I was born the first time, March 19, 1948. My testimony is really wrapped up in my father’s testimony because if he had not been saved, I do not know what would have happened to me. So let me tell you about his salvation first.
He grew up near Natural Dam, Arkansas. He didn’t attend church, probably because his father did not go to church. My grandmother did go to a Pentecostal Church. Dad was in his thirties before he realized his need of salvation. He was an owner of a barbershop in Moses Lake, Washington, called the Turf Barbershop. The year was 1957, and I was nine years old at the time, shining shoes in Dad’s shop. Whenever one of the deacons from a local Baptist Church came in to get his hair cut he would witness to my Dad. As time went by dad came under conviction of sin. He didn’t know whom to turn to except his brother Roy in Arizona who, he believed if any one was a Christian he must be.
So we traveled to Arizona on our vacation. While there, dad’s brother led him to the Lord. Dad said, “John 3:16, where it says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ just sort of ran off him like water off-of-a-ducks back.”
It was late in the night now and nothing was making sense to dad. Then his brother took dad to his pastor who showed dad Luke 11:9 and 10 where it says, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” These verses touched his heart and my Dad prayed through to receive Jesus as his LORD and Savior. My mom had been saved when she was a child, but had gotten away from the Lord, so when dad got saved, she returned to the Lord, and was baptized along with the whole family.
As a result of this salvation experience, Shorty, as he was called, got a reputation as someone who “got religion” when they saw his changed life style. They were asking, “What happened to Shorty? As a result my Father wrote a tract called, “What Happened to Shorty?”to explain to the people in Moses Lake his conversion to Christianity.
That’s where my testimony starts, because after Dad got saved he no longer just sent us kids to Sunday School, he took us to church as a family. There I heard a message on hell. I knew I didn’t want to go there, but I was too afraid to go forward to receive Christ. However, that night I went home and asked my parents how I could be saved. Right there beside my bed, I knelt down and asked Christ to forgive me for my sins, and for Jesus to come into my heart and save me. That was where I was born the second time. I was nine years old at that time, and I was happy my sins were gone, I felt as light as a feather, I got up on the bed and started jumping up and down. The Bible tells us in, Luke 15:20, that the angels in heaven were rejoicing also.
After this Dad was getting a lot of questions at the barbershop that he couldn’t answer, being a new Christian and not having studied the Bible. So our family moved to Three Hills, Alberta, Canada, where dad attended Prairie Bible Institute. The reason he chose this Bible School was because he didn’t have a High School diploma and Prairie was the only school that would accept him.
After five years at Prairie Bible Institute our family moved to Willingdon, Alberta, North of Edmonton. In Willingdon, dad and mom worked with the Romanian and the Ukrainian people. Bonnie and I attended the boarding school at Prairie while Kathy and my parents worked with the Canadian Sunday School Union. Dad opened a barbershop and on weekends the barbershop became the church building.
After two years we returned to the States. Dad became the first pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church in Richland, Washington. At this time, a deacon’s daughter, Marlene Toland, caught my attention. The year I came down from Prairie High School in Canada, Marlene went up to Prairie for her Junior year. Marlene and I met at Prairie when her brother and I traveled together up to Canada to visit at Prairie.
This was at the time of the Vietnam war, so I would have been drafted after High School unless I enlisted in the military. I enlisted as a cook in the Army. I spent a year in Vietnam cooking as well doing 200 hours as a door gunner in a helicopter. I was in the 227th Unit of the 1st Air Cavalry Division, and stationed for a while at Camp Evans, fourteen miles from the DMZ. Marlene and I corresponded during this time. I asked her to marry me and we were married December 21, 1968. Then we traveled back to Virginia where I was stationed at Petersburg, Virginia. Later we were transferred to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey where I served out my time as a First Cook.
I had dedicated my life to the Lord when I was ten years old. After our family was baptized we attended a church where some missionaries from Brazil visited. These missionaries had a city named after them, Port of Two Brothers. These missionaries were the Slinners. They challenged us kids to dedicate our lives to the Lord, as Romans 12:1,2 says to do. I did this. Now, as an adult, I still remembered this promise I had made to the Lord as a child.
As a result of dedicating my life to the Lord, I felt like I should go to Bible School if I was going to serve the Lord. Marlene and I packed up and went to Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon. After three years at Multnomah I graduated with a major in Bible and a minor in Christian Education. There I had great teachers like Dr. Willard M. Aldrich, Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Congdon, Dr. Needham and many others.
Feeling the call of God on our lives we went with Child Evangelism Fellowship as directors of Klamath and Lake Counties in Oregon. After a year of deputation (raising prayer and financial support), we traveled overseas to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. There we were able, with God’s blessing, to see the work increase. While there I also learned about Pentecostals. Since I had never gone to a Pentecostal Church up to this time, I wanted to know if this filling of the Holy Spirit and speaking in “tongues” was really of the Lord or not. I would later come to find out!
We left Trinidad and Tobago after the work had been organized with the recognition from the government. The Lord called us at that time to Mt. Vernon, Oregon, where I became the pastor of the Community Church. It was there that I was to hear more about the work the Holy Spirit is doing in our day and age.
Several times I visited the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship, Aglow, and the Assembly of God Church in John Day, Oregon. It was there at the Assembly of God Church, with Pastor Milo Frankie, that I received the filling of the Holy Spirit, and spoke in tongues. Later that night, Marlene, who had been under conviction about the Holy Spirit’s work, also received the “filling” and spoke in tongues.
What happened to us, did not please everyone, especially those Christians who did not believe God still works the same way He worked in the New Testament Church. However, we felt ready to go out with great power to preach the Gospel. We even tried to go overseas again, but it was not God’s timing to do this yet. So we moved back to Packwood, Washington, and later to Yakima, Washington. There I attended Yakima Valley Community College, and Central Washington University to become a teacher.
After graduation from Central with a major in Education, and a minor in Bilingual, and ESL, I began teaching in public school. I taught for twelve years. During that time I was able to earn a Masters Degree in Education and Administration. Then too I was allowed to go overseas with Teen Missions International to the San Blas Islands off of Panama. I have made five trips to Mexico, and tried to improve my Spanish to use for the Lord.
I taught at Harrah Community Christian School, in Harrah, Washington for three years. We were attending the Harrah Community Church where I helped with ministries there, including the Spanish ministry. Now I am teaching bilingual classes in the Public School System and working in a ministry with Calvary Chapel in Zillah, Washington.
Marlene teaches Special Education at Toppenish High School and also at Heritage University. I have taught ESL for Yakima Valley Community College some evenings in, Zillah, where we live. From time to time I teach as an adjunct instructor with Heritage University also.
The Lord has blessed us greatly with three fine children, and eight grandchildren.
Christopher, our oldest son teaches at a private college in Portland, Oregon. Michael is a jazz musician, and attending the University of Washington. Deborah has her teaching certificate and is teaching special education full-time at Valley View Elementary in Toppenish, Washington.
Maybe you are not sure that you are going to heaven, you can know today. You need to believe first that Jesus Christ of the Bible is who He said He is. Then repent of your sin, and receive Jesus into your heart and life. When you have done this you need to find a good Bible believing church. If you will do this the Bible says:. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31
Three year Diploma program from Multnomah Bible College and
Seminary in Portland, Oregon. Majored in Bible, Minored in Christian Education
AA Degree from Yakima Valley Community College in Yakima, Washington
BA in Education from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington
Master of Education with endorsements in ESL/Bilingual from Heritage University in Toppenish, Washington; as well as a Masters in Administration from Heritage University.
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