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  • Renee Patton

Salvation Testimony

By Renee Patton

I am a bus kid! I began riding the church bus incredibly young. My father was in the military, and we were transferred a few times to various military bases. We were blessed to have a church bus running through the neighborhoods! VBS, Sunday School, and teen camp were some of my favorite times growing up!

After being transferred to San Diego, I began riding the church bus in our military housing neighborhood once again. Clairemont Baptist Temple was a smaller church, there was Sunday School; however, no junior church. Thus, one Sunday when I was in fifth grade, I can remember the sermon, “Christian - Change your name or change your ways.” I felt as though I needed to be saved so at the invitation I went to the altar. There, the Pastor’s mom, Mrs. Walpole, opened her Bible and began to explain salvation to me. For all means and purposes, I believed I was saved. Shortly afterward, my father was transferred back to our hometown. Several months after moving, Dad saw the church bus going through our neighborhood on the military base. He stopped the bus and told them his girls would love to ride. They came the next Sunday, and I have been in church ever since.

I became faithful to the youth department when I was promoted into it. I loved my youth department and youth pastor and his wife! She would take me home every Sunday night after church! We had great talks and fellowship! I wish every teen could have a teen department as I had! Now I was in high school, and it was time to be transferred back to San Diego. Although, I was able to come home and attend summer camp each year. I treasured this time since my church in San Diego was even smaller, and now, I was the only teen attending.

It was time to prepare for summer camp! I always loved summer camp! This year was extra special since I made sure of my salvation! The week was going great. Messages were changing hearts each night, team game time was fun, and there were no problems! Wednesday evening comes along, we all go to the preaching service after dinner, and the preacher begins. His message is about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. He was preaching away, then the torment of the flames ripped at my heart!

I pictured myself in Hell reaching out and begging for a drop of water to cool my tongue. I began to question my salvation – would I be in Heaven – or would I be tormented in Hell? Was I going to Hell? I began thinking about that Sunday at the altar. I was saved, right? Right, I was saved! But…did I confess? Did I ask for forgiveness? I knew Jesus died for my sins, but did I ask Him to save me?

The reason I began to question was that I could clearly remember being at the altar, the Bible is open, Mrs. Walpole talking to me; however, one important aspect, I did not remember ever admitting, believing, and confessing for myself. I could not remember speaking the words for myself. I knew she prayed, but did I? Thus, I did not believe I was not saved. I got through the message and invitation, although I did not respond.

A few hours later, we all were getting ready for bed that night. I started talking with my good friend, Amy. I explained the dilemma I was in. I was a mess! Tears, a broken heart, wondering how I could have disappointed the Lord! I knew I needed to get this settled! She accompanied me to the hallway, and I poured out my heart to God! Admitted! Believed! Confessed!

Now I knew for 100% without a doubt that I was SAVED and going to Heaven! I was not going to be in Hell tormented by any flame! Praise the Lord for His benefits of salvation.

The only torment I feel today is when I do not act on the prompting of the Holy Spirit! I know I will stand before God one day and give account for seed not sown!

Additionally, the benefits of a bus ministry winning others to Christ are never-ending! I was blessed to marry a man from my youth department. His family all worked on a bus for years together and my father-in-law drove the church bus for more than twenty-seven years, picking up children just like me! Furthermore, the bus workers I had are now in my church still serving the Lord faithfully! Only Heaven will tell how many other bus kids have gone on to serve the Lord!


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