|From Dr. Ritchie's Desk||A Word from Sister Connie|
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I was raised in a Independent Baptist Church. The Holy Spirit drew me to the Lord when I was 11 years old. I remember sitting next to my mother in church and during every alter call, for at least 3 months, I would want to go to the alter but would hold back. Finally one Sunday, I got up the nerve and walked down the isle of that little Baptist Church.
I didn't get to go to church as much as I would have liked. I did get involved in the youth program once the church made it available. Dennis Haun was our youth leader. He was really just a big kid himself. Many years later, I was in my late 40's, my sister and I visited the church. I was able to talk to Dennis and Virginia Baker (one of my Sunday school teachers) to let them know that they had given the youth a strong foundation to build on.
I was in and out of church during my adult life. I knew the importance of keeping my children in church. Thank the Lord all are saved.
Unfortunately, there were instances that arose that caused me a lot of hurt. I always tried to dress modestly. My children and I were attending another church, (same denomination), and I was asked to step down from the choir because my clothes were not appropriate. We didn't have the money for a new wardrobe. I wore what I had, and I was really trying to do the right thing. This hurt me badly. Because of this I stayed out of church for about 10 years. You know, I don't think God cared what I had on, it was mans idea.
My best friend from childhood invited me to her church. I joined there, but never really seemed to fit. I guess I was still wondering it my clothes were appropriate.. I quit going to church again, but I never turned my back on God. I knew he saved my soul and there had to be more than what I was getting from the Baptist Church.
Years later when I was 40, after going thru a very troublesome marriage to a alcoholic, paranoid schizophrenic, I was introduced to the Full Gospel Ministry. At 40 years of age, I finally realized that God loved me. Even though I had made some bad choices, He allowed me to seek forgiveness and pursue a deeper more meaningful relationship with Him.
God had me alone at this time in my life so I would look to Him for strength and depend on Him for guidance. My first encounter with the move of the Spirit came at a tent meeting held by the McGregors. I was so messed up emotionally and I had no where else to turn. I stood in the prayer line and when the preacher prayed for me I fell out. I did not know when I hit the ground. It was as if I laid down on a cloud.
During this time God put a very special lady in my life, Geraldine Faltt. A spirit filled lady who loves the Lord and who was my mentor. She prayed for me, and she prayed with me, but most of all she never judged me.
In 1999, Kenneth Hagen held a camp meeting at Faith is The Victory Church. This is where I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Little did I know that God was preparing me for my next journey. During one service he turned, pointed to where Sandra, my lifelong friend from my youth, and I were sitting. He prophesied that God was going to send me a Christian mate. I had promised God that unless he put a Christian man in my life I would never marry again.
As awful as this sounds, I was surfing the Internet when I came across a singles ad. My now husband, an evangelist of 50 years, was listed by his daughter. Her mother made her promise that she would find someone for her Dad. This was her dying wish. As she recalls placing the ad there were many, many replies. Somehow he picked me. Three ministers prophesied to him, Moses go get my children. He asked where and they told him Middle Tennessee. He didn't even know where Middle Tennessee was. So when we met I became Middle Tennessee. We were married on December 26th 1999. We have been married eight years as of this writing. He has changed my life and the life of my family for the better. My sister has had prayer after prayer answered for her family and believes in the power of prayer more than ever.
As God would have it, he used me to lead my x husband, the alcoholic, paranoid schizophrenic, to the Lord. He and Charlie actually became brothers in Christ. He once said that Charlie was his best friend. God has worked miracles in Larry's (my x husband) life. He gave him the opportunity to get saved after a near death experience while waiting on a heart transplant. He died on the way to the hospital and saw himself going to hell. He was going into total darkness. I was able to lead him to the Lord as he lay on his death bed. The doctors had told my children to prepare to take him off of life support because there was nothing else they could do for him. He had been on the transplant list at Vanderbilt Hospital but because he would not do what they asked they removed him. My daughter and I prayed for the Lord to open the doors of Vanderbilt and put him back on the transplant list. His nicotine level was 85%. This was because he would quit smoking. We asked God to bring it down to 0. Vanderbilt called and agreed to take him back. As he was being transported to Vanderbilt he died again. This time he says he was going towards the most beautiful light. We prayed and God performed more miracles. The nurse kept coming to draw blood. Michelle, our daughter, asked what was going on. She said "the reading keeps coming back wrong. It is 0". Michelle told her no, no, its ok. That is what my mother and I prayed for"! Another answered prayer as was Vanderbilt taking him back into the transplant program. I prayed for the Lord to take him if he was going to go back to the same lifestyle. I prayed that I knew the Lord was the divine healer and he could heal him where he would walk out that door. He awoke the next day telling the nurses he got saved yesterday, really saved. And he walked out the door. I told him God had to have him flat on his back with his mouth taped shut before he would listen to me.
At this writing (03/03/2008) Larry is in Vanderbilt hospital fighting cancer brought on by the rejection drugs he had taken after his heart transplant. He told our daughter that he wanted to be baptized. She called her pastor and reserved the baptistry at her church. He asked for Charlie to baptize him. Again as God would have it he used me to perform this rite. He was so sick with pneumonia that I thought he would never make it to the baptismal pool. I told him I was ordained and licensed and I could do it just as good as Charlie could. I told him we would sprinkle like the Methodist do. So as he lay in his bed we prayed and I asked God to help me as I had never done this before. I sprinkled water on his head and baptized him, as my brother, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
I would say to anyone that has family or friends that do not know Jesus Christ as their savior, don't wait for someone else to lead them to the Lord. If you have been saved and have the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, let the Lord use you to lead them to a soul saving experience. You wont regret it.
A new media for teaching others has been opened up to us. The Internet. We look forward to continuing to spread the Gospel to the world via this media. Our prayer is that God will get the glory not us. He has used Charlie as an evangelist who has reached many souls for Christ thru tent meetings and radio and preaching revivals all over VA, WV, KY, OH, and MO. Now, he has the Internet to reach around the world to win the lost to Christ. Charlie is in his senior years, but God isn't done with him yet. He has been invited to Ghana, So Africa and India to teach Christian pastors so they can spread the Gospel throughout their country. God willing, we are looking forward to this new chapter in our ministry.
If you have not accepted the Lord as your Savior, I ask you today to receive Him into your heart. Ask him to
forgive you of your sins. Acknowledge that He is the Son of God sent to earth to be a Sacrifice for mans sin. That he died on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead on the 3rd day an ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father and that he is returning to claim His church. Romans 10:9-13 says, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, "Whosoever believeth in him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior while reading this testimony, there are a few thing you should do. Find yourself a Bible believing church and join yourself with other Christians as soon as possible and be baptized by immersion in water. In Mark 16:16 Jesus says "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned".
Please understand, baptism does not save you, it is a command that Jesus gives. The blood of the Lamb is what washes your sins away. Baptism is an outward sign to the world of an inward change. The thief on the cross was not baptized, but Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise. See Luke 23:42-43 "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."
If you have questions or need counseling, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sister Connie Ritchie
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