Testimony Thursday’s

Danielle Thomas’ Testimony
 
Childhood is supposed to be a time of innocence, a time that most look back upon and wish they could return to. This is not true for me. My name is Danielle Thomas, I am 30 years old, married to Parker Thomas, and together we have two precious blessings, Anna Grace and Charlotte. 
 

I come from a broken home. When I was just a year old, my dad had to have his arm amputated due to a work-related incident. He quickly became addicted to the pain medicine he was prescribed, and soon after my mom got hooked on pain pills too. It did not take long for my parents to become so dependent on getting their next “fix”, that they lost sight of making sure I had what I needed. This forced me to grow up when I wasn’t ready to. I witnessed all kinds of things that a child should not have to go through. Countless times, my parents made empty promises to me. My dad became very abusive and would beat up on my mom.  When I started school, I spent countless hours in the counselor’s office because they were able to easily identify that I was being neglected. 

During the first ten years of my life, I found refuge at my grandmother’s house. Anytime I felt unsafe, I would call her, and she would come pick me up. She was the one who always made sure I was in church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. On the weekend of February 9, 2002, I was attending my cousin’s birthday party, when we received a call that my father had gone too far; in an effort to try to kill my mother, he ended up axing our house.  It was that weekend that my grandmother was granted emergency custody. 

Through all this, I longed for a normal family, a loving father and mother. It was a couple of months later that I acknowledged that loving father figure that I needed so desperately. Although I had been in church almost all my life, it took the tragic events that I had encountered for me to realize that I needed a savior, someone who loved me unconditionally despite the circumstances. I was saved and baptized at Gardendale First Baptist Church under the preaching of Brother Steve Gaines when I was 11 years old.

I continued to have supervised visitation with my parents who ended up staying together despite what has happened. On the first day of school my 9th grade year, I came home to a house full of people. When I got off the bus, I received the news that my dad had overdosed. In February of my ninth-grade year, my mother overdosed. Even though most would think that no good could come of someone who has been dealt this hand in life, I could fill a book of all the ways in which God has blessed my life. 

I teach 5th grade at Locust Fork Elementary. I know that there are kids that sit in my room each day, longing for that father figure that I desperately needed when I was their age. It is my prayer that I can provide some hope for these children, that my classroom can be a safe haven for them, a place where they feel loved. 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”   This verse is one of my favorites and has proven so true in my life. God has had a plan for me since the day I was born, and he is not done with me yet. —

Drew Dutton’s Testimony

I’m fortunate enough to say that I was born into a Christian family, I can still see it in my mind, the mantle in my childhood home had a gold plaque with Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”  engraved on it and my parents, Mike and Peggy, truly raised my brother Miles, sister Anna, and me under this creed and had us in Church when the doors were open.  

  

As a 10-year-old during VBS at Eastside Baptist church in Roebuck, Mrs. Betty Gammon presented the gospel, I felt God’s call to respond and in Brother Mike Jackson’s office I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life and I followed through with baptism a couple of weeks later. 

 

My teenage years primarily revolved around basketball and for the most part I remained active in the youth group at Hilldale Baptist Church.   My goal was to play college basketball, but at 5’10” on a good day, the Lord had other plans for my life.  Basketball ended with High School in the Spring of 1999 and instead of going off to school I stayed home and went to college locally.  As always, the Lord’s timing is perfect as I met my wife Ashley the fall after HS graduation and we married and moved to Blount County in 2005. 

 

During my early and mid-20’s I filled my life with many idols like work, pursuing a degree, hunting and fishing and the Lord continually had less of a place in my life.  During this time my Dad was diagnosed with cancer and faced two challenging surgeries and treatment plans that would eventually lead to his cure.  During this time, I struggled to comprehend why something like this would happen to a man that had lived a Godly life.  As I wrestled with these thoughts I drifted away from the church for several years and had basically become a special occasion/holiday church attendee. 

 

During the 2007 deer hunting season, I would drive past Locust Fork Baptist on Sunday mornings in between the morning and afternoon hunts, and I would see a full parking lot and the Holy Spirit began to convict me that I need to be involved in Church, and when the season ended, Ashley and I began visiting LFBC occasionally.    During this time, I also began playing in men’s basketball leagues in the Family Life Center at LFBC, following one of the games Gregg Armstrong invited Ashley and me to join his newly created Sunday School class.   Joining the class helped us connect to the Church and ultimately led to us joining in 2008.  For us, connecting to a small group was pivotal in our spiritual growth and I encourage everyone to plug into a small group or Sunday school class.  

 

In 2009 Haley was born and Hunter in 2011.  Through them, I’ve been able to better understand our Heavenly Fathers unconditional love.   It’s also been exciting for me to see them grow up in Church and both accept Jesus as the Lord of their lives. 

 

Over the last several years, the Lord has continued to work in my life and in my family’s life.  He has continued to humble and challenge me to serve in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible and to further understand his word.   

 

As I write this and reflect on my life to this point I think of a couple of verses;

  • 2 Samuel 7:18″…Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far”  – the Lord has been my guide even when I wasn’t following him. 
  • I think of Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”  – As I think about my past, I can clearly see the Lord working all things good and bad for his glory.   Side note plug – Brother Randy is doing a great study on Wednesday nights on the book of Romans, come join us at 6:30. 

 

The Lord is continuing to challenge me and I know my story is unfinished.  I’m excited to see what doors the Lord opens next.  I’ll end with a popular passage that has been on my mind about the future part of my story.   Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” 

Hannah Wells Testimony

The devastation my father caused by not just abusing alcohol, but also physically abusing my mom and older siblings ripped my family apart. After he left us, my mom became too dependent on others and not herself. She could not stand on her own. Unlike her, I am learning to stand and be strong. I want to keep a positive outlook and maintain hope for the future. Charles L. Overby advised, “Poverty and success can’t be defined only by money.” I lived in poverty and gruesome situations, but I choose to live a life that will not be characterized by money, but by virtue, honesty, and perseverance. It is vital to remember who you are and what shaped you, but it is important those experiences do not define you. Neither of my parents graduated high school, but I vow I will graduate from college! I promise to be trustworthy and live a life in which I will help not only myself, but others around me to be loved, supported and successful.

My story is simple. My name is Hannah Wells, I am twenty-two years old, and I live in Cleveland, Alabama. I was living with my mother and father until they could no longer get along and take care of me. My father was an abusive alcoholic who physically abused my mother and sisters and verbally abused us all. I grew up surrounded by abuse; I do not ever remember a time, even as a toddler, he was not angry or causing physical and emotional harm to my mother and sisters. He abandoned us around Christmas time at the age of twelve. Due to his actions, I became frightened and withdrawn. For the next few years to come, I was becoming meeker and unsure of myself. As my mother was experiencing such a tumultuous relationship, she became self-conscious in herself, which made her become less apparent to my sisters and me. After my father left, my mother started to become more dependent on men. She could never keep a job; her only income was child support, which he rarely paid. Due to financial need, we moved from place to place. After my mom realized she was having trouble financially, she chose to abandon my sister and me to go to Illinois to move in with her boyfriend at the time. She finally told us to find somewhere to go, so we ended up staying with my father again. Living with him again was not the best outcome or experience for my sister and me. My mom came back to Alabama once her relationship failed. She then got us to go live with my grandparents, who helped tremendously. My mom and my grandparents could not get along. Therefore, we became homeless. I ended up living with a friend for a few months. That is when a teacher at my school, Cathy Holley, decided to take me under her wing to help.

I was officially in the care of the Alabama Baptist Association from August 2018 until I graduated high school in 2019. Cathy Holley and her husband, Ronald Holley took the required classes in order to become foster parents. However, they have been unofficially caring for me since September 2017, when I first became homeless. Had not Cathy and Ronald or Alabama Baptist opened a new path for my life then, I would not be sure what would have become of me or how I would have lived and survived from day to day.  My adversities could have turned me into a rebellious child, but I try extremely hard to not let them negatively influence me.

Instead, I choose to look at them in a positive manner; a way that makes my life better. In many ways, I am a better and stronger person because of what I have been through. Locust Fork Elementary and High School was a safe place for me that I learned to love and even became my coping place. School was my place to let go of all the memories that I replayed repeatedly, and that is why I love to learn so much. Even though elementary and high school can be hard, it is a great excuse to forget and let go. The teachers that surrounded me showed me love and kindness every day and that is something I rarely experienced at home. When my mother left, many of my teachers and coaches made sure I was safe and cared for until I moved in with my foster family. The moments that I have endured and the things I saw were atrocious, but these experiences truly taught me to be stronger than I ever thought possible. I have learned to not only be strong and thankful, but to depend on God to lead the directions of my life. Even when rough times arise, I make sure I honor Him and I honor those who have helped me, for, without them, my life would surely be different.

Through my experience with the Alabama Baptist Association, I have learned how to mobilize myself and I have gained the self-reliance I will need to thrive through college. Also, the system has shown me how not to follow in the footsteps of my biological parents, but to set goals for myself and to be dependent upon myself, not alcohol or random men. I will not let my origins mire me down in dysfunction and excuses; instead, I will rise above it all, due to the circumstances I faced, I know deep in my heart, I have the power to overcome any adversity that may arise along my journey. I have received such amazing support through the organizations, Together We Rise Family Fellowship Scholarship and The Horatio Alger Association Scholarship. Their goal is to increase the national graduation success rate of 3 – 11% amongst foster youth in college. I am currently pursuing a degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) where I am learning how business meets technology. I have a passion for technology and how it works. I worked at Oneonta Elementary School in 2020-2021 through a program at Wallace State Community College – Hanceville where I helped some teachers learn the Schoology platform, mostly one teacher who taught 1st and 2nd graders remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. This helped me realize that I want to pursue a degree in something technology related. That is when I came across the Management Information Systems (MIS) program at The University of Alabama. This past semester I was accepted into the Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) through the Manderson Graduate School of Business. Therefore, I will complete my Master’s and Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems (MIS) in December 2023 through the Culverhouse College of Business. I am truly fortunate for this opportunity and know that I could not be able to without the support of my family. I thank God for the many opportunities that I have been given these past years.

God has helped me deal with these hidden roadblocks and move past them, so I can simply focus on my academic journey and my relationship with him. As I age, I want to reach the point where I can be my own financial and emotional support system. Eventually, I want to have the means to help others that are facing familial adversity or seeking financial help to achieve their goals, too. In the book of Psalms it says, “The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in times of trouble.” This relates to my life in a variety of ways. I know God will always be a part of my life and he will lift me up from the greatest tribulations I will deal with. My salvation is the best thing that could happen in my life and anyone’s life! There will be many temptations and more trouble to come, but one thing is for sure, God will always help me move past the hardships that may arise.

Numerous people have affected me in a positive way since being abandoned by my mother and father, but the most important influence in my life is my foster mother. She was an elementary teacher at Locust Fork Elementary School when I met her, but because our community is so small, I knew her for a year before she discovered I was living with a friend and considered by the state as homeless. She invited me to live with her and her husband, without the official support of the foster system simply because God led them to take me in. All their children are grown, so I am sure the transition back to raising a teenager was a big adjustment. But, every day they love me and they guide me. They continue to show me how to strive through my hardships and not become discouraged. They keep me from being a victim of my circumstances. Her children and their families have also been incredibly supportive. My foster and school families have impacted me with their generosity, kindness, love, and willingness to take an interest in me. But, most importantly, by sharing their love of Jesus. No matter where I go, I know they will stay in contact with me and help me out to the best of their abilities. I will always cherish my time with them and understand to not let all my adversities define me but, instead, learn from them, as well as help others as they have shown me.

“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your eyes you will see them.” – Isaiah 30:20

When you have trouble, know that God promises us he will be with us along for the ride! He will guide us and teach us through our afflictions, so do not give up on him during your darkest times. There are many people who have made a significant impact on my life, and I know God put them in it because I needed them.

Jesika Cater’s Testimony

I hope that if you are reading this that you see that each story is unique and God is so personal to each of us. He is seeking out a relationship with us daily. “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:9. 

Growing up my childhood was not the picture perfect one you typically see. My mom passed from cancer when I was around 2 1/2 years old, leaving my dad to raise two very young girls. Both sets of my grandparents really stepped in helping my dad those first few years. As time progressed the grief of my mother’s passing lead my dad down a dark path of alcohol and physical abuse to both me and my sister. My grandparents had a firm foundation in who Christ is and really tried to help him on the right path. As time went on the abuse and alcohol also went on. We found ourselves more and more at our grandparent’s houses, taking refuge from my dad’s abuse.  As the situation progressed and got worse my grandparents stepped in to take full custody of both us girls. Throughout the next few years, the only times I would see my dad would be on holidays or summer vacations with the family.   

Living with my grandparents my life became stable, you would find us in church each Sunday. Through my grandparents and church this is where I began to understand what Christ did for me on the cross. As a little girl I accepted the free gift that He had given me. I started to understand that even though things had not been okay, Jesus was enough to be okay. In my teen years even though I had a foundation in Christ I had stopped going to church and stopped truly pursing my relationship with Christ. I found myself in a dry season, becoming disobedient to who He called me to be, in relationships I knew were not right and doing things I said I never would. If I continued down this path, I knew it could lead me down a dark path. Though sometimes it takes God really grabbing your attention to get you to turn away from those things and that’s just what it took. In 2008 my grandmother who had been my rock for so many years became very ill and passed. I was heartbroken, the one person that I found so much comfort in that I could talk to was no longer here. She was supposed to be here until I was older and be there for me always. I questioned; why God would take her from me? That was a true turning point in my life and wake up call to the disobedient life I had been living. God began to deal with me and to call me back to himself. I needed Him more than anyone or anything in the world, for Him to be my rock. To stop running to the things that offered me empty promises. That’s when I knew I needed to mend my relationship with Christ and I felt lead to go back to church with my granddad. God meet me there, in my sorrow, guilt and shame! My relationship with Christ truly began to flourish, I was starting to truly understand what I accepted so many years ago as a little girl. I found refugee and comfort in who He had been to me all those years and who He said I was through his word. “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” Galatians 3:26

It took me a bit of time to work through the shame and guilt of my past and giving everything over to Him. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. It’s truly amazing the blessing you receive when you truly start to lay down those burdens and to follow Christ! On this journey to mend my relationship with Christ I also found my husband Randy. What a blessing he has been in my life and the amazing journey to serve our King together. Working through the past I knew there was one relationship I also need to find freedom in – my dad’s. Throughout the years I blamed my dad for so much, I found myself holding on to bitterness and hate. How could he not love his girls enough to change? How could he hurt us like he did? Those were questions I struggled with. The summer of 2010 I decided I would go on our family vacation knowing my dad would be there. That week God gave me the strength and a bold opportunity to talk to my dad. I can remember sitting out on the deck of the place we were staying and just boldly started to ask him questions. It opened up my eyes to the grief he carried, the love he still had for my mom and his guilt for the physical abuse he inflicted on me and my sister. We talked about our faith and what Christ meant to us. Just a day after that conversation tragically my dad drowned in the ocean. I drew a lot of comfort from the opportunity that God had given me with my dad that week and our conversation we had. God calls us to be obedient even in difficult times and in those times, we can receive the greatest blessings. 

Fast forward a many years. God surely tested me on what it meant to be obedient in difficult times. After 7 years of struggling with infertility Randy and I felt God calling us to adopt. We were scared but knew we wanted to follow what He had for us. June of 2019, we started gathering all our paper work required for the adoption process. Truly leaning on the Lord to provide everything we needed, spiritually and financially. Unknown if this was going to be just months of waiting or would it be years, we were still trusting God had it all taken care of. I remember getting the nursery ready in expectation that God would provide a sweet little baby in that empty bed. August of 2019 we were finally active meaning all our paper work was good and now our profile would be presented to birth mothers making such a sacrificial decision. August and September went by sitting on pins and needles for every email that came through just to tell us they had chosen another family. October rolled around and I received the phone call that has truly changed my life. The voice on the other side said birth mother has chosen you and baby girl is already here. You’re a momma! I could barely comprehend what was happening. We ran straight to the airport, praying the whole way that we would get tickets to fly out that night. The first two airline counters couldn’t get us to our destination. One last counter to go, finally the last flight out for the night and last two seats, talk about God opening up the doors. I could barely believe in less than 24 hours we were becoming parents – why do we ever doubt His goodness? Arriving at the hospital a young woman; eyes filled with tears handed me the most beautiful 5lbs, brown eyed and brown-haired girl! The most precious baby looked at me so intently, that’s when I knew what those 7 years of pain were for – They were all for HER! It was surely worth it too! Worth crying out all those years for God to provide for us. All I can say is Gods timing is perfect and to trust in Him!! “Praise be to the LORD for He has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:6-7 He is a good Father who knows how to give such good gifts.

Today I can stand to tell you the only reason I can have freedom from past relationships, shame, guilt, hurt, bitterness, hate, fear and so much more is because of Christ. I know I fail Christ daily but I strive to walk in obedience in what He has called for my life. The work on the cross allowed me the opportunity to be reconciled back to. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 Now I’ve been able to experience so much of His goodness even though I don’t deserve it. He is my true rock and the one I get to call Father, the one I can rejoice in every circumstance that has been and will be! Without His love leading me I wouldn’t have salvation back to Him, my wonderful husband – shhh don’t tell Randy I said he’s wonderful haha, the sweetest daughter and a church that I get to serve alongside that I also get to call my family! 

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1

Kelly Bryant Testimony

I can never remember a time in my life when I did not know about Christ.  I grew up in a Christian home with parents who loved God and loved each other.  We were at church every time the doors were opened.  I was always involved in Sunday school and Bible Study and I knew a lot of scripture and about Jesus’s sacrifice for me.  At a young age (maybe 6 or 7) I remember praying with my dad, joining the church and being baptized.  I lived my life as a pretty good person.  I wasn’t perfect and I did things I am not particularly proud of but basically, I was good.

 

It wasn’t until 23 years later that I realized I knew about Christ but I didn’t know him personally.  I was listening to Christian radio on my way home from choir practice one Wednesday night and they played an old song that I had heard many times, but this time it gripped my heart.  It was talking about heaven and the lyrics were “Look for me for I will be there too” and at that moment I realized I was not confident that I would be there.  

 

I had a lot of head knowledge but it is a relationship with Christ that counts.  I struggled with this for days.  I kept reminding myself of all the reasons why I had to be a Christian but, Ephesians 2:8-9 kept coming to mind. “For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith – it is not of yourself – it is a gift from God – not of works so that no one can boast”.  You see, even though I was singing in the choir, teaching Sunday school, leading a children’s choir, being preschool director for VBS (and the list goes on and on), none of those things matter when it comes to my eternal security.  Those are all good things (works) but done for the wrong reasons.  Having a personal relationship with Christ should be the motivation behind the things I do for Him. 

 

I read over and over again Matthew 7:21-27 which basically says that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter heaven (this was me).  The verse goes on to say that they will tell of their works and Jesus will say “sorry – I never KNEW you.  You must know Him, believe in Him and put your faith and trust in Him.

 

So, on April 23, 1991 I turned my whole life over to Him.  I wanted Him to be real and personal to me. It was very difficult for me to stand in front of my church family and admit that for years I had been a fake. I was concerned about what they would think of me but I was reminded that it is only God’s opinion that matters. My concerns were totally unfounded.  The wonderful body of Christ was excited for me and proud that I took the steps necessary to get my life, my salvation in order.

 

As in any relationship, it requires work.  I don’t mean doing things, I mean working on the relationship. Spend time talking to Him, listening to Him and following His leadership.  It is not always easy but it is my heart’s desire.

 

I was like the foolish man who was building his house on the sand but, God didn’t give up on me.  He kept pursuing me, drawing me to Himself and now my foundation is on the Solid Rock that will never fail. 

 

My name is Ray Ellison.  My wife’s name is Denise and we have been married for 31 years.  We have two beautiful children, Tiffany & Braden and we also have two beautiful grand-children, Kinlee & Carter.

God has been so good to me and I am so grateful for what He has done for me.  He sent his Son to the cross to shed His blood, died and rose from the dead three days later.  All I had to do was believe that and I was saved.  That’s exactly what happened back in 1981 when I was eleven years old.  I went to the altar and asked God to save me and He did because He is faithful.  The pastor was preaching on Hell and I didn’t want to go to Hell, so I asked God to save me.  A few months later I lost my daddy to a tragic accident.  He was thirty-three years old.  I was eleven years old with no dad.  I was close to my dad and that was a tough time in my life, but God was with me through it all and He wasn’t finished with me. 

Even though I lost my dad, I was never fatherless.  I had a heavenly Father that loved me.  I had been adopted into God’s family through His Son.   Through my teenage years and early adulthood, I became close to my step-father and loved him just like my dad.  I lost him in 2002 to a heart attack.  I learned a lot from him and he had a major influence in my life.  My mom had a lot of influence on me as well and I still rely on her advice to this day.

It’s hard to put into words in a short testimony, what God has done in my life.  I could probably write a book.  The main point I want you to know is that I serve an awesome God that will never leave nor forsake you.  He knows the end from the beginning, He knew the first breath you took and He knows the last breath you will take.  He has given me a thirst for His Word and wants me to teach and share the Gospel in these last days that we are in.  God gives his children gifts of the Spirit.  We need to find out what those gifts are and use them for His kingdom.  Whether its serving, teaching, counseling or singing.  Don’t let your gifts lay dormant and never be used. 

I’m teaching a men’s Bible study on Thursday nights.  I think it’s a very important ministry.  We need more Godly men to step up in our society with boldness and wear the full armor of God.  Our country is in a spiritual war and we need to prepare for battle.  I believe we need Godly men and women in leadership roles in our schools, government and especially in our homes. 

How do we know God’s will for our lives?  By studying His Word.  The Bible is a spiritual book and it can only be truly understood by letting the Holy Spirit lead and guide us through His Word.  Remember, it is “Thine will be done” not ours.  We are nothing without Him.  Only in Him do we have eternal life.  John 14:3, “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

We are going to meet God one of these days, whether He comes back to take His bride home or we go to meet Him.  Our time is short on this earth.  The bible says it’s like a vapor, use it wisely.  You have to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, not just words, but with your heart.  Someone said, knowledge is power but applying that knowledge is where the power is.  Apply God’s Word and watch what God will do in our life. 

 

Kristin Vaughn’s Testimony

As a little girl, I remember that going to church revolved around juicy fruit gum from my grandmother’s purse, and doodling on an offering envelope. The Jesus I knew was the man depicted in the stained-glass artistry that hung over the heads of our small choir. He was the man that we celebrated at Easter and Christmas, and that we recited our nightly prayers to.

In sixth grade, I went to a revival with my best friend Jaime. She held my hand and walked with me to the alter where I gave my life to Jesus. I left that night with a warm feeling in my heart, and a t-shirt with a cartoon Jesus on the front. From there I started attending her church regularly, and participated in activities with their youth group.

By the time I started college I attended church less often, and eventually stopped going altogether. I got married at 21, and had my first daughter, Olivia, at 23. At 28 years old, I found myself divorced and living with my parents. I spent the next few years partying and chasing empty relationships.

In 2010 my dad had to have a liver transplant due to a blood disorder. Not long after that, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Throughout his illness I found myself praying more, and relying on the Lord for strength. After a courageous battle, my dad left the hospital and went home with hospice care. I remember sitting in my car one day after leaving his hospital room. I was devastated beyond words and just started to pray. At that moment, I felt an overwhelming supernatural peace. It was as though Jesus, in the flesh, was in that car holding me.

After my dad passed away, I began to really recognize how God had been working in my life. I got baptized at a women’s conference that year. In 2016 I married Brandon. After three years of marriage, we found out that, at 40 years old, I would be a mother again- a surprise that we never saw coming. When Gracie was born, I found a whole new purpose for my life – to teach my children to love the Lord, and to raise them in a way that would glorify Him.

Our family started attending Locust Fork Baptist Church on a regular basis. We eventually became members and started attending Sunday school. We do our best in our daily lives to show others the goodness of the Lord, and what He has done for us. I feel as though the seasons of darkness and uncertainty in my life made me realize how much I need my savior. Through it all, He never left me.

Today, I stand free in Christ. I am not defined by my mistakes, or my past. I read my Bible and study God’s word daily, and go to Him for guidance. My family prays and worships together. I thank God every day for my blessings, which I do not deserve. I thank Him for my struggles, which teach me to lean on Him. Most of all I thank God for the grace that I received through faith in Jesus Christ. I thank Him for the price He paid for me on the cross, and the gift of eternal salvation. I am forever thankful for His love and His mercy.

 

 

Randy McCay’s Testimony

I was a sixty-year-old man and never had God in my heart. I knew who He was and I thought I had Him in my heart. Boy, I was wrong.

I had reached the pinnacle in my business career. I was making more money than I had ever thought possible. Then my wife at the time left me without any warning. I was thrown into another divorce. Emotionally and financially, I was ruined once again. I was really having a tough time with my life. I could not eat or sleep and was at a very low point in my life.

One Thursday night in November I was completely broken as I sat on the side of my bed sobbing. For some reason, I reached into my nightstand next to my bed. At first, I didn’t know why. That is where I kept my pistol but I would never take my own life because I know what it would do to my son and grandkids. But nevertheless, I reached into the night stand. Instead of grabbing my pistol, I found my Bible. To this day, I do not remember putting my Bible there.

I knew it was there for a reason and I began to read it. I was half way through the book of Genesis and I stopped crying. I got down on my knees and asked God to take my life over. For sixty years I had done things my own way and I had failed. I could feel God’s love come into my heart that very minute. My life changed that night.

The next morning, I went to work as usual. When I got to my office, I found one of the company’s owner, Tommy, and told him what happened to me the night before. As I did, I began to cry again. He prayed with me and I asked him what to do next. His only advice was to let God guide me. In the next few months, I started reading my Bible every chance I could. I started attending the Church of the Highlands.

My Christian growth began. How do I know God has control of my life now? Just see the things He has done for me since that night…

  1. I finalized my divorce with no hard feelings. It cost me most of my retirement money.
  2. Out of the blue, three very large projects I had worked on prior came back to me and my company. I thought that possibility was gone forever. It took me two years to complete them, but they went smoother than any projects in my career. These three projects put me back on a great path to retirement.
  3. By the grace of God, I ran into an old classmate. She was now single. God knew I needed a soulmate, who had God in her heart. She and I got married and she is my Christian rock.
  4. We moved to Locust Fork, Alabama to retire. God surrounded us with some great neighbors. We fell in love with them all and they are just like family.
  5. We got invited to visit Locust Fork Baptist Church. The more we went, the more we felt at home. Now, every time we worship there it feels like we are worshipping at home. We joined LFBC and now we are a part of this great church family.

I don’t think I need to say anymore. You can see how God has moved in my life since I gave Him my heart. If anyone reading this needs to give their heart to God, please let me know! I will always greet you with a smile, open arms and with God’s grace!

 

Sheri’s Story

My name is Sheri Walker. My husband Steve and I joined Locust Fork Baptist Church in August of 2021 and we are so thankful to God for leading us to this church. As a new member my testimony is unknown to the church body and I am thankful for the opportunity to share a little bit about it and how God healed me of cancer. 

In the fall of 2005, I noticed a bump on the top of my left calf. After realizing it wasn’t an injury, I made an appointment with a doctor to see what it could be and there began a year long process of a cancer diagnosis.  After an exam and some vascular testing, I was diagnosed with phlebitis and told to rest the leg as much as possible. Over time it did not improve and became difficult to walk without the leg going numb. Another vascular visit led to an MRI and an Arteriogram which showed that my blood supply was cut off to my left calf due to an artificial graph that was put in during my childhood. I had tumors in my left leg throughout my childhood and from the age of 7-16 had 6 surgeries to remove them. 

As a result of the failed graph, I had a Fem-Pop surgery performed to restore the blood flow. Some things improved with my leg but it was never quite right after this surgery. Eight weeks later on June 6, 2006 I hit my left calf on a kitchen chair and the bone shattered. This led to another surgery to place a rod down my left calf to stabilize the bone since it was shattered and to allow it to heal. The orthopedist took some of the bone reaming’s and had them sent for a biopsy and the result was no cancer. But over time my bone was not healing as it should. There was something on the x-ray each time I went for a checkup but I was not told about it until late September. My doctor told me that something was on the x-ray and showed me on the screen where it was and said he did not know what it was but it was getting bigger each month. He recommended we see how it looked at the October appointment and at that time maybe talk about seeing a specialist. 

When I shared this with Steve, he went with me to the next appointment. There was a lot of growth in those few weeks and we started the process of making an appointment with a specialist at Emory. Our first appointment with the doctor at Emory was around mid-October. All my records had been sent there and we believe he knew what the outcome was going to be before we even arrived. My new doctor and his partner examined me and my leg and did a needle biopsy in the office to send it off to the lab. I later received a call letting me know that I had cancer but the type was not clear and it showed as metastatic. So, another appointment was scheduled for a CT scan and a nuclear bone scan to see where the cancer had metastasized. We also had a late appointment with my doctor the same day where he did a quick view of my scans and could not find any cancer anywhere in my body even though it tested metastatic. This threw the doctor for a bit and he scheduled a surgical biopsy to get a good test done that would identify what type of cancer it was. In the meantime, we were praising God that I did not have cancer in my body anywhere but the left calf. 

After the biopsy my doctor talked with us in recovery and looked downcast. He did a frozen test on the sample he took and confirmed to him the type of cancer it was. They did send it to the lab and the next week it was confirmed that the cancer was an Angiosarcoma which is a blood tissue cancer. Another appointment was scheduled with my doctor and an oncologist at Emory to discuss surgery and treatment. At the oncologist we learned that the only alternative to remove the cancer was to amputate my leg above the knee. To say I was upset is an understatement. We had the appointment with my orthopedist the next day where he painfully explained to us, he had labored all night for another alternative but there wasn’t one due to the type of cancer which is very rare and the size and length of time the cancer had been there. All of the time of not getting the correct diagnosis, the cancer had been growing rapidly and eating up the bone as well. We asked if it could be below the knee and he told us that it was not possible because when they drilled down my calf from the knee to place the rod when it broke, the drilling process contaminated the entire bone. He told us we could get a second opinion but we needed to hurry because I didn’t have much time and the cancer was trying to come out and grow on the outside. We told him we did not need a second opinion and scheduled surgery. Steve told the doctor we would be praying for healing and asked him if he would check to make sure before he performed the amputation. The doctor was immediately agreeable and said he would even do another frozen biopsy before removing the leg. 

During that time before the surgery, we did pray and Steve had our pastor and a few other men from church come and anoint me with oil and pray over me for healing. We had two prayers. One was saving my life and the other was saving my leg. God’s answer to saving my life was yes but the answer to saving my leg was no. At the time of surgery my leg was in the same shape and the doctor had to remove it. Several years later we learned from him that he said during surgery that he did not know why he was putting me through this because I wasn’t going to live. He went on to say that if I had not been so young, he would have just sent me home to die. When they later learned that I had lived they were shocked. The post-op pathology report showed the Tumor measured 26cm x 11cm x 8cm. It was extremely large and is a testimony to God’s power. He is not bound by disease or anything that we may go through. 

The world could look at this and wonder where was God but I assure you He was walking through every step with us. Not just walking with us but carrying us. Not only was He there through it all He was trying to get a doctor to find the cancer. The loss of blood flow that I had was God shutting off the food supply to the cancer. It can’t grow without the blood supply. Unfortunately, the doctor didn’t find it. It did grow a lot after the blood was restored but even the break was an opportunity for the cancer to be found. And even though a biopsy was done it was the wrong kind. And even when we had the scans at Emory and there wasn’t cancer anywhere else it was God! The type of cancer I had spreads mainly to the lungs and I should have already been dead due to the size and length of time it had been there. Getting the negative reports from the scans gave me a visual picture of God’s mighty hand resting at my knee and not allowing the cancer to move beyond my calf. The biopsy showed metastatic. Steve believes it had spread but through prayers of healing and God’s plan, He removed it before the scans took place. And the testimony that came to the doctor and all medical staff. Enough to confuse them for a bit when they saw the results. 

God was there through every step and I could not have made it day to day without Him carrying me and filling me with peace. There are a lot of things that happened in between all of this and then Chemo treatment post-surgery. It was a long hard road filled with tears and pain but also filled with God and His peace and Mercy. We can trace His hand every step of the way. Four years post-surgery my doctor at Emory told me I should not be alive. He knows even though he diagnosed and performed surgery that he had nothing to do with me being alive. A couple of weeks after surgery I was laying on my bed resting and praying. I never asked God why me. I never had that thought and the answer would have to be why not me? There is nothing special about me and I have to trust His plan is perfect. I did ask God what He wanted me to do with my experience and I know without any doubt that He spoke to my spirit that He kept me alive to be an example of His healing power and to tell people how He healed me and was with me through the entire trial. And that He would be with them through whatever trial they go through. I have the privilege of praying for others when I hear about trials or illnesses they are experiencing and encouraging them. As I said, there is so much more to this story but my hope is that reading this someone else will feel hope in their trial. 

My goal was to journal my cancer and treatment experience and did for a while. But when I started Chemo I felt too sick and weak to continue. But looking a couple of years ago at what I did journal I found an entry dated a year after surgery. Below is the entry:

   “About a month ago while sitting in church, I believe God laid something on my heart. Andy was preaching and I don’t even remember now what the subject was. But I started thinking about how different I was in the way that I walk. Different than most of the world (the norm). And it is very obvious and something I cannot hide. But it was as if God worked in my heart and I started comparing my different walk to being a Christian. When God is in our lives, we are called to walk different than the world. And it is to be an obvious difference. Somehow comparing my physical changes to the spiritual changes that occur in us as a result of accepting Christ made me feel better. To some degree it made me see myself in a different light. That does not automatically make it easier. But it is not always easy being Christlike in a sinful world either. But God is there and the reward is worth it.”

 My prayer is that this brief testimony will bring hope and peace!!

Amy Williamson Testimony 

My name is Amy Williamson. I am 42 years old, married to Scott Williamson and together we have two great kids; Coleman who is 17 and Cortlyn who is 13 years old. I grew up in a broken home. My mother got pregnant while in high school and had my older brother. She was soon married but lost her first husband to a tragic construction accident when my brother was only 2 years old. She met my biological father and soon became pregnant with me. My mother and father split before I was even born. My mother continued the path of bad choices which led her to a third husband, Ricky. They were soon married and we moved to Holly Pond. Ricky was an alcoholic and abusive man. He would get drunk, beat my mother and beat me. I never knew of a time he wasn’t drinking and I never knew of a time I wasn’t afraid of a beating. He grew weed in our pine thicket and even in our laundry room. I knew how to spot a marijuana plant by the time I was 5 years old. 

 

My abusive, alcoholic stepfather, had a very devout Christian mother whose name was Orvalene. Orvalene took me in and carried me to church every Sunday. I went to Sunday and Wednesday night church and even Vacation Bible School as a child all while growing up in a troubled home. As I look back on my childhood, there truly weren’t a lot of good memories, except that I came to know the Lord at the age of 7 when I walked the aisle at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. I didn’t understand everything at that time. All I knew is I wanted and desired a relationship with the one who loved me and would never leave me. I know that is when I became a believer in Christ even though my faith was green. At that age, I didn’t fully understand that I was a sinner. 

 

I was 10 years old when my mother went to prison. My aunt came and picked me up from my stepfather’s house and took me to Straight Mountain where I would live with her, her husband and her four children. I remained there for a few years before being tossed around to my older brother, my grandmother, and then a non-relative. My mom was killed when I was 17 years old coming home drinking from a bar. She was only 40 years old and left behind two younger children. Even though I did not have a family who pursued church and Christianity, the Lord always placed people in my path who took me to church and encouraged me along the way. I truly know that the Lord uses people for His glory. 

 

I remember talking to him as a child and praying He would help me when times were really bad. As I attended church, my relationship began to grow; however, it wasn’t until late in my teenage years, I began to realize my one and true father was the Lord Jesus. It wasn’t until then the Lord opened my eyes to my sinful heart. It was at that time, the Lord began teaching me and revealing areas of my life that called for change.  

I could testify of His goodness throughout my life time and time again. I’ve seen His tender hand all my life and am thankful for that troubled home. I can say that now as I know that without it, I may not have come to know the Lord as my savior. “And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 

 

The things I thought were once horrific, I could also count as some of my greatest blessings. I am thankful for His call and pursuit for me. I am thankful for His grace and mercy which I need every single day. I am thankful to be a child of the One and Only true God. I am thankful for His forgiveness of my sins. I am thankful the Lord Jesus gave His life for someone like me. 

 

Salvation Story: Andy Loftis

I was born in Remlap, Alabama and attended the Methodist Church with my Mom and younger brother Jon. Not sure why I never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly at a young age. I do not remember being asked specifically by anyone if I wanted to surrender my life to Christ. Kind of sad now that I think about that.

After high school, I attended University of Montevallo with my little brother. In my second year I was visited in my dorm room by a couple of guys that that asked me if I knew Jesus Christ and gave me a small booklet called the “4 Spiritual Laws”. They did not push, just checked on me from time to time. Not sure why, but I carried the little booklet every day after that.

I was your typical college kid, doing things a college kid does that is without Christ, without a church family, and not accountable to anyone. The bad part is I knew many of the things I was doing was not good or right. I began to read that little booklet every day. God began to show me the difference between my life and my little brother’s life. His friends were different. He had a peace and joy that I could not understand. He was in a bible study group and served in a local church.

I continued to carry and read the little booklet the “4 Spiritual Laws” the young men had given me. When school was over, I returned home to work for the summer. I love the outdoors and one day while bushhogging the back fields, God spoke very clearly to me “you need to make a decision”.  I had memorized the little booklet and understood what God was asking. I got off the tractor, got on my knees, and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I will never forget the feeling of loneliness being lifted immediately, the joy of knowing God cared for me, and the reality of how much time had been wasted on the things of this world.

That next fall, God moved me to Auburn, placed me in a house with Christian roommates I had never met. I joined the Opelika Baptist Church where my roommates attended, and soon after was baptized. I met a beautiful Christian lady that agreed to be my wife at Auburn, and God blessed me with two incredible children. I thank God for leading my family to LFBC.

Looking back- it is very clear that Jesus was pursuing me, as he does with all his children. I pray for all who read this story, that you will be encouraged and know that our perfect and holy God is wanting to sit down and visit with you, because he cares for you and loves you more than you can imagine.

 

Favorite Bible Verse: Revelations 3:20

20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

 

Candace Glasscock Testimony 

For anyone to understand my testimony, they must first understand me, and who I was. I have always been a bigger person and instead of being told that it was ok, and that I was beautifully and wonderfully made just the way I am, I was taught to hate that about myself. I was picked on in school, never had boyfriends, and had very low self-esteem. So being able to find someone who wanted to be with me was always something that I was so desperate for. I had a few boyfriends through high school but both of them ended very badly and ultimately just made me feel worse about myself.

 

By the time I had graduated high school and was going into my junior year in college I had started to self-harm. Then enters Kris, who is my children’s dad. He was a rebel in every sense of the word and I was living for it. The drugs, the drinking, the parties. I loved it, I covered up my low self-esteem with substances. This would only grow deeper the longer that mine and Kristopher’s relationship lasted because he was very mentally, verbally, and sometimes physically abusive.

 

People would ask me why? Why do you stay when he cheats? Why do you stay when he compares you to other women? Why do you stay after he’s hit you? And the only answer I can give anyone still to this day is the desperation. The desperation of wanting his validation and his love. So much so that I was willing to endure anything to get it. The moment I’d be on the up again, Kris would always see it as a threat and knock me back down all over. This went on for eight years. In those eight years I gave birth to my kids. By the time we had gotten around to Jack, my youngest, we had moved several times and ultimately landed in my parents’ home.

 

We separated not long after that and were apart for about a year. In that time there were rumors that Kris had begun to use harder drugs, all of them ended up being true and even though I had been away from him for a year he still held that power of desperation over me. It’s hard to explain that feeling of desperation and I don’t think anyone could ever understand unless they have been there. Kris was a full-blown addict by the time four months of us being back together had passed and I was chasing him down a rabbit hole that I never intended to go down as a full-blown alcoholic.

 

We had lost our children. I had cut ties with all of my family and my friends. I hadn’t seen my kids in months, and we were living in the Covered Bridge Inn in Oneonta. Kris’s addiction was substances, mine was Kristopher. One night after working a late shift I came to our room and found that all of his things were gone. He had text me earlier that next morning telling me that he didn’t want to get clean, that I had a better chance of challenging the courts on my own when it came to custody of the kids, and not to come after him. I didn’t know it then, but that ended up being one of the biggest blessings I could have ever received because had he not left me alone to fight by myself, I’m not sure I’d be here today to be able to share my story.

 

So, I stopped drinking, I moved in with my grandmother and I started working on the relationships with my family, friends, and most importantly with my children and myself. It took me a long time to be able to love myself again and an even longer time to be able to shake the shame of my past off my shoulders.

 

In 2021 my oldest, Conner started telling me about a “Brother Phillip” that came and read books to them at school and how he wanted Conner to come to church. It’s the very last place I wanted to be and for a long time I used work as an excuse. I didn’t want to be back in church, I thought everyone would judge me, or whisper, or maybe even make me feel unwanted. But finally, after my grandmother had pretty much forced me into it, we visited a couple of times and in those times never once was I made to feel any of those things.

 

Not long after that Hillery had reached out to me over Facebook and invited me out to lunch. I remember sitting in the parking lot of the Mexican restaurant debating on going in or just going back home and crawling back into my bed forever. But I went in, and I sat and I had lunch with Hillery. Since that day I have felt nothing but at home at LFBC.

 

I’ve rededicated my life to the Lord and Conner has accepted Jesus as well and gotten baptized. We are growing, and we are thriving as a family and it’s all in God’s name and for His glory. We have our own home, car, two cats lol, and now a church family. God has used people from our church to show me what it’s like to feel genuinely loved and accepted and he’s teaching me that my past does not have to continue to come with the weight of shame, but with a testimony of redemption.

 

Our days are not perfect, and I still struggle daily. But I remember the days that I prayed for the things that I have now and I can see the evidence of His goodness all over my life!! I feel like there’s so much more to come for us.