I was born in Oklahoma City in 1961, and I have spent the majority of my 48 years in Oklahoma. (I have also lived in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and upstate New York; more recently, I have lived in South Carolina. I have since moved back to Oklahoma.) I learned about Jesus little by little, as a child. I did not grow up in a family that attended church, prayed, or read the Bible, but my mother saw to it that I had exposure to Christian teaching. She sent me to church off and on, and bought me some Christian books for children. Among them were three books by Mary Alice Jones: Tell Me About God, Tell Me About Jesus, and Tell Me About Christmas; she gave them to me when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. In addition, she allowed a couple to visit our home once a week for a period of time, while I was in 2nd grade. That couple showed us a series of filmstrips, portraying the life of Jesus; at one point, they gave me a black, pocket-sized New Testament. (At one point, for a time--while I lived in Oklahoma City--she sent me to a church that she thinks may have been a Church of Christ.)

During the early 1970s, while I was in the 5th through part of the 8th grade, I started attending a local Southern Baptist church in the small southeastern Oklahoman town where we had moved, by then. It had an active youth program, with many social activities, and which I got involved in; as a result of its program, quite a few of the town's kids were involved with church. (Looking back, I suspect that the existence of the ongoing Jesus Movement that was so powerful at that time might have had a lot to do with that. If so, then it was my good fortune to be a part of that movement.) I also received much teaching there.

In addition, while I was in 5th grade, a Christian couple visited my class once a month, to teach us about the Bible (this was in the days before public religious expression and education was banned in the public classroom). The visiting teachers would give us Bible lessons, and would have us memorize Bible verses that focused on salvation. As incentives for the memorization program, they gave us little awards for doing so--individual copies of the Gospels, a wooden picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd which I still have, etc. (That same year, our 5th-grade teacher had us recite the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of the school day, every day--something else that is forbidden now.)

Also, while I was in the 5th grade, my mother gave me, as a Christmas present, a children�s version of the Bible--The Illustrated Children�s Bible, published by Golden Books. I quite enjoyed reading it, and many of the stories I most enjoyed were the stories in the Old Testament. (Later, when I was in 7th grade, she gave me a youth version of The Living Bible called The Way. By then, I was born-again.)

Thanks to the people God brought into my life to teach me about His ways, my knowledge of the gospel grew little by little, in bits and pieces. At some point, during my late childhood, I realized that I was a sinner and would go to Hell unless I received Jesus as my Savior. So, I prayed the sinner�s prayer; at that point, Jesus came into my life. (I have only a vague memory of doing so, so I cannot describe the circumstances under which I asked Him into my heart. I only remember that I did it.) At some point later, when I was in the 7th grade, I was baptized into the Southern Baptist church I'd been attending.

Ever since my salvation experience, I have known what my eternal destiny is, and I know that I�m a child of God who is destined for Heaven. And I know that, when the time comes for the Rapture, I will be caught up with every other born-again Christian, thanks to God�s mercy in making that an eventuality for us. Needless to say, I thank God that the day of the Rapture is so near!

I want everyone who reads this to know that you can know what your eternal destiny is, too! All you have to do is admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died for you, and ask Him to come into your heart. And He will do it! Believe me, He will. He promised He would, and He never lies.

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