By: Ellen Worthington
I'm doing something that I wish my Mother
had felt comfortable enough to do for me, like letting me know her heartfelt
thoughts. I decided that the first thing I would like you to know about me is
how I came to know Jesus as my personal Savior, since He is the basis of my
life. He is still working in my heart to change me into His image in these last
According to God's Word, I believe that I will live out the complete number of my allotted days, but only God knows what that number is and it could be up today, next week, or next month. I sincerely believe that Dad was allowed to live out the complete number of his days. There are many reasons why our days can be cut short
When I was growing up, I knew of no one in my family who ever prayed except my Grandma Dunkin and I had no idea what it meant to be a Christian. I don't think I ever even heard the word at that time. We had a Family Bible that Papa called the "Good Book" but that's all I ever knew about it.
When I was seven years old, I learned many things. Some of which was how to iron my two dresses (which my cousin gave to me) with the old "flat iron" (it was heated on the stovetop), how to cut up a whole chicken and fry it, and how to walk the three miles, mostly uphill, to a one room school which I attended (sometimes I stopped along the way to slide on the frozen creek.)
I had a wonderful teacher who did everything he could to help his students. I remember that once he rubbed my hands, feet, and legs in front of an old potbellied stove when they were almost frozen from the snow. He taught me how to do a little Tap Dance with some other children which we performed on the foot high stage. Me dancin' up a storm, so I was told, while twisting the tail of of my dress in shyness.
He taught us to memorize the 23rd Psalm. That was the only word of God I ever knew until I was about sixteen, but it taught me that there was a God who loved me and that I could depend on Him to take care of me. I had moved away to California and back again to Oklahoma by then to attend the rest of my High School. Grandma had given me a small Bible before she died which I knew was very important, but no matter how hard I tried to read it I couldn't understand a thing. I later learned why.
The Bible says
besides being foolishness to the lost it is only revealed by the Holy Spirit
because it's not just words, but the Living Word of God. If the Holy Spirit is
not with you to teach you, there's no way you can understand it by yourself. The
Bible was written to those who were already trusting in Jesus. That's why the
Bible says "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the
Gospel." Since the Holy Spirit is slowly revealing it to them, they can
explain it to those who really want to learn. The Word says that everyone who
has just opened their heart to Jesus is like a new born baby, and must first
grow spiritually by the milk of the Word and then the Meat. When the faith is
there to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes alongside as
Comforter, Teacher, Guide; He convicts us of our sinful ways,
Remember the little song that you kids used to sing? Rev-el-la-tion, Three-e Twen- ty! Be-hold,-I-stand-at the door- and- knock. If an-y man hears my voice and o-pens the door, -I will come in to him-and sup with him-and he-with-me!
Of course, the "he" and "him" refers to Mankind. But you see, the door to our hearts has the doorknob on the inside, and since we have been given a free will, we must choose to open it, or not! You know, Grandpa received Jesus as his Savior when he was ninety-two. I knew he really believed and wanted to, but at first he didn't understand about "Receiving Jesus." John, Chapter 1, vs. twelve says : "As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the children of God." I've heard many people say, " We're all children of God!" Not so! We're all His Creation, but only those who have received Jesus by faith, are His children. Here's how I explained it to Papa: "Suppose two people came to see you. One of them you love and the other you hate to see coming. But to be polite, you give each of them a hug as you greet them. From the outside, both greetings look the same, but which one of them did you receive with your heart?" Then he prayed and accepted Jesus as his personal Savior, and spent his last three years with a smile on his face. He would even forget to use his cane when he walked
My best friend in High School and I did most everything together--Including putting on our pajamas, washing our hair and climbing out of an upstairs window at my Grandma Dunkin's house to dry our hair while sitting on the the roof. We watched everything going on up and down the street. Remember? Grandma lived downtown and still owned the old Dunkin Theater which we sometimes got free tickets to. There was a Methodist Church on the corner two blocks up so
Well, we did it and then we said, "Well what now?" Exactly nothing! since we knew nothing of who Jesus is. (He is Emmanuel, God with us!) We dropped the whole idea since no one was able to explain the Gospel to us.
When I graduated from High School, I immediately moved back to California and was taken in by Aunt Dorothy. I started working for the local phone Company as a "Long Distance Operator." I enjoyed it immensely because on occasion I talked to people all around the world.
I met a new girlfriend and we decided to take up roller skating. With our new white skates with pompoms on the toes, we ventured out to the skating rink at the nearby Fairgrounds. Her mother came with us so we felt properly chaperoned. It was the first night that I met Dad. He was so popular with his fancy performance skating and so graceful with every move that I hardly looked his way because I knew I definitely wasn't in his class. Well, what I didn't know was that he definitely noticed me and proceeded to follow us outside to make an acquaintance. When asked to go somewhere for coffee, we were still thinking it over when her mother said, "We'll meet you downtown." That night we made a date with Dad and his "Spinning Partner," Uncle Don's brother, Marty. But I didn't know Dad was my date until they came to pick us up a week later. What I learned that night was that Dad was the sweetest, most respectful man I'd ever met and my opinion of him has never changed. We were married seven months later.
We knew something was missing in our lives so we decided to try Church again together. Since we had been married in the Napa Methodist Church, that's where we went. Again, it was like a nice Book Club, with some pretty music but no one told us who Jesus is. To top it off, we got a letter telling us that we were required to contribute a percentage of our income to the Church. We didn't know Jesus and had never heard about tithing so we balked at that and stayed home a couple of Sundays. The next thing that happened was a phone call telling us that if we weren't in church the following Sunday our names would be dropped from the rolls. You can guess what we said, "That's fine with us, and if this is Christianity, we don't want any."
Well, by that time we had been blessed with your brother, then a little over two more years we were blessed again with a sweet baby girl, that's still just as sweet.
When the two of you were about three and five we began to think that our children, as well, needed to learn about God, but we still didn't know where to go so we did nothing. Now, Aunt Ruby had been searching for someplace where she could learn about God, but with no results. Finally, one Sunday morning she got in her car and said, basically, "God, I need to find you. Show me where to go." As she started to drive she was inclined to turn here, then there, and so on until she passed the Napa Women's Club building on Franklin street. She noticed people going in with Bibles in their hands and she felt strongly that this was the place.
Well it's ancient history that at the very first service, she heard how, because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve (Mankind) had suffered a spiritual death (separation from God) and were ordered out of the Garden of Eden. From that time on, because of the love of the God-head (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) for Creation, the future plan was for God the Son, Jesus, to come to earth as a man, born of a virgin for the express purpose of becoming the perfect sacrifice to redeem us from our sinful natures. The Bible says in Rom. 3:23: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." She could hardly wait to tell us what great things she had heard at this new Church, and invited us to come. At first we made excuses week after week but when we finally couldn't think of any more we felt we had to go.
Well, when we heard that, even though we didn't understand it all, we knew immediately it was what we'd been searching for. When they asked people to stand if they wanted this fellowship with a personal Savior, we were the first on our feet. It was the most important decision we could ever make.
When the Church Body there decided to erect a building of their own on Trancas Street, we went along and Dad helped build it.
Later on, under the wonderful teaching of Pastor O'Kay, I recognized that he was different and special but I wasn't sure just how. I had been hearing on a Christian TV program about how John the Baptist saw Jesus coming and announced that here is the One who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. I was beginning to wish I could learn more about it when I heard that Pastor O'Kay was going to be over at Aunt Lolly's to explain this. Of course I couldn't wait to get there. He explained that his denomination Headquarters forbade him to speak of it from the Pulpit, but since it was in the Bible, and he had experienced it personally, he felt it was his duty to God to do so. He explained that as the Bible says, that we must desire it and ask for it. In the Book of Acts, Jews and Gentiles alike received this Holy Spirit baptism when an Apostle or disciple laid their hands on them and asked Jesus to baptize them with the Holy Spirit. I made a study of the Book of Acts some years later and there, over and over, I saw the evidence of a new prayer language as the Holy Spirit now prayed through them when they didn't know how to pray. This is what is called, praying in the Spirit.
Of course I told Pastor O'Kay I wanted everything that God had for me. He placed his hands on my head, and at first started speaking in a very beautiful language that sounded maybe like Arabic. He then just asked Jesus to baptize me with the Holy Spirit and immediately a strange language just poured, actually bubbled out of my mouth as I worshiped and thanked God. Suddenly, I started laughing hilariously and for a while I couldn't stop. I was so embarrassed. but he said it's alright because what you've experienced is "Holy Laughter." I had never heard of it before but nowadays you hear of it more.
That was the only teaching I received outside of my own Bible searches for many years but the difference I noticed was that I found I could really love even the most unlovable.
You may remember the one time I had you and Brother kneel with me by our living room couch and pray. I thought that even though you wouldn't understand it, I should tell you about it and let you hear my new prayer language, because there was no doubt in my heart that it was from God. I don't think we ever mentioned it again.
I know that it was God who sent us on our amazing adventure to Turkiye. He was doing very special things for us while we were on our way, and also for the almost three years that we lived there. One that always stands out in my mind is how we were rushed on to a plane from Athens to Istanbul about ten minutes after we had been told our flight had been cancelled and it would be three days before we could go. Our response to that was to find a seat, take our problem to God in prayer, and He answered immediately!
When we returned from Turkiye, after a short time, Dad and I left the Christian Missionary Church to attend Calvary Chapel. I believe you went with us once and Eric another time. That's where I will always be convinced that we met Eric's Guardian Angel. His name was Jerry. The Pastor there was a young ex-Biker that God was using mightily for a time, but because he was fairly new in the faith, I think he was derailed by the sin of self-importance. The Bible warns of this. He later repented bitterly and is now in a smaller ministry.
Since we didn't know where to go, we started attending at Grace Baptist Church where Steve and Starrlynn were attending at the time. We stayed about eight years but were abruptly moved out by God when the Pastor there refused to anoint Dad with oil and pray for his healing according to James 5:14,15. That was when Dad was losing his sight.
We had visited Hillside Christian Center six months before and felt God's presence there so we knew where to go this time. It's the only place I've been that teaches the whole Bible. I'm certainly not saying that Pastor Chuck or any of us are perfect but we all have as our main goal, seeing people come safely into God's kingdom.
About a year before Dad passed away, he went up to the alter and asked to be prayed for that Jesus would baptize him with the Holy Spirit. He received and was given a new language. You know how sweet Dad always was and no one I know of was ever more loving, but I witnessed a deeper love while we were on the plane coming back from our Caribbean cruise. Dad and I were seated nearest to the isle with a young business man from Chicago in the window seat. Because of numerous delays we had been in our seats for about twelve hours. You know that I have had a problem with my feet and legs swelling for years and this time I was in terrible pain. Standing or walking didn't help so in desperation I asked the man if he would mind taking one of the vacant seats so I could put my feet up on the seat. He very rudely said, "No! I can't, I can't rest anywhere except in a window seat, and I have an important business meeting to attend." Dad and I apologized for asking, and assured him that somehow I would make it to San Francisco. Sometime later he got up and found another seat. Dad thanked him and tried to give him twenty-five dollars to have dinner on us. With still an angry face and voice, he put his hand up and said, "No! No!, I don't want it! " Dad stood there quietly, but the love he was pouring out on that man was almost tangible. It seemed as though it was poured over this man like oil, but like oil on water, he was determined not to let any of it get inside him. Dad didn't say anymore, but inside I stood in awe at the love of God for this man that I saw displayed.
Not too long after Dad went on to his reward in heaven; I joined a Sunday School class that was teaching on Prayer. We had about fifteen people in our group. One day one of our members, a man in a wheel chair with both knees degenerated and in much pain, arrived just as we were starting. He was pushed by his teenage son. As he came through the door we saw tears streaming down his face in agony. Our teacher said, "Let's all gather around, we must pray for him now." Our class time was forty-five minutes and we all prayed for him the whole time. I've told you that, to say this, and it's the only time I've ever experienced it. About halfway through our praying, I suddenly saw a little rectangular screen just in front of me and slightly to my left, and on that screen I saw this man in a light colored suit (although here he was wearing a jumpsuit) walking strongly up a fairly steep hill.
Several months after that, some friends invited me to go with them to Novato to hear a speaker from England. I know the message was good but to be honest with you, I can't remember it. What I do remember was the presence of God. At one time, there was total quiet for about five minutes when everyone was so involved in loving God and feeling His presence, it seemed that no one wanted it to end. Near the end of the service, the speaker asked for anyone who wanted prayer to come forward. I was just becoming deeply aware that I needed to allow the Compassion of Jesus to flow through me to others. It was getting late and I figured that I could receive a quick prayer and leave so I wouldn't make anyone late getting home. It must have been near ten o'clock already. When I went forward, an usher took me right up to the front of the stage facing away from the audience.
About three months ago at Wednesday night Bible study, Pastor Chuck was teaching on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. About six or eight homeless people came in, and a man and woman came forward saying that they had come to find out how to be saved. Pastor Chuck prayed with them to receive Jesus and then they shyly asked if he would marry them. This is not what my story is about, but about three weeks later we all attended a wonderful "Jeans and Tee-shirts" wedding. One of our buses went down to Veteran's Park by Third St bridge and filled it up with their street friends. The couple have just moved into a home after nine years.
Since Pastor was teaching on Holy Spirit Baptism, he called people forward that wanted to receive. About eight or so went forward. I saw one young man in his work clothes, about thirty, kneeling by a chair in front. I noticed that no one was praying for him. I had never prayed this prayer for anyone before, but suddenly I seemed propelled up the isle right to him There was nothing to do but pray for him according to God's word Since I knew it wouldn't be me doing anything, I just placed my hands on his head and said "Dear Jesus, I ask you now to baptize Tom with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, Thank you Jesus." He immediately started speaking in a new language and started thanking God with much joy. I was amazed and a little awe struck that God would see fit to use me in this way.
About a month later a young lady in our church invited me out to dinner. We were telling personal stories and laughing so much that we joked about them throwing us out. I told her about this, not realizing that she had not yet experienced this gift. Then she said, "Will you pray for me?" Of course I had to say yes, so the following week I invited her over for a dinner of cake, pie, and lean ground beef stew with French bread. I also invited a friend that serves on our Ministry Team for the Veteran's Home once a month. Again we had so much fun. We sang, we prayed, we ate, we visited. I had sent my seeking friend some instructions that I had gleaned from some highly respected minister's books so she was ready. She said she had wanted this for so long and when she learned that it was just like receiving Jesus, by faith as Savior, it was so easy. I pulled out a chair, told her to sit down and with my other friend standing on the other side praying, I placed my hands on her head and prayed, "Dear Jesus, I'm asking you now to baptize Tom with the Holy Spirit. Thank You Jesus!"
My other friend and I prayed in our prayer languages and immediately, so did our
seeking friend. We praised, and clapped and danced and shouted with great joy. We were so pumped that we could have talked all night but instead, we had
dessert and parted at about nine o'clock.
Now, the only reason for writing this is so you will know who your mother really is. I so wish I could have known my mother better. As for my Christian walk, I feel like I'm just now entering kindergarten with so much to learn about serving God. I also know that He will be patient with me and will always forgive me when I fall short.
May God bless you richly!
With Love and Great
Your loving Mother
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Of the many reasons that can be given to write out our born again testimonies so God can use them to touch others, long after we have left this planet, this particular writing addresses a side of life some never give much thought to.
It is so loving and thoughtful to put something in writing for our loved one's to have once we pass into the next life. If we don't write or record words down ... in time, sadly, they get lost.
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