Founder's Testimony of Salvation
I was saved and filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues in February 1986 at a local denominational charismatic church in Houston, Texas. I had heard the Lord calling me the previous August when my teenage son ran away from home and was nowhere to be found. Until then I had been an active but very religious member of a local denomination.
I prayed and pleaded with God to return my son to me but didn't know what else to do. I could not understand why this had happened. I believed in God. I was religious. I was active in church. I spent the next seven weeks weeping and worrying and trying to figure things out. Then I saw an ad in a local church bulletin indicating that a new program called RENEW had just begun. Its intent was to know God and His Word. I contacted the group and began to attend weekly meetings.
My denomination was not known for encouraging its members to read their bibles. I found out that these were people who studied their bible and prayed in a language I didn't understand. They prayed with me concerning my son and seven weeks to the day he left, someone found him and brought him home! I was invited to attend what they called a Life in the Spirit seminar and finally, in February, I decided to attend.
I had gone to retreats and religious seminars before but this one was different. People testified about what God had done in their lives. They lifted their hands in prayer. The music was more intense and lively. The sermon was given by a lay leader and when he asked for people to go to the altar and ask Jesus into their hearts, I went. Not only did Jesus make himself at home in me, but He also baptized me in His Holy Spirit. I haven't been the same since!
I began to attend services at that church and bought a Bible. I didn't fully understand what had happened to me; all I knew was that I had changed. I felt great joy and found peace that I had never known before. I was at church every time the doors opened! I began attending Prayer Meetings in earnest and then Bible Studies.
Suddenly, I couldn't get enough of the Word of God. I began to understand what the Spirit of God was saying to me about what Jesus had done for me and what good plans God had for my life. I wanted everyone else to find out what I had learned so I began to give out Bibles to different people and talk to them about Jesus. I began to attend other charismatic churches and meetings.
Then I found Christian radio and TBN. I couldn't believe the variety of programs offered. I began to listen every chance I had. I didn't realize at the time that God was preparing me.
The following year the Lord delivered me from the hand of the violent man. Although married for eighteen years, I had no hope of living differently because I believed that I could never get a divorce, that I would go to hell if I did, no matter what the circumstances. But God had better plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me.
I had prayed that God change my husband but it was me that He changed. God began to show me how my young daughters were being affected by the violence in our home. Suddenly, I wasn't afraid anymore. I knew that with Jesus I could do anything even if I didn't have a husband to take care of me. I realized that my hesitation wasn't so much fearing God but fearing what people would think of me, fearing the lack that might come my way, and fearing to be alone.
But God gave me the wisdom and the strength to do what I knew I had to do. The Lord brought to my remembrance all the times when He had delivered me:
There were many other times when God had intervened in my life and I hadn't known it was Him. During all those times, God was with me. He was my Deliverer and still is!
Before long, I discovered Brother Kenneth Copeland on television. It was something that was to change my life forever. While some of my friends thought of him as being somewhat in left field and others thought I should stick to my "traditions", Brother Copeland was preaching that it was my traditions that were making the Word of no effect!
Everything he preached was right on target as far as my heart was concerned. I was listening to Brother Copeland and seeing Benny Hinn on TBN actually DOING what I was learning. Suddenly, I wasn't comfortable at my church anymore. I was praying too much like Brother Copeland. I was acting like Brother Hinn. After much prayer for direction, God released me from denominationalism.
I had been attending a non-denominational church on Sunday and Wednesday nights for almost a year, while serving at my own church. So in May of 1993, I made the switch. I had already found out about tithing my income. I hadn't known it was holy to the Lord or that I was to do this as a sign of my placing God first and to plant seed for my own prosperity.
A co-worker gave me a bunch of Kenneth Hagin's magazines and invited me to a bible study group at work. Before long, I was leading that group! I began a weekly Prayer Meeting at my home as well. I went to hear Brother Jesse Duplantis, Brother Creflo Dollar, Pastor Ron Parsley, Bishop TD Jakes, Brother Benny Hinn and other Charismatic leaders whenever I could.
I built up a library of books and tapes from these men. Then, in 1998, I heard the Lord say to me, "I want you to go tell my people how I see them: I want you to tell them they are My Treasure! My Mansion! My Righteousness! My Word! My Glory! My Power! And My Shofar (Trumpet)!" I didn't know how He wanted me to do this; however, I rented a church building and began delivering the messages.