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"Being Directed From the Beginning"
I want to begin my testimony by giving you a little background of my family life as a child. As far as I can recall, my father only went to church twice and both times it was only for a funeral. My mother on the other hand was a Methodist and before she married, she never missed a Sunday meeting. God was never discussed much in my home. All I can ever remember being taught was good people went to heaven and the bad went to hell. Also, God was in charge of the good and the devil was in charge of the bad. My fathers oldest sister Elizabeth, who we called Aunt Sis, took me to church with her once in awhile. It was during the time I was young enough not to realize that "Bringing in the Cheese" was not the correct way to sing that old hymn. The only thought I had of my own that came close to thinking about God was when I was around 10 years of age. One day I was sent to the store for bread and while walking there, I was talking to myself wondering who would go to Heaven and Hell. The conclusion that I came up with was, people that went to church would go to Heaven and the others would go to Hell. Since I didn't go very much to church, really never, I thought there was not any hope of me making it.
My older sister married in 1952 and the marriage didn't last long, but her ex-husband (Sam) would often come to my parent’s house and have coffee with my father. He and I would also hang out together and go fishing. On one occasion sometime in 1954, he asked me to go to a church meeting with him and I did. It turned out to be a holiness meeting. When the preacher started praying I began to get scared. One of the members started hollering and jumped up on the back of the pews running, not once touching or falling to the floor the whole time he ran on the pews. There was so much praying in tongues, jumping and shouting I was too scared to shut my eyes to pray. I didn't look at Sam the whole time, but I noticed he glanced to see my reaction. He was not praying like those around us though. I thought if I make it out of here, I will never do this again. On the way home I was quiet and Sam didn't ask me anything, in fact he never asked me again to go to another meeting.
I went on and graduated from High School and got an apprenticeship at the local glass factory. During these years the draft was in effect and I figured my number was about up. I really didn't want to go in the Army, so I enlisted in the Air Force. I have always liked being around aircraft. I got to refuel aircraft on the flight line starting in Korea. God was good to me even though I didn't know it. After I completed a tour of duty in Korea, I was stationed at Mac Dill AFB in Tampa, Florida. Sometime in 1958, I met Gloria and after I was discharged we got married on June 8, 1960 and we went back to Indiana where I finished my apprenticeship at the glass factory.
It was shortly after we married that Gloria asked me to go to a Methodist church with her and I did. It wasn't long after this I “got saved” and then baptized in water. I felt touches from God during all of this, but it didn't last long and my life really didn't change. During this time, I completed my apprenticeship and I started looking for work below the Mason Dixon line. Gloria didn't like Indiana and I didn't like living around my family. I found out there was an opening in Bartow, FL that I applied for and was accepted for the position. It was not far from where Gloria's family lived, which was maybe an hour away. Word got around to the co-workers that I was leaving, and it didn't set well with one of the co-workers that had been working with the glass plant for years when I began working there. This person was connected with the politics of the plant and had influence with the employers. This co-worker said something that intimidated my bosses if they didn't withdraw their offer to me, so I lost the position in Bartow, FL. Later, I got a position in Henderson, NC. I didn't find out who it was that made me lose the position in Bartow, FL until I went back to visit a friend that I hung around with since childhood. He told me who it was and it made me furious, because I had not yet known the experience of the Baptism of the holy Ghost. Now, since I know why it happened, if by some chance he has made it and I do too, I want to look him up and hug his neck.
It wasn't long after moving here that we started looking for a place to go to services. Sometime in 1960, we started going to Morris Chapel Methodist Church, which this is the place I “got saved” and baptized in water. That did not satisfy me, so we bounced around going several places and sometimes not going anywhere for long periods of time. During this time, God delivered me of a habit I had started when I graduated from school and that was smoking. On January 16, 1972 I found myself feeling like the cigarettes were in my way and that was on a Friday. I said to myself, if I can make it through the weekend without smoking after any meals and during the ball games then I will be able to quit. Sure enough I made it without any withdrawals and never smoked again.
In the year of 1973, we started going to Sulpher-Springs Baptist Church. There was a guy at work that told me he went there and invited me to go, and we went and started going regularly. It was here that I had an experience with God that frightened me half to death. The people made me a deacon and one year later they were going to make me chairmen of the board of deacons. Sometime back I remember reading 1st Timothy the 3rd chapter concerning the life a person lived to be qualified and worthy to become a deacon. I could see very clearly that I was not qualified for this position and I went before the group and explained it to them. I said I was honored that they had this confidence in me, but I could not accept it due to what I read...I did not qualify. I left this church in 1974 and never went back.
Not too long after leaving Sulpher-Springs Baptist Church I started going to Full Gospel meetings after Gloria had started watching the PTL Club. When Gloria watched PTL she learned about the Baptism of the holy Ghost and wanted to know more about it. I talked about this baptism with some of the members of the Full Gospel and they said it was an extra blessing and I really didn't need it to be saved in the end. I told Gloria and we just left it alone, but God didn't.
A couple of months went by and the Full Gospel men wanted to get together very early on Saturday mornings to pray for the city of Henderson, NC. When we got together I noticed that some would pray with the holy Ghost. I liked what I saw and felt when they prayed, so on the morning of September 22, 1975 after praying for Henderson, I asked to be prayed for to receive the holy Ghost. They had me sit in a chair and they prayed and soon I received the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Also, during this time Gloria and I were going to a bible study at one of the Full Gospel member’s house. While there, Gloria picked up a Gospel Tract titled, "How I Received the Holy Ghost" and read it. It interested her because she was seeking the holy Ghost and she began to order other tracts to read and was passing them out too.
During this time appeared a sore on me that wouldn't heal. I came home one evening after work and Gloria was watching the PTL Club and Jim Baker was praying for someone who had a sore on their body that doctors said couldn't be healed. I felt a presence go all over my body that I never felt before, it was very strong and powerful, it totally saturated me. I knew it was for the healing of the sore. I never for one minute doubted that it would happen even though it took 2 years for it to leave. Months prior before the sore was healed another problem developed near the sore and I had to apply medicine creme which I could buy over the counter. One day while I was at work, it came time for me to apply the medicine, but an audible voice said not to apply the medicine any more. This was when I was healed from both problems, glory to God! I went to the doctors and they saw that the sore was gone, but their only comment was it still was in my system and it would appear somewhere else on my body, but it never has.
One day I got my concordance out to look up a word (I can't remember what the word was now), but while looking I stumbled on the word “praise” and it felt like it jumped off the page and into my heart to study more about this word. I started reading every scripture that had the word “praise” in it. When I was finished I realized that God loved and required his people to praise him. Soon after this study I had an experience that made me feel the importance of praise. Occasionally the Full Gospel would have White Memorial Methodist Church Quartet come to sing at our meeting. One of the men in the quartet got blessed and started to dance and praise God in the spirit. I got so blessed watching him I started praising God with him. Several of the members around me rebuked me and I quenched the spirit, feeling the most horrible feeling that saturated my whole body. I knew from that experience that God was showing me how important praising him is and wherever God was praised the most was where I needed to go!
Still attending the Full Gospel meetings, I became the Secretary of the Henderson Chapter. After the meetings, there was this lady by the name of Martha Clark who would sometimes come and talk with me to invite me to meet her husband Preacher Clark. Finally, after the third invitation I went home and told Gloria and to my surprise, she said that Preacher Clark was the person she was had been ordering the tracts from. Early the following week, we decided to go meet Preacher Clark, anyway Gloria wanted to get some more tracts. I got my Henderson map out and saw that he lived about five blocks or so from us. We got to Preacher Clark's house and met him along with Joseph Murray and Earl Pittman. After talking with them awhile we were invited to a meeting and we went to the next one they had.
Well, I went to their meeting and it didn't take long for me to see that the praise of God was there. It was absolutely wonderful. I remember one saintly woman by the name of sister Linnie Mae that started dancing and praising God and she had one shoe flying one direction and the other shoe another direction. This was enough to let me know I wanted to continue coming to their meetings. When the meeting ended I noticed there was never a collection taken through out the service which was peculiar to me. When I went back to visit brother Clark at his home, I asked him how I could pay my tithes and offerings since no collection is taken during the service. He just told me to pay him when I would come to visit him at home, so that would be my weekly routine from that moment on.
One day while visiting brother Clark, which was around the 6th time visiting him, my ears opened to something he said that I had not comprehended on my previous visits. He said that no one was saved until the end of their life and that the Baptism of the holy Ghost was the new birth. It put a fear in me so strong, because all the time I went to various churches, I was taught that you had to get saved or there was no hope for you and if you doubted it, it was like committing blasphemy to the holy Ghost, and there was no hope for you. I told brother Clark sincerely that someone is lying and I need to go home and pray to find out who is telling me the truth, because my life depends on it. He calmly encouraged me to do just that and I did first thing when I got home to the rail road tracks not far from my house. I started my prayer by asking God, if the Baptism of the holy Ghost was the new birth. The power of God started at my feet, up my legs and went on up through my whole body, and when it got to my arms, they went up and I couldn't bring them down, for some time because this powerful feeling kept going through my body. I never felt God's power like this before. Without any words said, that feeling confirmed it that brother Clark was telling me the truth and I said to God, “I denounce this ‘get saved’ doctrine, and will never speak of it or claim it again.” Then another wave of power started at my finger tips moving down my arms and as it came down, so did my arms. When this power went down my legs and out my feet I could no longer feel my feet touching the ground. It felt like I was floating in the air. I have no idea how long it lasted, but just as soon as I stepped off the railroad tracks it ended. I couldn't wait to get back to Preacher Clark and tell him what happened. When I told him he said he already knew that something was going to happen because he knew he had told me the truth and he wished everyone would do what I did when they hear the truth. I am glad God put it on my heart to do what I did, because it worked for me to know the truth of God and to have peace.
It has been an honor to be a part of this work of God and I hope I am worthy to continue to be a part of this work until my time comes to leave this world. Since I have been a part of this work, my wife and both my children have received the holy Ghost too. I thank God for his blessings on me. A man once said that every day was a gift from God and that’s why its called the present. This is the way I feel since God has blessed me with the Holy Ghost. May God bless you with my testimony he gave me.
To be continued with Jesus.
Brother Glen Bartow
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