Johnny Klugh's Testimony
Dear Rev. Kelley,
It was a delight for me to speak with Mrs. Kelley this morning and to find out that you at one time pastored the Fourth Street Baptist Church in Hartsville. I have tried several times through the years to locate you so I could tell you about my being saved many years ago through your ministry.
I grew up in Columbia, graduated from U.S.C., and went to work for Deering Milliken in 1960. After spending about a year on a management training program I was assigned to the spinning department as its second shift supervisor. Marvin Ott was the second shift supervisor in the card room and we became good friends. Marvin was a great fellow whom I had a world of respect for. Even though Marvin suffered terribly from arthritis his spirit was always good and his outlook positive.
Marvin's death in an automobile accident (though, I believe the cause of his death was later found to be due to a heart attack) was a real shock to me. I knew the same thing could happen to me at any time, and though I knew and cared little for the things of God, I knew also that I was in no condition to stand before Him. Great fear came over me but I didn't have an idea in the world as to what to do about it.
I attended Marvin's funeral with a mixture of real sorrow for Marvin and genuine concern for myself. Your message that day was on the glories of Heaven, of Marvin's joy there, and of the sadness of Mrs. Ott and Marvin's family then but of the grand reunion they could look forward to in Glory some day. I knew this was what I had to have and I promised the Lord that I would live for Him the rest of my life.
As I walked back to the mill I knew my life would never be the same. I started immediately to read the Bible and to study everything I could find about the Lord. I had been raised in the church but knew nothing about being born again. It was many months later before I read a copy of the plan of salvation and found I had been saved at Marvin's funeral! How I rejoiced!
Things could not have been going much better for me up till that point. I had a good job, a wonderful wife, and our first child was on the way. I didn't know that I needed anything else. The very day I was saved, though, I found out how empty and restless my life had been. Such love, peace, and joy filled my life that I would never have guessed before could have been possible.
Shirlee, my wife, had been raised a Catholic. I didn't know what was happening in my life and she sure didn't. I wanted to go to church every time the doors opened, read the Bible all the time, and talk about the Lord - she never had been around anyone like that and didn't know that she wanted to be. However, as should happen in the Christian life, after my conversion things became much better for her. As she told some of her friends, "I don't know what's happened to Johnny but I'm sure glad it happened." Shirlee was saved a short time later as a result of my conversion and has become one of the most outstanding Christians I have ever known.
Sometime after I was saved Milliken moved us to Hartwell, GA, where we lived for seven years. The last 16 years we have been living in Commerce where I am employed by Harmony Grove Mills, Inc. Shirlee and I have three boys, all grown, and four grandchildren (all of whom live close to us for which we're thankful - three of the grandchildren are girls which is an added bonus).
The best I have been able to figure is that I was saved in Dec. 1962 - I have never known the day but I sure know what happened. I have lived for the Lord ever since then seeking always to live a clear, consistent testimony for Christ in my home, community, and business dealings. I have been active in the Gideons for 25 years, I'm teacher of the Men's Bible Class of the Commerce Methodist Church and have served in most every capacity in the church except the choir (where I stand willing but uninvited). I count soul winning to be the main business of my life and that which thrills me most.
Again, I'm delighted to have finally been able to share with you the influence of your ministry on me. Thank God that you were true to your calling and preached His Word clearly when it was the greatest need of my life. I hope my testimony will be a blessing and encouragement to you as you seek to serve Him.