Being raised in a wonderful Christian home as a young child, by two parents that truly loved God that only wanted what was best for their Children, the cherished memories of Church I recall are abundant.
I was blessed to learn from a wonderful man of God, Rev. J.W. Wynn (1965 -1971); of Dinsmore Baptist Church, Jacksonville Florida.
At a very early age, Pastor Wynn saw the urgent need and desire in my life and loved me like the son he never had. I recall one instance where Pastor Wynn allowed me to attend youth camp, even though I was too young at the time. Pastor Wynn’s passion and love for the Lord Jesus was genuine. Though Pastor Wynn had some learning limitations they never hindered him in being a soldier for Christ; he was the type of preacher folks wanted to listen to. My decision for Christ happened at an early age.
This decision, followed by obedient believer’s baptism fit well into my normal Christian family. In 1972, my family moved away from Jacksonville, due to my Father’s change of occupation. At the age of 13 years, my family joined another local Baptist Church.
During our time of attendance, I wondered and questioned my previous decision for Christ at Dinsmore because of my tender age of youth.
My feeble solution for this spiritual wooing was to ignore this feeling. Finally, at the age of 25, I walked away from my roots, desiring a deeper and more intimate walk with the Lord. As a result, I began attending a non-denominational Church for several years which allowed me to embrace and develop a greater love for Jesus Christ. Though, avid in church attendance and increasing in intimacy, I still could not help but think, what would happen if I should die! I loved Jesus the only way I knew, but something was still missing inside of me. Though faithful in Church, it seemed like I was like a tool, was not being used by God.
As a result, in April of 2007, stepping out in faith I joined the Gideon Ministry. God’s Word had been instrumental in my life and I felt an urgent calling to simply hand out God’s word because I knew it could change the lives of others. Through the years, I heard many wonderful testimonies of lives changed simply by giving Bibles away!!
It was in January of 2008, I felt a deeper calling to move forward in qualifications to become a Gideon Church Speaker.
Here is the important part …. God used a Gideon Bible, to help a Gideon Member!
On August 15, 2007, while working for my job out of town, I stayed in a motel in Russellville, Alabama. It was on this night God would forever change my life! In my room, I discovered a hotel Gideon Bible.
Opening the Bible to the last page, there was a wonderful handwritten message that I felt was written just for me!! There was one particular sentence that stood out and told me to refocus on who Jesus really is!! It was this simplistic thought that really caused me to analyze Jesus Christ.
Two weeks passed and now back home; the sentence was still vividly in my mind. It was on August 26, 2007, at approximately 5 AM, while meditating upon the biblical account of Jonah and the men in the boat. God revealed to me the witness of the sea followed by stillness that He enabled these men to witness. This led me to plead to Jesus to mercifully show similar realism to me in a personal way!
In reflection, though I felt I received the Lord in my heart from a young age; I was lacking in obedient servitude towards my Lord. Praise God, today, I have no more of these reservations; Jesus is real and indwells and leads me into His service daily!
In August of 2009, after much prayerful petitioning, I felt a Divine call to leave a Church family that I loved dearly; thus, allowing God to direct my path. Though I was not fully certain why; I faithfully moved according to His will. The only certainty in my heart was that I knew; I wanted more of Him!!
It was during the time in which I was caring for my aged father, and two additional close friends that were sick nearing death that God introduced my heart to the mission field of senior adults. My desire was to labor in this field in some fashion; whatever paths God had prepared for me.
In September of 2011, almost 40 years since God’s initial tug on my heart, that I was invited by a personal friend (Bro. Ronnie Salis) to attend a Jacksonville nursing home ministry church service. It was during this time that the Holy Spirit began pricking this old stony heart.
While sitting in the congregants, I noticed that before (and even during) the services most residents were falling asleep. It was during this time that I began to ask myself; what could be done to keep them awake?
The next time I attended the worship services at the nursing home; I desired and brought music and songs they would know and played them before the services. I noticed how they started to listen, and even sing along. Before long, I and Bro. Sails had designed a specialized cart, enabling for easy potentiality to take hundreds of downloaded computer songs into the facility.
I began to arrive at each facility every Friday morning, about 30 min. before the Service to play some inspirational sacred music while the services were being set up!! It was amazing to watch the folks come, and join in such a fellowship; they were singing these familiar; it seemed to be touching them in their hearts and minds…
It was through this pre-service music program that God would eventually open the door to be used in a greater magnitude. God begin to provide opportunities for me to take the life-changing, soul cleansing, redeeming gospel message to these dear folk!
Today, God continues to open doors of opportunity to serve Him. To God be the glory, He has blessed me with (3) local nursing homes, allowing for (3) scheduled times to conduct weekly church services to the resident, staff, and families.
God truly blesses our efforts. My desire is to make a difference to a “forgotten” people during the final leg of the earthly pilgrimage. More importantly, to have the opportunity to see lost souls cry unto the Lord for eternal salvation.
I praise God, allowing me to join Sounds of Joy Ministries; co-laboring together in the harvest fields of care center communities.
I praise God for what He is doing in these last days and for allowing me to be a tool in the Master’s Hand!
We will never see the fruit of our labor until the final story is told. To God be the Glory, Great Things He Has Done!!
Bro. Ken Thompson