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You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light. (Psalm 18:28)

January 2021 Newsletter

WWW.GOSPELMUSICFESTIVALS.COM

This Month's Featured Writer

Steve Patterson

The gift and calling of God is without repentance". My Personal Testimony by Steve Patterson

God has given everyone a part to play in His grand plan of redemption. He created us for good works in Christ Jesus before the world was created!

I had several events happen to me where God was trying to get my attention. He convicted me by my watching a movie called KING OF King's in 1962. I was 12 years old. My friends and I responded to an " altar call" right in the movie theater.

Later, God called my name: " Stephen. Stephen". I still didn't get the message.

When I was about 15or 16, the Lord became more direct. I heard inside me " YOU SHOULD BE A MINISTER!" That did not sound interesting to me. So, I ignored the call.

After the usual teen years and youthful misadventures, I came to Christ in 1972, ten years after my experience at the movies. I still did not pursue a career in the ministry.

I married my first girlfriend in 1973, against the advice of the pastor where I was converted.

I was young and in lust, I mean love. ( Freudian slip).

I did continue to attend church and began reading the Bible.

I attended my new wife's church only to realize she was not really a church goer. She wasn't much interested in anything spiritual but " that was her church". I found out that was the attitude of many people.

I took our two children to Sunday school where I taught third grade then junior high.

My wife agreed to let them stay home because the other kids picked on them for answering questions correctly. " Smart wasn't cool".

My wife, Sue, started seeing a counselor. When she persuaded me to go, the counselor jumped on my case. I never went back.

I never knew what the problem was between us. I worked regularly. Helped with the children.

Beats me what went wrong. All I know is there was no sex for a long time. Seven years until we divorced.

She started seeing a different counselor. I think he told her what she wanted to hear. She thought he was great.

After a 29 year long marriage, my wife suggested a separation. I knew where this was heading so I beat her to the punch and filed for divorce.

For all I know, this " new counselor" could have been a boyfriend.

Sue also had been chatting with a guy online. She said they just talked about recipes and stuff. Recipes for disaster!

She had also gone overseas under the pretense of visiting a girlfriend. I foundonly she had been in the abode of a different guy when I called the number she left me. The man had the audacity to tell me off!

When she returned home, her excuse for lying was " I thought you'd get mad if I told you the real reason". Huh? Ah, yeah. I'd be angry. Wow.

So, I ended up meeting a woman at karaoke. I'll call her Lee.

Lee had divorced her husband when their daughter, Sarah, was about six years old. Sarah was too young and mentally challenged to understand why. The husband was an alcoholic and had no empathy toward Lee' s mental condition of bipolarism. Lee had a nervous breakdown for which she was hospitalized and all he said was " When are you going to stop fooling around and come home. I can't take care of this kid by myself."

He gave Sarah to Lee's parents anyway.

Lee and her husband remained friends and he suggested she go to this VFW where they had karaoke. She loved to sing. He thought she needed to get out.

I happened to stop for karaoke there because I also like to sing. I became known as Elvis Too since there was another singer who sounded like Elvis.

Lee was on her way out the door when she first heard me sing. She stopped cold. She liked what she heard.

The next week, she introduced herself to me. I was not impressed not attracted to her. She was overweight and dumpy but she had a pretty face and nice manners. I thought.

I asked her to sing WAKE UP, LITTLE SUSIE with me and she nailed it! Great harmony! We became an item.

Having not had sex for over seven years, I was a prime target for fornication which I knew to be a sin. It happened fast. I could have refused to go upstairs, but I didn't.

This was the beginning of sorrows. I was spiraling down from church elder to pothead fornicator!

I shacked up with Lee for four years. We married. We divorced seven years later.

Lee's daughter, Sarah, and I had hit it off from the start. She was about 15when we met. We shared a birthday.

Sarah would respect my counsel more than her parents. Her father said so.

Lee is an agnostic. She criticized and mocked Sarah's religious experience largely because Sarah told her she would go to hell for not believing in Jesus.

Lee knew I was a believer though I wasn't living like one. I smoked pot, drank beer and was always looking for sex. I was starved after all.

When my dad died, two years after our marriage, I wanted to buy the family home from the estate. It was fine at first but it became troublesome before it was over.

Lee did all of the work finding a mortgage. She is good with business skills.

My dad's home was about 15 miles from Lee's place and she left her barroom friends behind. I forgot to mention. She is a pool player, a very good one. I found that out at a Christmas party where the host had a pool table.

She had no " normal friends" or girlfriends but one who was not a lady herself. She preferred hanging with men. That's not my idea of a girlfriend or a wife. Then, she said " I don't like the idea of being a wife". And she wondered why I didn't trust her!

After moving to my old family home, she found a friend across the street; a younger, married guy and pool player. She also met some guys at the local bar where we both played on Monday nights.

I was not happy but " I made my bed and had to lay in it".

Right before we got married, I was watching Billy Graham preaching about not being unequally yoked to unbelievers. At the time, Lee was happily preparing the wedding invitations. I didn't have the heart to back out.

After all, if she was good enough to live with and give me sex, it would be hypocritical to say I couldn't marry her.

This is how the devil draws souls into his trap. One sin leads to another. One night of sex led to more nights and co- habitation.

Sarah had been living with us at my dad's place. Then, she wanted to move out on her own. She had a good enough job, two, in fact, so her mother and I thought it was okay. Bad move.

The night we moved her in, a guy who lived there moved on her and became her boyfriend, introducing her to crack cocaine.

With Sarah's mental challenges, she did not need anything to make her worse off. But crack did.

She had been incarcerated in a mental facility four times. The psychiatrist there told Lee that he usually only sees a person once.

Sarah was beyond his help. Whatever faculties she had, she lost.

Sarah went to several rehabs after that. At the last one, she met a guy who left his wife and children and was a fugitive from prison who had finally been caught and put in rehab.

Being slow, Sarah never had many friends or a boyfriend. She was a prime target for these losers.

Sarah came home from rehab, talking about this " boyfriend". We knew his game. A taker. But she couldn't see it.

I saw a letter from him on the dining room table. He was in jail.

I wrote to him concerning Sarah. When he told Sarah, she went into a rage! She asked who did I think I was, getting involved in her business.

She picked up a figurine and threw it at me, hitting me below my right eye, then proceeded to knock things off the piano, shattering glass from picture frames. She was headed upstairs when I yelled,

" Call the police!" then ran ahead of her to our bedroom where she planned further destruction.

I was inside the bedroom, holding the door shut, when Sarah picked up an aluminum step- stool and beat against the door.

When she paused, I stepped outside. She took a swing at me. I blocked it and she fell backward. I went downstairs.

I suppose the police took her into custody. I was not feeling well.

I thought I was having a panic attack. It was a heart attack: a " widow- maker".

The ambulance rushed me to the hospital. They found that my LDA was 100 percent blocked. I went into surgery to implant a stent.

The following day, the surgeon said I died on the table but he brought me back. I knew it was God, not him who brought me back, He had work for me to do!

Lee divorced me several months later. Since Sarah could not live with us because of her behavior causing my heart attack, she was homeless, since she was unable to work in her addled condition.

Lee felt sorry for her so she decided to divorce me, use the money from the sale of the house to find a place for her and Sarah.

Not a good idea. Sarah had attacked her years before and now she was in worse mental condition than ever.

Sarah attacked her in their new place...twice. She ended up in jail.

Now Lee is alone. This is what happens when you mock the Lord, keeping your mentally challenged daughter from the one and only source who could have helped her: Jesus Christ!

After the divorce and my blessed new life after my heart attack, I decided to get serious about my relationship with Jesus.

I began by donating to a ministry for children in Haiti, run by American Christians. Then I started attending a church program at the church where I was saved forty years earlier!

That is where I met my current wife.

Joan was still married at the time. She was just a nice lady from church. I didn't know it at the time but she said she was impressed that I came there on my own, not being dragged there by a woman.

I started attending a home group led by one of the pastors. It was also where I met my friend Ed.

I got back on Facebook to start preaching the gospel. I was blessed to find many good Christian friends worldwide. One of them was Evangelist Kemigisa Dinah.

Dinah told me about her ministry for orphans and widows who were affected by the HIV/ AIDS epidemic.

We became friends and I started supporting the ministry. I had money from the sale of the house due to divorce. I was blessed to help such a worthy cause.

This was September 2014. Two years after my heart attack.

In March, I was invited to Uganda to see what they did with the monies I had given. Besides providing for food, I enabled Dinah to purchase crafting supplies for the widows to make rugs, beads, pottery, baskets and other things.

My invitation included an offer to preach. I told them I was not a preacher. They said my posting proved otherwise. I believed this was God's call to ministry! I accepted.

It was over fifty years now that God called me to be a minister. He never forces us. By now, though, I wanted to do His will after He saved me. Only ten percent of men who get the " widow- maker" heart attack that I had, survive!

My church friends. referred to me as Lazarus!

A friend in whom I confessed told me that God had a message for me to give. Just trust Him. So, I did.

I got to Uganda on Sunday, March 29th. I missed Dinah's birthday by one day.

Dinah and Pastor Moses met me at Entebbe Airport and he drove us to a hotel. I slept and rested the next day while Dinah enjoyed shopping in the big city, Kampala, their nation's capitol.

We left for their home town, Fort Portal, the next day. It was a four hour drive.

I had been on an airplane for 15 hours. That's a long time to be sitting. I didn't know that I could get up and walk around. Besides, I didn't want to crawl all over people getting out of my seat.

Fifteen hours plus four more in an automobile. I sat more than ever. I hardly walked anywhere. I developed blood clots in my legs but wasn't aware.

Pastor Moses took us sightseeing. I was not impressed but it was fun. Besides, my mind was on my upcoming sermon.

On Wednesday, the big day came. People came from all over. Groups of orphans hovered around the church. It was time!

I approached the pulpit and opened by saying " When I think of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, I feel... that's all I remember!

The Holy Spirit gave me utterance that I have no memory of.

But, about 30 souls received Jesus Christ that day. It was God's plan!

On Friday, Dinah noticed my breathing was labored. I brushed it off.

It turned out to be pulmonary emboli, blood clots in the lungs.

I went to my doctor on Tuesday and she sent me directly to the hospital for a CT scan. That's where I was diagnosed.

I witnessed to passersby of my gurney that I had been to Uganda to preach.

I had about 5 relapses before they were gone for good. Praise God!

Any one of those blood clots could have proved fatal! God protected me again.

I never was afraid of dying, either with my blood clots or my heart attack. It never occurred to me.

God protects His people. It's that simple. He had work that He wanted me to do and would not allow me to die until that work was accomplished.

Now. Back to Joan. I had mentioned meeting Ed at home group. Ed had a Bible Study of his own. It turns out that Ed knew Joan and her husband from a ministry back in the 70's.

I asked Joan if she wanted to go to Ed's Bible Study and she did. I took her twice, then afterwards, her husband started coming too.

Joan would drive. My car was out of service temporarily.

On the way, I would talk about Dinah and her ministry and Joan was very interested. She liked that I was supporting a cause that nobody else was.

After about a year, Joan's husband developed stomach problems.

By June of 2016, he died of stomach cancer.

Joan and I had been friends, nothing more. She had no physical attraction to me. She was my sister in Christ and good friend.

In this jaded world, such things are hard to believe but it is the honest truth.

Only after spending more time together did the romantic spark get kindled. We enjoyed time together.

That's the best way to start a relationship. Let friendship become something more.

Joan's daughter had trouble accepting me. She was still grieving her father's death. She was "Daddy's girl".

Joan's son, who was a year older, had been killed in a fight. This caused Joan and her husband to put more attention on their daughter.

Since my mission trip to Uganda, I have become a Minister of Music at one church and a guest performer at another. I have created about 30songs from Scripture. I have recorded about 9 of them.

Now, I am part of an online radio program, WALKING WITH JESUS, @ To God Be The Glory Broadcast. Our program starts at 12pm, EST.every Friday. It is rebroadcast M- F @ 5:30 EST.

God's call is being answered and His will is being done.

To God Be The Glory. Amen.


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