Sister Jenna Highley – My Spiritual Journey

Sister Jena Highley EditedMy parents, Kenny and Linda Highley, raised me up the Missionary Baptist way. My granddad, Brother Norman Highley, was a Missionary Baptist preacher for over 50 years. My first memories of being in church were at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Nevada, MO. As a child, I remember my parents taking my brothers, Josh and Jordan Highley, and me to Bethel every Sunday. I remember sitting under the sound of the gospel and hearing about a “know so” salvation. I remember hearing people talk about being lost and under conviction. I remember hearing brothers and sisters testifying about the time and place the Lord saved their soul. Growing up I saw several people in the altar seeking the Lord and heard them testify about being saved. I didn’t really understand what being lost and saved meant, but I knew there would come a time in my life that I would need the Lord. I think the thing I remember most before being saved was hearing the words “you will just know.” You will know when you are lost, and you will know when you are saved.
Sister Amber Bausch joined Bethel Missionary Baptist Church one Sunday morning during services in March 2001. Everyone was happy and rejoicing. I remember being fine and not having a care in the world. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I was not fine. The Lord convicted me and made me to know that I was lost, and I didn’t have what those people had. It felt like everyone in the church that day was standing in a circle, and I was outside of the circle, separated. My heart felt like it was in my stomach. I should have went to the altar that morning, but I was scared and didn’t want anyone to know the condition I was in. The devil told me that people would make fun of me if I went to the altar. Services were dismissed, and my parents took me home. I didn’t tell anyone I was lost. I remember all day being scared and having a horrible feeling that would not go away. My parents were concerned about my brother, Jordan, and I knew they were going to take us to a revival meeting that night in Liberal, MO that my granddad and brother Mark Dingman were holding at the community center. I remember trying to convince my parents that I didn’t need to go to the meeting that night. My excuses that I came up with did not work, and my parents took my brother and me to the meeting. I was miserable the whole service and remember trying to distract myself so that horrible feeling would go away, but nothing I did made it go away. I don’t know what was preached on that night, but I remember there was an altar call song, and the next thing I knew I was in the altar seeking the Lord. To this day, I do not know how I got there. I sought the Lord for several hours, but nothing happened, and I was still lost. I remember trying some things I thought up in my head that I thought would get me saved, but those things didn’t work either. The hour got late and I didn’t know what else to do. I felt that I needed to be saved that night and that was my only opportunity. I was sitting by my dad in the front of the basement, on the right hand side. I felt so miserable and as low as a person could get and knew I needed to be saved, but I didn’t know what to do. I remember looking over to the left, and I started smiling. Before I knew it, I was laughing hysterically and this peace came over me. The Lord saved my soul. I laughed and rejoiced for what felt like hours with my brothers and sisters, and I felt like I was floating around the building. I joined Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and my granddad baptized Sister Amber Bausch and me a few weeks later.
My parents kept me in church until I graduated High School. In 2005, I moved out of my parent’s home and started college. I went to church every once in a while, but I wasn’t going regularly like I should have been. At times, 6 months or more would pass before I found myself back in a service. I got caught up in worldly things and was living an ungodly life. I was so far away from the Lord that most of the time I was not bothered by the things I was doing. This continued for almost 10 years. On January 6, 2013 my granddad passed away. Brother Kenny Mallard and Brother Jerry Grant preached his funeral. At the end of the message that was delivered by Brother Jerry, he told about one of my granddad’s dying wishes. My granddad wanted his grandchildren to go to church and serve the Lord. This was the first time that the Lord opened my eyes. My heart was broken. I started to realize that the way I was living was wrong and not of God. Shortly after my granddad passed away I started going to Jericho Missionary Baptist Church. I had been there 2 or 3 times in the past, but I felt that I needed to start going there on a regular basis. It wasn’t very long before I got a feeling that I needed to join Jericho. The feeling I had to join wasn’t very strong, so I doubted it and didn’t tell the church. Jericho held a revival meeting in 2013. I believe the meeting was held in late summer or early fall. Brother Michael Henderson helped Brother Dan Breshears with the meeting. One of the nights during the revival I had another feeling to join the church. The feeling that the Lord gave me this time was very strong. Sister Linda Bridges stood up and told about when she joined Jericho. When she first stood up I remember Sister Linda saying, “I don’t know why I need to tell this.” My heart started pounding so fast, and I knew why the Lord put it on her heart to tell about her experience of joining Jericho. Quicker than I could blink, the devil got in my head and told me that I couldn’t join Jericho because I had only been there a few times and that I didn’t know any of the members. My heart was still pounding, so I asked God to have someone open the doors to the church if I was really supposed to join. Brother Zach Webb stood and said he felt like he needed to make known that the doors to the church were open. Brother Dan Breshears asked for a song and hand shake. Before we started singing, I stood up and told that I needed to join the church.
After joining Jericho Missionary Baptist Church, I knew where I needed to be, but I was still living of the world and not serving God the way I should. I started feeling condemned when I did things that were not of God. Before, I was not bothered by the way I was living. I felt very unhappy with myself, and with my life in general. During services one Sunday morning, Jericho announced that Good Hope Missionary Baptist was going to start a revival meeting in February 2014. It caught my attention, and I decided I would go. I was unsure where Good Hope was located, so I called Sister Amy Tweten to get directions. Amy felt her sister, Sister Alisha Pitts, would be able to give me better directions, so Alisha contacted me and told me where the church was located. Brother Ron Pitts also called me to make sure someone gave me directions. I remember driving to Good Hope on the evening of the first night of the revival. Although I had directions, I struggled finding the church. I started getting frustrated and was going to drive back home. As soon as I decided I was going to go home, I looked up and saw the church. I was right on time. Brother Kenny Payne and Brother Wayne Duncan were holding the meeting. I knew of Brother Wayne and his family, but I had never heard of Brother Kenny Payne before. This revival meeting changed my life and is the second best thing that has ever happened to me. This was the meeting that the Lord took away the worldly desires that I had before and gave me a desire to go to church and serve him. The Lord made it known to me that I needed to be in church, serving him, every opportunity that he gave me. There was no doubt about where I needed to be. Not only was it a need, it became a want, I wanted to be in church. I purchased my first bible sometime during this meeting. I will never be able to thank God enough for what he did for me during this revival or for the many blessings he has given me. I truly believe in my heart that I would not be where I am at today if it weren’t for the grace of God, the preaching that I heard and for the encouragement given to me by Brother Kenny Payne.
After the meeting at Good Hope closed, going to revivals and supporting sister churches became a passion of mine.
Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Eudora, KS held a revival meeting in early March 2014. Brother Lewis Eslinger and Brother Buddy King helped out with this meeting. I attended services several nights during this meeting. Colton Collins fell in the altar during one of the nights of this meeting. I had a burden for him. He was the only person I could pray for, for several weeks. I found myself praying for him all the time, until one day I could no longer pray for him. Brother Colton told about being saved at home shortly after this time.
Spring Branch Missionary Baptist Church held a revival meeting with Brother Troy Smith helping out. I was able to attend every night of service. During this meeting the Lord showed me what the true meaning of the church was. 3 people sought the Lord during this meeting. To my knowledge, none were saved. I believe this was the first meeting that I met Sister Louisa Breshears. I had seen her at several past services, but I didn’t know who she was. I remember Sister Louisa introducing herself to me and saying some very encouraging words.
It was around this time that I started attending Sunday school, Sunday evening services and Wednesday evening prayer meeting at Jericho. Before, I was only attending Sunday morning services. It seemed the more I was in church and serving the Lord, the greater the desire became. The Lord started opening up my eyes to things and showing me things that I had never seen before.
St. Joseph Missionary Baptist Church held a revival meeting with Brother Kenny Payne helping out. I was able to attend several nights of services. The last night of this revival stands out the most to me. I remember the preaching being powerful and heart felt and the spirt was very strong. Sometime around the time of this revival the Lord really began to show me the things that went along with salvation. I guess before all I really knew was that I was saved, and I was going to spend my eternal life in heaven. I now see that there is so much more to it than that. We have a responsibility and an obligation to uphold. We are the only hope the world has.
I attended one night of service during the revival held at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Clinton, MO. Brother Mike Bruce was helping Brother Barry McCoy with the meeting. Sister Avery Crites went with me. I remember the Lord put it on my heart to testify about my salvation and falling away from church and my experience I had during the Good Hope revival.
Mine Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Pleasanton, KS was in revival in June 2014. Brother Rick Jones was helping Brother Kenny Mallard. I remember standing in the middle of Hobby Lobby with a co-worker, and a gospel song was playing in the store. The Lord told me to go to Mine Creek. I didn’t question him. I told my co-worker that she needed to take me back to my car so I could go to church. My granddad helped organize Mine Creek, and it was the last church he pastored before he passed away. I felt so much spirit the night I went to services during their revival. I got to laugh and rejoice with my aunt, Sister Lori Yokley, and my grandma, Sister Joyce Highley, and cry many happy tears.
Several revival meetings were held during July 2014:
Reach Out Missionary Baptist held a revival with brother Joe Spragg helping out. I went to services several nights during this meeting. Sister Megan Webb came with me one of the nights. A few people sought the Lord during this revival. To my knowledge, no one was saved during the meeting.
Sister Louisa Breshears and I started traveling together to different revivals and services around this time.
Oxford Missionary Baptist Church in Olathe, KS held a revival meeting with brother Buddy King helping out. Sister Louisa and I attended the meeting together one night.
Columbia Missionary Baptist Church held a revival meeting with Brother Dan Breshears helping out Brother Mike Coffman. I attended services 3 nights. Brother Byron and Sister Linda Bridges and I attended together the first night I went. Sister Megan Webb and I attended together the second night with Brother Dan Breshears. Brother Kenny Payne, Sister Louisa Breshears and I attended together the third night. A Brother joined the church during one of the nights of services that I attended. 2 others told about being saved prior to this meeting and joined the church during the last night of services.
Rock Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Holden, MO held a revival meeting with Brother Ron Pitts helping out Brother Bobby Budd. Being willing and obedient was heavy on my heart during this meeting. 3 people sought the Lord during this meeting, but to my knowledge no one was saved. During one of the nights of this meeting the Lord put it on my heart to join the church. I fought the feeling, and the devil gave me a 100 reasons not to join the church. Services dismissed. Afterwards, Brother Kenny Payne asked me what was wrong. I told him I had a feeling I needed to join the church. Brother Kenny asked me if I wanted to go back inside and pray about it. Brother Bobby was standing outside and some of the members were still inside the church. I knew what I needed to do. I told Brother Bobby I needed to join the church and, I went back inside and told church. Brother Chris Herdman also joined the church a few nights later.
Clear Creek Missionary Baptist church held a revival meeting in August 2014 with Brother Randy McCoy and Brother Barry McCoy helping out. Sister Louisa and I attended the last night of the meeting.
A revival meeting was held at Blue Mound in September 2014 with Brother Bobby Budd and Brother Ron Pitts helping out. Brother Chris Herdman and I attended several nights during the meeting. Sister Sondra Herdman was able to attend 2 nights during the revival. It was a blessing to be in services with her.
Sister Louisa and I attended Friday night services at St. Clair County Association on September 12, 2014. Brother Dallas Stockdale and Brother David Loan delivered the message. During the day Friday, before Sister Louisa and I decided we were going to go to Association that night, the Lord took me back to the Good Hope revival. The preaching I heard during the Good Hope revival truly touched my heart and helped change my life. I am so thankful for Brother Kenny Payne and Brother Wayne Duncan and for God using them to help me. I had not seen both of together in a service since the meeting at Good Hope back in February 2014. Brother Kenny and Brother Wayne were both at the Association Friday night. I had no idea either one of them would be there that night. It is so amazing the way God works. It was a blessing to be in services with the both of them.
Sister Louisa and I decided to go back to St. Clair Association on September 13, 2014 for Saturday services. The morning message was delivered by Brother Alan Collins and Brother Ralph Benham. The afternoon message was delivered by Brother Jason Cornel and Brother Leo Keller. The fellowship between the brothers and sisters at the Association was absolutely a wonderful thing to be a part of.
After services at Association were dismissed, Sister Louisa and I went to the revival meeting being held at Marshall, MO. Brother Jeff DeFreece and Brother Kenny Moulder were helping out with the meeting. Sister Louisa and I attended several of the services held at Marshall during the last week of their revival. There was so much power and spirit felt during that meeting. A man name Ted came to several of the services. He has terminal cancer. Ted went to the altar during one of the services. The spirit was so strong that night. Louisa and I were not able to attend services the next night, but Ted told about being saved in a jail cell when he was 21 years old. He brought 15-20 of his friends to church that night. After the meeting closed, they decided to start having services 2 Sundays per month.
The love that God has put in my heart for my brothers and sisters in Christ is greater than what words can express. There are 4 woman that have a special place in my heart: sister Louisa Breshears from Rock Springs, Sister Linda Bridges from Jericho, Sister Diane Duncan from Bethel in Eudora and Sister Ramona Schwartz from Good Hope. I call them my church moms. I have only been on this beautiful journey for a short while, but I have been blessed with so many wonderful experiences that I will forever be grateful for. Nothing in this world even comes close to comparing to salvation and serving the Lord. Salvation is greater than any gift that man could ever give us. I pray all of our lost loved ones will be saved. I love this way of life, and I am so thankful the Lord woke me up and showed me where I needed to be. I now know what is truly important in life. I am happier now than I have ever been.

3 Responses to “Sister Jenna Highley – My Spiritual Journey”

  1. Danny January 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Thank you,Sister Jenna, for sharing this part of your life’s journery. May the Lord continue to bless you and your abilities for Him.

  2. EJ August 29, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    I have attended a few of these churches myself. I was wondering if you could tell me where Oxford was located.

    • Bobby October 7, 2016 at 2:46 am #

      12137 Timberlane blvd.
      Olathe ks.

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