I really do cherish the love of all my brothers and sisters; but you would not have so easily loved the Wes I used to be. All through my past I was guilty of all those "deeds of the flesh" listed in Galatians 5, all summed up under one word, sin. And all I knew about God was that He was there to punish me; and I just couldn't be good. I had tried many times to accept Jesus into my heart, like I was told, but it didn't work. I just couldn't stop doing all those bad things.
I describe myself back then as a "beer-drinking, cigarette-smoking, cussing, foul- mouthed, backwoods country boy who dressed like a dusty old goat-roper." And I was no different at the time I got married except that I had gained an immediate sense of responsibility to my family. But still my greatest aspiration was to own my own go-cart track.
I was a very hard-worker and dedicated employee. My boss saw that I had potential and gave me a book called "Acres of Diamonds." Through it I learned that I could do something better with my life. I didn’t have to stay on the bad side. My wife and I joined the Amway business. I saw that Amway people were happy all the time. They had love and respect for each other. They were upbeat and positive. They were going places with their lives. And they talked a lot. I wanted those things in my life. I hated people. I was sad and angry much of the time. I was inhibited and self-centered. I couldn't talk to one person let alone a group. Anger and hatred churning inside of me caused me to have a sick feeling in my stomach most of the time.
I discovered that most Amway people belonged to some Church. I decided I wanted to go to Church. But I didn't know anything about Church. My wife's aunt and uncle, who sponsored us into the Amway business, went to The Polytechnic Christian Church, so we went there for several Sundays.
One Sunday morning the preacher asked me, "Wes, don't you think it's about time?" I would not have known what he was talking about except that my wife and I had just been talking and she told me that people get baptized to belong to a Church. I wanted to belong to a church. So I said, "Yes, I think it's about time." I responded to the invitation that day, and my wife followed. They didn't keep their baptistery full and had to make arrangements for us to be baptized the following Sunday.
The preacher came to visit us at home during the week. He asked if I had any questions. I was too ignorant to know what to ask, so I said, "No." After he left, my wife and I talked about it and decided we didn't know what we were doing. We decided not to go back there. We wanted to go to a different Church the following Sunday. I didn't know the location of any Church. I remembered having seen The Meadowbrook Methodist Church high on a hill. I didn't know exactly where, but I put on my best goat- roper boots and we headed in that direction. In only a short distance I saw a Church. I said, "Look! There's a Church, and the parking lot is full, and people are going in. Let's stop here!" And so we did. And we stayed ten years.
Right after the service that day the Outreach Minister, invited himself to our house to study the Bible with us. When he arrived he said, "Wes, I need to ask you some questions to find out what you know so I'll know where to begin the study." I said, "Why don't we start at the beginning? I don't know anything!" I didn't even know where the beginning was. He started in John not Genesis.
Several weeks later I responded to the invitation knowing very little more than my sins were going to be forgiven, and my wife followed. We were both baptized that day by immersion in water for the forgiveness of our sins. And you know something? It worked this time! From that day on God began