Nancy's salvation testimony

Hey, this is my testimony! 35 years ago today, January 24, 2019 I became a Christian.

I decided to share this today since this is the most raw version of my testimony.

Originally written on August 22, 2010 the day before my 47th bday! (a added a few modifications to update it to 35 years ago today :)

“I have been reflecting & realized that I needed to share some important bits of ME. 

These bits are like puzzle pieces & they explain in some part why we are Lamplighter Ministries. 

I was reflecting a few weeks ago about my summer in 1983, it was the culmination of years of walking an unredeemed life. It was the summer between my Sophomore & Junior years in college & in some way I was utterly irrational. I was in summer school only to stay in Auburn to party everyday. The entire summer revolved around happy hours in downtown Auburn. That summer I was taking a Philosophy class & I was enjoying it. UNTIL the midterm, when withdrawal from the class would bring a strict penalty. After our midterm the professor walked into the class room & stated his purpose for the remainder of the quarter was to convince us beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus did not exist. NOW I have already explained to you, there was NOTHING in my life that was leaning towards Jesus in any way shape or form. I was determined NOT to be a hypocrite... I did not even hint that I was a Christian, knowing my lifestyle did not reflect God AT ALL! But deny Jesus, I was not remotely going that path either! I tried to go to class a few days & in hind site I realized I was walking into a warfare situation DAILY. NOT a battle that I was EVEN aware of, but one that OTHERS were fighting for ME!! I eventually told my mom, who had prayed her guts out for me for years & her advice was DO NOT EVER SET FOOT IN THAT CLASS AGAIN!!! Now let’s face it, grades were not my top priority at this point in life either... but an F!! There was a HUGE difference between a C & F!! I was never thinking...F!! But both of my parents demanded I not set foot in the class, not even to take the final. I thought, oh I will study & go take the tests, but in reality this man was not using a text, this was his agenda. They were like BURN your textbook. Burning books seemed a bit drastic to me, so of course I sold it for drinking cash.  BUT I obeyed them on the do not return to class & take the F. (probably the ONLY thing I obeyed the whole summer!) There was NO reason for me to tell them about this class, no need for me to truly heed their advice... I was NOT in “that place” that summer, so somebody praying is the only logical answer. 

Now you may be asking why does all of this matter... and maybe I am only recording this for my kids to understand! I had NO idea who was praying that summer... but looking back, I can name SPECIFIC nights during my drunken stupors when I should have been KILLED! Nights when I drove & had NO memory of getting from one place to the next!  Nights where I fell down flights of stairs & could have been serious injured... but NEVER had more than scrapes & bruises. Nights I could have been raped, yet others were ALWAYS looking out for me! By the time the fall quarter started I attempted to calm down a bit, who knows why but something was changing, just a bit.... 

That December, Auburn was in the Sugar Bowl & a group of us packed up & headed to New Orleans. We arrived right after Christmas so we could PARTY ALL week!! Great plan except I got SO sick. Literally had alcohol poisoning & was so severely dehydrated that I was miserable!! On New Years Eve we ended up at Pat O’Briens, “The only place” to be in New Orleans on New Years’ Eve right?? There I was with some of my dearest friends up on the balcony & I was TOTALLY SOBER (& sick) as I looked out over this crowd & watched all of my friends acting so STUPID & I realized that was Normally me... 

I had time to ponder....In that pondering, I literally, under my breath, released in a whisper... the most amazing prayer ever... 

“God if YOU are REAL, if You really do exist... would you please come and find me?”

Not sure where your theology takes you on that prayer but I realized at that moment I was LOST! I was not versed on how to communicate it, but I had complete understanding at that point that I needed God. I realized I had done things my own way, in my own power for SO long.... I had no idea how to get from the obsession & place of ME! 

I returned to Auburn & began winter quarter & life was good. Daily, & I mean Daily, I had these God encounters! Literally think, there were days when I would walk into my dorm room & stand leaning on the door, like I was literally closing the door, so God could not “get” me. 

One such encounter was with my friend Gina, who was a Christian & had prayed for me faithfully. There was really no reason for Gina to be my friend but she was & she loved me totally! This night we were chatting & she was sharing so much from her perspective as a Christian on God &  death.  Now I had experienced the deaths of 2 close relatives & 1 close friend within my high school years & those deaths had caused me to BLAME GOD. How could a loving God allow young people to die? Honestly,  I blamed God for everything bad. Sadly, I had NEVER had anyone correct me on these beliefs, and even sadder most of my “Christian” friends had the same goofy views. But that night, as I was talking to Gina, my best friend’s uncle, back in my home town, committed suicide. I did not find out until the next morning...we were ALL rocked! I rushed home to see my friend & in the course of the events I began consoling her with my new information on death... just repeating what Gina had said the night before. Healing flowed! My friend’s sister called me that night ,when I got back to Auburn, to say, “Nancy, I have no idea what you said today but you brought PEACE!” 

ME?? Bringing PEACE??? I have to tell you my 1st 20 years on this earth I was NOT known for peace :) 

I saw Gina later that night & said you are NEVER going to believe what all happened since we talked last night! Not the best reaction from my normally calm friend & it REALLY freaked me out... she GRABBED me by my shoulders & began shaking me saying, “DON’T you see GOD in this?? He prepared you for all of this!” I was not really seeing this move of God much further than I was really FREAKED out by all of it!!!  But she was adamant that I understand, GOD orchestrated our talk in order to prepare me for the day. 

God was moving!

You see when all the students had come back to Auburn thinking just another winter quarter...there was a stirring on Auburn University’s campus & MUCH buzz about this Josh character. Student connected with Campus Crusade had begun advertising something... but those of us who were NOT Christians DID NOT HAVE A CLUE! They were writing on ALL the chalkboards all over campus, EVERY NIGHT... ANYWHERE & EVERYWHERE... I mean all over campus... bits each week...

1st week- JOSH!...

2nd week- JOSH IS...

then the 3rd week- JOSH IS COMING!

I have to admit that when we all walked into EVERY classroom & there was the same thing written in each room, people were talking! Obviously the Campus Crusaders were in our classes & were drawing attention to it... & we fell for it HOOK, LINE & SINKER!! The Josh was Josh McDowell & he came to Auburn to speak on dating, sex, & life styles. I was NOT interested in going to ANY Christian meeting, nope not at ALL! My friend Gina invited me, as well as my friend Anne. 

Did I mention that Gina had been calling me ALMOST every Sunday up until this point for over a year to see if I wanted to go to church with her. You need to imagine HUNG OVER person answering the phone making up some stupid excuse every week, she was not ignorant she KNEW where I had been the night before, she knew my story but she also KNEW that she had prayed & SHE KNEW she served a MIGHTY GOD! 

Josh’s meetings were Monday thru Thursday... I had a test on Friday so “naturally” (sarcasm) on Monday I said I HAVE to STUDY! The reality of me studying on Monday for a test on Friday was a big fat lie! But my friends Gina & Anne did not pressure me at all! That night I really was sitting in my dorm room on my bed, I really was studying, I really was feeling guilty... then my DOOR FLEW OPEN...Gina & Anne came running in & jumped on my bed & all over me!! They were BOUNCING OFF THE WALL! I HAD NEVER seen them so excited about anything! They were SO filled up with GOD & they began telling me, if they had to TIE me up & DRAG me to this meeting on Tuesday they would DO it!! They began to remind me of all the times I had turned them down with crazy excuses & I OWED them! They reminded me of when they were my designated drivers & drove me all around to bars since they knew I was going anyway & they were trying to keep me alive! (FOR the record I do not suggest this to anyone today, that line in the church has REALLY gotten skewed!!) But we were all in a sorority & that is just what you did in the 80’s!! I sat on that bed hearing them plead & I realized it was 1 meeting, anybody could go to 1 religious meeting... how bad could it be! (I was completely convinced I had been a Christian in high school & I had walked away & shamed Jesus & there was no redemption left for me, so honestly I thought it was useless... but I obviously had a glimmer of hope) 

I went to that simple meeting with my friends Gina & Anne, with SO many from Auburn University who were LOST! January 24, 1984 I heard the gospel message as clearly as any person could make it, Josh McDowell is my hero!  

Then there was the comment, “God sent me here to FIND YOU!” The realization of 24 days of “GOD RUNNING AFTER ME” overwhelmed my heart & even in typing this 26 years later I still WEEP! The concept of a God who loved ME, not the masses but HE LOVED ME personally & He was willing to send His Son, Jesus to die in place of MY SINS to save ME! I was undone! I KNEW the depth of my sins! It hit the center of my heart & I did a 180!!! I went from the one in the bars every night to Bible Studies & Church every night! I could NOT get enough OF GOD!!! I could NOT LEARN enough!! I was on my 1st Beach out reach that March, I was on my 1st mission trip to the inner city of Washington DC that summer! 

I had the total concept that I came into The Kingdom of God because I KNEW people had prayed! One week after I got saved my 1st Campus Crusade meeting, it was so comical... people were seeing me & freaking out in a response of “Hey, what are you doing HERE??” then a “WOW GOD REALLY SAVED YOU!!” Then I was shocked as I began seeing all my drinking party buddies there at these same meeting!! 

THE LORD JERKED US OUT OF THE DARKNESS into HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT!!! I watched over the next few years as the very ones who were the biggest partiers on Auburn’s campus went into FULL TIME ministry! They went to China as missionaries, became pastors, youth ministers & even a Catholic priest! 

WHY was there this amazing harvest?? You see while I had been in New Orleans partying, sick, whispering a prayer... there was a group from Auburn attending an event called KC ’83. It was the Campus Crusade yearly conference, kids from ALL over the US were in KC in 1983.  The Auburn group knew Josh was coming in January of 84 so when classes started in the fall of 83, Crusade began challenging their people to pick 10 lost people to place on a “top 10 prayer list”. They committed to pray for these 10 people DAILY! I lost track of how many people came up to me after January 24, 1984 & declared you were on my top 10 list! God is SO faithful!! These guys had been praying from September up until KC 83 & at this conference their faith was stirred into believing GOD is GOING to do this MIGHTY Harvest during the Josh McDowell Outreach! They came home from Kansas City KNOWING their top 10s were GOING TO COME INTO THE KINGDOM! Then when it REALLY happened, we all KNEW exactly how we had come into the Kingdom Of Heaven! 

So early in my Christian walk I realized I was the result of MANY people praying!!! Over the last 35 years I have had so many amazing Godly WOMEN pour into my heart their roots of intercession!!!  I am certain there are those out there who declare there is a gift of intercession... but let’s face it, just like all the other gifts, if you do not use it then POOF that gift is wasted. SO I tend to lean more from the view of, if you pray... you are an intercessor! In these last 35 years God has surrounded me with MIGHTY PRAYING individuals who have blessed my life! I never thought: this is a gift you walk in with no effort what so ever it is just your gift. My concept has been...

YOU OBEY... so YOU PRAY! 

Now I have taken you on this journey to open a whole new door. A door I have not really even talked much about since the fall of 2009... because to me it made sense that people I KNEW would pray for me. Obviously my parents did not desire for their daughter to bust hell wide open... so in reality they were “obligated” to pray for me right?? Friends, classmates, sorority sisters they knew where I was spiritually so they “needed” to pray, right??

For years I have walked the streets of Auburn & the University praying... Crying out for revival... I felt I HAD to pray on those streets since I KNEW there were SOOOO many just like me 35 years ago. I have had amazing encounters during those times of prayer! I have seen many things straight from the Heart of GOD about Auburn... our kids even saw & heard many prophetic things over the years. So I understand the concept of praying for a place that is on your heart. 

But get this concept... this somewhat blows my mind to a whole new level of obedience... in the fall of 2009, I watched as IHOPKC (The International House Of Prayer) chronicled their history when Mike Bickle shared how he got to Kansas City & how IHOP actually started. (You can find the entire history chronicled @ ihop.org under 10 year Anniversary.) There are amazing notes & videos to research. I was especially drawn to several points... 


  • there was a community of believers who were gathering in KC praying for the end time harvest 

  • it was INFUSED with prophetic decrees from Bob Jones & others that were totally on target

  • but there was one thing that ROCKED my world... the summer when I was so drunk & fallen from the Lord there was a 3 month drought in KC & Bob Jones prophesied that there would be 1 day of RAIN during the drought- that day- August 23rd... my birthday.


Now you may be thinking BIG deal & can you REALLY go there?? YES I CAN! God has shown me so often that HE was protecting me during my rebellious years, supernaturally... ANGELIC protection so for me this was a HUGE ORDEAL! I grew up on a farm RAIN was (IS) ALWAYS A BIG DEAL!!! To hear that when I was not even following GOD...in the middle of a drought God decreed via Bob Jones...BEFORE the drought even began... I will send rain on August 23rd... that resonated so deep with me & I wept for days after hearing this chronicle!!! I would not have known this information had IHOP not chosen to orchestrate this telling of their history!! 

For me I had to stop & say LORD there were people in KC the summer of 83 calling forth an end times Gideon army, calling forth those to prepare for the end times, calling forth those from darkness into light!! Calling forth me as a drunk college kids to come forth to be a wife of a minister & a MOM to 5 kids who would ALSO be a part of this ARMY!!! So to me there is A DEEP DEEP DEEP calling in my inside to think HOW BIG IS GOD to REDEEM ME by using a group of people praying in Kansas City... which (I think) BIRTHED a group in Auburn to PRAY for their campus... who then made a pilgrimage to KC that New Years (let’s face it what are THE ODDS?!?!?) to have a NATION WIDE Campus Crusade event that has NEVER been repeated since! They normally have regional meetings... but from that place in KC those from Auburn were launches back ALL fired up to take their campus... 

I was one who was AWAKENED so to me this was/is SOOOOO ALL ABOUT ME! 

I know you were not expecting that were you!? 

But I am crazy enough to stop & say GOD orchestrated ALL of this for ME!! And the hoards of others who got saved! The hoards of others who married ministers, the hoards of others who now have kids @ IHOP!!!  It makes sense to me that our oldest son is now in KC being trained by those same people who were praying in the summer of 1983, during a drought, waiting for the rain!!  That he is now on staff in this place where 24/7 prayer has been going on 11 years!!!! DO YOU SEE the BIGNESS OF THIS PICTURE!!! If God could awaken ME (& so many others on Auburn’s campus) in the winter of 1984... after all of this prayer pouring forth from Kansas City & Auburn....

 THEN WHAT IS HE ABOUT TO DO NOW!!!!??? 

What is HE PREPARING US FOR NOW!!!!???”

 

What are the odds that on Christmas Day in 2010, a few months after my 47th birthday. We moved to IHOPKC to take a 2 month sabbatical to pray and seek God. What are the odds, we never left KC and we are currently on staff at IHOPKC- training & praying for God to move on all college campuses! Also believing that Lamplighter Ministries will make a mighty difference in the nations as we seek to share the gospel message to the nations!! Believing God for colleges and universities in the nations!

SO today as I am celebrating my 35th bday IN THE LORD- I AM TRULY WAITING FOR THE RAIN!!!!

Thankful that for the 1st time in MANY years, today my feet were on Auburn University’s campus- thanking God for the many who prayed for me and others, thanking God for the many who shared the gospel with me- especially when I appeared to ignore them, thanking God for the faithful ones who never gave up on me OR HIM!!! We also prayed for ANOTHER outpouring of THE PRESENCE OF GOD on that campus!


For the record I KNOW Campus Crusade or anybody else would EVER claim my testimony! I threw out all my training!! Gave you all the torrid details, did not have an analogy, did not draw you in as to a brief concise step by step process... sorry this was what flowed out of my heart! Maybe one day I will do it the right way :) 

Nancy HesterComment