Lester Sumrall: A Man of Faith and Destiny (part 1)



I was born just before World War one I was born in a very interesting place New Orleans Louisiana we enjoy going back to New Orleans and seeing that very interesting city or exciting city and and ministering to the people that lived there today it is always an excitement to to go there I lived in the Crescent of the Gulf of Mexico all of my youth totally and New Orleans and then Pascagoula Mississippi where they had a great shipbuilding corporation my father worked in a machine shop and and working mostly with railroads and with shipbuilding all of my youth and so we learned from Pascagoula to Mobile Alabama to Panama City Florida and lived for a short time in Laurel Mississippi where he worked in the Roundhouse they called it of the railroad shops and so I was very closely related to a strong man and had a very sinful man it was my father we had an interesting home in that my mother from my earliest remembrance knew God I had strong relationships with God I was a woman of remarkable faith and my father years later was the last one to ever be saved there were seven children in our home I was number six there would have been eight one passed away when he was only 18 months old a little boy named Archie as I grew up in this home my mother loved religion very much and my father wasn't religious but he it didn't bother him he could go to church and sit there and just look at it it didn't seem to bother him and but he wasn't religious especially in a machine shop he wasn't religious and he smoked and he drank and he chewed tobacco and committed adultery and he just lived a sinner's life you might say to a full measure he lived it and my mother was the opposite almost an angel a very devoted person to the Bible and to what they call ladies prayer groups in those days and so there was quite a difference in our family well a boy a group and a family like that will very likely determined very quickly that there's a difference here you know my mother is religious and if you get that way you have to be good my father is a sinner if you go that way man you can do anything you want to do and so I leaned very strongly toward my father now III lean toward him in doing what he did but not with my affections my mother was so good and so kind you know I can never remember my mother ever saying I'll tell your daddy on you never remember such a thing when you needed a switching she gave it to you she didn't even talk to him about it when he came home that was his problem when he wasn't there she ran the house and when you need a discipline she gave it to you she didn't say your dad gets you and he comes home never heard a thing like that in my whole life my mother was a very strong person in God and also in discipling her home and so she had real admiration coming from us because she was also a woman of great faith that I can tell you about one of my first remembrances as a child was that she had cancer on her breast a large open cancer it was larger than a the hole was larger than an American Silver Dollar and it was deep into the end of the breast and in those days the doctors only knew one thing and that was with a knife to cut it out and they always told you we never get the roots it'll come back and so she was praying and not knowing what to do and and the doctors were waiting for a decision and during this time she had a dream and she dreamed that Jesus came into her room at bedroom while she was asleep and stood at the foot of the bed and reached over and touched her and this was just a dream so the next day she told my father says I had a dream that Jesus came into my bedroom and that he touched me and I was healed and he grunted a few times you know he didn't know much about anything like that he knew a lot about other things like sin but he didn't know a lot about that and and so that was the end of it but three or four mornings later it came back to my father's mind he said you know you haven't mentioned that cancer in several days he says what are you going back to the doctor my mother said well tomorrow is the regular time to go back for the dressing of it and all it was an open bleeding mess that they kept the thing out there that you know that stood out a lot like a great big bag there to catch all this blood and stuff that was coming out of it it was an open running cancer and my mother said I'll have I'll check it the doctor won't mind I'm sure so she went in and pulled back all the tapes that were this thing up on her shoulder and clear down into here you see and and she pulled it back just in time they're in the gauze lay something that looked like a little baby octopus there was a core to it a center and not from it but things like little strings and and that was out from it they were the tendrils of this of this cancer in all lay there and in the gauze and she looked in the mirror and she felt a new skin had grown clear across the hole and and it was gone when she showed my father this it made an impression and she forever told it she told us children about it she told it in church in testimony meetings she was a she was a witness under God now that will impress you know a child growing up and another thing that greatly impressed me as a child was my grandfather my mother's father someone brought him to our house his wife was dead he lived alone for a great number of years toward the end of his life they brought him to our house in a wheelchair to visit to visit my mother his daughter and and he had had a stroke he couldn't feed himself and he couldn't hold himself in and so my mother was to take care of him for a while and she did take care of him she called in the latest prayer meeting now my grandfather at that moment wasn't what I'd call a Christian but they prayed for that too then they that bunch of women you know eight or ten times around and said mr. Chandler do you believe in God yes you believe in Jesus yes do you believe in healing yes you know they said now give your heart to Jesus and so they let him in the sinner's prayer and and then they began to pray for him you know in our front room of our house the power of God came on that man and and the Spirit of the Lord touched him from his head right straight down through his total body and he came up out of that wheelchair when he couldn't walk a step and begin to walk his arms that were dead began to move now I knew him I knew him personally at least for the next 15 years before he passed away and I was in his home the night he passed away he lived alone and he did his own cooking mind you he took care of his own house he'd have a housekeeper come in maybe once a week to clean the place up otherwise he took care of himself with no problem he didn't get sick I was there he didn't get sick the night he died he his regular time for bed was about 8 o'clock so an 8 o'clock came he he went off to bed and I was sitting in another room with one of my other brothers and in his house we heard a little struggle and we went in it was too late he was already gone he was already gone without sickness and without any any great problem he just left this world and and so I saw that amazing healing I saw my granddaddy in the wheelchair I saw him not able to walk I'm not able to feed himself and he stayed there with us for days fully healed and fully well but that'll have an impression on a boy and that'll bring faith into his heart you know that you know you know that you're sure that you're sure it'll have some effect on you but when it came to loving the people of God that was a long way off I followed my father closely in that he didn't like preachers he called them beggars he thought that if you didn't sweat and you didn't work with steel and iron in a shop or if you didn't work in a field with the ground you weren't working really I don't know that he ever thought that my mother worked in the house you know that it automatically got cleaned up the food automatic you got on the table I never heard him express any appreciation for that kind of work but the man that got out there in the field and in the shop oh he was a man he was a real man and he didn't like preachers he said preachers preachers were a group of people that were too lazy to work and so they took up that profession to keep from working well I like that as the center you know that sounded good so I went around ripping that out and I didn't like you know you know you know 50 years ago when an Avengers would come they weren't like evangelist today they would come to church to hold her what they called a revival meeting in those days they'd put the children in school oh they had no intention of just saying one week or two we could three weeks it was nearer to three months and they had these meetings every night and and god only knows the people would come from everywhere to them hundreds would find Christ as a savior and a whole community would get a change now in those days man just did not live in hotels they lived in the home of the Saints in our church it was my house my father made a good living had good transportation with cars and so my house was where they ended up and I didn't like that and my father didn't like it but my mother did and that settled it she invited them here they came they took my bedroom and my bed and they they they they stayed for three months I usually ended up either sleeping with some of the other kids all right I ended up sleeping on the floor on what we call a palette a palette is a hard place between you and the foundation and so I didn't like them and and you know they would have first place at the table even their kids could eat before I ate and sometime they have five or six kids with them and so I had a real estate you know for preachers and especially for their kids and I would like to confess and ask forgiveness again I suppose I've mistreated them I mean those preachers kids had every reason to hate the ministry because of some treatment I gave them one of them had a boy about my size and I didn't like him of course I thought he was kind of a sissy and and of course he he was a person had no know certain felling place you know here 3 months there 3 months a year one month and over there two months how's a kid going to grow up but I had no sympathy for him and so I took him one day I poured molasses in his hair then I got two handfuls of flour and I mixed it with a molasses well they did everything they could to get molasses and flour out of that kid's head they never did that to shave his head and I thought that was about the best deed and my dad didn't mind either he smiled about it my mother worked me for it and and said you shouldn't do that I said well he wanted him that was a lie I beat him down and did it and and so I was a troublemaker and an early early troublemaker if they hung up their trousers are turning their back I stole their money and then that go off and spend it and and so the preachers didn't have an easy time they were always singing and God helped us there God is God saved Lester and I was in yeah yeah well you get out of my house and God can do a lot better with me but anyway I grew up with a kind of a hatred toward preachers and really really toward churches and this continued until I was just 16 years of age Plus and I began to spit up blood from my mouth and I didn't tell him about it first you know I just spitting up blood but finally it got visible I was fitted up at night on my pillow my mother said what's that blood doing the night oh I coughed but when it got to be there every morning she said to the doctor our doctor we lived in Panama City Florida at that time I doctor lived in just a few houses from us and we live right down on the beach and a very beautiful home my room was made up of 24 windows and so we had plenty of fresh air and plenty of sunshine accepting I was sick with tuberculosis and so the doctor said well I can see you every day there's no need of taking you off to a hospital anything I can do for you there I can do for you here and so he would come to see me every day and I began to just like a balloon go down I was dying the flesh just rolled off of me until they estimated that I weighed about 93 pounds I was just a stack of bones when I hit my 17th birthday I had been laying in bed for several months and and I was bleeding from the lungs coughing up my life spitting up blood and had a tuberculin that they couldn't break and I was dying it's an awful feeling know you're dying you know you know to be sure that you're tying is an awful thing and and and I hated that I wanted to live I wanted to be a businessman I wanted to make a lot of money and I didn't want to burgle OSIS but I had it so I had a real distaste for everybody especially religious people that would come into the room and my mother so persistent she'd bring that gang of old women you know like the prayer meeting with lemon they'd come in and stand around the bed and say some of the silliest things that's the old God why does this dear little innocent child suffer and I'd stick my head under the covering custom I would a custom outside that covered my mother to give me a strapping in bed if I had and so I had to custom underneath I said I am nothing that you think I am I'm not innocent and I'm not little I'm not anything you think I am and I don't want you in here just get out and I tell my mother so don't bring that bunch of old women back here anymore here they come back again next week to see if I was improved and I wasn't I was worse now that reveals something you can pray for some people and do them no good at all because they don't want it and you can pray all you want to until you die I didn't want do any good they don't want it anyway and I I was in that category this went on for about five or six months and I was dying of tuberculosis and one afternoon about four o'clock I began to coffin a spit up blood and it was getting bad and my mother called the doctor quick says it Lester's worse than usual please please please come in a hurry so he come he came running over and and tried to take a polls and try to get out of the pinch of blood and you know all that the things that doctors do and and he said I can't get anything out of this boy nothing so the no pulse and he can't get any blood out he says he looked at my mother and said call your husband this boy's dying and so the whole family got around me there and the doctor said do you know in two hours this boy will be dead he said that's the death rattle in his throat right now and that bluish this over his face he's not getting enough blood to his brain into his body to live says he's gonna die tonight and he took my father over the corner and put his arm up around him he were good friends and and said now mr. Summerall he says I'm going back to the office and says I'll write out his his death notice and and sign it and you can pick it up on my desk tomorrow morning and get a place in a in the graveyard for you a lot says they don't sell outs out there unless you've got a certificate of death and so your certificate of death will be there that's just over 240,000 hours ago it's amazing how far some doctors can be wrong 240 hours wrong is quite a bit of being wrong you know and no he left the room and my parents stood around crying but I wasn't crazy I knew what was going on I knew that doctor said something very bad and my parents were crying because of it and when I saw him leave I said when he leaves the jig's up you know I'm gonna die and I at that moment I've only had two visions in my life I saw my first vision on one side of my bed I saw a coffin just my size and open and tilted very pretty inside empty waiting for me it was mine and I had looked at as who there's my coffin and it's very pretty alright except I don't want that I turned my head the other way and there was the biggest Bible in the world it was from the floor to the ceiling beside my bed they the the letters stood up that high I look and God said that's my word and he said you will have to take one of these tonight oh I said yes Lord you know I said I'll go to church and I get right God says now you've told me that before tonight you will take that coffin or that book I want you to preach my word are you gonna die tonight well you know if you've heard about Southerners we're little slow making up our minds and we would prefer leaving it for tomorrow if we can rather than today and so I said no Lord I'm gonna do that and the Lord said you are right now since there are no more sunrises for you there more no more daylight for you and you are going to either be put in that casket or you are going to take my word and proclaim it and I said well or die I don't want to die I'm afraid to die and I'm not ready to die and so evidently I'm gonna take the word you know the Bible and then I made a commitment with God I made a covenant I said God if you'll keep me alive as long as I preach I'll soon be the oldest man in the world and I went to sleep my family stood around to watch me die you know mum you know some families believe in the doctor more they do in God and he said I was going to die so they stood by wringing their hands awaiting me to die but it didn't die the next morning I open my eyes and I looked around there was my mother and I said I'm hungry oh she says I'll get you some grape juice I said I've had all the grape juice I want for a long time Jesus what what do you want I said I want I want exactly I want exactly what my father had for breakfast now you know way down south years ago I supposed to the same when we when we had breakfast we had breakfast we didn't just smile at the table we had breakfast we had biscuits at Fannie Mae didn't make or any other May they were made the kitchen and they were big enough you know they were good and we had white gravy and we had eggs and we had ham that you couldn't read the newspaper through it was real real real real stuff and it was delicious and it was good and we had grits she hadn't had any good yet you don't know what you miss and we ate breakfast and I said that's what I want my mother said no no so you haven't had any solid food for weeks said you were die if you ate that I looked up at it with a funny little smile I said you know I'm gonna die full of ham and eggs and hot biscuits and gravy and grits go get it my mother said you know I've always heard that if you're gonna die you're supposed to give a person the last request and said the doctor said you're gonna die and no doubt you are delirious she she didn't know what had happened she didn't know was healed there was no blood on that pillow that morning she didn't look to see know I'd been healed I never did have another drop of blood to come out of my mouth I never didn't have that fever again it was gone I was healed by God's but I hadn't gotten to tell her that yet I just asked for all that food well upon the idea that a dying person had one thought she wasn't cooked it all up put it by the side of my bed on a little table and left the room she didn't want to face the issue man I get up on my elbow and I reached over there and I began to eat and I eat everything on that plate is if you'd called in the cat and he had licked it there was nothing left but a clean plate now my mother came back and said uh where's that food that's it's in here she said all of it I said that's not all I want some more well she said not now you just let me talk to the doctor about this and and and see what he said I said I'm all right you don't need that doctor anymore I said last night I saw a vision I saw a coffin I saw a Bible said I'm gonna be a preacher now I was the meanest kid she'd ever had she had beat me more than she had the whole family put together she had threatened to send me away to a reformatory and here I was talking about preaching and she went delirious she wept and she cried and she said Oh God can it be can it be I said yeah I'm here says I'm strong I'm not weak anymore and and she rejoiced unbelievably and nobody else believed it they thought but three days later I was walking all over the house you know strength was just flowing out of me ten days later and neighbor boy Vash came bouncing say you want to go fishing I said yes we went out on the Gulf of Mexico fishing spent the whole day out there man we came back with mullet whoo enough to make quite a bit of money we weekly also what went along the the bitin and and and and got us a few crabs and put in that boat and while we're out there we just picked up a few oysters we came back loaded with goodies and I ate it I enjoyed it ten days later that happened three weeks later God spoke to my heart and said did you promise me that you would preach I said I did says we'll get to doing it then don't delay it do it now Oh as well I thought I was still recuperating you know but I had had no pains I was gaining weight my face was changing you could see the bones sticking through and it was it was changing and my flesh was lighting up with the pinkness that it hadn't had and so thanks for changing well you know what my daddy was mold standby so we called him Papa and I went in the kitchen while he was eating breakfast he'd eat early about 6:30 in the morning before in the rest of us 8:00 then he'd go off to work and later my mother would feed the rest of the family and so I went in there early and I sat down at the other side of the kitchen table he was eating by himself and I said Papa I'm gonna preach now if you had shot him he wouldn't have been any more surprised he says well I'll be damned he took both fists and hit the table until his plate jumped up off the table and he began to customi he cussed me with everything that you could cut a poor kid for and said you're not going to do it I won't have you doing it you've got to be a business man and I'm gonna see to it that you're a business man and I've got a lot of things that well I was dying he had nothing for me and the doctors on the doctors desk was a piece of paper and that was my my death certificate and here he was cooking all this stuff up because I was getting better and he didn't even finish his breakfast he got through cussing me and he threw his napkin on the table he went to the back door to me and when he when he was angry with me he didn't call me Lester he called me boy he said boy you'll be here when I get back tonight I have more to say well I wasn't there I wasn't following him anymore now I was that was in am i following him for the rest of my life I went upstairs to my room what was made out of 24 windows nothing but windows on all sides and I laid down on the floor my belly and I began to cry and I began to shake in the tremble among the things that he told me he said if you go you're starved to death nobody's going to feed a lazy boy I wasn't lazy he knew that I was a worker but I laid there crying and God spoke to me he started something that day that he's kept up for a long time God speaks to me out of his word out of his word he speaks to me I don't I don't just close by okay who what do I have I don't do that but dog gave me something specific he said you read Isaiah 41:10 and 11 I didn't know what it was I said well all right I'll read it so lying on the floor I reached and got my Bible and I began to read fear thou not I am with thee be not dismayed I am thy God I will strengthen thee I'll help thee I'll uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness behold all that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded they should be as nothing and they that strive with thee shall perish I said how do you know that was in the Bible is it still there is it left when I heard somebody else read that verse I said oh don't read that that's mine I thought that nobody else ever got that to me that God put it in there through Isaiah for me only the first words sure though not three words do you know a miracle took place it was this I felt a hand go down through my mouth and end about this region of my being and come back up and it was if he had pulled up or turn up I of a patch and little tendrils were hanging down below it he pulled it out and fear was gone you know the Bible says God has not given us a spirit of fear that fears the spirit I felt fear come up out of me it was gone go it was gone fear was gone I suddenly no no you see I'm a small man my father was a big man he stood about six foot two or three he weighed about you know 250 260 he had a muscle up here that you stood up like an arc you know and he pried it in it he was more proud of his physical muscles than he was anything else on the face of the earth he thought he could beat any man fighting they never came up against him well I took after my mother I'm a business person and I'm a thinker he wasn't he was the opposite but I didn't have all that physical strength you know that he boasted about and brother when he spanked you you saw stars and stripes and a lot of other things it was was awful you always glad and he got through and hoping he wouldn't start over again sometime and you tried to keep things on the level where they even if you had to tell a lie because he was too strong to what poor kid and I'd already had already found that out but I lost fear of him fear was gone who I said you don't mean anything the Bible says you don't fear they're not I lost fear he said that started if I said no no he is wrong he you better believe he's wrong sure they're not I am with thee and then I laughed whoo I don't know where that had a good laugh in a long time or not I'd been six alone I laughed I said my Papa won't go but my heavenly father said he'd go he said fear though I am with feet he'll take time off to go with me well if he'll go with me I don't care who don't go if he'll go I'll go who want a commitment I made to God it was exciting figure that out for I am with thee and I read it very slowly word by word I am with thee he said be not dismayed I was dismayed I didn't have any sermons I just got up out of bed I didn't know how to conduct a meeting I'd never paid that much attention to a religious meeting to know there were just two things on you I didn't want to go to anybody's church I didn't like churches and I didn't want to see a preacher I didn't like preachers so I had to stay away from preachers and churches so I knew where I had to go I had to go out into the cotton fields and the corn fields and find little country school houses and there talked to the country people now I knew that and I was ready to do that because I wanted to stay alive so I read those verses too and especially that verse 11 the last part and they the strive of these are perish I said who you better leave me alone look at the armour I'm coming at you with and I that that those two verses have been a cornerstone and an anchorage in my life from that moment until this moment right now with other scriptures that God has given me and every crisis of my life God gave me a scripture and I've been guided by the Bible since I was a boy so when God told me this I got up my dressed I looked around my room for my belongings in the closet I found a little suitcase about this big you older folks remember them we used to buy them in Reverse and in kress stores they were made out of fiber board a very thin fiber board they were brown you remember and had two little buckles on them you know that you you snapped them down with and so I found one of those little things about that big and I put all my earthly belongings I didn't and had quite a bit of room left over and I picked up that thing and I came marching down the steps downstairs there my mother was yeah mothers are wonderful creatures you know and there's nobody nowhere like a mother and there was my mother she said she had heard the fight you know in the kitchen but she didn't show herself my mother was a was a very smart lady she stayed out of problems she can handle em one at a time but not to and she knew that I was up against my father and she didn't she didn't appear it was just him and me she heard the sobbing upstairs on that floor and and and here I came marching down her stairs and my little suitcase she said where you're going well I said as I told you when I saw that vision and God told me to preach I am going out to preach she said where are you going I said no honey that don't make any difference where I'm going I said I am going right now oh she begin to cry you know mothers can turn it on and turn it off better than anybody else in the world they can cry when they're happy crying this traveling they don't know which way they are they they're professionals so they oh she began to cry again I said no you cried for years that I wasn't saved and you cried when I did get saved you prayed for years that I'd be a preacher now I'm gonna do it and you're still crying oh she says it's tears of joy she said no whore said I'll write you I said you don't write me I said I'll write you tell you where I am but I said I have something to tell you I will not be back I am going to stay out there as long as I live I'm going out to stay and so it's goodbye and I never went back to that house never went back to that home my parents came to see me on the road and until I went around the world III never came anywhere where they were living they came to see me three or four times but I never did go back I never went back to the state of Florida for years I I completely cut my roots and so uh I walked out the front door and there was my buddy that we'd gone fishing with you know ten days after I see him he said hi where are you going I says I'm going out to preach he looked me up and down and he saw it was sincere and he saw it he saw I had my little suitcase he looked at me and he says uh can I go with you but I'd never thought of that I said what did you do he could have asked me the same thing you know but he didn't he was too kind for that he says well if you knew the preaching I can do the songs I said can you sing he said no he was very nice he didn't say it can you preach all right I had to say no but if there's anything better than one cabbage it's two and we were two green heads I said yeah you can go he said you know my car works you know when boys have a car and normally they don't work he was about two years older than I and and was more mature than I and had his own car he might have been 20 that would have made him three years older than I was but he had a car now I don't remember that it had in offenders but boys don't need fenders in their cars if it has an engine you know in a steering wheel that's just about that's the biggest thing it needs if it's got some rubber underneath it so we got into this thing I think it was an old Ford I mean happy I mean model-t you know way on back and and so we got in it and it was one of those remarkable cars you know it would make about three steps forward and two steps back is it and I said you sure it's gonna go oh yeah he says I worked on it myself and that car was very interesting you know cars is supposed to burn gas that one burnt water and gas we had to put water in it more than we did gas we kept a jug of water because it would explode about every 10 mile and then it got so hot it would just quit and so we kept beaming it along it was really it kept our mind on the car and not on what was going to happen and I guess that was a good thing had to a gun for a couple hours or more we were both exhausted and we pulled over to the side of the road there in North Florida and and parked under a big tree it was a persimmon tree yeah and and the persimmons were ripe and while Oh Lizzy cool down and cooled off we began to eat persimmons and I would climb the tree to get one better you know when you're 17 years old you sure don't look like a preacher you know and I and we we helped ourselves to persimmons thank God they were ripe you know green persimmons is just about past being edible and we enjoyed our first meal away from home free of charge and no tips you know it was it was nice then we got into this whole thing and one another few miles and out in the cornfield I saw a little white house little schoolhouse it would have seeded 40 45 50 baby baby and I said that's it right there that's it right there so we stopped today we went around looking for a person I said who has the key to the schoolhouse they said this farmer over here and he's over there in that field playing so I went across the field I got over there and this old farmer well he may not have been so oh he just looked old you know to a kid you know if you're 40 you look old but he lost all of his teeth and he loved tobacco and he had it coming out of both sides of his mouth without a tooth in his head running down here in a stream and falling off on both sides and he was dressed not in one pair of overalls two one beneath the other and and they both were dirty and here I saw this he may not have been through all he might have been just fifty he looked like a hundred and fifty to me you know to a boy you can look old in a hurry and so I looked at him and I said your name is so-and-so yeah I said that you have the key to that screwed house of that yeah I said give me that key I said I'm gonna preach in that schoolhouse and he was just about to say no and I said no no no listen I said I was dying of tuberculosis in Panama City Florida and and I said God healed me on one condition that I'd preach and he said I haven't preached yet but I've got to preach and I've got to preach right now I got to preach tonight and I said if you don't give me the key to that schoolhouse I'll die of tuberculosis and I said you were to blame for it who have you ever seen a farm I have a fit that one had one oh he said no no no I suggest and he went after that key it was down either in the second pair of overalls or something below that he went down through there until he found an old greasy string that was tied in a circle and and on the end of it was a key he said here it is here it is go go on go and lock it and I said do you have a lantern need a lantern you know there was no electricity out there corn patch and so oh yeah my house is all that go get go kill my wife give you a so we went over we've set it up ahead church that night there were eight people out not a single woman just men what a mess yeah well when they sat down they begin to talk to each other out loud and it was supposed to be church you know and and then they were all chewing tobacco and there's a and then they'd spit and it would hit the wall called poop who you know I was read in the city that was just a little too much for me none of them washed before they came they were all dirty and and I didn't didn't like what I'd gotten into I just wanted a four shouldn't be going ahead and taking that beautiful little coffin and died that this was this was almost worse than death and and and there were only eight of them there and they didn't sit down properly they would sit down and do we call scoot that sit down and these were just homemade desk out in the country they were not factory made they were homemade desk and rather crude and they were just sitting and all you could see was it was a nose and a ball head people in Apache he looked like men from outer space more than anything else and and I was pretty discouraged I told my friend I said go ahead and lead the song service it wasn't for missus later he said I'm finished he couldn't sing and neither could the eight men and so he gave it back to me well I didn't know what to do I said well I tell you I was a bad boy ha ha ha ha I stole things and I'm sorry for ha ha ha I got sick of tuberculosis all the craziest bunch of men you've laughed at everything I've said just just laugh out loud and so I I told the story of Lester Sumrall and they said and they left sometimes that even even hit the desk you know no they hadn't had a sideshow in that area for a long time I was so mad and I got through I said go on home I didn't tell him to come back or anything and ice under my breath I said I hope all of you go to hell I I didn't like my first congregation at all so I my friend the night we went home with one of them that's a man man man I said I think you've been better to have died getting a mess like this then I cooked up something you know we're always good cookers I said you know no no they will come back I told him to go home they won't come back and so tomorrow night when there's nobody there but you and me I don't tell the Lord said they see Lord I did a good job a very good job you see he finished my work now I'll go back home and go to work and be a businessman you know you can just cook up things on your brain that don't belong your spirit so all day long I was sing man I finished that thing off last night really dead got the church and there were 40 people there including some ladies and a couple of kids well I said now wait a minute how did this happen those eight men began to tell everybody else about the revival no there was no revival they said the biggest liar that ever came through these parts has arrived says you've never heard lies like this guy can lie come out here his lies so they came to hear a liar not a preacher and we got that us all those people I knew I had to do something I knew my friend wasn't gonna take up much time he might have been up there six minutes the next time but he handed her back the main thing he did was to lead in prayer and so I had to I didn't know what to do so I did the same thing I did but not before I said I tell you why I'm here I was born in a half Christian home half baked my mother was a Christian my father was hahahahaha bunch of lifers again you know spitting tobacco juice and laughing at me it was miserable you better believe it was and so I told the whole story and they talk out loud their turn to see I told you about this liar and you hear that yeah I'm hearing I'm hearing stop talking and they were talking you know among themselves I with my talking and so I said well that that is just terrible that is awful and so we got through that night I didn't give an altar call huh brother I didn't want about to get saved I was too upset at him then the guy that we were going to stay with he said young man says if you don't work you don't eat says you're gonna stay here for a few days says you're gonna feed the Hogs I say feed dogs he said yes says if you don't work you don't eat well I said preaching is working though huh he said that's not working what you're doing well that was about right and so I had never seen in my life a receptacle for hog food before they called it sock bucket I had never seen one before I'd lived in the city all my life we'd had ham on the table and bacon on the table but we had never had it in the pen pig pen and I had an awakening the food that they fed their hog was ASCAP's and the leftovers and they offer awful mess and they put it in these big 5-gallon can buckets that we used to have a standard oil in them they put wire across it you pick it up and it looks crushed gather and run out the side onto my pants I had two pair of pants one off and one owned and and when one got dirty I personally wash and iron the you know the other pair I had I had to stick with the times and and I don't mean maybe I had everybody was poor that included the preacher boy and I got out there to feed those hogs the most ungrateful things in the world you know they're terrible they are just simply awful and the way they would eat you know was so terrible so uh nice you know and they just gobble it all up as if you know they weren't going to get enough and I would just get mad all the time and right bike was a cornfield and I just went and laid down in the cornfield and I said god I must be the prodigal son have must be the prodigal son said sir I'm in the Pigpen and I'm away from home I must be the prodigal you must be paying me off for my sins that I did when I when I was a home and God began to speak to me he said no he says if you will be faithful and little things I'll give you bigger things to take care of and if you won't quit and won't stop if you were marched forward I'll let you touch many people by my power and you will bless multitudes of people I got up out of the corn field by the Pigpen and went back into the house and took a bath so wouldn't stink like the pigs and began to study the Bible to see how to preach to those people well five or six weeks later I didn't know how long the state but God began to save those people now I wasn't nice and it was God it wasn't me there were times and that's if you want to get saving kneel there in the altar I picked up my Bible and go out the side door and I was gone I didn't stay to see whether I guess that wasn't part of the deal my deal was to preach and I had nothing to do with getting people saved so if they got saved they had to want to it was pretty miserable but finally after six weeks we had a whole gang of people saved and they said what about to some water baptism I said oh yeah sure sure but I never baptized anybody they said you're a preacher you baptize us oh yeah sure yeah they said we got a creek close by we'll go down get baptized so on a Sunday afternoon sure we went down two or three hundred people and I said how many want to be baptized there were about 67 to be baptized I backed off into the river and and and if you preachers are watching don't ever back off into a river you're always the deepest one when the man in front of you has water to here you've got it to here so you are every disadvantage turn yourself around and let the one you're baptizing be in the deeper place and you in the shallow place well I had to learn that so I backed off where I could face the people I should have let the candidate for baptism face the people but anyway the first farm that came down had a big pair of overalls own because they all had on overalls this man must have weighed 350 pounds he was about that broad those enormous overalls he must have stood 6 foot 4 I am 5 foot 8 so when he walked down that water I couldn't see the Sun anymore all I could see was a Hulk like Goliath I says dear God why did he come first you know the first one had ever baptized and and he blacked out the Sun so he got down there and I said ah you better help me always says your little preacher I'll help you we are bound judge you know and so I said I whispered to him I guess I did I said when I've done this the name of the Father and Son I said you squat I'll do anything you tell me to do a little preacher so I got ahold of back of his suspenders of his overalls and I put my hand up in front and when you laid a hand of course I'm like laying your hand across a coward you know and I couldn't get all the way across him and I said according to your your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and because you have denied that you are a sinner and you have positively accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior I upon the authority of the of God the Bible do here and now before this group of witnesses to hear water baptism obey the words of the gospel in Matthew's Gospel saying that I now baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost and I began to pull and I went down first as I pull he got on top of me and I went to the bottom man I might you'd have given $1,000 to been there and when I came up of course he was very helpful all he could you know he was just too big those farmers were actually rolling on the sand by the river they they thought it was the funniest thing that ever it was a funniest thing they'd ever seen their life I came up next place and I said you stand by to help me so I made old Goliath help me Stiles was sure I was gonna let that happen anymore and so they the rest of them was smaller I should have taken him last I learned something but anyway I baptized them all out of that meeting went two missionaries to Africa out of that meeting came one of the finest pastors in this country and they have worshiped in that place from that time until this time I went from little country schoolhouse the little country schoolhouse irritated and agitated on the inside not wanting to do it telling the people constantly sometimes I'd say I don't want you to think I like you because I don't I said really I didn't want to die of tuberculosis and I was going to die of tuberculosis and God said I could live if I'd preach I'm preaching so I won't die of tuberculosis says I hope all of you understand that and if you understand that then you know why I act like I do do what I do maybe that's the reason why sometimes in one week for the total offering I got 26 cents of course it was during the Depression 26 pennies nobody gave a nickel nobody gave that much that would be a lot of money on nickel they 26 people gave a penny apiece and and so we had to find ways of living and and I did I mean after all I'm not stupid when I got an offering like that I got right up and I says how many have chickens at your house they all raise their hands I said there'd be a coop outside the door tomorrow night every one of you bring me a chicken or two and put it in that coop well by the time they got through the next night I had about three coops of chickens I took those over to the wholesale poultry house and I came back with money in my pocket so I know how to live there's no problem on knowing how to live I've known that since I was about 12 years old I I was an innovator when I was 12 years old I knew how to parts peanuts I put them in the little bags take them over to a factory close by sell them at the time they're hungry about 3:30 in the afternoon just after I'd get out of school and make maybe two or three dollars I knew what it was on a Saturday and in the summertime to get me a wagon and put some ice in it get me a shaver and get some sweet syrup and put on top of it and sell snowballs give a boy fifty cents a day to pull it and come home at five or six dollars in the evening so I I knew how to make money from the time from the time I was about 12 years old I made all my money until I got sick in bed I knew how to make money there was no problem there but now I was in a different business I was preaching the gospel going from a little country schoolhouse it's a little country schoolhouse and and and and wasn't enjoying it no and I wasn't liking it I remember one time we had a house full of people always I stayed in the country I didn't I didn't I didn't don't remember meeting a preacher and and I don't remember seeing a church I just stayed in the country where I belonged and they you know country people are the nicest people in the world and they will endure you when others won't and they'll keep coming back when you wonder why and by the way the young man he began to where he could sing and and the lead songs and so he got better and they say that I got a little better I don't know because I sure wasn't a happy preacher I was the most unhappy one and and unthankful and ungrateful I suppose you'd say now this went on for 18 months 18 months but this meeting that we had one Sunday and there was a young lady crying about halfway back down the island I think she may be crying for a boyfriend and thought I'd make a pretty good one I don't know but I walked back to her and I said young lady what you get saved and she said no I'd only get saved I said don't you want to go to heaven she said no I said you just go to hell then and everybody in the whole place heard it you know and they were all standing for the altar call and I turned my back I heard something Boop I looked around and she had fainted and fallen them and falling in the middle aisle well as quick as you could bat an eye the lady's got around her you know and got her back to again and I whatever happened to you what she said you told me to go to hell what I said you said you didn't want to go to heaven there isn't any other place to go she says well I never thought a preacher was going to tell me to go to hell well I said that you didn't want to go to heaven and where are you going there's only two places she said I'm going to get saved right now well that's it fine come on up so we got her safe and so the people who got saved but kind of rough you know we're kind of rough shown and and that's not good that that is not good at that moment I didn't know I was a man of faith but when I left home I had less than one dollar in the world I had about 65 cents I never asked my mother to loan me a dollar I never asked her for a single thing I left home believing that God was God and that everything would be all right and so I left home with less than a dollar and that began to mark me as a person of faith eighteen months after that we had worked from Panama City Florida all the way up to Tennessee and it was in Tennessee where I had the the second the second vision that changed my life and made me the person that you're watching right now in the next episode I'll tell you all about that