John & Wanda Casias

GOD WORKING IN MY LIFE

I (John) praise the Lord for a number of folks that were concerned for our souls. A dear pastor, Rev. Alvin Taylor of Faith Baptist Church in Amarillo, TX cared so much that he witnessed to me almost every day for five years. The loving members of that church were faithful in praying for our salvation, also. There were others from varied walks of life who also witnessed: Dr. James Hale, a dentist; John Harrison, a pharmaceutical salesman; Bill Engle, a pharmacist; Wanda’s cousin, Sandra Bobbitt, a school teacher. Finally, after angrily forbidding her to even visit in our home, Sandra sent another couple to witness to us. On October 19, 1972, she sent Butch & Carol Lee, to our home. I wouldn’t let him come in; then Wanda, hearing voices coming from the front door, came from the kitchen to the living room, as Wanda walked toward the front door, Carol saw her and ask her; Are you Wanda? Wanda replied yes! Sandra told her that they attended church with her cousin Sandra. Wanda, being much nicer than me, said, “Oh, please come in”.  I said that they were leaving. Wanda ignored me and just kept talking to Carol, and again invited them in. (Isn’t it marvelous how the Holy Spirit works?) Butch said, “Okay, for ten minutes”.  They stayed until 1:30 A.M. showing us how to be saved.

 

THE DEVIL’S PRIDE

 

I was under heavy conviction and just felt like falling on my face and repenting of my sins; but pride was stronger than me.  My thoughts kept going back to the way I had been brainwashed: “Catholicism is the only true religion; what are you thinking of doing?” Those and many other negative thoughts passed through my mind. I did not accept Christ that night. But, I had promised that we would go to church on Sunday. They told us it was the beginning of an annual revival, although I had no idea what that was.  I didn’t even know what an invitation was. They told me that it was what comes after the message.

 

LONG SERVICE

 

The service was very long. Bro. Gardner, a pastor from San Antonio, TX, was preaching the revival. It was around 2:30 PM when Bro. Gardner started to expose everything that I had shared with Butch that Thursday night while I was under conviction. He would say: “You know you’re miserable. Why don’t you admit it and come to the alter and talk to Jesus? You know that your Spiritual condition is rotten; admit that you don’t even know how to pray.  Give in.  Don’t act tough with God!” In my heart I was very  and angry; and, as he spoke I was getting madder.   And I was going to get even with Butch. Nothing makes me madder then when I open my heart to someone in confidence and have them double-cross me by telling every Tom Dick and Harry what I shared with them. 

MY DECISION – NOT GOD’S

 

I decided to get up and leave. I had already calculated every move I was going to make.  In my plan I was going to punch Butch in the mouth, hoping to break his jaw; and if anyone else jumped me, I would shoot them. At that time I carried a .38 pistol everywhere I went. But, as I was about to execute my plan, I asked Wanda’s if she was leaving with me. Naturally, she asked me why. I told her that that little fat sucker had no business sharing everything we spoke about to anyone. Wanda asked me, how do you know?  I told her to listen to him; she did for a little while, then looked at me and said, “I see what you mean”.  That was like throwing fuel on the fire. I started to rise from my pew to execute my well-calculated plan.

 

“BUT GOD…”

 

Php 2:27a “… BUT GOD HAD MERCY …”. God had His plan better calculated! At the very second that I was rising from the pew, Bro. Garner seemed to scream out, “If you (and of course it seemed that he was still pointing right at me) think that I spoke to someone here or anywhere about your condition, that is the devil lying to you.  I make it a policy never, I said NEVER, talk about anyone’s condition. , I let the Holy Spirit lead me and tell to me what I need to say!”  At that moment my life went to pieces.  I figured this guy was either the biggest and best liar in the world or, he could be telling the truth. I thought to myself, “Is this guy really telling the truth?” All I know is that he neutralized me completely; and he put my mind and heart on -0-. Have you ever bought a new car and the speedometer is almost on zero?  Well, that is the way I was. Starting new!

 

I HAD NEVER READ THE BIBLE

 

Mt 22:29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God”. (KJV)  As a Catholic I had never read the Bible! Also I had never prayed. And the fact is that everything he said was true. I know now that it was the Holy Spirit that revealed my condition to him. And I now understand that he was NOT talking directly to me. I now know that it was the Holy Spirit convicting me of how miserable I really was; and that  truth was painful for me. Also, as a Catholic I had been the Chairman (President) of a Catholic Church, and I had been the 13th Congressional District Chairman for the Republican Party.  This all took place in Amarillo, TX.  So you see I was FULL OF THE DEVIL’S DIET: PRIDE!  That was the reason why I was having problems.

I SAW JESUS AS JUST A GOOD MORAL MAN

 

I finally realized that the burden I had was NOT going away! As a Catholic I saw Jesus as a good moral man; but it was like seeing George Washington, a good man from history.

LONG INVITATION

 

As Bro. Gardner continued to give the longest invitation I have ever been in, (By now it was after 3:00 PM). All of a sudden I found my self trying to pray.  I’ll never forget my prayer.  It went something like this: “O God, if there is a true Jesus Christ and if He is alive the way this preacher says He is, and if He can truly save, I need to know it…”

 

PRAISE GOD - I WAS SAVED!

 

II-Co 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”.

MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY

At that time I found myself running out of the pew, stepping on one of our boys and throwing myself on the alter. Butch and another dear brother came to my rescue and led me to the Lord. I prayed the sinner’s prayer. I begged forgiveness from the Lord and

placed all my trust in Him for salvation, I immediately felt God’s forgiveness in my life.  I know we’re NOT saved by feelings, but, it sure felt good.  I never remembered crying in my life; but, that day I cried and sobbed like a baby as Jesus took ALL my sins away.  I know we are not saved by crying; but I cried for the first time as an adult. With the help of “my best friend, Butch”, I read I-John 5:10 “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”. 

THANK YOU, JESUS

 

I thanked God for Jesus Christ and His shed blood on Calvary!  I was amazed that He could save such a wretched sinner as I. And I’m still amazed at how He keeps me saved for eternity!  In His infinite grace God saved me from hell and gave me eternal security and a purpose for living. Wanda and I were baptized on the following Sunday. I felt the call to preach right after I was saved.  I shared my calling with Wanda, she said: “You a preacher? Ha, ha.  God doesn’t use people like us.”   Psychologically I agreed with her and put my calling on the back burner of my mind.

 

EVENTS BEFORE SALVATION

 

On the Thursday night, after Butch and Carol left our home, Wanda and I had gone to bed, (Around 2:00 AM). We were discussing the visit we had with Butch and Carol. We came to the conclusion that if the Communists were to take over Amarillo, we would be the first ones to be killed, because we were involved in politics; and we very vocal in exposing the Communist doctrine for what it really is.  But my worst thought was; if they were to kill us, we would end up in that same hell with the Communists!  That really bothered me. I couldn’t bear the thought of spending eternity with Communists.  Then we remembered what all those friends had tried to make us understand:  That salvation is by grace; and that we could pray anywhere and anytime.  I told Wanda that we could pray right now.  She agreed.  We knelt on the floor leaning on the side of our large round bed and held hands.  I was making an effort to pray; but I just mumbled words that made no sense.  I could hear Wanda pray, and she sounded really good. All of a sudden both of us felt something like an electrical shock traveling through our clasped hands. We immediately stopped praying.  I looked at her; she looked at me.  I told her she had just gotten saved.  Her answer was, “No, you did.  I know that because God isn’t going to save me. I was praying that you be saved.”  However, I insisted that she was saved. (Man, I would have made a good Pentecostal! Ha, ha). I finally convinced her that she was saved. (Neither of us knew what salvation was all about).  On Sunday, October 22nd, as we entered in the church, (because we had promised to go), the very first thing I told Butch and Carol was that Wanda had gotten saved after they left that night.  Naturally they were rejoicing in the Lord!  I learned a valuable lesson from that. I learned to ask people how they were saved.  No one ever asked us anything. (I saved Wanda, and had she  died, she would be in hell right now). We were blessed with a loving church family in Central Baptist Church in Amarillo and with a Godly pastor, John Bingham. Brother Bingham went to heaven a short time before we went fulltime into the ministry. However, he was a faithful servant of the Lord and a loving mentor.

WANDA'S PERSONAL TESTIMONY

I (Wanda) was strongly convicted of my need for Christ. However, it was very difficult for me to believe that I didn’t have to do anything to receive salvation. I had been a member of a denomination that taught that baptism and “staying strong” were necessary to get to heaven. That night after Butch & Carol witnessed to us, John and I tried to pray. At that time I prayed that the Lord would save John, as I truly felt that there was no hope for me. I made a promise to God that if He would save John, I would serve Him for the rest of my life. That was a sincere prayer, but not a prayer for salvation.  John convinced me that I had been saved because of that electrical sensation that we had felt. (What a tremendous testimony of how feelings cannot save!). After John accepted Christ as Savior, we began to attend church faithfully. For over five years I tried to keep the promise that I had made to God. However, I began to realize that I had never really confessed and placed my trust in Christ’s shed blood to save me; but I was so ashamed to publicly admit my lost condition and hypocrisy, that for almost two years I lived in fear and under heavy conviction. I began to tire in the flesh and started to skip mid-week services frequently and avoided reading my Bible. Finally, on September 5, 1979, I literally fell to my knees, begging forgiveness for my sins and believing with all my heart that Jesus had truly paid my debt. That night, the Lord mercifully saved my soul.  He then gave me the courage to make my profession (possession) public and to be scripturally baptized.

ANSWERING GOD'S CALL
Dr. James and Penny Wilkins

After Wanda was saved, the Lord began to prick my heart to surrender full-time to serve Him.  Dr. Wilkins had come to Amarillo to spend some time with us, to teach us more on his discipleship material and for a service in New Mexico. I drove him to New Mexico, where he preached.  Five folks were saved and many decisions were made. As Dr. Wilkins was holding the invitation, I couldn’t hold myself back any longer. I rushed to the alter and surrendered full-time. I surrendered in May, 1980; and we immediately began to sell every thing we had, home and all. By July, 1980, we had moved from Amarillo, TX. to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to work with Dr. James Wilkins in the New Testament Ministries, teaching soul-winning and discipleship. We joined Sherwood Park Baptist Church in Irving, TX.  I had met Dr. Wilkins after becoming acquainted with his discipleship material in Amarillo. We got to know one another by telephone during the late 1970´s. He taught me how to win souls and disciple new converts. Dr. Wilkins came to our church for a seminar, and became my dear friend and mentor. After working with Dr. Wilkins for two years, I had the opportunity to go to Mexico with the youth group from our church.  I preached with the aid of a translator in a remote village in the state of Nuevo Leon and nine precious souls were saved. We rejoiced greatly.  However, I just kept thinking: “How will they grow? Who will be able to come regularly to teach them, to disciple them?” I could not sleep. The burden grew so heavy that, on our way back to the United States, I finally surrendered as a missionary to return and disciple them.

SOVEREIGN DELAY

 

We had been delayed for a day and a half due to bus problems. Upon arriving in the wee hours Tuesday morning at our home, I told Wanda that I was going to rest for two hours before I had to leave again. I was already one day late for a discipleship seminar that had been scheduled to begin on Monday night. However, I told her that we had to talk, because something had happened on the trip. I found out that the Holy Spirit was also dealing with Wanda during that week. She simply said, “What do we need to take with us; and when are we going?”  The Lord is so wise and wonderful that He had called us at the same time.  I continued to hold discipleship seminars and took advantage of those opportunities to do deputation at the same time. After eleven months, we arrived in Mexico.  That was 23 years ago. Since my salvation, God has laid a burden for the lost on my heart, beginning with our family, friends and then branching out. 

Casias Ministry
P.O. Box 721284
San Diego, CA 92172
shawn@casias.org
johnny@casias.org


Sending Church:


SoCal Baptist Church
(formerly)
 Pomerado Road Baptist Church
 P.O. Box 1703
Poway CA, 92064
 858-215-0813
 www.socalbaptist.com