I was not as fortunate as some to be raised in a home where you went to church, as a family, on Sunday or even fortunate enough to have Jesus and God talked about in my home. As a child and a young adult I had no understanding of salvation and being a part of the church. When I was a child I was put on a church bus and sent to a church but had no guidance or understand of what was being presented to me because after I left church there was no mention of it again at home. However, I know that the Lord did place enough in me to know that I was lost. One time when I was maybe 7 or 8 years I remember looking at the stars one night and knowing that if the Lord came back I was going to Hell, even though I still did not know the difference between being saved and lost.
I had many years after that of a hollow feeling in my heart and never knowing what it was or how to escape it. Then one day at work a man named Barney Allison brought his son in to get some sports glasses and he asked me the ultimate question… “Have you been saved”. We talked a while and I was very scared. However, I did not want to pray with him and said I wanted to pray on my own. When I left work that night I began to cry and pray to my Lord. I told him I had reached the end of my rope and that I couldn’t do anymore or go any further and that he would have to take full control. At that moment, driving by the bluff right before the Amaco Station in South Carthage, the Lord lifted my burden away. I don’t remember my drive home that evening.
I still had one problem. With no church education I didn’t know what to do with the gift I had just received. Most people want to share what the Lord has done for them once they are saved. I was afraid of what I had because I didn’t truly understand. After receiving my salvation that night the last person I wanted to see was Barney Allison. However, he did come back and ask me how things were and I told him I got saved. I spent several years after that visiting churches and attending some on a regular basis. Mind you none of them being Missionary Baptist. I never found a comfort zone or a complete understanding of what I had. I never found a peace within telling me I was at home and things were right. I had been to one church where I was taught that I could not read the bible and understand it on my own I had to come to the pastor and make sure I fully understood what I had read and that if my understanding didn’t agree with them I was wrong. This added to the confusion because I knew that the bible said “so simple a child can understand”. I still struggled for many years reading and trying to find my peace and comfort zone.
This part of my testimony is not for those questioning salvation but for those needing and wanting comfort, peace and fulfillment that goes with salvation. And that is being part of the bride. When I started coming to Hartsville Missionary Baptist Church I felt at home. But I still had no peace. That was because that same small voice that called to me to come to him was calling to me to join the church and be part of his bride. To take my place in his house and be a part of the body. To help in the labors of the church so that she grow and be fruitful. I have now found my peace and my place. So if the Lord is calling to you to be saved I urge you to let go of the hardest thing of all yourself and give “yourself” to God. And, if the Lord is calling you to join the church, listen and obey. There are many blessings and comforts that await you once you are home.