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.
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.
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.
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”.