When I was asked to speak on Sunday night, I wanted to say “Thank You” to the church. My family and I moved there when I was in the fourth grade. This is the church I was saved in, baptized in, and called into the ministry. This is the church that knew me as a little terror and rebellious teenager. But now, for the first time, I was given the privilege to stand before them as a missionary to China, preacher of the Gospel and say “thank you.” You know, they probably felt like giving up on me or thought I would never turn out to be a preacher but they continued to invest in me and to be faithful to God and His service.
Here are a few people that had an impact upon me while I was there.
- Dad and Mom – You will never realize the impact you had on me by faithfully taking me to church, reading your Bibles at home, and when I would wake up early in the morning to go the restroom, to see you on your knees praying before a Holy God.
- Sheri McConaughey – She was my first Sunday school teacher here, and I remember her Bible stories with the flannel graphs, her smile and singing.
- Paul Johnson – He was the preacher for Super Church (a.k.a. Children’s Church), and he would preach each week and give an invitation. I remember when God got a hold of my heart; an invitation would come, and I would get so nervous and scared week after week and finally, I went forward and got saved.
- Donnie Prince, Steve Pointer, and Bill Johanon – They were my Jr. Boys Sunday school teachers, and I was a handful, but they were faithful, took us on activities, taught the bible, and prayed for us.
- Doug Kraus – I can not say enough about this man. He was my youth pastor. Besides God and my pastor now, Austin Gardner, he probably has influenced me more than any other person. I spent about six years under this man, and those six years were probably the most crucial parts of my life and what I was going to do with it. He was there through that bad and good. Thank You!
- Mike Grey – He was my pastor. He stood in the pulpit and faithfully preached the Word of God. I remember during one of the missions conferences that he would say he was praying that God would call a missionary out of that church. I remember in my early teens sitting in the pew thinking, “that’s me!” Now I can testify that it truly was an answered prayer.
Thank you Baptist Tabernacle in Carlisle, Ohio for investing in me.
Let me not forget to say, the reason for it all is GOD. He saved me, loved me, and redeemed me! Thank You LORD Jesus Christ for everything, You deserve all praise!