James Hammonds

"How I Received the holy Ghost"

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Back in 1992, God started convicting me of the sin I was involved in. I proceeded to watch preachers on TV, and all I was hearing from them was to “send your money to us.” I did not want that. I was so used to people stealing or taking advantage of me. Those preachers didn’t have anything to offer me. And I would pray at night the best I knew how, talking to God to help deliver me out of the situation I was in. I had mentioned to my former employer and a coworker feelings I was having about wanting to change my life and get out of the sin I was in. They kind of made a joke out of it, teasing me, and asked “what church are you going to on Sunday?” I told them I didn’t know. But I felt pressure...I didn’t know what to do. That was on a Friday.

On the next day, Saturday, I was in a restaurant in Henderson, NC, eating breakfast, and I noticed a man walk by. His name was John Clark. Back in 1985 or so, I had met John Clark for a short peoriod of time, and I knew he was a pastor or teacher. Immediately when I saw him walk by, my heart started beating very fast, and I knew I was supposed to go back and talk to him. By the feelings I had, I knew then where I was supposed to go. When my co-workers were teasing me, John Clark’s name never came to my mind. I had totally forgotten about him. So, I went back to where he was and talked to him and some of the people that were with him at the restaurant. He told me sometime to come by and visit with him, and he told me where he was having his meetings at in Henderson. That was around Easter time.

I felt like I was supposed to go visit them, and soon after, I went to one of his prayer meetings. As soon as I walked into the building, I felt love coming towards me from the saints of God there. I wasn’t used to feeling that from people, and it caught my attention. I came a few times and enjoyed the feelings, the love from the people. The messages John was teaching connected with me. I didn’t understand it, but it felt right. What I noticed in the meetings was how the people were treating me. They were encouraging me to live right, not expecting or wanting anything from me. That made me want to keep coming back. I wasn’t used to that. They also did not pass around an offering plate begging for money. That caught my attention. The messages sounded right. The people loved me. I was loving what I was feeling. They didn’t want my money. Why would I want to go anywhere or do anything else?

After a while, I started asking questions. I was hearing the new birth and holy ghost baptism being talked about there, and I found out they had a cassette tape series by John teaching about the new birth experience and the holy ghost baptism with the evidence of speaking in tongues. So I got the series, took it home, and when I would get off work, I would listen to the cassettes. Everything I heard him say sounded right, and I could feel something from it. I was also at that time praying and talking to God and crying to Him to teach me and help me understand what I was hearing. I wanted to find out about that. It was feeling really good, and I was believing what I was hearing, seeking God at the same time about it.

After a few weeks, on Mothers’ Day 1992, we had a meeting in Henderson, and near the end of the meeting, John called out my name and said he thought it was time for me to get the holy ghost. I proceeded to walk towards John to lay hands on me, and before I could reach him, I remember saying silently to God, “God, I give up (on myself).” God took control of my body, and I fell to the floor on my knees and was spinning like a top! After a while, when I was trying to get back to my feet, I could hear someone speaking in tongues. I realized it was God using my lips to speak in tongues! He gave me the holy ghost right then!

Later on, remembering how all that happened, it came back to my memory that when I was crying out to God, He was hearing me pray and cry out to Him. And God answered, and God put me with the people I needed to be around to have the hope of being saved in the end!

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