To All Who It May Concern,
My name is Michael Eugene Turnipseed. I was born on June 1, 1960 in Newman, Georgia. My family moved to Carthage, Tennessee in 1969. I was raised in the Methodist and joined when I was sixteen years old. By what I believed, I was a christian. I was married to Debbie Smith at 23. Shortly thereafter, she became acquainted with Brother Barney Allison. She invited him to our home where some other friends had gathered to meet him also. That night we talked about God and he tried to answer all of our questions. At the close he asked us about a time and a place when God saved our souls. That is my first memory of this ever being asked of me. We were invited to a mission on Dillard’s Creek near Chestnut Mound where he had been preaching. Not too long after, we did visit, but I didn’t realize what it was all about until the preaching began and suddenly I felt that something was different about this. My most vivid memory is of the invitation to the lost. There was something very powerful about that, very unfamiliar to me. I remember trembling within myself and a feeling like God was looking right through me; and above all wanting just to leave this place.
I did just that and didn’t look back until several months had past by and found myself wondering where life was headed. My brief but unbridled journey into what I wanted for myself, I found myself to be empty and to make it worse I had brought someone else down with me. We discussed going to church, the Methodist of course, but she wanted to go to the little mission that I had tried to forget. Out of my own shame I didn’t resist, but I did not like it. Something had been wrong there but we went. I don’t remember much; I didn’t want to hear much, I just wanted God to fix my mess. I got through this, but there are memories of people and honesty, tears, and testimonies that I really felt was strange. I didn’t understand these things. We were invited to Brother Barney’s mother’s house for lunch. The only thing I remember about that was sitting on her couch listening to Ms. Elsie tell about when God saved her. She told about being lost, the burden, and the fear, and praying. Then she told of coming to herself and the peace she felt. I remember word for word, ” a little space of darkness in between that was just gone”. Right then, right there on that couch, I felt conviction fall on my heart and heaviness. I didn’t have what she had. All I had was what I did, she had something God did.
I tried to fix it. I knew I could fix it for I could do anything I tried. I worked hard for 4 long days and nights trying. Friday came and I went to work. There was a burden so heavy I was now working hard to just keep from crying in the carpool. I tried all morning to work hurting inside, but I didn’t understand why. Lunchtime came and I sat at my workbench alone. I wanted to talk to someone, but there was nobody that could help. Then I laid my head over in my hands and told God that I had gone as far as I could go. I didn’t have anything left to try with. Right then somehow I knew in my heart what was wrong at the little mission. It was me. My heart was not right with God. I had never trusted God, now I was afraid. I didn’t know how to be saved. I felt like I was dying. I remember struggling to let go and die, there was no hope left in me. In my heart, I had a place in my house if I could just get home I would get on my knees and pour out my heart to God.
The next thing I remember, I was standing at my tool box. I don’t know how I got there. I just stood there and wondered at the peace. I forgot that I was in trouble. A few moments later it started rising up in me and I had to move. As I walked it felt like my feet were not touching the ground. I was happy and full for the first time in my life. I wanted to tell everyone in that factory something had happened to me in my heart but I didn’t know exactly what or how to tell it.
I went back to work now; without a care in the world, but still amazed at how peaceful it was. Sometime after this, I can’t say how long, but shortly after, there was a voice, a voice I knew now, with words that I still to this day remember, though I have tried many times to forget. There was a new burden. But by the same source. I remember looking up and asking “Why Me?”