FEB. 2017 Email
Through the years, I have repeated a story about a traveling evangelist who visited the University of Arkansas. In the Fall of 1981, I was a freshman at the University of Arkansas. One afternoon, a fellow student came into my dorm room and urged me to come to the Student Union fountain. “Sister Cindy was in town and I needed to see this.” I don’t think needing to see this was meant to be for a good reason. When I arrived at the fountain, there were perhaps a hundred to two hundred students gathered all around. Up on the edge of the fountain, standing above all the students was this woman and her friend preaching the Word of God. This wasn’t your normal Sunday/Wednesday Methodist rhetoric to which I was accustomed. This was some fairly [in my words] inflammatory preaching that attacked members of sororities, fraternities, and darned near anything else that a fair number of college students hold near and dear. Students were actively shouting back at that young evangelist. Some students were trying to make good points while most others were just being rude in what they were shouting. What was amazing, and has kept my interest all of these years is what happened next.
At one point, Sister Cindy and her colleague departed the fountain area for a break in the Student Union. When they departed, this mob of students continued to shout and generally make fun of Sister Cindy. Five or ten more minutes passed and the few good sized groups further divided into many more even smaller groups. These groups were no longer mentioning Sister Cindy. They were no longer making rude, outrageous comments about the preaching that they had just witnessed. Quite suddenly, these small groups of college students were talking to each other about the Word of God. They were witnessing to each other about what God meant to them and their future. I stood there quietly and watched this incredible transformation.
I do not know if this was your intent, but WOW! I have told this story many times over the years to many people. To this day, I am amazed at the impact that you had upon that group of students. Were you aware that your major impact would happen when you walked away and took a break? You were able to motivate them to take the time to discuss the Word of God. I know I waited far too long, but I just wanted you to know.
In addition to your impact on the college students I mentioned, you and Sis. Pat had an very positive impact on me. Following college graduation in 1986, I served in our US Air Force and continue to serve to this day. The Armor of God has served me well through assignments throughout the world, to include 2 1/2 years in various deployments to the Middle East. God has also chosen you for a tough assignment.
Feb. 2017 Chelsea writes:
I was always taught about Jesus as a child, growing up in a deeply religious family and going to Catholic schools. I knew of His existence, but could never really feel His presence in my life. Some very hard trials came and I turned from His grace. I spent a few years trying to angrily deny Him and trying to seek other idols for guidance. It wasn't until trying to deal with some mental health issues on my own that I began to search for Him.
It was very sudden. I had a breakdown and when the results of which weren't a complete disaster, I just felt it, felt Him. I can’t explain it!
One Psalm that has greatly helped me ever since is Psalm 27:1-4. I say it repeatedly when I begin struggling with anxiety and depression. With God's help I'm getting better and I'm learning to better keep my trust in Him. To be honest, I feel like your visits with Brother Jed really helped. I got to talk out my frustrations and I think that helped make them more real and tangible.
Chelsea posted the above testimony on Facebook recently. The first year we met her at Louisiana State University, she was a vocal pagan. The second year she listened more, and her Senior year, 2015, she declared faith in our Lord. We signed a Bible and gave it to her. It is great to hear that she is in an Assembly of God church with her husband and in-laws.