Elder Jackie Kemp

Jackie and Stacy edited Sis. Ginger Culbertson asked me and others to give our testimonies of salvation the other day and after being busy, I forgot until now. I don’t mind telling anybody about it. I wasn’t raised in church. I had gone a handful of times with friends and neighbors to different churches and different beliefs. But never nothing regular. I didn’t know anything about Jesus or salvation or anything at all. But I remember one day while I was riding my bike around the neighborhood, that all of a sudden, I felt like something was missing in my life. I didn’t know then, but looking back, I’m sure that was when I became accountable to God. I was lost. I was probably around 11 or 12.

A few years later, in 1989, my brother Jonathan died with cancer. I was 15. I love all of my brothers, but we were the closest. I had a rough time dealing with that and was angry for a long time. At his burial, me and my mother was standing by the grave as they were covering him up and Sis. Polly Brawner come up and hugged momma and then hugged me and asked me if I was ready and I said yes. I lied to that woman.
My mother gave me the strangest look. But she made me to question myself. Later that year I started dating Stacy when I was 16 and after a few months, she asked me to go to church with her at Maple Grove MBC #2. I began going with her most every Sunday, mostly to be with her, but I went. This would have been early 1990. I listened to the pastor at that time, Bro. Massey, and then afterwards, Bro. Ottis Jones. I heard what I needed to hear and learn about how to be saved.

Revival came in July that year and Stacy’s dad, Carl, was the first person to ask me if I was lost. I said yes. He asked me if I wanted to go to the altar and I went. I stayed on the altar til late at night most every night but never got saved. After revival, we visited other meetings and I went to the altar a few times then and we also went to hear Cary preach a lot too as he had just answered his call to preach. There were several times that I got in an awful shape but just couldn’t get there.

Then in July 1991, I was 17, just graduated high school and was ready to get out in the world, God got ahold of me during revival at Maple Grove. It was the third Sunday of July, the second Sunday of the meeting, I was setting six rows back two seats from the window, service had just begun. We sung a song or two, I don’t remember which ones, but a sister on the front pew stood up and you could tell that the Lord was in it, and she requested that we sing the song “When I Step Off On That Beautiful Shore”. We would sing that every couple of weeks or so and I would sing along each time. But that morning when we began, I got out a few words and it hit me………I wasn’t gonna step off on no beautiful shore! I sat there with my head down, tears in my eyes, not singing. After the song, my brother Anthony stood up and all I remember him saying was, ” Bro. Ottis, I feel like my heart is gonna beat out of my chest if I don’t say something”. It was then that an overwhelming feeling of damnation come over me and I bowed over on the pew in front of me and said “Lord help me!” While I was there, God allowed me to see flames shooting up at my feet. I then realized that it was Jonathan that I had been holding onto and the anger, and if I wanted to see him again I needed to be saved. But that was it………I came up shouting!

I went all over the house hugging all I could reach and shaking hands with the rest shouting the entire time. Folks, that was God! Anyone that knew me before then knows how quiet and shy I always was. I wouldn’t have done that in a million years. But the peace was so overwhelming I couldn’t contain it! I got saved! Bout got full again typing this, hope it blesses someone and thanks again Sis. Ginger for asking!!!

One Response to “Elder Jackie Kemp”

  1. Barbara December 16, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    Beautiful experience! I am 80 now and was saved when I was 15 yrs. old at an old fashion alter. Praise God!!

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