My testimony - a fuller account
LAST UPDATE HERE: 2003-0411
My testimony – a fuller account. By Stephen Anthony DeVore of Seattle, Washington:
I was about 18 years old and a few months. It was 1980. I had been playing volleyball since about 1979. On a certain Wednesday night, I went to play volleyball at a community center in North Seattle called *** Shoreline Community Center ***. After volleyball was over, I met there a man named Mike Rutherford. He talked with me, I think, about some speaker coming to town (Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, CA). If I decided not to go, I could see him speak on TV. I thought to myself something like What kind of cult is this?
That night I called my mom for a ride home, which was a few miles away. She was upset with me for some reason, and I was stuck there. Mike Rutherford offered me a ride home.
We stopped off at a pizza place, Alfy's, I think.
And we talked. I don't remember the details, but we talked about the Bible, religion, or Jesus.
I don't remember how many times we talked, but at least twice total.
Some weeks later, I came to Wednesday night volleyball, and he was there again.
I got a ride home from him again. This time he came into my mom's house. I'm thinking it was near to or after midnight.
This was 1980. This was April and/or May. I don't recall, but I do know it was from Wednesday night to Thursday morning. Looking back at a calendar, years later, I noticed that in 1980 the last day of April was a Wednesday with the first day of May being Thursday! I'm thinking, then, that it was the very early morning of May 1, 1980, that the following occurred.
In my bedroom, in the basement, we talked until the wee hours of the morning.
He said something like, Are you asking questions to be asking questions? Or are you really interested?
After many questions and answers, he said something like, since I believed what he was saying about Jesus, I had to make a commitment to Jesus.
I said something like, "Can't I wait until tomorrow?"
He said something like, "You don't know if you'll live till tomorrow."
I said or thought something like, "That's true."
So, in my mom's basement, I prayed some prayer in my mind.
Nothing seemed to happen inside me. Nothing seemed to occur inside me.
He responded something like, Well?
I said something like, "Well, I prayed."
At that point he indicated that I had to pray out loud, quoting some verse or verses out of the Bible.
I concluded that, since I did now believe, and had already prayed in my heart, that praying out loud would be fine. I made up my mind, and tried to pray out loud.
He sat there waiting. I think I got the response of, Well??
I said something like, "Well, I'm trying," and may have indicated that I could not get my mouth to open.
I was trying to open my mouth to pray, but I seemed to not be able to! I remember getting somewhat angry about this, and thought to myself, maybe even said it out loud, I don't recall, (What's going on!) This is my life. I'll do what I want with it!
Then, I was able to open my mouth.
Other than being angry or upset that I could not open my mouth, I was not very emotional. I was not feeling euphoric. We were not singing songs, or anything of that sort. I just believed this was what I wanted to do, and had to do.
I said something like, "Jesus, I believe You are Who you say You are. (I might have said, I believe You died for my sins.) I commit my whole life to You. Please come in and be my Lord and Savior."
I then thought it fitting to finish the prayer with something like "In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." For some reason, I thought it fitting to pray it in Latin. I wasn't even sure I knew how to say right it in Latin, and felt a little foolish. (Though I had gone to Roman Catholic schools for 10 years, I had left the church, and the school system, not really wanting to have anything to do with the Roman Catholic Church, so called.) Regardless, I opened my mouth, saying something that I think sounded like "In Nam-in-ay Pah-tray, et Filly, et (or ate) Spiri-too Sahnc-tee." And finished.
All of a sudden I was instantly filled with incredible joy, not my joy, not my emotion. At that moment, I noticed that I was speaking in some other language. And I thought "What am I doing?! It sounds like I'm speaking in Latin!!"
Mike Rutherford apparently saw euphoria on my face, and asked me "How do you feel?"
I said, "I don't know. I've never felt like this before."
He then went off into something about not always feeling that way, about Faith not feelings.
At that, for the first time, I felt a quenching.
My mind changed. *** ADD ***
A few years later (about three)
A few years after this, I was backsliding, and wondering whether or not I had really become a Christian.
I remembered parts of my testimony, but not all of what I have just related.
I called Mike Rutherford on the phone, long distance, and asked him what had occurred that night.
He told the story, which was much as I had remembered it. But then he said that I started speaking in what sounded to him like Latin.
I denied it (a reaction like, "No way!". I tended to be somewhat contentious in those days!)
He said that I did.
I denied it a second time and a third time. In all, I think I denied it four times.
I remember saying that he must be remembering someone else, asking something like, Are you sure?
But he kept insisting that it was I he had seen and heard.
I then prayed inside asking for God or Jesus to open up my memory, because I could not remember speaking in some other language.
At that moment, I was able to recall this. I even remembered thinking to myself "What am I doing?! It sounds like I'm speaking in Latin!!"
I was stunned, and astonished. It's still amazing to me today, nearly 20 years after that conversation, that I had not recalled it for those three years. That is not to say that I had not spoken in a tongue during those three years. In fact, I had. And I remember thinking to myself, quite a number of times, When did I start speaking with tongues? But I couldn't seem to recall. Now it seems that God wanted me to remember, just when I needed it. I am thinking that it is that one memory that has kept me from falling completely away from Faith in Jesus.
If you have read this, please pray for me – IN THE SPIRIT – that I am fully healed of my backslidings - which I am not at this moment (4:41PM. 4/11/2003).
STARTED WRITING THIS HERE ON 2003-0411.