Testimonies from all over

On Mother's Day 2004 I started an email going, it included my testimony and asked that everyone add theirs to the bottom and send it on.
Here's what I've collected so far, I'll update this page weekly for as long as I get replies.

Week 1
Just my testimony so far. Check back in next week for more....

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will
make your paths straight.
--Proverbs 3:5-6

The classic example for giving one's testimony is to tell some about your life before salvation, then to tell about your salvation experience and then to tell some about your life after salvation. I was saved at the age of six so I don't remember much about my life before that. I was blessed to be born into the family of a Baptist preacher, I am the 3rd (and youngest) child of Joe Ray and Dorothy Land. I was born in Bartlesville, Ok and born again at First Baptist Church, Shattuck, Ok where Dad was pastor at the time.  I was saved during a revival at the church that was preached by Robert Odd an old friend of my Dad's. I don't recall all the details but I do remember asking Him into my heart and later being baptized one Sunday evening. We moved from Shattuck to McAlester, OK when I was only 8 years old, in the 2nd grade. I spent my childhood and youth there, the first few years at Victory Park where Dad was the pastor and then later at First Baptist Church after Dad became the Missions Director for the association. Looking back now I can see the hand of God was with me during those years. He directed me to a great church where I grew in the Lord and learned more about him. I had several great Sunday School teachers and the privilege to attend Falls Creek Baptist Assembly every summer. We also had some great youth ministers and God worked through them and my Christian friends to bring me closer to Him. After High School he led me to Oklahoma Baptist University. During my years at OBU God led me to my wife, Sherre. We were married after graduation and moved to Little Rock where I attended graduate school while working at the school. After graduate school there was a period of about 6 months where we searched for His will to find an occupation. Today, 6 months doesn't sound like very long of a period but at the time it felt like years and years. Finally He opened up a door and made it very clear that He wanted me in Ponca City, Ok to work for Conoco. That was more than 25 years ago. Soon after moving to Ponca City we found a church where we could serve Him and be blessed too. One of the things I struggled with early on was finding what God had given me as a 'gift'. My Dad was a pastor but I didn't feel led to do that. My gifts did not match the classical ones you read about in the Bible. Eventually He showed me that my gift was a technical one. I'm the guy who knows or finds out how things work and then makes them work right. I started on the sound committee 25 or so years ago and I'm still there. I also help with the lights along with the projector and computer systems in the church, the technical stuff. One of those guys who works behind the scene to make sure the Word is heard without any problems. It's been my blessing to serve Him all these years and also to serve as a Deacon since 1990.  God also blessed me with two wonderful girls who are now both in college or about to graduate from college. They both are following Him in their lives. So, as you can see, my experience isn't as exciting as some folks but I expect it's fairly typical. Without God I wouldn't be where I am today, He has certainly let me and blessed me my whole life. 
Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
--Colossians 3:17
David R. Land, FBC, Ponca City, OK

 
----- Original Message -----
From: Dorothy Land
To: Dave Land
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2004 6:36 PM
Subject: testimony

Hi, Dear One ---  your testimony warmed my heart - and what you are doing with these is great!   Good ole e-mail - kinda like going 'from door to door' in the old days.
I don't remember if I told you children my testimony:  as an 8 year old child, I attended First Baptist Church with Mom and Dad -- spent most sermon times 'sleeping' as children do.  But the message got through!  I remember being at home one evening, sitting on the back steps of the house.  I was facing an operation soon -- now, it was only to have my tonsils out, as all children do these days, or 'did' those days, but it was an OPERATION !  And I would be put to sleep!  The thought occurred to me that I might die during this.  The Holy Spirit sent conviction of sin to this 8 year old - what if I died on the operating table?  I would go to hell, I realized, because I had not asked the Lord to forgive me and make me His.  At church, then, I asked Dad to walk to the front with me.  I vividly remember my baptism experience - I even still have a mental image of the dressing room and the baptistry in OKCity First Baptist Church, and the dress I wore - it was a small child's dress, kinda like you see on baby dolls these days.   I also remember the great joy in my heart.  And what do some children do when they are very happy?  They jump up and down.  Guess what?  I jumped up and down in the baptistry.  Of course, I was so small and OKCity FBC was so big, I am sure noone ever realized what I was doing - jumping for joy!   WELL, now at age 82 and soon to be 83, I am still HIS -- and I KNOW from experience what heaven is like.
You see, when your older brother, John, was born I had a 'death experience' - I can tell you that the believer 'is absent from the body and present with the Lord' because
'I WAS THERE'  !!  By the way, the 'sky' is not blue (there is no need for oxygen) -- the scripture says 'the Lamb is the Light' - so what I remember is a gentle ivory glow.
   I am grateful for all the wonderful gifts of love and family the Lord has showered upon me, and for a place of service in His Kingdom, even at 82!  Love, MOM
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Gayle Young
To: Dave Land KD5FX ;
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2004 7:31 AM
Subject: Re: Testimonies

Dave,
I think that this is a GREAT idea and apologize to you for putting off adding my part!  Here is a short version of the way the Lord is working in my life:
 
When I was in the Third Grade, I experienced fear for the first time---I mean real fear!  I learned about tornadoes and what they could do and that my daddy could not fix it or stop it!  I had learned about God and Jesus in Sunday School, but that is where I left both of them!  One day, it all connected and Jesus moved out of the Sunday School part of my life into my whole life.  I invited Him to be my Lord and Savior and to help me with the fear.  He did it!  Oh, I still get scared of tornadoes, but not the gut-wrenching fear I had that day years ago.
 
As a response to inviting Jesus into my heart, my mother and daddy told me about being baptized and joining the church.  They told me that during the invitation on a Sunday morning or Sunday evening that I could walk up to Brother Moseley and tell him what the Lord had done in my life and that I wanted to be a part of this church.  They told me that I had to do that all by myself!  They would not walk forward with me.  I wondered why my parents wouldn't go with me.  They told me it was because walking with Jesus was a personal thing that NO ONE could do for you, you have to do it yourself!  So after 6 weeks of working up the courage, I DID IT!  I made my decision public-----and it was only 19 steps because we sat on the front row!
I told Brother Moseley that I had accepted Jesus into my heart and wanted to follow Him!  I was baptized that night and wish I could say that I have followed Jesus closely ever since!
 
During Junior High and High School, I was active in our youth group and did every activity there was at the church.  I talked to my friends about Jesus when they sought advice or needed help---but, I didn't live for him like I should have in every area of my life.  I knew I needed to be closer to my Lord---but I just kept Him at a distance.   He wasn't Lord of my life and I was miserable!
 
In college, I went to O.U. and was very active in the B.S.U.  I discovered the excitement of serving the Lord and acknowledging on a daily basis HIS LORDSHIP over my life.  I got involved in church, taught Bible Studies, and began to really grow in my walk with HIM!  Campus Crusade for Christ also became a big part of my life!  First Baptist Church, Norman and Preacher Hallock were a driving influence in my whole college career.  Preacher Hallock was the minister who married my mother and daddy and he let me know that he was there for me!  How good did that feel to have a man like that notice me and care about me in a big, impersonal college town! 
 
In my senior year, I met a young navy officer who was stationed at O.U. and teaching Navy ROTC classes.  We dated all of that year and were married in a HUGE ice storm on  January 17, 1970.  Our first church as a couple was at First Baptist Church, Moore and Paul Box was our Pastor.  John and I taught a couples Sunday School class there as he worked his way up the corporate ladder of Continental Federal Savings and Loan and I taught school and worked as a counselor in the elementary schools there in Moore, OK.  After almost 4 years, all of that life changed and we became parents!  Marcy-Ruth Young was born in September, 1973 and shortly after that we were transferred to Tulsa.  We were active in First Baptist Church of Tulsa and Warren Hultgren was our pastor.  I joined Baptist Young Women and had a great group of friends there.  The lady who was in charge of the Preschool was Evelyn Watson.  She began to come alongside me and show me things about ministering to children.  I helped her some in the Mother's Day Out program.  She introduced me to Willa Ruth Garlow and I sat in training sessions with her as I learned the importance of teaching children well and began to work on it at home.
 
After 2 years, we were transferred to Oklahoma City amidst a lot of turmoil within the company.  It was a difficult working environment for John.  We joined Nichols Hills Baptist Church and Charlie Graves was our Pastor.  In October, 1976, our son Charlie was born and Pastor Graves just knew we had named him after him!   (We never told him the whole truth about that!)  We bought our dream home and were set for life!  I worked with Marabel Morgan and taught Total Woman classes to young women and just loved it!  Then the bottom fell out!  John came home one day and didn't have a job anymore!  There we were with two little children, a dream home and no job!  Our Sunday School class came alongside and a precious older couple, Dr. Bill and Milcah Stewart took us under their wings.  We learned the power of praying!  We learned about standing on Bible promises.  We adopted Jeremiah 29:11-13 as our very own!
 
In 8 months we were moving again, sold our dream house, and made our way to Batesville, Arkansas.  John was PRESIDENT of Batesville Federal Savings and Loan.  We got active in First Baptist Church of Batesville and Don Nall was our Pastor.  John taught a couples class and I taught the OLDEST ladies class in the church.  It was a joy!  On any given Sunday if the weather was nice every single one of those precious women were in their places in that class.  However, if there was a hint of rain or inclement weather, NOT a single one of them attended.  I learned about feast or famine from them!!   We bought a new home on the bluff overlooking the White River in December 1979.  It was another dream!  On January 1, 1980, John read about an opening for a position in Amarillo, Texas-----and we were on the move again with TWO houses to sell in Batesville.  We never even moved into that dream!
 
We moved to Amarillo in May, 1980.  John was President of First Federal Savings and Loan there.  We again got active in the church, First Baptist Church and Dr. Winfred Moore was our Pastor.  We taught a couples class together there for several years and then John taught a men's class and I again taught an older ladies' class   (not the oldest ladies though!)  I also joined a Ladies' Bible Study that was interdenominational.  We called it Thursday Bible Study and there were 300 women who attended.  It was a great learning experience and I learned to dig in the Word of God and LOVE IT!!   In fact, I loved my life!  It was almost perfect!  Then one day in September, 1986, John came home and told me he had quit his job and was retiring!  For heaven's sake, we were in our forties!   Well, he had had it with business and the savings and loan industry was quickly changing and falling!  He could not stop it or change it----so-----we moved out of that dream house and came back home to Ponca City! 
 
Remember I told you I loved my life in Amarillo!  Moving to Ponca City brought a lot of changes for us!  I was so grateful I had learned to study the Word and lean on my Bible for guidance!  John developed a Real Estate Investment business and runs it from our home.  I was invited to teach a community Bible Study through the 55 and older club.  It was a little intimidating to me---but when I asked what they were studying, and learned that they were in the exact chapter of Exodus that I had left the Thursday Bible Study in Amarillo studying, I knew it must be God leading me and taking care of me AGAIN!  It did not take me very long to learn thought, that it probably would be a good idea if I got a job!  So, I went back to school, renewed my Teaching and Counseling Certificates and worked at Washington Elementary School.  Charlie was in the Fifth Grade and Marcy was in the Ninth Grade.  We joined First Baptist Church in Ponca City and Stephen Earle was our Pastor.  We  again taught Sunday School classes and were back in the groove.   The 55 and older club invited John to be their teacher and he is still doing that.  In fact, the Bible Class he teaches on Tuesday mornings at our church is the result of that!   Isn't God good?
 
I am sure you can see the hand of God leading me to where I am today.  I left Washington School in 1993 to join the staff at First Baptist Church as Women's and Children's Minister.  God prepared me for this place through all of the people He placed in my life through the years!  And now you know the rest of the story!
 
Sorry to be so long!    I just want you to know that when God puts His hand on your life and saves your soul that His hand never leaves you.  He is always there influencing and guiding----sometimes when you are not even aware!  It is  joy to love and serve Him----but moreso a joy to KNOW Him and KNOW HE loves me!
 
I love you, but HE loves you more,
Gayle
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Al Summerfield
To: Dave Land KD5FX
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2004 10:39 PM
Subject: Re: Testimonies

I would like to give a testimony that I have not made to the church. There was a young man that was introduced to Christ at a very young age.  Did not necessarily go to church all that much but did love the Lord.  He was not the best student in school and was active in band and orchestra.  Was in the Youth choir at church.  He graduated and then joined the Navy,
 
Being in the navy and never had touched liquor, was introduced to a new Satan.  Was told by his peers that this would loosen him up to play jazz and be in the "in".  He later found out that you can mix a healthy juice and a liquor to make you feel good.  One drink led to many to leaving out the healthy juice and just the liquor.  He was now up to a liter a day and had to have it before the morning muster.  One day he found himself in a place in tthe Bedford-Stuyverson area in Brooklyn.  Did not know how he got there but knew he certainly did not belong there.  Coming back to the base, dirty and reeked with the smell of alcohol, deceided that this is not the life that  he wanted. He cleaned up and went to any Minister that was available.  He vowed to break the hold that liquor  had on him and went "cold turkey".  Sin can be broken if you let someone higher that you.  This person was me.  The first time I ever gave this testimony was at a JC convention Sunday morning breakfast.  I am not proud of my addiction to alcohol but this is not a problem any longer
 

 

 
----- Original Message -----
From: Larry Masters
To: kd5fx at cableone.net ; Sent: Monday, May 17, 2004 11:14 PM
Subject: Re: Testimonies
 

My salvation testimony is about how Jesus changed my heart, my life, and my ultimate destination back in March, 1961 at age 15.  God convicted me during a Friday night Revival service in Ada, Oklahoma.  I claimed to already be a Christian as a result of walking the aisle in church along with several of my friends back when I was 7 years old.  I was baptized that very night and grew up as an active church member, participating in almost everything the church program offered.  By the time I became a teenager, many people probably thought of me as one of the leaders in the youth group, the school, and in the community.  To some, I suppose, I played the part, looked the part, and spoke the part of a committed Christian.  After all, I was the Pastor’s son (ha!), an honor’s student, an adult choir member, and a high school varsity athlete.  But on the inside I was a hypocrite; I was like a grain of wheat that looked real, yet was empty on the inside.  I was sinful, self-centered, and lacked the power and the presence of Jesus inside.  I had what some have called “Church-anity” instead of “Christ-ianity”.  I had a lot of head knowledge, but no heart experience.  During that Friday evening service, God spoke to me and helped me realize that I was like a baseball player that was rounding second base, but failed to touch first base.  I finally realized that my apparent “salvation decision” back when I was seven years old was a sincere attempt to please God, to please all my friends, and to make my parents proud of me.  I did love God, but at that age I wasn’t convicted about my own sins.  Let me interject that I do believe there are legitimate salvation experiences for many young children.  So, after that service, I asked my father (also my Pastor) to meet with me.  And there on my knees in the Pastor’s Study, I told God that I was going to turn away from my sinful life.  I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life.  I thanked Him for dying on the cross for me and thanked Him for becoming for Savior and my Lord.  It felt as if a 2-ton weight was lifted off my shoulders because I had been trying to carry my load of sins on my own power.  On the following Sunday morning, I stepped out of the choir loft and went forward during the Invitation Hymn to publicly profess my faith in Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord.  That night, I followed the Lord in “believer’s baptism”.  From that weekend on, my life and my future was changed.  Jesus has led the way through all my marriage, family, and career decisions.  He has given me a sense of direction.  He has blessed me with a Godly wife, children, and grand children.  He has seen us through some difficult challenges.  He has sustained us through 40 years of vocational Christian service in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas.  He continues to bless me, to teach me new lessons, and to forgive me when I fail.  I know that when my life here on earth is over, I will instantly go to heaven to be with Jesus and to serve Him.  I will enjoy a happy reunion with loved ones, with friends, and with those souls that I have helped find Jesus.  I have never regretted one time that I gave my life to Jesus Christ.  I praise God for the joy, the peace, the purpose, the abundant life, and the power that He has given me.  Is He your Savior too?  I pray that He is!

Sincerely,

Larry Masters

First Baptist Church, Ponca City, OK