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Ready For Heaven


My Testimony – by Sharon Stewart
My mother died suddenly when I was 21 years old. She had been my rock, my counselor, and my friend. I had never experienced a death so up close and personal until hers. I grieved for a long time. During this time, I began to wonder about heaven and hell, whether or not she was saved, and would I ever get to see her again?
I’ve always wanted to go to heaven and knew that I had to be good to do so. So I remember, as a teenager, standing in the yard of my home in Guthrie, Oklahoma, looking up to the clouds and asking God to take me with Him when He came again. I was raised Church of Christ, my husband was a Baptist, several of our friends were Nazarene, and my brother was doing his own searching at the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
About a year after my mom’s death, my aunt moved to Oklahoma City. I’d always been told to stay away from her, because she was a fanatic; she had “lost her mind.” She was one of those “holy rollers” that talked in tongues, and that was of the devil. So I was afraid of her when she first started to come over to visit. But eventually I grew to love her very much and began to hear some of the things she was saying to me.
Her church was having a contest, and the winner with the most visitors would win a new Bible. I thought I would go and help her out. My son and I went on a Sunday morning. He liked the Sunday School, and everything was quiet in the church, so I felt safe and continued to visit on Sunday mornings.
One night we decided to go for the evening service. As the service got started, so did the people. All at once my aunt started spinning around in circles, and someone else shouted and started running around the church. We were terrified. I left that night vowing to never go back again!
Two years passed, during which I had two baby girls. My conscience was bothering me more and more. I was fearful of not being saved, and I didn’t know what to do. I remember asking my husband, “If the Lord came tonight, do you think He would take us with Him?” He would say, “I don’t know why not; we’re not such bad people.” I would be appeased and be able to fall asleep.
One week my neighbors’ Nazarene church was holding a revival, and so was my aunt’s church. On Wednesday night I went to the Nazarene church. My friend had a baby boy 3 months older than my last child; and as she started to go to the nursery with him, she placed her Bible in my lap for safekeeping. I turned to the back and began to look up words I’d heard my aunt speak about: baptism, tongues, Jesus, etc. When I looked up baptism, I found Acts 2:38. When I looked up tongues, it was in there, also. I read the scripture that said we were to be baptized in Jesus’ name. I thought, “Everything Aunt Lily has been saying to me is true!” So, I shut the Bible and turned off the evangelist.
On Friday the Nazarene preacher and the evangelist came to my home, and I told them I was going to visit the revival at my aunt’s church. They prayed for me and asked God not to let the devil confuse me. I thank God He answers prayer!
I went on a Friday night, not expecting that anything would happen. This evangelist and his wife were a young couple just starting out their ministry. He preached on everyone having a space to repent. We all stood up, and they began to pray. I could feel my heart pounding, and it seemed as if it was thundering in my ear. I looked around to see if the people were looking at me on account of my heartbeat being so loud. Of course, they weren’t, but that was how I felt. I closed my eyes and silently prayed, “God, if You are really in this church; if this is where I’m supposed to be, help me take the first step.” The next thing I knew, I was halfway down the aisle toward the altar. To this day, I don’t remember leaving the pew.
When I got to the altar, there were several children praying. I fell to my knees and began to talk to God. I guess when I repented, I must have been serious, because I have never wanted any other experience or church since that time. I was filled with the Holy Ghost almost immediately and began to speak in another language. I was also baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of my sins the same night, and I knew a miracle had taken place in my life. I was one of the first converts the young evangelist, Brother Anthony Mangum, could claim as his.
I will never forget that night, and the peace and love of God that filled my heart. The way since hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve never been afraid to go to sleep at night. I have comfort, knowing that I have the Lord on my side. The Lord Jesus has been the best thing that ever happened to me, and by His help and grace, I will make it home to be with Him someday. For now, He is my Rock, my Counselor, and my Friend. I knew He will never leave me and will always be there. I love Him, and am looking for Him to return to take me to spend eternity in heaven with Him.
Thank You, Jesus!