January 2024

Permission granted by members with signatures
Copy of signatures on file
Testimonies compiled for this project
By Janet Brewster


D. Carver

At home in my bed
About 13

I was raised in church so I remember always being in church. I knew someday I would need to be saved. I don’t recall the specific time I first knew I was lost. I think when people started asking me if I was lost I started going to the altar. My brother Johnny had started going to the altar and soon after that I did. My mother and others would ask me if I felt a burden in my heart and I did. I went to the altar for a long time, I guess a few years. It seems like it was every Sunday and every other time I went to church and we went to church a lot, many revivals and singings. One day Johnny got saved and I told them that I was saved also. I remember telling my Granny “I think I‘m saved” she said “Honey you have to know”. Anyway, I was baptized and I knew I wasn’t saved. I remember praying many times to be saved but I couldn’t tell anybody. One night, late at night, I was so burdened, I was saying God please save me, I didn’t want to be very loud, because Johnny and I slept in bunk beds and he was in the bed above me. Finally I didn’t care if anyone heard me and I asked God to save me and all of a sudden it felt like the burden was just sucked out of me, like with a vacuum or something. I remember getting up and walking around in the living room in the dark, just so excited. I don’t know why but I didn’t tell anyone. It was many years later, I was married, but I was troubled about it and I confided in my pastor, Brother Billy Dan Carter. I got up in church one day and told what had happened and was baptized. Whenever, I think of when I was saved my mind goes to the time on that bunk bed. I have strayed far and long, but the Lord has always taken care of me. I love the Lord.

Elder J. M. Carver
July 17, 1995
Outside my home by a bush
Age 10

I was outside my house one afternoon about 5:30 PM. I was shooting basketball when all of a sudden God popped in my mind. I began to start thinking about how He had to die on the cross for me because of my sins. I felt really bad all over and couldn’t get it off my mind. I sat down by a bush that was in the backyard and I began to pray. I remember feeling all that pain but after I prayed for about a minute, it left and I felt happy. I began to yell out and started saying all this stuff about how God was so good and I felt so happy. It was the greatest moment of my life. There has been nothing else in my life even close to that feeling and I thank the Lord with all my heart for it.

J. Clark

1976 At Home

In 1976 I met and fell in love with the girl that the Lord had prepared for me (not knowing that at the time), so I started going to church with her, and after a few months we decided to get married on July 2, 1976. Life was good until we went to see a movie one night (The Omen). Well about halfway through the Lord let me know that I was unprepared to meet Him, and the movie showed the power that the devil had over us. So that moment I knew that I was on my way to hell. Scared to death all the way home, I made it to my bed and cried out to God to save me from that awful place that he had shown me. I could feel the flames at my feet and felt like the door was closing behind me to seal me in forever. I begged the Lord to save me, and knew that Jesus was the only one that could do that! And that fear left and sweet peace came into my heart…

N. Clark
May 12, 1974
Madison Missionary Baptist Church
Age 17

I thank the Lord for saving my soul! On a Saturday afternoon I was at work and the Lord started dealing with my soul. I was so afraid even to drive home. After I left work I prayed but with no relief. On Sunday morning we got ready for church. I could not wait to get to the altar. I made my way before Bro. F.L. Ray even began preaching. I fell on my knees and all of the praying sisters and brothers gathered around to pray. The Lord saved my soul and I had peace in my heart, and I came up from my knees shouting. I knew without a shadow of doubt the Lord had saved my soul. I remember I could not wait to tell everybody at school the next day. The Lord has always been with me and I do not know what I would do without Him!

K. H. Collier
1997 At home in my bed, Age 7

I was saved when I was seven. I hadn’t been lost for that long, but one night I was lying in bed and couldn’t sleep. I just remember being scared that I was going to die or Jesus was going to come back and I wasn’t going to get to go to Heaven. So I just started praying after a few minutes, I still felt terrible and so I gave up. I told God that I just couldn’t do it and as soon as I let go, my burden went away, and I knew I was saved. Then two years later I joined the church and a little after that I was baptized.

A. D. Colston
May 19, 1987
At Home in Bed Age 11

I heard my grandmother shout one evening at a revival service being held at Victory MB Church. Once I heard her, I became troubled over my sins. I knew then, I had to be saved. I sought the Lord over several years but never got saved. Finally, one Tuesday evening four years later, after we had gotten home from a revival service, I got ready for bed and was working on some homework. My daddy came in to kiss me goodnight and told me I had better get it worked out so I could be saved and go to heaven with my family. I finally went to bed and fell asleep. I had a terrible dream that woke me and I began to pray. All at once, the burden was gone, and I had such a wonderful peace come over me that I felt as if I was floating! I got up, told momma and daddy, and we called Bro. B.D. Carter to tell him the good news. The Lord sealed me up that night, gave me the peace I needed and has walked with me every moment since. I am HIS and HE is mine!

G. Colston
July 13, 2020
During the Revival at McFerrin
Age 13

I got saved on Monday July 13th, 2020 at revival. That night I had a heavy heart but it wasn’t the heaviest, and I knew I needed to go pray, but I didn’t. The preaching started and the preacher for that revival was Anthony Ferguson. The heaviness kind of went away but it was still there, so then after the sermon and during the singing the heaviness came back and I knew I needed to go down and pray. I still didn’t go, and Bro. Anthony came to me and asked if I needed to go pray, and I just melted down and said yes. I was walking down there and as I was kneeling down, I just felt peace and I knew I had gotten it but the doubt came in and I didn’t think that could have just been it. It was just simply peace and then I remember just sitting there smiling and laughing because I had been saved, so I got up and I said, “Momma I think I’ve been saved” and she said, “Tell me about it”, so I did. Then I told Anthony that I just felt peace and I didn’t see anything or feel like I was floating on a cloud and he told me that sometimes you don’t see anything and that sometimes it is just peace and stuck with me. I still didn’t want to join the church because I was scared I didn’t have it and for eight months I doubted it. Then March 20, 2021 came, and it was a Saturday, and I was talking to Bro. Johnny about what happened at revival that night in July and I answered a few of his questions and the whole time I was talking to him I just realized that this entire time I had gotten saved on that night in July and I wasn’t going to let the devil make me doubt it anymore! So, on March 21st, 2021, I joined the church and that was the most joy I had felt other than being saved!

M. Cothron

August 1970 Age 13
Greenfield Missionary Baptist Church, Greenbrier, TN

I was saved August 1970, at Greenfield Missionary Baptist Church in Greenbrier, TN, during the Summer Revival. I was baptized in Mansker Creek in Goodlettsville, TN, by Bro. W. C. Johnson August 16th, 1970, when I was 13 years old. I can remember being out in the yard and thinking I know there is a God because someone had to create all the things I could see around me and I realized that if I died I would not go to heaven. I had been raised in a Missionary Baptist Church all my life, both of my Grandparents and my mom and dad were raised up in a Missionary Baptist Church. My mom made sure my 2 brothers and I went to Church. I remember the ladies and gentlemen at Greenfield would always come around and ask me how it was with my soul and where did I stand with the Lord. For some time I knew I was lost and I would tell them I was fine. Then I got scared, I was afraid I would die and go to hell. I knew I was lost and I needed the Lord to save me. I don't remember how many trips I made to the mourners bench during that revival but this night was different. As I was sitting on the right hand side of the pew I felt like I had cried and prayed out, I did not know what else to do. Then a thought came to mind that maybe if I turned around and got down on my knees the Lord would save me. Well no sooner than I started to make that motion to get down on my knees he saved me. All I can remember is a peace and joy came over me. It was like the Lord reached out his hand and said welcome home. I can remember standing up and telling everyone that I was saved, what a happy time as we all rejoiced together. It was the best day of my life!

J. W. Cox

August 1976, Age 18
Hendersonville Missionary Baptist Church

My Dad was in the Air Force and we went to church every Sunday, but it was the base chapel, and was pretty generic in its teaching. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, Mama started talking to me about being saved. One night I prayed that the Lord would save me, and I went in and told Mama and Daddy that I had been saved. I had only been to a Missionary Baptist Church a few times in my life, because we never lived close to one. After we moved back to Tennessee in 1971 we began going to Hendersonville Missionary Baptist Church. I was 13. Soon after we started going people began to ask me if I had been saved. I told them I didn’t know because I knew I had asked the Lord to save me, and from what I had comprehended as a child, that was all I needed to do, but what I witnessed from people at Church, I was unclear if I had what they had. After a few years I came to realize that I probably wasn’t saved, and felt compelled to go to the altar. I went many, many times, sometimes on my own, sometimes at other people’s urging. I cried gallons of tears, and prayed to the best of my ability. After a few years of misery, especially at revival time, I began to get under conviction. The summer of 1976, I was 18 and had just graduated from high school. Our revival was in August. I remember going to the altar several times, and being totally sick at my stomach most of the week. On Sunday, the last day of the revival, I was really, really sick. I wanted to beg my parents to not make me go to Church, but knew that that was not going to happen, because I’m sure they could read conviction all over my face. I felt like I was visibly shaking, but had become adept at hiding it. As soon as the altar call was given, I remember telling God that if He was ever going to save me, it would have to be that night, and in my mind, I saw an old Sunday School picture of Jesus standing at a door. I asked my friend Debbie Faulkner standing beside me to go to the altar with me, and somehow we got up there. I was there several minutes, and then realized all of a sudden I wasn’t crying like I usually did, and really hadn’t been crying and I couldn’t seem to pray. Bro. Robert Gregory was sitting in front of me and asked me if the Lord had saved me, and I told him yes. So somewhere between my seat and the altar I was saved, I realize now that I was at the end of the rope I had made for myself, and finally surrendered to God and let Him do the saving. I remember my Daddy shouted that night for the first time that I could ever remember, and everybody was so happy. Sis. Carolyn Harper said I had the countenance of an angel, and my mother later told me the look on my face was radiant. I mostly remember being pretty scared of all the commotion I was causing, because I was really a shy person then. About a year later the Lord impressed upon me the need to join the Church. I was sitting at the piano and did not do it. Later I begged the Lord to let me live to the next week so I could join the Church, which I did and was soon baptized. I later moved my membership to Harvest Missionary Baptist Church when it was organized, and then in 2001 I moved my membership to McFerrin. I had always loved going to McFerrin, and loved the people there, because so many of them were family. It wasn’t until I came to McFerrin that I had ever heard an experience similar to mine. Mike and I got married at McFerrin, and I later was blessed to hear my husband of 10 years stand up and tell how he was saved at home that afternoon. I am thankful that the Lord has brought us to McFerrin and given us a home to worship and work in. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

M. Cox

July 27, 2001 At Home

I first started going to church with Jeanne at Harvest Missionary Baptist Church in 1991. Since I wasn’t raised in church, I didn’t know what it meant to be lost or saved. The first time that I went to the altar was at the June revival at Harvest that year. The first night I prayed, nothing happened. The next night, I had a heavy burden, I was praying at the altar for what seemed for hours, but Jeanne said it was about an hour, but still nothing happened. The rest of the revival I did not go back to the altar, either I was ignoring the burden or it wasn’t there. Over the next few years, I only went back to the altar a very few times but never with a burden. We started coming to McFerrin in the year 2000, going to revivals but still nothing until the July revival in 2001. On the Thursday night service, it was either Bro. Massey or Bro. Johnny that said if you knew you weren’t saved, just come up and say one prayer, then if you wanted, you could go back and sit down. I went up to the altar, said my prayer and nothing, so I sat down. The next morning, I woke up, but just didn’t feel right. As the day went on, the burden grew stronger and stronger until I had to pray. I went into my bedroom, fell on my knees and prayed. I prayed and prayed but still the burden grew stronger, until finally I told the Lord that if He didn’t save me now, I might not ever get saved, and the burden was gone. I thought, is that it, no bells, no bright lights, just peace. I tried to pray some more, but there was no burden, and I knew I was saved. I called Jeanne at work, told my in-laws that afternoon, and couldn’t wait to get to church that night to tell everyone. I now know that I was trying to think my way into Heaven, but all it took was total surrender, and the Lord will gladly save you.

E. Crook

June 1968 Age 27
Midland Baptist Church, Midland, TX

I resisted the conviction of the Holy Spirit for 20 years. My wife was the greatest witness and influence in the yielding to my conviction on that Sunday night. Praise God for His long suffering.

J. Crook

May 1959 Age 14
At Home in the Kitchen

One day I realized that I was lost and needed to be saved. I was so fearful of dying, because I knew that if I died at that moment I would go to hell. The conviction began to be so heavy. I prayed constantly, it seemed, but just could not get an answer. I would pray when I went to bed, but it seemed like my prayers would not go higher than the ceiling. I was afraid to go to sleep for fear that I would not wake up and end up in hell. This went on for about a week, the burden getting heavy every day. Finally on Saturday about the middle of the afternoon, I was standing at the kitchen sink and thinking, God I can’t stand this heavy burden anymore, either you have to save me or I am going to die right now, please help me. At that moment, the burden lifted and it seemed it went right out of the window over the sink. I had such peace within. I knew at that moment everything was all right with God and me.

S. DeRossett

October 1973 Age 17
Hendersonville Missionary Baptist Church

If you have been saved by the wonderful grace of Jesus Christ, you have a story--one that needs to be told to this lost and dying world. This is my story: As a nine year old girl I stood on the banks of the Little Tennessee River in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, waiting to see my oldest brother, Mike get baptized. There was a short sermon preached and an altar call given. My brother, Greg, came running forward crying, "I don't want to go to hell!" Well, neither did I. But there was a big difference in our stories--he was under conviction--I wasn't. He repented of his sins and was saved. I bowed my head but I didn't pray through. I let my family believe that I got saved that day. I got baptized along with my two older brothers. Years passed by. I began to worry about my soul. I didn't have that peace that salvation brings, but I didn't want to admit it. During this time my father's job required quite a bit of traveling. Each time we relocated, we would visit another church. There were times that I remember not attending church but listening to an evangelist on the television. He would preach -then tell his congregation and those at home listening to repeat a certain prayer to get saved. I repeated that prayer -- nothing happened. I was seventeen years old when our last move brought us to Hendersonville, Tennessee, where we began to attend Hendersonville Missionary Baptist Church. Elder Robert Gregory was the pastor. He preached, "you must be born again" and "you must have a time and a place where the Lord spoke peace to your heart". I got so burdened that I couldn't go on. The pride that had kept me from admitting that I had not been saved years before vanished. I no longer cared what people might think of me. I just knew I had to make it right with God. I had to find peace. I went to the altar and poured my heart out to God. I repented of my sins and asked the Lord to save me. He saved me that day and gave me that peace that passes all understanding. I was baptized on November 4, 1973. I thank God for saving my soul. I've learned through my personal experience that, first of all, wanting to be saved is not enough. You MUST be convicted of your sins and realize that you are separated from God. Secondly, NO man can tell you to repeat a prayer and you will be saved. Salvation is personal. It is between you and God. He knows your heart. He will hear your cries of true repentance. He lets you know when you are lost, and He will also let you know when you are saved. And last of all, you can't let pride stand in your way when seeking salvation. You must surrender all. Now, 43 years later, God is still blessing my life. He has blessed me with a wonderful church family as well as a Christian home, a Christian husband of 42 years, two daughters and a son, (all of whom have been saved), two sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law, (all of whom have been saved), and 8 grandchildren (six of them have been saved). It is my earnest prayer that the rest of them will also be saved. If I live to be a hundred years old, I will never be able to thank and praise God enough for His blessings on me. I just pray that through the telling of my story someone might see the great need to have a story of their own. As the song goes: "Oh no, the old story will never grow old, how Jesus died to save my soul...that story will never grow old". I pray that the old story will continue to be told so that lost souls everywhere can hear the Word, be convicted of their sins and find that everlasting peace in Jesus Christ our Savior

J. W. Duke

August 1949 Age 9
Long Fork Missionary Baptist

It was a summer revival in August 1949. I was nine years old and Bro. Fuqua was preaching that night at a small church in Macon County, Long Fork Missionary Baptist. The service was long and I thought he would never finish. I knew I was hurting inside. I was sitting in the back of the church on an old wooden bench. When the altar call was given I quickly went down and during the prayer I remember telling God that I was ready to give it to Him. My Aunt Martha Whitley was praying with me. It seems I just faded away and woke up rejoicing. I was nine years old. I came up shouting. Through the years, God has been with me. I am happy in Him. He is my strength and He will carry me safely over the mountains.

L. Dyer

November Age 14
Parkwood Missionary Baptist Church

Conviction burdened me for many years as a young child. I was so convicted that nighttime was anguish for me. I was totally afraid to close my eyes at night because I was afraid of dying in my sleep and making hell my home. I always begged the Lord to save me in my bed, the barn, or somewhere in private because the devil frightened me of going to the altar. I did not believe at that time that Christians were truly interested in seeing me saved. I was afraid they would think badly of me if they knew I was lost. One particular Sunday during the invitation for sinners, my friend, Brenda Brown, turned to me and said, “Don’t you want to be saved?” Up until that time, it was easy to lie when asked if I was lost. My answer was always “No.” This day, I could not answer “No” to her question. Sure I wanted to be saved. That was the day the devil lost his control over my soul. As I made my way out of the pew and down the aisle toward the altar, the Lord lifted my burden and saved my soul. I suddenly realized the thing that stood between me and my salvation was that I had to come the Lord’s way and not my way.

H. Elliott

August 18, 2018
Youth Retreat Age 14

My salvation story is a little weird. I thought I was saved a few years before I actually was saved. I was at Cumberland Valley (Singing School) and we were in our night class at the time. We were singing and in the song it said, “When I die, I’m going to Heaven.” It hit me like everyone in the room was just throwing books at me. At first I just thought it was my breathing, but I knew deep down it was worse than that. Right after they finished singing my group was called up by Mr. Singleton to direct our song for closing night, but the only thing I wanted to do was bow and pray. When our class was over I ran straight to the dorm room and prayed. My roommate walked in and asked me what was wrong and I told her I was lost. Mr. and Mrs. Church came in along with everyone else that was on the girls’ floor and prayed with me. When I finished praying, Mrs. Katie Baker and I walked around outside for a while. Right before we walked back in she asked me if I was saved. I told her no, the burden was still there. It just wasn’t as heavy. A few months later we had our July revival. It was Tuesday night and Brother Luke Morrison was preaching. This was also the day I told Brother Johnny I had found out I was lost. I was sitting with Lisa Wilkerson and I didn’t listen to a word that Brother Luke had preached that night. John Michael got up and started singing “Palms Up”. That burden hit me again. I looked at Lisa and said I needed to go pray. I went down to the altar and I don’t really know how long I was down there, but I knew Daniel was beside me. I don’t know why I started counting, but I did and I counted exactly two minutes when Daniel got up. I knew he was saved. Fast forward to our youth retreat. It was Saturday night at the last devotion we had. Nathan Johnston got up and said, “If He’s tugging on your heart, you don’t need to leave here tonight.” I knew if I walked out of those double doors I would die and go to hell. We had chairs set up as our altars and when I bowed down and prayed the pain was gone. I stayed down and prayed, but the only thing I could say was “I think I’m saved, but I’m not sure.” James Luke was beside me and I heard him say “If you don’t save me tonight, save her.” That’s when I knew I had gotten saved.

C. Farmer

Revival at Parkwood Missionary Baptist Church, About 12 Years Old

I grew up at Parkwood Missionary Baptist Church. I knew about being saved before I was old enough to know what it meant. My parents were very active in church – even vacations were planned around church service and revival. I saw lots of folks shout and testify all the time. I became under conviction when I was around 12 years old. I knew I needed God in my soul and everyone else knew it too. (God was working on both sides.) I started searching for God, scared I might die before I got it. I was praying at home and going to the altar praying many times. Finally at a revival service I was at the altar praying and that night my friend had come to the altar to pray too. It wasn’t long before someone whispered to me . . .my friend had been saved. I remember thinking I can’t do this anymore. Then, praying to God, I give up!! If You don’t save me I’m just not going to get it. A few minutes after I felt so relieved, saved!! The peace that I had heard folks talk about was finally in my heart! Praise God for His Grace!

D. Graves

July 10, 2018, Age 15
At the Altar at McFerrin During the Revival

It seemed like I had tried EVERYTHING and I still couldn’t get saved. In June of 2018, my family took a vacation down to Florida right after the Youth Awakening. While I was down there, God put the song “Palms Up” on my mind and I really began to think of the lyrics of that song. The next day I asked John Michael Carver to put the song on YouTube so others could enjoy it like I did and it began to light a fire under me for me to want to be saved. A few weeks later revival at church began. I didn’t feel the burden the first two nights, but Tuesday was much different. Luke began to talk about how we must want a relationship with God ALONG with salvation. Later in the night an altar call was made and my god sister, Hannah, went to the front to pray. As family usually does, we went to pray as well. So, I went down to the altar to support Hannah and of course here comes David Cunningham who of course HAS to sit by me. We began talking about salvation and how one day God would save me and sure enough John Michael walks on stage. He began to tell the story of me asking to put his song on YouTube and I couldn’t help but burst into tears. He began to sing “Palms Up” and I broke down to my knees and knew I had to be saved TONIGHT. I don’t remember much but I remember saying “God I’m not leaving until you save me!” and “If it’s not now, it’s never” and as soon as I laid down my pride and gave up everything to Jesus the sweetest peace came into my heart and I felt nothing but love for those around me.

M. Graves
1984, Age 15 In my bed at home

My Journey begins as follows: I began having a burden at age seven. I asked a lot of questions to my Grandmother Parker, but she was of a different belief and didn’t know or understand what I was feeling inside. She just didn’t want me to join a Baptist church. It felt as though God was knocking on a door (my heart). I can remember walking outside praying and singing to God and the knocking would begin. This went on for a while and then it stopped and I wasn’t sure why. I remember as a child Bro. Mack saying at the end of his sermons this question, “Is God knocking on your heart, won’t you let him come in?” Then the song Come Home, I can remember it playing on the organ in our little church. I felt like God was knocking on my heart. One day that summer (age seven) my sister went to the front of the church and wanted to join the church. She was crying and talking to the preacher. I got very scared because I thought she was going to Heaven and I wasn’t, so I went up to the preacher (Bro. Mack Pinkleton) a few seconds later and said that I wanted to join also. I was so scared and so afraid that I wouldn’t go to Heaven I went up and joined without God dealing with me. God wasn’t knocking on my heart and I had not felt Him in a long while. My sister and I were baptized in Weekly Creek. We did not have a baptistry in our church at the time. (New Hope Baptist Church, Pulaski, TN). Years went on and I began to feel a faint knocking at my heart again. This time I wasn’t even sure what was happening. I thought I was okay I had joined our church and had even been baptized a few years before. I was 15 years old when I was praying in my bed one night I don’t know how long or what I prayed all I know is that I began to cry, laugh and giggle all at once. I was so happy and filled with joy and peace. It felt like a fountain bubbling over and over. (A continual overflowing. )GOD had given me peace over my soul that night. I didn’t join the church again because I had already been baptized and had joined when I was seven years old. I have never told anyone this complete story before. During the 2006 Revival at McFerrin I got confirmation on when I was saved. I had been attending McFerrin Missionary Baptist Church for seven years; it wasn’t until I came to this church that I felt as though I was missing something. Everyone had a testimony to tell about when they were saved. I was not raised hearing this even though I attended a Baptist Church all my life. The members at McFerrin would give their testimonies and talk about having a burden or tell about being under conviction. I had no idea what they were talking about. I had never heard anyone speak of this before. I felt like I was lost because they all had something that I didn’t (a time and a place). So as I have sat and listened for seven years here at McFerrin Missionary Baptist Church, I have prayed that God would save my soul. But I realized in this revival, August 2006, I was praying the wrong prayer. God had already saved me at 15 years old. I didn’t see light or angels, I just felt so happy and filled with joy (age 15) that I just bubbled over with happiness. That was all God was ever going to give me. In my doubt I have cheated myself out of so much joy. He will only save you once and that is all it takes. I have felt God’s presence during Bible studies and while listening to others give their testimonies and have been so happy for them. That’s why I know I am saved. Today, August 6, 2006, I was touched by God once again and led to join McFerrin Missionary Baptist Church. I know that this is where GOD wants me to be.

P. Graves
August 1977, Age 12
New Bethel Missionary Baptist

I was brought up in church from a young age. My mom started taking my sister and me to Hendersonville Missionary Baptist Church when I was five or six years old. When I was nine or ten years old we began attending New Bethel. I had several friends in Sunday School and church, I didn’t mind going because of my friends. Bro. F.L. Ray was our first preacher and then Bro. H.C. Vanderpool. I don’t remember the exact moment I realized I was lost but I believe it was during a revival when I was almost ten years old. My sister had gotten saved and even a friend my age was saved. From that time on I tried to avoid going to church and avoid hearing the Gospel. My heart was heavy and I was afraid of dying. During the next two years many people at church asked me if I was lost. I always told them I was okay. I knew differently. During the August revival of 1977 I was still denying my condition. I remember two things that happened before I admitted I was lost. I listened as the church sang “O Why Not Tonight” and Bro. Vanderpool asked me why I was not being intelligent and truthful about my condition. I could not fight this battle anymore. I went up to the altar and poured my heart out to God. He filled me with a peace from my head to my toes. It only took a minute or two of praying. Praise God for His mercy and grace.

C. Gregory
September 1957, Age 14
In My Bed, Hartsville, TN

A revival was going on at Zion Baptist Church. I got under conviction and had a very heavy heart. One night while in bed praying, the heavy heart was gone. I was saved on that Monday night. Thank God for the good feeling of peace.

L. Gregory
1939, Age 9 Mace’s Hill

My Travel from Nature to Grace: One night at Mace’s Hill Missionary Baptist Church I was nine years old and I realized I was lost and separated from GOD. I made my way to the altar and I was that night born into GOD’s family. When I was saved, redeemed by the blood of Christ, there was one little spot when I died to sin and born again with the spirit, that one little spot you can always tell. I took hold of the Lord and have walked with Him the rest of my life. He has held my hand and He has been my guide, my shield, my friend, and my strength. I try to name all the things He has been and it all comes down to one little sentence. HE HAS BEEN MY EVERYTHING. Without Him I am nothing and with Him I am everything. I want everyone to know that He has been my only Savior. Once I took hold of His hand and walked with Him, I did not have to keep anything from Him. I did not have to hide anything because I knew I could not hide anything from Him because He knew everything. It has been the greatest walk once I took hold of His hand and have been walking with Him. That’s when I began walking by faith and not by sight.

M. Harris
Church, Betsy Layne, KY
Age 19

As a nineteen-year-old boy I began to actually attend church for the first time in my life. The only reason I agreed to attend church was because the church had a time of fellowship each week where they played basketball at the local High School gymnasium. They allowed me to come and play basketball with them for several weeks, and then one week they told me that I should also come visit their church since this opportunity to play basketball with them was a church activity. I gladly agreed, thinking this was a small price to pay for a boy from Kentucky to get to play basketball every week. When I went to the church the preacher began to talk about lost people, and I was very confused...I honestly thought we could just get in a car and go find all of the lost people. I had never heard the gospel, and didn’t have a clue what it meant to be lost. Much to my surprise, I later found out that I was one of those lost people he was preaching about. I continued to attend church for the next month, and I began to understand what the preacher meant by the lost people. On Wednesday – March 13, 1991 it became very clear to me that I was lost. I had already left the church, but I came back very quickly that night. I knew if I got in the car to leave then I wasn’t going to make it home, and I was going straight to hell if I died. I went back into the fellowship hall and told the youth director I was lost and I needed to pray. As I began to kneel down in front of that old floor heater there in Betsy Layne, Kentucky something happened that I’ll never forget. Before my knee ever touched the ground I felt the sweetest peace come into my heart. It was at that very moment that the Lord saved my soul. There was nothing any man could do for me that night, because salvation is a personal experience between you and the Lord. No man can save you, no man can take it away and there is nothing you can do to earn it. When the Lord saves you it is a work that only He can do, and I know that I will spend eternity in Heaven!

C. Holt
1980, Age 10
At home beside my bed

My Grandmother, Naomi Kemp, was a Charter member of Faith Missionary Baptist Church. Faith is the church my parents and brothers joined and the church I attended from the time I was born. It was 1981 and I was almost 11 years old when God saved me during a revival at Faith Missionary Baptist Church. Jeff Lunsford and James Allen Gregory were my age and they went to the altar during the revival. That is when I fell under conviction, but I didn’t go to the altar. I didn’t want all eyes to be on me nor did I want anyone to see me cry and for people to cry over me. I remember the glares and stares of everyone around me when the preacher would give an altar call and I hated that feeling! Some of the ladies and the pastor would talk to me on the way home each night and I would deny that I was lost. But really I was lost, scared, and hurting inside. Each night of the revival became worse and I didn’t want to go back because I wanted everyone to leave me alone and not talk to me. One night, one of the church members stood up and testified that he got saved at home. I thought, “Wow, God can save me at home. That‘s great news!” On the way home from revival that night, Mom again talked to me about being lost and about salvation. I could hardly keep in my tears. I was ready to burst! When we got home I went to my room and got on my knees beside my bed and prayed and prayed. I don’t have a clue how long I was there or what time it was, but I remember suddenly feeling safe, secure, and happy. I wasn’t scared anymore! God saved me in my bedroom right there in the floor beside my bed! Looking back, I am so thankful for my Mom and for all the people who stared and glared and asked me if I was lost. It was their prayers, words and actions that helped make my burden so heavy where all I could do is cry out to God for help. Most of all I love the Lord and am so thankful that He saved me and secured my future with Him in Heaven! Brother Arnett Gregory baptized me at Percy Priest Lake on July 12, 1981.

D. Harrison
At the Foot of a Hill

I remember standing in front of the church as a little boy reciting Bible verses that we learned during Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. Little did I know that one of these verses would become my favorite verse of all the Scriptures. I sat in church and listened to the preacher tell how one could go to heaven if he would make a decision to accept Christ as his personal Savior. I remember one day standing in our backyard, I was around the age of 13, and suddenly a fear came upon me and I knew without a doubt if I died I would go straight to hell. I remember the feeling and fear as if it were yesterday. I was afraid to play, sleep or anything else. I did what the church had taught; I went up on Sunday morning and made a decision to accept Christ as my personal Savior and then was baptized into the First Baptist Church in Hendersonville. When I left the church, I knew nothing inside of me had changed. I continued to deal with God; I promised God I would be good until I was 27 or 28 years old. I continued to search and to seek peace as I went about doing things that little boys do at that age. You see I was not taught that there was another way even though we used the King James Version of the Bible, and I had heard all the stories of David, Paul, the faith of the three Hebrew children thrown into the furnace, Daniel in the lion’s den and Jonah. I had not been taught that one would be lost before saved, repentance was spoken but not demonstrated. Being separated from God was never spoken as I remember. I had no instructions from the church or my family on what I was experiencing. God took care of the matter as one day I was walking with two friends along the road behind our house - God removed the fear and set a peace in its place. We were at the foot of a hill when the burden was lifted and I felt as though I could step to the top of the hill. I still did not understand what had happened, all I knew was the fear was gone and I could sleep and play without fear. I did not live a life that was becoming to a Christian but God continued to protect me. I am thankful to God for that. I would do and say things and then I would feel bad. Even before I would say and do things I would know I should not do them. Those feelings continue in me to this day and are a constant battle. Around the age of 18 I started dating the love of my life, Wanda (my wife) and she went to Madison Missionary Baptist Church. The first time I went in the church with her I heard the saints stand and testify of a time when they were filled with the fear of Hell and a time when God removed the fear and put peace in its place. I knew that was the feeling I had experienced. Then there was a thought inside me that said you have never felt that. I spent the next couple of years arguing with Wanda because she wanted to go to church on Sunday and I was into fishing, hunting, sports and sleeping on Sundays. She would just get up and go to church. The times that I went with her I would always leave when the altar call was made and go to the car. When she came out I would give her grief over being so long to dismiss service. I thank God he gave her grace to endure me through those days of ignorance.One night I was sitting in the house and Wanda’s mother came to the door and said daddy wants to see you, he’s in the car. I stepped out to the car and he rolled the window down approximately two or three inches. Speaking thru the small opening he said son you know you cannot raise those kids without a church home. That message stuck in my heart and would not leave. We were at church during revival. I was in the back of the building and the altar call was starting. I was set for my usual exit and the next thing I knew I was in the front of the church telling everyone when and where God had saved me. I joined the church and was baptized by the pastor, Elder William House. Since that night God has continued to bless my life.

W. Harrison
A Sunday Afternoon, Lying on Her Bed, Age 13

As a young girl, I was blessed to have parents who knew the Lord and many family members on both sides of my parents, who knew the Lord. My grandfather and six of my uncles were God-called preachers of the gospel. I can remember many meetings with aunts and uncles, shouting the praises of God. Most of them have gone on to be with God and are rejoicing in Heaven. I grew up in Madison, Tennessee. My parents were members of McFerrin MBC until the mission was started in Madison where they became charter members of Madison MBC. I can recall being on the mourner’s bench at many churches. I wanted to be saved long before I was convicted in my heart and saw myself for what I truly was, a sinner needing God’s grace and mercy. I thought whenever I did get saved it would be like firecrackers going off it would be so exciting. One day I was praying to be saved. My Aunt Tiny was shouting and my heart raced. I told my dad I got saved. I joined McFerrin Church and was baptized by Elder F. L. Ray. I didn’t feel any better, if anything, I felt worse; conviction truly set in and God was calling all the time. I felt like I had a ten-ton rock sitting on my shoulders everywhere I went, telling me I was going to hell and my family would be in Heaven. One day my parents went to the country, as we called it then (Westmoreland), on a Sunday afternoon and I stayed home. I don’t remember how old I was, or what month it was, but I was probably 13 years old. I had the house to myself, but I went to my room, locked the door and lying across the bed cried out to the Lord to please save me. That is where I found “peace” – my salvation. The heavy rock left my shoulders and that peace came in and gave me assurance of God’s love and that He would carry me to Heaven one day. I remembered going to wash my face and the devil said what if you didn’t get it? But God was there with me and He said, Wanda you went as low as you could go. The Comforter was there to comfort me and He has been ever since! Well later, you see now, I became a member, or so-called, on the books at Madison MBC, as a charter member. I had never told my true salvation experience. I met the man that I truly believe God sent me, Dean, and we married. He has been my best friend (second to God) and husband for 47 years. We were blessed with Rhonda Dean. When she was nine months old she developed the croup and was hospitalized. My experience had been on my mind that my name was on the books at Madison MBC, and I knew that I was not a member. I was saved but not a member of God’s Church. I prayed and asked God to heal Rhonda and I would make it right. Well, she went home the next day. The following week, I was at church and I spoke so softly, I was concerned the people would not hear what all I had to say. I went around in the handshake and it was if God stopped me right in the middle of everyone who could hear every word I said. I joined the church that day and Elder Langdon Long baptized me in March in Mansker Creek. You see, God had a work for me to do so I needed to be a member of His Church and set everything right. I feel I am a debtor to God. I could never repay Him for all the blessings in my life. He gave us another child, Paula Marie. God has saved both of our daughters. God gave them both God-fearing husbands. We have five grandchildren and all of them are saved by God’s Grace. God has truly blessed me, praise the Lord. Humanly, it was hard to leave Madison MBC; spiritually God led me out and joined Victory MBC. It was a wonderful step. I was there for around 35 years. Now God has led me to McFerrin MBC and I look forward to serving God and the church. I can say my walk with Jesus has not always been easy, but He didn’t tell me it would be, but He promised to be with me and He has. So every step has been worth the effort. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love the Lord; He truly is a wonderful Savior and has placed so much joy in my life. I truly wish everyone could know Him and the joy of having Him by their side. There is true joy in serving such wonderful Master.

D. Knowlton
Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church Revival
Age 10

I remember being years old sitting next to my mom in church, and suddenly started crying. My mom asked me if I was lost and I said "yes". Over the next year, I went to the altar, my mom and dad carried me to every revival around close, and to tent revivals, everywhere they could find to take me. At first, when I was on the altar, I would listen to everyone that would come up and talk to me, they were trying to help and explain to me how to pray and get saved. At age 10, I thought everyone lived to be 80 years old. No one in my family had passed away at that time, my grandparents were all still alive. My uncle and two cousins died in a house fire, ages five and 13, I realized that could happen to me also, and I knew Hell is where I would go. I became under deep conviction, I was scared to sleep at night, so scared I would sometimes go and sleep on the floor next to my little brother’s bed. I was scared to ride in the car with my mom, because I knew we would wreck before I could get back to church. During our spring revival at Union Hill, it was a Tuesday night and the visiting Preacher we had, preached Hell so strong, that I felt like it was just me and him, the only two people in the whole church, I was listening so hard. I ran down the aisle that night, don't remember if anyone said anything to me, it was just between God and me and I was begging him to save me. Suddenly that peace came into my heart, but as soon as it did, the Devil was there saying, "You didn't get up and shout and tell everyone", so that night I came off the altar and didn't tell anyone. The next night I went to the altar, but I was just sitting there, I knew there was no reason I needed to be there, didn't tell anyone that night. Thursday morning, I woke up and told my mom that God saved me Tuesday night. I had that peace in my soul and never been scared like that again. I joined Union Hill and was baptized in a creek by Bro. D. C. Barton.

J. Knowlton
May 1973, Age 14
Greenwood Free Will Baptist Church, Cross Plains, TN

I was born and raised in East Nashville. My family attended Trinity Free Will Baptist Church on Cleveland St. My parents raised my brother and me to worship God and we went to Church whenever the doors were opened. Early on I remember going to Church on Sunday but not paying any attention to what was being said or taught, I just wanted to get out of there and go have lunch at my Grandparent's house in the country. At age 12 I had something come up in my life which caused me for the first time to turn directly to God for help-it was a terrible burden on me. My parents had told us that daily prayer was very important, so I prayed day and night and soon the prayer was answered. I could not believe it; it seemed like a miracle at the time. I was happy and thought that if I needed anything I just had to ask God for it. I was on cloud nine for a while. It wasn't long before I began to feel another burden within me, I couldn't understand what this was-I should be happy but I didn't feel happy at all. I went to Church and began to listen more to what the preacher was saying-it began to feel that each sermon was written directly for me. I didn't realize at the time that it WAS written just for me! Me! Jeff Knowlton, the sinner. The message was, we are all born sinners, there is nothing we do or don't to avoid that, because of Adam's sin we are going to spend an eternity in hell - unless we confess and ask God for forgiveness and accept HIM as our savior. This was hard for me to comprehend. During this time I experienced death for the first time. My grandmother died in December of 1972. I remember at her funeral the preacher spoke so highly of her-she was a wonderful woman - and how she was saved and because she was saved that she was in heaven with Jesus. This hit me hard. After a sermon where it was asked, "Where would you go if you died tonight”, I spent a lot of sleepless nights thinking about if I were to die that night, I would not go to heaven, but to an eternal hell. I knew that I had to do something but still wasn't sure how to go about it. At this point I began to try to get out of going to church but my parents would have none of that and so I went, and I was uncomfortable as it still felt as though every sermon, every prayer was aimed right at me. Many times I would start out of the pew but never quite make it any further. I knew that I needed to go to that altar. I thought of every excuse I could think of - I told myself that in two weeks, or three weeks from Sunday I would get saved. I actually tried to make an appointment with God to be saved! In May of 1973, I believe that it was Mother's Day but I'm not sure, my mother told me that we would not be going to our regular Church, but to my Grandfather's church in Cross Plains, Greenwood Free Will Baptist Church. It was a tiny church that my Grandfather had helped start. I was pleased because it seemed that I would be getting a "week off" of having to hear about sin and hell and all the bad things. When I got to the church and the sermon began, I could not believe it but it was the same thing - the pastor was preaching right at me. Right then I told myself, "I give up" and when the invitation was given I just headed to the altar without thinking. Before I got halfway I thought I was going to fall down from the feeling that I had the power of God entering me and I just felt warmth and peace. I knelt to pray but I knew that I was already saved. I didn't jump up and down or anything but I did have tears of love for God and I praised him right then and there. I haven't looked back -there have been times when I have asked God "why" but have never doubted that I was saved in that little church and one day will be reunited with my loved ones and will spend eternity with our precious Lord and Savior.

J. Logsdon
Mid 1970
At Home, Age early 30’s

As a small child, I attended several revivals and had gone to the altar a couple of times. I didn’t fully understand why I was going and I didn’t like anyone talking to me about my salvation, so around the age of 10, my cousin and I joined the Church but neither of us were saved. It didn’t take long to regret what I had done because the Lord started to deal with me hard and heavy. I prayed for my salvation daily but could not find peace. I had such a heavy burden on my heart. Since no one knew that I wasn’t saved, I was the only one praying for my salvation. I kept thinking there was no such thing as salvation but the people at church would get up and testify and I knew they had to feel something. I was unable to carry this burden alone any longer, so I told my husband. In a couple of weeks, I came in from work one day and was alone in the house. I walked into the bedroom to the end of the bed, dropped to my knees and totally surrendered my heart to Him. Immediately, I had a marvelous peace rush through my body. He had taken this terrible burden from my heart and saved my soul.

K. Lunsford
Sunday during the Summer of 1953, Age 8
East Main Street Missionary Baptist Church

It was on Sunday during a revival at East Main Street Missionary Baptist Church in Hartsville, TN. Mrs. Maryetta Oldham talked to me about being saved. Thank God for my loving parents that had taken me to church all my life. I knew the meaning of being separated from God and of salvation. It was preached and I grew up knowing that I would need God in my life. After she talked to me, my heart was broken and I had a burden like I had never had before. I went to the altar immediately and prayed for salvation. Several people came around me to pray, sing, and talk to me about my soul. After church, several people went home with us for lunch. The children went outside to play. I can remember not wanting to play, afraid I might have an accident and die. I knew I was separated from God. Salvation was on my mind and heart. On the way back to church that night, my parents talked to me. After an altar call, several friends and relatives talked to me. I thought it would make me feel better or be of some comfort—it did not satisfy me. Only God redeemed me. He eased the grief and peace and joy came into my heart. I stood up, felt warm inside, and a smile came over my face. There have been some doubts about my salvation; but, it was at a time when I was not close to the Lord. I have never felt like going back to the altar to pray for salvation. The peace and joy in my heart has grown stronger each day. I am so thankful the Lord looked down on me through His kindness, love, and mercy and saved me on my second time to the altar. Now I am married and have two sons. The Lord has saved both of them. I could not have made it through the troubled times without my Lord. Each day I am thankful for His love, grace, understanding, and patience He has shown me and my family.

T. Malkiewicz
March 6, 2008 Age 13
Saved at the altar McFerrin

On Sunday night I came to the revival and I went to the altar because I had a bad feeling. I went home and I didn’t go to school the next day. On Wednesday I came to the revival and I went to the altar and I was praying and I got saved.

C. McClanahan
October 1953, Age 9
Third Baptist Church

I was saved in October 1953 on a Thursday night during a revival at Third Baptist Church when I was nine years old. I remember thinking at school that day what would happen to me if I died and I was afraid. That night while they were singing Only Trust Him, I started praying at my seat. I prayed for the Lord to save me and He did. I felt the burden being lifted off me and a feeling of sweet peace came over me. The next day at school, I wondered if I looked different to anybody because I sure felt different.

F. McClanahan
October, Age 21
McFerrin Missionary Baptist Church

The travel from nature to grace was an arduous travel for me. My mother asked me if I was lost in the revival meeting, first at Mace’s Hill Missionary Baptist Church, when I was about nine years of age. I went to the altar out of some conviction perhaps, but also, because I was afraid of hellfire. Over the years, my parents prayed with me at home and took me to many revival meetings at the family home church, Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church, and elsewhere, almost every year, to Mace’s Hill, Dixon Creek, East Main in Hartsville, McFerrin (when we were in the basement), and several other churches. I went to the altar most invitations, being sincere but also, went out of respect for my parents and the good church folk. I always desired to be saved, though. My mother and I moved to Nashville because of dire economic straits after my father passed away in 1953. At about the age of fifteen, I quit going to church until I was saved at 21 years of age on Thursday night during the October revival at McFerrin. In retrospect, my faith must have been weak during the intervening years until I was saved because I could never be willing to stay on the mourners’ bench for a million years that the devil kept reminding me that I had to be willing to do. Therefore, I could not draw closer to God for deeper conviction and contrition, allowing me to repent and believe upon the Lord. Having quit attending church and becoming a much harder sinner upon living and working on many full and part-time jobs in Nashville, I was convicted of sin by remembering the Gospel and by being around various Christians, and requested of Bro. F. L. Ray to come to my home to pray for me. He came, prayed with me and invited me to come to McFerrin Church. I got to where I could hardly eat or sleep much and found my way to the church and the altar on that Thursday night of the revival. I could hardly wait until the preacher quit preaching and went down to the altar in much trouble and sorrow. The devil put some of the same thoughts and obstacles on my mind, but the Lord gave me the conviction of sin and the grace of repentance and faith to press on beyond each hindrance of the devil as they were presented and seek the Lord. Even at one point, when feeling a spiritual coldness, I called that much more mightily upon the Lord, just as the blind beggar did. Then I was lifted up off the mourners’ bench in a leap and felt that tremendous peace that flooded my soul. The peace was so great that I felt that Heaven was so near that I could almost reach out and touch it. I came to realize how easy it was for the Lord to have saved me when it seemed so hard before. Thank God for all those preachers and Christians down through the years that prayed for and with me, and thanks to Bro. F. L. Ray for leading that old song, “Yes I Know I’ve Been Redeemed,” on that eve right after I was saved. Most of all, I thank the Lord for His love of us all and the salvation that He so abundantly bestows on everyone, at all ages, who seek after Him with all their heart.

R. C. Morrison
September 14, 1988, Age 7
Victory Missionary Baptist Church

I was sitting in the second row on the right side of the church. My friends and I were just sitting, not listening, drawing the usual seven year-old stuff. My daddy was preaching and then all of a sudden, I just got this heavy burden. I went back to my mom and told her my heart was hurting. She asked me if I wanted to go to the altar and pray and I said, yes. So I went up to the altar and prayed and prayed for hours. Then my burden was lifted and I looked up and said “Daddy, I’m saved.” It was an awesome experience.

B. Revercomb
August 1959 Age 13
New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church

When I walked into church on the first Sunday night of our revival in 1959, I was just a young girl with hardly a care in the world. Midway through the sermon, I had been convicted, sentenced, and condemned to a certain death! Each time Brother Birdwell mentioned the word “sinner,” he looked directly at me. I wanted to shout at him and tell him not to look my way. I was good; I minded my parents; I had never been in trouble. But still—he turned my way and oh, those black eyes penetrated to the depths of my soul as he condemningly said the name, “Sinner!” He knew something that even my dearest, closest friend, my mother, did not know. Three years earlier when all my friends had gotten saved, I, too, had told everyone I was saved. I really didn’t make it up; I just decided in my mind that everything was okay. How could this man know my condition? Now, I know, God was using Brother Birdwell to speak to my heart, to give me another chance. Praise His Holy Name! Had it not been for His love and immeasurable mercy, I would have died in my sins! Sadly that night I bargained with God. I was too proud to let anyone know of my condition, so I promised God if He’d let me get home, I’d tell Mama, and then I’d get saved. Well, you can imagine, away from church, away from Brother Birdwell’s condemning black eyes, I felt fine, and the devil began to do his work. He told me people would know I was a liar! Every night of our revival I bargained with the Lord, and today, almost forty years later, I shudder at what I did! How many times He could have snuffed out my life and sentenced me to that eternal hell. Praise Him for His love; He gave me even one more chance. On Friday night, a young married woman came to the altar proclaiming that she was lost. As I stood looking down on her, the tears began to flow uncontrollably, and I realized they weren’t for her, but for me because I was too proud to kneel. I knew then that God had given me a sign—one I couldn’t deny. If this grownup woman wasn’t ashamed to kneel, surely, I, a young girl, shouldn’t be either. I did make it back to my mother in the back of the church. She didn’t have anything to do with saving me, but at her feet I found the Lord. It only took a few minutes, because finally, the bargaining had stopped, and I had come His way…stripped of my pride. Praise His Holy Name!

J. Sisk

September 19, 1992, Age 19
Cedars of Lebanon State Park (Group Lodge),

I was saved during a youth retreat held by New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church at the Cedars of Lebanon State Park Group Lodge. I was still living in Blountville, Tennessee, at the time and really was only coming to the retreat to see my girlfriend. I had been attending church services with her at Harmony Missionary Baptist Church and New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. During those services I had heard the gospel numerous times and knew that I was lost but had avoided the discomfort of seeking the Lord. When asked, I would simply lie and say that I was already saved. I had been baptized as a young boy but had never been saved. The morning of September 19, 1992, I left Blountville around 3:00 AM and hurried toward Lebanon. When I arrived, I was anxious to meet my girlfriend but instead was met by Brother Morris Watson. Apparently, everyone else was still sleeping. Brother Watson greeted me with a hearty smile and handshake and welcomed me to the retreat. I had no intentions of doing anything except seeing my girlfriend and I got Bro. Watson! God had other plans for my day. One of the first things that made me consider my soul’s condition was when Sis. Marcia Porter asked me to write my favorite Bible verse on a pillowcase. Everyone was signing the pillowcase as a keepsake of the retreat. In that moment, I realized I did not know a verse to call my favorite. Everybody’s go to verse is John 3:16 and I did not want to use that, so I opened the bible to Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Of all the verses to turn to, this is where my fingers stopped. I could not have realized how prophetic that verse would be for my day. I was there to seek my girlfriend’s love and favor, but God knew I needed His love and favor. The reality of my condition worsened as the day turned to evening. The evening led to the worship service. At the beginning of the service, Bro. Kenny Oldham sang “Golden Toys”. As he sang, I listened to the words that described a father that passed away and his widow told his children that their father was in Heaven making golden toys for children. I knew that my future wife could provide no such assurance to my future children. I knew my condition was at its worst leading into the service and then when the gospel was preached, and I had finally come to the end of my rope of resistance. When an altar call was given, I did not move, I simply began to pour my heart out to God. I knew if I died in that condition, I was bound for Hell. I began to pray. I have no recollection of my prayer. I know I turned to God and knew that it was all in His hands if I was to be saved. I have never felt so burdened, scared, helpless, and unsure of what to do or how to do it. I can’t explain how long it took me to pray or how long I was praying, but in the unaccounted-for span of time, I felt that entire burden of sin lift from my being. An inexplicable peace took the place of the fear and burden. When I finally came back to my physical senses, I looked at Shannon and said, “I think I just got saved.” I really did not have to guess; I knew that I was born again in that span of time. The fullness of what God had done took me some time to process. I went to bed that night and had the best night of sleep I think I had ever had. I was no longer afraid of death. All the times that men had stood and preached the gospel, all the saints that had prayed, all the people that had asked me if I was saved – it finally paid off. His love had been placed in my heart and I could love the people that I didn’t like – those saints that cared enough to ask about my soul. Their concern made me uncomfortable before, but now it made me happy to tell them with assurance that I was saved. The verse I wrote on the pillowcase became very real to me that night. In the moment that my sin debt became most real to me, I forgot about Shannon and my future with her. I was only concerned with finding God’s kingdom. Not only did God bless me with the assurance of His kingdom, but He also blessed me with my wife two years later. I was called into the Ministry, blessed with the birth of my son, and too many blessings to number.

S. Sisk
June 6, 1991, Age 16
Harmony Missionary Baptist Church, Nashville TN

I had been lost for many years. Every time I was seeking for my salvation, I always had the thought in my mind to have the church sing “Amazing Grace”. With this thought in my head, I could never totally concentrate on the Lord. I was never able to get it out of my head. On June 6, 1991, during the Revival of Harmony Missionary Baptist Church, one of my friends, Jennifer Lanier, came to me in the restroom (where I was hiding from my Aunt Tiny Elrod who I knew was about to come and ask me about being saved). Jennifer asked me about being saved. I went back to my seat (back row, far left of the sanctuary) and started praying. Bro. James Shoulders came to me and asked me if there was anything he could do or if there was a song they could sing. How did he know to ask me that question? I know it was truly put on his heart to ask me that. What would have happened if he hadn’t followed his heart that day? I told him to have them sing “Amazing Grace”. It felt like forever for them to finish singing the song that they were currently singing. Finally, they sang “Amazing Grace”. I finally got that off my mind and could put all my focus on the Lord. There was a moment of time that I can’t remember. I felt like I was floating on clouds. It was a great peace. I looked up and my mother and father were knelt down beside me. I looked up and grabbed my Daddy and hugged him. He said, “I don’t have to ask”. I joined Harmony Missionary Baptist Church on June 26, 1991, and was baptized on July 14, 1991, by my Uncle Clay Grizzle.

K. Sumners
1967, Age 9
The Old Church on McFerrin Avenue

If it were not for our faithful Christian mother to get us to church whenever possible, most likely I would not be telling my salvation experience. I thank God for blessing me with such a strong, faithful Christian mother. I was saved when I was nine years old (1967), at the old church on McFerrin Avenue. It was during the revival, I cannot remember if it was a Sunday or Monday, but it was at night. There were no special effects when I was saved, just the wonderful sweet whisper of peace to me. I thank the Lord for that peace and for my salvation, and that I know I am saved. Sharon, my twin sister, was saved during the same revival. I only mention her because we were baptized together (locked arms) in Mansker Creek, Goodlettsville, TN, by Bro. Arnett Gregory. I love it that I can say I was baptized in the creek. That is special to me as well.

L. Thompson
Around 1960, Highland Baptist Church, Nashville TN
Around 14 or 15 Years Old

We moved to Nashville when I was 10. I went to church off and on but not on a regular basis. Momma and Daddy were saved, but did not attend church. I started attending Sunday School and Vacation Bible School with a friend, Sandra Craig, who I was in the band with. Nothing particular stands out about the sermon or the minister. I just remember when the invitation was given I seemed to float to the altar. It was like I was being transported there. I remember crying and feeling so very free. I was not living faithfully for Christ as I should have until January 24, 2004. I had a massive heart attack. Only 3% of those who have massive heart attacks survive. I believe God was giving me another chance to turn back to Him. When I woke from my coma, Philippians 4:13 immediately came to mind. There have been bumps in the road, but I don’t have to walk that road alone.

E. Wilkerson
August 24, 1952, Age 15
Pleasant Valley Missionary Baptist Church

On August 24, 1952 at Pleasant Valley Missionary Baptist Church when I was fifteen years old, the Lord saved me. It was during their revival. I had been going to the altar most of the week, then on Sunday night during the benediction prayer, I really wanted to be saved before I left that night. There’s a space of time I don’t know about except when I came to myself, I knew I was saved. I was so happy and I loved everybody. In 1956, I joined McFerrin and Bro. Ray baptized me.

B. Woodard
July 30, 1946, Age 13
Mace’s Hill Missionary Baptist Church

As a thirteen-year-old boy having been under conviction for about two years, I was saved at an old-fashioned altar on a Tuesday night at Mace’s Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The next night an invitation for church membership was given and I had the desire to join. The following Sunday afternoon I was baptized by Elder Calvin Gregory in Dixon’s Creek at Dixon Springs, Tennessee.

C. G. Woodard
June 14, 1947, Age 9
Old Hopewell Baptist Church
Bethpage, Tennessee, Sumner County

Our revival was in progress and it was on a Thursday day service. The older saints began to tell their experiences with God and how He had saved their souls and their walks with God since their salvation began. I knew I was lost but was not under deep conviction but these experiences made me realize I should not put my salvation off any longer. I went to the altar that day. God saved my soul. God has helped me through the Holy Spirit walk closer to Him and have more faith. I was mature before I began to study God’s word as much as I should. I taught 4 years olds so I only studied as a child. My prayer life was about as mature as a child’s. I hope anyone that reads my testimony will begin each day with the study of God’s word and begin a daily prayer life. I feel belonging to a Bible study group has encouraged me to study more in-depth.