In May of 1980 I came to the conclusion that I had never accepted Christ as my Savior. After months of torment and fear I finally took a deep breath and walked the aisle at church that Sunday morning. I was an active member of this church, teaching Sunday school and leading, a mission’s education class.
I walked up to my dear pastor and taking his hand I whispered in his ear, “Brother Charlie, I don’t believe I have ever been saved.” His head shot up like he had been struck by lightening and in a rather loud voice he said, “WHAT?!”
Embarrassed I lowered my head a little more and whispered again, “I’ve never been saved?” He looked at me like I was crazy then smiled and said, “Well, let’s just take care of that right now.”
So I said the sinner’s prayer and accepted the Lord as my Savior. Brother Charlie then turned me to the congregation and presented me as a candidate for membership and baptism into the church. My husband Eugene came up to me and took my hand as Brother Charlie told him, “Here you go, a brand new wife.” And I was totally different.
A couple of weeks later I went to see Brother Charlie at the church. I tapped lightly on the door, he looked up from behind his desk and motioned for me to come in. He was in his 60’s, short and a little heavy. His hair was thick, wavy and black with some gray. It was always neatly combed.
“What can I do for you today?” He asked.
“Well, I was wondering about my teaching responsibilities here at church.” I said. Sweat was starting to pour from my hands. This always happens when I get nervous.
“What about it?”
“Should I give them up since I just now became a Christian?”
“Oh no, you’ve always done a good job. The only thing different is now you have heart knowledge and not just head knowledge.” He said, as he smiled.
“Thank you, I’m so relieved that I can continue to teach because I love doing it so much. Especially the missions class.” I said.
“Well, we appreciate you and I know the Lord will bless you and the children.”
Mission camp was in July of that year. I had never been to any kind of camp let alone taking a group of girls to one. The church appointed an assistant to go with me.
We had the best time, two leaders and eight girls on an adventure. There were classes about the mission field, craft classes and recreation time. At night we gathered around the campfire and sang and the staff gave testimonies about their Christian walk. The best part was a missionary from Africa. She was awesome, her stories kept us all spell bound. I had never met any one so fascinating. She taught us songs in an African dialect and she wore authentic African clothes. She told of the many men, women and children that had accepted Jesus as their Savior.
The last night of the camp after the campfire, the camp director stood in front of us, looked around at all of our faces and asked, “ Do any of you feel called to special service for the Lord? If so please follow me into the tabernacle.” She slowly left the campfire and little girls from all around the campfire got up and followed her. So did I. Yes, the only adult in the whole group that felt called to special service. I felt a little odd following all the others but I didn’t care I knew I was being called.
When we arrived in the tabernacle the camp director was a little shocked to see me among the group of girls but she didn’t question me. She looked at all of us and said, “You have answered the call of the Lord for special service. I want you to know that this doesn’t mean you have to be a missionary in a foreign country. God may just want you to always have your door open to those in need.”
I felt as though it was just the two of us there that she was speaking just to me. So I have always kept my door open and He has brought many to my home who needed a home, a place to feel safe, a meal, a prayer or just a listening ear.
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