Henry West's Testimony
I was born and raised in Chicago, Ill; one of seven children. I was brought up in the church, since my mother's dad was a preacher with his own church. By the time I was about ten, another boy in the Sunday School and I found we could skip and take the money we were given to put in the offering to go to the movie house a couple blocks away.
I was a "fat" kid and had very few friends. And being large for my age, I became a "bully".
At age seventeen I enlisted in the Navy and was constantly getting in trouble because of my drinking. I was discharged from the Navy with a bad conduct discharge just about at the end of my four year enlistment.
Three years later, I was on my way to the penitentiary with a 10-25 year sentence for burglary. After serving 9 years, 3 months; I was released on parole to the State of California. There I met my wife who was fourteen years my junior. During eleven years of trials and tribulations, I was continually asking God to give me some sign that "He" was real.
In 1986, my wife whom I dearly loved committed suicide leaving me with two young sons to care for. To make matters worse I lost my job and was in a bad car accident within the same month. There were times when my crying out to God didn't seem to work, and I felt like giving up on life. I became involved in drinking and using drugs trying to take away some of the sorrow.
In 1988, I again turned to "God." Because of my doubt about God's existence, I still continued to drink and use drugs. I was also living with a girlfriend, since I felt I needed a woman to help raise my children.
Then one morning about 2 A.M., my friend awakened me, saying my youngest son was sick. He had a body temperature of 104° and was vomiting. Not knowing anything else to do, with no money or car to get my son to the hospital, I placed him in the bathtub and bathed his body with cold water. I begin to pray that he be okay. Later that morning my girlfriend's sister arrived at the house and took my son and me to the doctor.
That night before going to bed I got on my knees and thanked the Lord. I asked for "His" forgiveness for my stupidity in spending all my money on drugs and asked that "He" not let me be in the position again, where I had no means to get my children to the doctor.
Within a period of a month, I was given three free automobiles. When I was given the first two, I thought nothing about the prayer I had made to God, nor did I thank Him. I had forgotten about my prayer.
Well, when I was given the third automobile, I happened to be working on one of my church member's home. I was working there because she repayed some of the members of my church whom I had borrowed money from, and didn't pay as promised. She called me into the house and told me to sit down. I saw this lady standing next to her, and right away I assumed it was more bad news. She stated that the lady was her neighbor from across the street and had something to tell me.
The lady then stated that she had looked out her kitchen window and saw me working on her neighbor's house, when God came to her and told her to give me the car in her driveway that she was trying to sell. She said she had started to argue with God, asking why she should give me the car when she did not know me. She also needed the money to pay her bills and have her heating unit in her house repaired. She had a baby under two years old, and her husband had recently left her with three children to care for. She said she learned not to argue with God and gave me the pink slip and keys to the car. She told me to come and get it whenever I wanted to.
Well, when she stated that God told her to give me the car it was as if a giant hand had slapped me across the face. This made me realize from that moment on there was truly a living God.
She invited me to her church the following Sunday. I was baptized there, knowing that there is a God. I began to grow in the Lord, joined a Holiness church, and attended for more than two years. I backslid, and now I'm paying the price for that mistake by being in the penitentiary again.
However, the Lord has given me other testimonies since that time — and if there are others who would like to hear some of them I would welcome their letters.
Henry West J-33866