My journey to the Lord began by the faithful witness of Russell Upton in a lunchroom at an industrial plant in Moline, Illinois. As I was passing through, Russell was reading a New Testament and I asked him if he had found anything in it worth reading. He informed me that he had found the secret to eternal life. That statement so impressed me that I pulled out my Bible and read until I was convicted of sin and asked the Lord to save my soul.
About a year later during a Wednesday night service, God called me to preach His glorious, wonderful inerrant Word. After a struggle within my heart, I accepted that call. I moved my wife and children 750 miles to attend a Bible college in Tennessee. Upon completion God led us to join Baptist International Missions, Inc., a fundamental independent Baptist mission board, and to work with our U.S. military service men and women.
After about twenty months of deputation, the Lord opened a door for a military work in the Azores Islands, started in Rota, Spain, by a zealous sailor named Brian Barnett. We wrote a constitution and established an ACE school. The church grew to over 60 people, with many souls being saved and baptized, some being called to preach. The church was truly a work of God with a rotation rate of one family joining or one family won every month and one family leaving every month. The tour of duty was 18 months retention. After three years we took another challenge and moved to Zaragoza, Spain. Randy Famine had started a work at that Air Force base. Again we wrote a constitution, established an ACE school and continued seeing souls saved. We stayed in Zaragoza for ten years and left when the base was closed.
With God's leading, we moved back to the Jacksonville, Florida, area in the U.S. We moved north a few miles to St. Mary's, Georgia, where Kings Bay Naval base is located. The Lord enabled us to start Calvary Independent Baptist Church in St. Mary's, Georgia. For the next ten years we worked with the men and women in the Navy. From St. Mary's, Georgia, we left to begin a work at Luke Air Force Base, located outside of Phoenix, Arizona, and worked as auxiliary chaplain at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). From Phoenix we moved to Virginia, and we were also able to spend a short time in Vicenza, Italy, filling in for a missionary on furlough.
THE NEW WORK
Since then, we have had the privilege of joining the ARM ministry of BIMI, working with our veterans in veteran hospitals both in Salisbury and Durham, North Carolina, as pilot areas. These hospitals have sections for treating veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PDSD), convalescent sections of 99 beds, rehabilitation areas and areas for treating general medical patients. We are in the process of filling out forms to receive badges that will show we have authority to enter buildings at the large hospital complex in Salisbury.
Many of the personnel need friends. We are using gifts, flowers, notes by mail, fellowship and love as the channels through which we are seeing some saved and comforted. The need for God's people to give of their love to open hearts is the call of God for us that we may be a channel for God.