That night in 1981 when I prayed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit was one of the turning points in my life. Julia and I were on the same page spiritually. For me to agree with her that she needed to quit school and stay home with the girls even if we never built the house on the land we had bought was a miracle in itself. Surly that was evidence that something had changed in my life. I was on fire and so was she. I really believe that all we had been through, even Marriage Encounter was just a precursor to this event. We, for the first time in our lives, both wanted more. We wanted more, but we had no idea what the more was, or where to go to find it. So we began our own search. We began to search out people that we didn’t know because we heard that they “knew God”. We wanted to know everything we could. We wanted to know more about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We wanted to understand and experience this “power” that people talked about. I was really tired of living a good life and waiting for Heaven. We were both ready for action.
Where could we go, and what could we learn. Obviously, on a day-to-day basis there was nothing to learn at First Methodist. It was a good church, but when there were no special speakers, it was as one of the associates said, “business as usual” I didn’t want the “business as usual” I was seeking the unusual. I just had no idea where to find it. We began reading books. I remember reading a book by Pat Boone about speaking in tongues. Si I wanted that. Julia and I both read the book, and we were both seeking after this gift, but we had never even heard anyone speak in tongues. So the quest became: let’s go somewhere they speak in tongues. Well, we knew that the Church of God believed in tongues, so we figured if we went there, we might hear someone do it, and that might help us. So I remember the first Sunday night we visited Mt. Paran Church of God. It was a big church, and they had a huge crowd on Sunday night. We didn’t know it when we went, but Dr. Walker was probably one of the most anointed speakers I have ever heard. Well, we were ambushed that night. Ambushed by the Holy Spirit. We did hear some one speak in tongues. They were so loud you could hear them all over the building. Then Dr. Walker gave the interpretation. It was a strong word of exhortation and I was really impressed. I wondered if the only time you spoke was in a congregation. I later learned that you could speak (pray) in tongues anytime you wanted to and you didn’t need and interpretation unless it was to an audience.
But that wasn’t what ambushed us. We were ambushed by the worship. We had never been in such free worship. Worship where it seems you could be taken up into the heavenlies as you san over and over some choruses that until that night I didn’t know. For the first time in my life, I could literally feel His presence, and taste His goodness. We could never go back. We had tasted something that too few believers ever taste. It was like liquid love being poured out, and we were in a position to come and drink freely of it. That night started us on a normal routine of going to First Methodist in the morning and then to Mt Paran on Sunday evening. We begin to listen to Dr Walker’s messages and cry out for the more that he was talking about. We were caught up in the weekly outpouring of worship. We begin to bring friends with us, and pretty soon we had a number of our friends coming with us almost every Sunday night.
Yes, I did speak in tongues. I was rereading Pat Boone’s book and was laying over in Columbus OH in a Holiday inn. I was in bed, about to go to sleep, praying and asking God for more when all of a sudden, words started coming out of my mouth. Words that I didn’t know the meaning of. I felt totally stupid, and kept asking myself if this was real, or something I had contrived. At once Holy Spirit told me to receive it like I had received everything else in the Kingdom. I had to receive it by faith. So that night I chose to believe that those words that were coming out of my mouth were the gift of tongues manifest in me. I’ve been speaking in tongues ever since. I think it was the same week; Julia got the gift of tongues in a similar manner. This began a pattern in our life and marriage. One of us was always pushing the other deeper into the things of God. There were times when one of us would be farther ahead than the other, but through love and prayer and patience, we always managed to join back together in our quest for more.
This sweet time of learning more about worship and the kingdom strictly through Mt Paran would go on for over five years. It was a time of great growth and happiness for both of us. I loved Dr. Walker, and always thank God for his impact on our lives.