Saints Of Old

There have been so many saints of God that have influenced mine and Joey's life on this spiritual journey.  I'd like to share a few of their stories with you now.

When we first started going to the Burning Springs Church of God back in 1978, I was heavy with child carrying our first daughter, Candon.  E.C. and Ruby Campbell were our Pastors, and still are as far as we're concerned, even though Brother Campbell has received his reward and is now shouting on the streets of glory.  We had rededicated our lives to the Lord, but had not been attending church consistently due to the baby's nearing birth.  She was born on January 30, 1979, and we truly began to learn what being a family meant.  I'm not just talking about our family, but I'm also talking about our spiritual family, as well.  What convinced us that we had chosen the right church to attend is what happened next.

Joey and I were sitting in my hospital room when in walked Brother and Sister Campbell.  They were carrying a little pink pot of flowers.  Needless to say, we were thrilled!  They were so pleasant, and made us feel like we were special people to them.  We had never been to a church where the pastor visited you.  That was our first pastoral visit.  From that moment forward, we thought Brother and Sister Campbell loved us more than anyone else in the church.  They had gone out of their way to visit, and barely knew us!  We were hooked.  Nothing could make us doubt that God had placed us there. 

Although Brother Campbell had no children of his own, he loved all children.  He called them his "Love Knots."  From time-to-time, he would have them all come up front and sing that old song, Go Tell It On the Mountain, with them.  They would throw their heads back and sing as loud as they could, because they were singing for their little Pastor.  Each one of them knew that he loved them.  Just like our Heavenly Father loves us.  As we grew older in the knowledge of the Lord we learned that Brother and Sister Campbell loved all of us just the same.  We heard testimony after testimony from folks who'd say, I always thought Brother and Sister Campbell loved me more than anybody.  Then after awhile, we all learned that they loved all of the flock just the same!  Isn't that the epitome of God's love for all people.

There were quite a few other saints we looked up to, as well:  Claiborne and Telia Goins, Art and Hannah Campbell, Mattie Webb, Oval and Ruth Westerfield, Carlyle and Martha Jones, and Raymond and Pearl Sams, to name a few.  Joey, Candon, and I sat right smack in the middle of most of them in the pews.  Brother and Sister Goins were two of a kind.  Sister Goins was Brother Campbell's real life sister.  When the Spirit of God fell on her, she'd wrap a little handkerchief around her little wrinkled fingers, throw her hands up in the air, and send up praises to God for all the good things He'd done for her.  

Brother Art and Sister Hannah Campbell sat right in front of us.  I'll never as long as I live forget her testimony.  It went something like this.  As a young wife living in Hamilton. Ohio, she had been working at a place called Champion Paper Company.  She said she had not given her life to God at that time, but when something would go wrong or someone needed prayer, the other workers would come to her and ask her to pray.  She would tell them not to come to her for prayer, because she was in the same condition as them - without God in her life.  Then one day, she began to hear a question being asked her...what are you going to do about Jesus?  She said she'd be walking down the street and the wind would howl around the corner, what are you going to do about Jesus?  The whistle from the hot water kettle on the stove would shreak, what are you going to do about Jesus?  Everywere she went she would hear, what are you going to do about Jesus?  Until one day, she made the right decision.  She gave her life to God and became one of the greatest saints I've ever known.  She would stand up, close her eyes, begin to tremble under the power of the Holy Ghost, and repeat those words...what are you going to do about Jesus?  I can still hear her sweet voice now as I write these words...what are you going to do about Jesus?!

Words can never describe Sister Mattie Webb, but she could!  She was the Adult Sunday School teacher.  She always wore a little hat that usually sat sideways on her head.  She never took it off during church.  She also wore her coat during church, which would slide off  one side of her shoulder when she "preached."  Let me tell you, she was a walking, talking Bible!  She had so much wisdom and the knowledge of God's Word in her that was literally impossible for her to contain.  During Brother Campbell's sermons, she would finish quoting the Scripture before he could get his mouth open!  I have to admit, at first this kind of got on my nerves.  I thought she needed to be quiet so that Brother Campbell could preach.  Boy, was I wrong!  I guess I heard so many Scriptures come from her mouth that they sunk into my Spirit.  Today I find myself doing the same thing that Sister Mattie did.  I get so carried away with hearing the Word of God that I'll finish quoting the Scriptures before the minister does...right out loud...just like Sister Mattie.  In fact, Joey calls me Sister Mattie all the time.  I consider it a great compliment!

Brother and Sister Westerfield were two of the sweetest people.  Brother Oval was our Worship Leader on Sunday mornings.  He always had a pleasant disposition and loved God.  Sister Ruth always dressed so beautiful.  She wore her shiney black hair up in ringlets hanging down around her face.  She was a grand lady of God who praised God with her angelic voice.  I've seen the power of God fall on her so many times.  She definitely had a close connection to Him.  I remember her sharing a testimony where someone had hit her car and ran off.  It did quite a bit of damage, too.  She began to pray and ask God to not allow that person to eat or sleep until they called her and confessed.  Sure enough, it wasn't no more than a week that had passed when she received a phone call.  The person on the other end said, I'm just calling to let you know that I'm the person who hit your car and I'd like to pay you for it.  Now, you tell me, was that just a coincidence.  I think not!  That's what the power of prayer can do!

Brother and Sister Jones were so funny!  Sister Martha laughed continuously.  She served her God joyously.  There was never a dull moment when you were around her.  She'd get tickled at herself.  I remember one time when she went to a tent revival.  She said the minister asked those in the congregation to come up front and be anointed, so she went.  She had just gotten her hair done in one of them "up-do's."  When they all got up front, they got anointed alright.  He began to pour the anointing oil on their heads like Samuel did when he anointed David as king.  She said she liked to have never got all that oil out of her hair.  What a hoot she was!  Brother Jones was no exception.  As the minister preached about things contrary to God and things of this world, he'd hold up both fists and shout "bologna!"  He nearly scared my brother into getting saved during one of our services.  He didn't know whether to run to the alter or out the door.  Brother Jones truly loved the Lord and served Him with all of his heart.

That leaves Brother and Sister Sams.  Brother Sams could pray the fire down from God.  He taught me that we can control bad thoughts that enter our minds.  He'd say, we can't stop the birds from flying over our heads, but we don't have to let them build a nest in it.  I'll let you chew on that one awhile.  Sister Sams was about 4 foot 10 inches tall, if that much.  She raised five children, who are all saved now, which no doubt, is the result of her prayers.  On her death bed, she told one of her sons who wasn't saved at the time, to follow Joey.  She knew that Joey, her Pastor, would never lead anyone astray, but would point them to Jesus.  The Sunday following her funeral, he and his family came to church and got saved.  He's still serving God today.  The last one of her children got saved a few months back.  She died believing that God would save her children, and He did!  Sister Sams' prayers are still being answered.  God always answers His children's prayers.  He's an on-time God!  Yes He is! 

I hope you receive a blessing from God reading about these saints of old.  These are just a few who helped mold me as a Christian.  There are many more.  As God places others on my heart to share with you, I will.  These impacted my life.  As I reflect on them now, I can see why God placed them there.  We will all leave a legacy some day.  Will it impact others as these have impacted mine?

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