Al, From Hawaii shares his story of Fire, Fear, and Freedom.
Displaying his humor and his faith.
A few years ago, when I first found Online Prayer Rooms, I found a prayer partner, who quickly became my friend.
Al Mclendon made his career in the Air Force, but his joy is ‘clowning’, and building balloon-animals for children… whatever Nation he is in at the time.
Al has spent many online-hours with me when I needed help. His godly-wisdom has taught me and encouraged me; and his computer knowledge has rescued me numerous times!
Although he would deny it, and say… “No! I’m just a servant” …. Al is a natural born ‘teacher’ and a man of godly wisdom and integrity.
I’ve watched Al go through several major ‘challenges’ the past few years – and he has simply ‘stood his ground’ and trusted God. Reading his story, I understand why.
Meet my friend and encourager - ‘Al.’
. . .
Grace and peace to you all from a fellow servant.
This is not an easy thing for me. I am not very eloquent; my strengths lie not in speaking but in listening. Oh and computers. But that is a different story.
When we talk about Testifying or giving a testimonial, we have lots of options, what God did, what He is doing, how we met Him. I choose to talk about how I met Him.
The first time I remember hearing anything about the Bible or God was when I was 5 years old. We had moved around several times in the 5 short years I had been around, and our current move had taken us from my home in Birmingham, Alabama, to the land of Egypt…er----Ohio. We had moved to Cincinnati. After bouncing from house to house we settled in a two-story house somewhere in the suburbs. But even though I hadn’t had a stable life, I did feel loved, and I felt secure.
One night, my dad came in after I had gone to bed. That wasn’t unusual, he often came in and talked or told me stories. But this night was different. To my knowledge I had never been to church at that time, and had never heard my dad or mom mention God. But that night my dad came in to tell me a story from the Bible. I still don’t know why he did or what motivated him to tell me the particular story he did. Well, thinking about it… maybe I do.
He told me the story of Noah. He told me of how the world had become evil, and God decided to destroy it. But that He had set aside Noah and his family to provide a place of refuge. He told me about Noah preaching to the people and the people ignoring him. He told me of the day that God finally said “enough” and commanded Noah inside the ark, and of the flood that came, and that everyone on earth died that day, with the exception of those that God had made a way for. It was not presented to me as a fable but as fact. I was ok with it at that point. But, my dad went a step further. He told me that God also promised that one day, He would visit the world with rain again. But this time it would be a rain of fire, and that “NO ONE WOULD SURVIVE”. Then he got up from the side of my bed, and walked out. For the first time in my life I felt fear.
I remember hoping when the fire came, it would start somewhere else, so I could at least say goodbye to my friends. I watched the news for any reference to fires. I thought of plans to build an asbestos boat (I had visions of lakes of fire, it made sense to me). I lived in fear for years.
A note: I do believe my dad was somehow trying to introduce religion into my life. I know he did not understand where he left me.
About three years later I attended Vacation Bible school, mainly to get me out of the house. I did get kool-aid and cookies, and did get to play with sticks and strings (it was then that I learned of the artistic gene the rest of my family seemed to have had bypassed me).
During one of these classes a young teacher started telling stories from the Bible. We went through several different ones, and on Friday, the last day, she came to the story of Noah. I still remember the terror because I knew the end. But, when she finished she said, “And God will return again, and destroy the earth, (I know closing my eyes tight trying not to hear) and mankind will be wiped out (I don’t want to hear it!!!) but just like with Noah, God has provided a way out (WHAT?!?). His name is Jesus, and He is our ark. It only takes believing in Him and He will be our refuge and salvation”
I didn’t know that part. She talked about only believing in Him and we would be spared that. I sat glued to my chair, she asked who would like to receive Him? I sat, unbelieving, it couldn’t be like that, my dad would have told me! I let the opportunity pass by.
Some kids went forward, class was over, we left.
I lingered, and walked back into the classroom and cried. I had missed the one opportunity I would ever have. At nine-years-old, I was doomed. So I sat crying. The door opened and the same teacher walked back in. she asked “what’s wrong sugar?” (We were living in Georgia then, they say “sugar” a lot in Georgia) I told her that I had missed my chance, which I had heard and rejected it, now there was no hope. She laughed softly and said “hon,” (they say “hon” a lot in Georgia too), “Jesus will Never shut the door, the invitation is there, do you want to accept Him now?” I said “YES!” and I did.
I am not sure what the young ladies name was. But in my mind, she is the most precious person I have ever known. And its not the first thing on my list, but when I go to the Father, one of the things that is high on my list is to find that young lady and give her a hug for about an eternity or two.
Now, why did I choose to tell you that? God has done many miraculous things, including being faithful to me even when I chose not to be faithful to Him. He doesn’t let go of His children very easily does He? I was nine years old, and what that lady said in that one afternoon made a huge impact on my life - both now and for eternity. She doesn’t remember me - I’m sure of that; But I remember her. She has no idea what she did, but I do, and so does God, and I am one of the jewels in her crown.
God Bless, and keep you all,
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