Remember this was what was standing in my way of God saving my soul. I got down on my knees and prayed to God. I said “God I am here, and I did what you wanted me to do, so please save me.” I knew that God would save me because I went to the altar like he wanted, I had faith.
At the end of the service I wasn’t saved, so I left the altar, and went to the car, my brother’s car, I got in the back seat and put my head down on the seat and I said to God “I did what you wanted, I went to the altar, so why didn’t you save me?” As soon as these words came out of my mouth, God saved me. At that very moment God gave me a new heart, my life was changed forever, and everything about me changed. My every thought and purpose for being put on this Earth was changed forever. I didn’t see a light, and I didn’t shout, and I didn’t do what other people did when God saved them. God gave me knowledge I didn’t ever have before, I knew that God saved me, I could not get this knowledge by myself, God had to give it to me. I am thankful beyond words, I can’t find the words to say how thankful to God I am, but God knows. When I have a bad day, and when everything is wrong in my life, God is and always will be the good and perfect in my life. I am thankful that I will spend eternity with God, my eternal life is safe and secure because God gave me this new heart. God gave me this eternal gift, and nothing can take it from me, and it is forever. God gave his only son so I could live forever. I am thankful that God forgives me when I let him down, and I fail God so many times but God forgives me, he loves me more than anybody loves me.
Thank you God for saving my soul. Thank you God for eternal life. Thank you God for loving me so much that you gave your only son. Please follow God, and do whatever he leads you to do. I really feel like the night I went to the altar that somebody was being led to come to me and invite me to the altar, and didn’t do it. It is so important to follow God, because you don’t know who it will effect. God has a reason for everything he asks us to do. Just listen to God, and follow him, and he will take care of the rest.
On February of 1998, though, something happened. My parents came to my room early one morning and woke me up. They told me that Brother Hesson’s son Scott, one of my best friends, had been killed in a car wreck. Nobody knew if he was lost or saved. That changed my life drastically. For the next two months, I was under such deep conviction that couldn’t eat, sleep, or do anything. Even learning that Scott had told one of his friends that he had been saved didn’t easy my pain. That was because my pain was one that God was placing on me. I continued to pray and pray, but just couldn’t get to the point at which I needed to be for God to save me.
By this time, Brother Hesson had left the church and we were searching for a new pastor. There was one preacher, Brother William House, who had preached there a few times. Every time, I felt he was talking directly to me. The week before Easter in 1998, Brother House had been called as our pastor, and two of my friends at church, Heather and Casey, were saved. On Easter Sunday, Brother House accepted the calling as our pastor. Heather and Casey also joined the church that day. People there were so happy. But God wasn’t done with Faith that day. I went up to the altar and prayed like I never had before. Sometime during my prayer – I’m not sure exactly when – God saved me by his wonderful grace through His Son, Jesus Christ. I didn’t shout like some people have. I just knew that the burden was gone and that if I died then, I’d go to Heaven. There was just a wonderful peace. It took me a few minutes to realize what happened I kept repeating “Was that it?” God let me know that peace was all I needed. That is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me I stood up and joined Faith Missionary Baptist Church that morning. I was baptized the next Sunday.
In July of 2003, God let me know that I needed to join Old Union. I was very resistant. I did not want to leave the church in which I grew up and all the familiar faces, including my parents. Over the next couple months I got far away from God because of this. Over Labor Day weekend, the student group from Western Kentucky University went to Gatlinburg. Again, God let me know that I needed to join Old Union. When we returned to Bowling Green, I told my parents, and told the people at Faith the next Sunday. That was one of the hardest things I have had to do, but God gave me the strength. A week later, Brother Skinner announced that the doors of the church were open for members. I had never even said anything to him about joining, but God works on both sides. Keith Rafferty (who had also gone to Gatlinburg) and I both joined Old Union that morning. I thank God for all He’s done for me. I don’t deserve any of it.
About a week or so later, our summer revival started. Of course, I went up to pray every night, but for some reason, I couldn’t get convicted and I couldn’t pray. On July 22, 1999, after I had gotten up off the altar, Brother Paul Bryson (who was helping in our revival that year) and I had a talk. He asked me if there had been anything that happened that made me think I might have gotten saved, and I told him what happened that night. He went on to tell me his experience, and some other ones that he had heard. A while after we got done talking, he asked if I thought another prayer would help me. I thought it would, so we had another prayer. It wasn’t a long prayer at all, but in the short time, I got myself straightened out. I came up off that altar nodding my head and smiling. There was just a handful of people there, but we had a good time just the same. God has been so good to me and I have no idea why, but I sure am glad He was.
That Sunday morning, I came into the church and a young Sunday School teacher that I thought “hung the moon” came toward me as he usually did, with his usual smile and warm handshake. But this time he put his arm around my shoulder and said, “I’m still praying for you.” I felt sick again – I’ll just keep hiding it.
That week, nothing seemed to help. On Friday of that week, I got to the point that I just couldn’t stand it anymore – I had to do something. I went out the back door of my grandparents’ home and headed for an old outbuilding. Before my knees hit the floor – God saved me!
We still had afternoon and evening services at that time, and on the second Thursday of the revival, I still was not saved. We were at the home of my aunt and uncle (Oscar and Marie Raines) in between the day and night services. I was under heavy conviction, so bad that I did not want to play with my cousins or even be with anyone that day. As time came for us to go back to church, as I was going down that back hall in that old farmhouse, it got to the point that I told God I couldn’t go on in that way. If it took my life to make me feel better, I was ready to give it up. I only asked that He save me before I died. I felt life was not worth living the way that I was feeling. I went to the altar that night, but as I sat and tried to pray, I did not have the conviction or burden that I had felt before. I remember thinking, “Is this how it feels to be saved?” I didn’t feel lost any more, but I had not “seen a light” or “shouted” or “felt like floating away” as I had heard others tell. I just felt at peace.
The next night I joined the church and was baptized at the end of the revival. It troubled me that I had not had an experience like I had heard others give. I even later doubted my salvation to some extent, but I knew I still had that peace and was not afraid to die if anything happened to me. Years later, after I was grown and married and had small children, I was ironing one day with my children playing near me. Maybe it was revival time again, I don’t remember, but my salvation was heavy on my heart. I asked God to show me a time and a place. He took me back to that Thursday afternoon in the back hall of that old farmhouse. I remembered how miserable I was then. He showed me that was my “time and place.” It happened just that quickly. That peace was all I needed. I didn’t need to shout or see a light or anything else. That was all I was going to get, but that was all I needed to take me to Heaven. All these years later I have never doubted again, and I thank God for showing me what I needed to know to have that assurance.
One night, in the year of 1996, I pretty much convinced myself that I was saved. The next day, which was a Sunday, I joined the church. Later, I was baptized.
For a while, I thought that maybe I was saved, but I knew that deep down, I wasn’t. You don’t have doubts about being saved when you actually are, and I did.
I went for three more years without telling the church, or my family, about my real condition. I had all but blocked it completely out of my mind. I tried to fool myself into thinking I was saved, but I couldn’t, and I definitely couldn’t fool the Lord.
Around the beginning of March, in the year 1999, I finally realized how serious my condition was, and I knew that I had to pray with all my heart, or I wasn’t going to get saved.
I tried to keep it a secret for about a week, hoping that after I got saved it wouldn’t matter whether I told them or not. I mean, they already thought I was saved; why make them worry? I couldn’t keep it a secret for long. I had this incredible burden, I guess it was around March 10th or 15th, one night, and I just couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. It was just too much. I called Mom into my room, and told her everything. She wasn’t upset that I had kept a secret from her, or disappointed about me being mistaken, but instead, she prayed with me.
I prayed constantly through that entire month. At times I was afraid to go to sleep, because I wasn’t sure that I was going to wake up when morning came. I would wake up in the night, because my burden was so strong. I felt this incredible feeling of emptiness all the time.
Then, on the second night of spring revival, Brother Moore was preaching, and I went up to the altar for the first time in four years.
Brother Moore was a wonderful preacher, but he was country, and didn’t hint at things. When he preached, he preached with a point-blank attitude, and the way he made me feel, I knew I was going to have to go up to that altar.
I was at the altar for about thirty minutes. I was praying like any minute the Lord was going to say that time was up, and I wasn’t going to be ready.
I was saved that night! When I was saved, this overwhelming peace came over me. I couldn’t pray for myself any longer. When I looked up, I felt as if I was on air. The tremendous feeling of happiness I had, it was something I will never forget.
This feeling that I have in my heart is beyond comparison. Nothing can ever take this away from me, and now, when I do die, I can thank the Lord for saving me, and I’ll be in Heaven.
If you are lost and reading or hearing my story of salvation, please pray to the Lord. Don’t put it off, and don’t try to forget about it. You have to pray, and mean what you’re praying. The Lord is not listening for how well you can talk, but how badly you want to be saved, and how much you love him.
Salvation is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive. It’s free to whoever wants it, and has ultimate belief and faith in the Lord. I cannot tell anyone how to be saved, I can only tell you how wonderful it is. I thank the Lord every day for saving my soul, and I pray that, if you are lost, someday you can thank the Lord as well.
When the revival came in July, we attended all services. This was when the church still had afternoon services. I wasn’t saved that year. My parents carried me to revival services all around and I faithfully went to the altar and prayed as hard and sincerely as I thought I could.
School began in the fall, and this was when we were still allowed to have prayer and read the Bible in school. Sitting in class and listening to those Bible stories were some of the hardest days of my young life. I would be under conviction and try to pray at school. Time passed and I still wasn’t saved.
The revival began in the summer of 1970 and I wanted to be saved more than anything. I had seen friends come to the altar and be saved, and yet still I remained.
On the first Wednesday of that summer revival, I went to the altar that afternoon, and the Lord was dealing with me. It was then that I was able to give my all to the Lord and be saved. I didn’t know, for sure, but I left the altar that day feeling different. I came back to church that night and after Brother Levie Smith’s sermon, I went to the altar, but I couldn’t pray, because I had no burden to pray for. I looked up and both my mom and dad were standing by me, and it was then I told them the Lord had saved me that afternoon.
There have been many times since then that I have not been the Christian I should have been and have not done the things the Lord has asked of me. There have been many times the Lord has dealt with my lack of obedience to Him. But no matter how troubled or dry I became, when I prayed to the Lord and asked for His help and forgiveness, He would give it. It was always me that had moved and not Him.
I thank the Lord for this and all His many blessings He has bestowed upon my family and me.
The next night I went to church and went to the altar like always. That night was much different. I could not pray for myself. I did not have a burden any more. On the way home, my grandmother asked me if something was wrong. I told her that I was not lost any more. I told her about my experience the night before. She rejoiced in the car and we went back to church that night to tell everyone. I have had a peace in my soul since that time and I thank the dear Lord for my salvation.
The next two or three days were rough and stressful. I would go to the altar and pray out loud, cry out loud, and pray quietly. Nothing seemed to be working. I told the Lord that I would be good from then on. I told Him that I would do whatever He wanted me to: still nothing. I went to others for advice and all anyone could tell me was that it was something I would have to work out with God. That proved to be a difficult task for a nine-year-old boy.
On a Thursday night, later that week, I found my answer. Up to that point, prayer had proved to be only a source of frustration. I had been praying and praying until I felt I was all prayed out. I finally realized that it was all going to be God’s doing, and begged Him to help me. I gave up on trying to figure it out and save myself. At that time, the Lord blessed me with salvation. I was flooded with happiness and a peace in my heart. I stood up from praying, tears in my eyes. I turned to face the pulpit, and my grandmother put her arm around me and asked how I felt. “Good,” I said. My grandmother shouted with joy, as did others. It was a very special and sacred event that I will treasure always.
This day was the first day I had ever felt the Lord wanting me to bow down and really pray. This feeling came to me as I was getting ready for a youth meeting that Sunday afternoon. Earlier that day, I had been asking my mom a lot of questions about salvation. All she could say was: “You’ll know.” And I did know. I got saved the same day I felt the conviction, because as soon as I felt it, I got down in my foyer and cried out to God, asking Him to forgive me and save me. It didn’t seem long at all before I felt better. And today I can still remember the first phrase I said as I stood to my feet. “Now I know somebody loves me.” I felt so much peace and love and still to this day can remember it. I got baptized into Old Union Church on March 31, 1991, on Easter morning, and I am still a church member there.
One summer revival night Brother Paul Bryson was preaching. I was sitting in the middle of my parents in the back right comer of the church. I felt safe there, in the back comer, between my parents, where no one could see me. I do not remember the words that were preached that night but I knew what they meant. I knew I was a sinner. No matter how good or bad I thought I was there are only two types: saved and unsaved. I realized in the eyes of the Lord I was a sinner and that was as bad as it gets. As I sat there it was like a cool breeze came through and there was nothing inside of me. I was hollow. It was at that moment I knew I was different from my parents and every other saved person. I was going to Hell. I could hardly wait for altar call. I wanted to pray. Brother Bryson had preached that it didn’t matter where you prayed. So I decided to pray at my seat so no one could see me for who I really was. I prayed unlike I have never prayed before. From that moment on I do not know what was said or spoken. My entire dialogue was between the Lord and me. As the night went on I prayed more intensely, until I got to the place where I honestly gave the Lord everything and He responded by giving me His grace. Something was different, but I didn’t know what it was. I knew I felt safe with the Lord by my side.
As we rose to dismiss, I wasn’t clear what had happened. Could this be it, or was I mistaken? I kept to myself on the way home, praying to God, “Just let me get home.” I went straight to bed and began to pray. I promised the Lord I would not sleep until I knew for sure. I prayed and prayed, but I had no more conviction. The Lord answered my prayers and laid me to rest for my best night’s sleep. I waited a full season to tell anyone of my story. I wondered, “How could they believe me? How could I have kept such a wonderful thing to myself?” The next revival Mrs. Board came back to see me. She asked, “Are you lost?” I told her I was fine, but that night I decided, I couldn’t keep this to myself; I have to tell somebody. The next day I told my parents, and joined the church.
I had made a promise when I got to the altar that I was not going to get off of the altar until I was saved. I was so determined. Well, the Devil started talking to me right then. He tried to tell me that I was not saved, that what I felt was not salvation. So, I started praying again, but I had no burden, I was not crying, and I just thought back to the instant God saved my soul, and I knew I was saved.
The congregation was praying, so I got up and sat on the altar until they finished praying. My mom, Carolyn Glasscock, was right beside me. She asked me how I felt, and I whispered, “I think, NO, I know I am saved.” Well, others heard me say this and everyone quit praying and started rejoicing by hugging me and crying tears of happiness with me. There were other lost souls there, and Amy Beth Thornton in the back of the church was saved just a few minutes later. I was able to rejoice with her. I have tried to imagine eternity in Heaven since my salvation, and I cannot do it. I guess since I know I am saved, that I will be going to that place eventually, and that it is home, I have no worries.
Since the day God saved my soul, when I would have had doubts, all I would have to do is think back to March 4th, and remember the feeling I had the instant God saved my soul. I have had many burdens for lost souls, and I am so thankful that I can tell my salvation experience to them. I hope that it will help them in some way.
I was saved as a young teenage girl between sixth and seventh grade one night at home in my bed. I remember being troubled in my heart, and there between the Lord and me, I prayed and worked things out. I don’t have a date, but I remember very well what took place in my heart that night. The peace that has always been with me knowing for sure that I have a home in Heaven some happy day!
Once again, I can never repay the Lord for all he has done for me. I am so thankful for all the blessings. If I could say anything to help someone, I would tell them to look to the Lord for all answers. He will never lead you wrong. Follow him at all cost. Sometimes, I have not followed God and have been not as close to the Lord as I wanted to be, but that is my fault. I was the one who moved, God was always right there and always will be!
I was only seven years old and my family was attending El Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Franklin, Kentucky. My brother Joe had submitted to God’s call and made his way to the altar to seek his salvation. That caused me to think about myself and I realized that if I should die, my soul would be in Hell. Because of my young age, no one approached me about my condition, but I feel that if I had only asked for His forgiveness and mercy that first night, He would have saved me.
Like many young sinners I began to fear God and His word disturbed me and I was very uncomfortable. We started attending Drakes Creek Church, but God was still there and He still called to me through his knock on the door of my very soul. Drakes Creek still had day and night services, and my mother saw to it that we attended most. The Devil was with me every day that I was away from God, telling me anything that might help me get through a spiritual service when I might have been saved. And it worked, for I ran from God for six years. We began to attend Old Union Church where my family moved their membership. Once again, God knocked at the door of my soul, and Christian people pleaded with me to seek God. I was so scared to make the move toward God.
My mother talked to me one night about eternity on the way home from spring revival service. That talk really troubled my soul. I began to think about the length of time that eternity stood for. As I lay in bed I thought over and over about being separated from my family and God. My troubled soul was in so much pain and sorrow. It felt as if I was on stormy seas. I began to quietly talk to God, and I would hear the Devil say, forget about it and go to sleep. As I prayed more and more, begging God to save my soul, I reached a place where I no longer could hear the Devil’s tricks. I lost track of time. I only wanted one thing – salvation. Suddenly the stormy seas of my soul laid down as God’s saving power calmed the waters. I lay there in my bed with the sweet peace of God’s mercy. Maybe a half hour passed before I went into my mother’s bedroom to tell her what had just happened. We rejoiced together that night about one o’clock.
I ran from God’s call for six years, but through his mercy on April 12, 1971, at around midnight in my bed, God saved my soul so that I can forever be with Him in paradise. May God be with you all.
It all began for me in summer revival in 1990 when Brother Don Curtis was helping out Brother Reynolds in the effort. I was sitting where I usually was sat, with my cousin Daniel, sitting beside my grandmother, Martha Crafton. We had a coloring book that was the kind where you would color the blank space and a picture would come up. It was well into the service, Daniel had been coloring and then it became my turn. We had been doing this for a while and were almost done with the book. I remember the feeling of not being able to wait until my time came when I could take my turn. However, I never got that turn. After Daniel finished taking his turn, he turned to me and said, “Your turn”. However, my attention was turned elsewhere. Out of the blue, a seven-year-old boy became convicted of his sins. I remember sitting there and Brother Curtis was talking about how God calls you and lets you know when you’re convicted. He was comparing the sheep in his field, keeping a watch over his flock. Right then I imagined God calling my name: “Weston, come home”. Suddenly, the preacher went on talking about Hell and talking about how the Devil would be there with you, pushing you off into eternity. Again, my little seven-year-old mind went off. I began to think about a large swimming pool, in a dungeon, with me and the Devil. I could imagine the Devil pushing me off in total fire and torment. In the meantime, Daniel was still saying, “Your turn . . . your turn . . ..” Finally, I said, “No, you can have my turn”. He couldn’t believe it. I sat there the rest of the service with my eyes glued to Brother Curtis. I knew that I was lost. I knew that if I died right then, I would wake up in Hell. It was a horrible feeling; however, that night I didn’t go up to the altar.
Time passed-on. In fact, I didn’t go up to the altar for the rest of that revival service. For the next many months, I ran. I don’t know why; however, I just thought the feeling would go away. It didn’t. One night I was in the bathtub, and I was singing the song, “Don’t Put Off Salvation Too Long.” It was a song we had always sung in revival services. Finally, I thought to myself, “Why am I?” I got out of the tub that night and went into my mother’s bathroom. Inside the bathroom, I told Mom I was lost. She asked me if I wanted to pray about it. I said yes. For the next many hours, I was on my hands and knees begging the Lord to please save my soul. I was in the condition where I wanted it more than anything. I’ve always heard that it’s better to get saved young; that way you don’t have as many things standing in your way. I was fortunate enough to get to do that. I sometimes look back and think whether it have been as easy to give up everything that I have, now that I’m sixteen years old. Thank God for what he did for me.
However, I didn’t get saved that easily. Hours later, I still had that awful feeling inside my soul. Finally, I got up and decided to rest for a while. I don’t know why I got up, exactly. By that time, my grandmother and grandfather were there. I think I just decided to put it in God’s hands. I can remember getting up and sitting on the bed with my Nana and she was saying how she would, if she could, give up her salvation and give it to me. She told me that she would do it, then at least would try to get hers back. Of course, she told me, and I knew, that that couldn’t happen. She said I would have to get it from God and only God. I walked out and continued to pray off and on throughout the night. It was a Sunday night, because I remember I had to get ready to go to school the next morning. I was sitting in the chair with my grandmother and then, all of a sudden, I don’t know what was said or what was done, but the most peaceful feeling came over me. It felt like my face was grinning from Washington State to Maine. At that moment, the awful feeling that was on me left. Then finally, I told it. I said, “Mom, Dad, Nana, Papa, I think I’ve just been saved”. It was the most wonderful night ever.
As I am sitting here writing this now, I am receiving a blessing and remembering what the Lord did for me when I was only seven years old. That’s been a long time ago. Now I’m sixteen, and off and on the Devil has gotten me in dark situations. He’s tried to tell me that I’m not saved, and that I have deceived all of these people (at church) into thinking that I am. That thought alone would and has kept me for a while, during the past years, from doing something. I’ve tried to pray about it, and asked the Lord to show me the way. As I’m writing this right now, the Lord has shown me that it’s true. There is just something special about that experience that I 1never will forget.
I remember going to school the next morning, and while sit- ting in my second grade class still feeling that grand and glorious feeling. I remember seeing my teacher passing out papers, I was sitting in the back row, and smiling and just feeling great. From that moment on, I told everyone. I told my friends, my family at church, my pastor, Brother Reynolds. I later joined the church, and became baptized. From then to now, I have been serving the Lord. Even though it’s hard during this day and time being a young person with all the negative influences, I will continue to try and serve the Lord. For what He did for me, I can’t ever repay Him. But I am thankful that He would do that for me.
I joined Old Union Church the third Sunday in May 1943 and was baptized on the third Sunday in June. I hope all who read this will remember my lost loved ones in prayer.
It’s so wonderful to be saved.
Our spring revival rolled around; it started in the middle of the week. That year it started on Wednesday, April 1, 1970. The altar call was given; I went to the altar. My mom was right by my side praying with me. Somewhere during that service I looked up and told my mom that I didn’t hurt any more. The Lord saved my soul that night. I joined Old Union and became a candidate for baptism. Elder H.C. Vanderpool baptized me into the fellowship of Old Union Missionary Baptist Church on May 24, 1970.
After lunch, Jewell and my daddy (H. E. Russell) went to the barn. I was in the house, churning and praying. Then the Lord heard and saved me. I shouted so loud that the men thought I had caught on fire. They started running to the house. Jewell was in the lead and jumped the fence. When he got to the porch he saw and knew what had happened to me and leaned against the door, laughing! He was the first person I saw after being saved – I’ll never forget his face. Thank the Lord for salvation!
I was baptized by Brother C.D. Ridgon.
Many people came and talked to me, but I wasn’t ready, especially not to go to the altar. I couldn’t eat, sleep, and I just didn’t want to be around anyone. I just wanted relief from my sins. I tried to bargain with God that I would keep going to church, but not this church. I didn’t like feeling condemned. I didn’t go much at all the second week of revival. Instead, I tried to escape the feelings of hopelessness and despair I was feeling.
But I couldn’t, thank God. I went back the last night of the revival, desperate for some peace. I was in such a shape that as soon as they had an altar call, I ran up there as fast as I could. I stayed there a long time that night. I thought for sure I would get saved, because I went to the altar (which I fought back from going). I thought I had to go to the altar before I ever would get saved.
That Sunday morning I was so upset that the revival was over and I didn’t get saved. I remember looking out the window with such sadness while Brother Bryson preached. I didn’t really know what was preached. By the time service was over, the Devil was really on to me, saying that these people were trying to brainwash me and they really didn’t care about my soul or me.
As service was over and the people went out, I finally saw with m~ heart that they did care, and they did have a burden for me. I remember Bev Wells and Steve Wheeler going by and saying something to me. It was soon after that the Lord came down and put peace in my soul. I wanted to tell everyone right then, but the Devil jumped right in and started to try to convince me that wasn’t it, and I shouldn’t say anything, because some of my family were with me, and I would embarrass them. So I didn’t say anything for nearly two weeks, but I knew God was with me. He spoke to my heart and I knew there was something different about the way I felt.
It was at Faith Missionary Baptist summer revival, I was so down because I hadn’t told anyone. I thought if I went back to the altar, God would save me again or help me get rid of my confusion. And the second night, He did. I finally told a few at the church about the time and place that bore on my heart. And as soon as I put the Devil behind me, I could finally rejoice for the peace I knew I had received that Sunday morning at Old Union. I thank God I never doubted it again. I testified to the church about my salvation, joined the church, and got baptized soon after.