The Personal Testimony Of Connie Owen

I was always known as 'the good little girl.'I never smoked, drank, or cursed. But on March 11, 1985, all of that didn't matter. I found myself a sinner like I'd never seen before. This is a story of a little girl who was working her way to Heaven and didn't even know it.

I am thankful for my parents who took me to church every time the doors were open. Having been brought up in a Christian home, I was a very good girl. I remember listening to the preacher and being made aware of God at a young age. I had my first experience at age 8. All I really remember about it was that I was so short that I had to stand in a chair when I got baptized. I never was really sure I was saved, so I said the words, "If I'm not saved, save me," a million times; especially at night when I was most afraid. I went through grammar school and junior high being a very moral person. I took notes when the preacher preached and tried to do my best to read my Bible every now & then and also make a 'contact' during the week. You know, you wanted to be able to mark those spaces on your envelope Sunday morning. At age sixteen I wanted to settle this salvation thing once and for all. After all, I was older now and it would be easier to remember this experience when I grew up. I had doubted long enough. Even though I was a very faithful young person, and led most young people at the churches I attended, I still had doubts and fears. When I went down and told the preacher that I wasn't sure I was saved, he lead me through the 'Roman's Road,' and I prayed the prayer. I had settled it once again. I didn't feel any different after that, but had sincerely thought I had done the right thing. I went on through high school trying to be a witness by not doing any of those 'big'sins like smoking and drinking. Even if I would have had the desire for those things, I probably wouldn't have tried them because of the fear I had of my mother. I didn't like it at the time but that fear kept me from a lot of scars. I am thankful that I lived a sheltered life and that my parents did what was best for me.

I graduated from high school and went to Blue Mountain College. I was still a good little girl, but I wasn't that serious about God. While at Blue Mountain, I met my husband, Terry, who WAS very serious about God. It was good for me to be around him for I needed someone who was spiritually stronger than I was. If it hadn't been for Terry, I don't believe I would have sought God at all. Months later, we were married. We served God the best we knew how. I remember telling Terry a lot that I wasn't sure I was saved. He would tell me how he struggled too. We would cry together but wouldn't know what to do.

Terry was asked to lead the music in a Revival with a preacher named Charles Shipman. I went along the first night and thought he was an interesting preacher. The second night of the revival, Terry realized that he was lost. He told me on the way home that night. It shook me up a little bit, and I began wondering again whether I was saved or not. God was not dealing with me at that time though. I remember that Terry would really be seeking and reading his Bible, desperately trying to find God. I would just roll over and go to sleep, not really that worried about it. The next night at the revival, I wanted to see what Brother Charles thought about my 16-year old experience. I told him what I did when I was sixteen and his reply was "Only you know," and, "Are you willing to die with it?"This satisfied me for a while because I had done all that I knew to do. I was living with a lost man, however, so I was constantly having to look at my salvation. I tossed the idea around a lot about being lost over the next few days.

The following week, we attended Camp Zion at Brother Charles' invitation. After spending a week under his preaching, we had a lot of confidence in him. I had never been to Camp Zion before. I really didn't know what to think when I saw people shouting and running up and down the isles. During the services, I was remembering some of the things that I had heard Brother Charles preach the week before. I was understanding or seeing some things about salvation differently now.

During a break in the services, Brother Charles talked to Terry and tried to help him understand what real salvation was. I listened not really knowing that the story Brother Charles was telling was really for me. I have to tell you the story, for God used it so personally in my testimony. The story is about a father who had a son. His son had a best friend who was dying. The friend had a rare blood type that was hard to find. There was only one person that had this blood type: the Father's Son. So, the father asked the friend if he wanted to give his best friend his blood so that he could live. The only thing was it meant death to his son. The son decided to do it because he loved his best friend so much. They took them both to the hospital and started to draw the son's blood out of his body. Drop by drop, the Father watched the life flow out of his son. The blood flowed until the son lay there lifeless. It was done. His son had given his life so his best friend could live. The father took the blood and offered it to the best friend. The best friend looked up and said, "I've changed my mind, I don't want the blood." Can you imagine how the father must have felt? His son had died in vain. Do you think he would ever be offered the blood again? I don't know if this story affected Terry, but God wrote it in my heart so He could use it again. After Brother Charles told us this story, it was time for the next service to start. We sat down but before the service started, Terry asked me if I knew if I was lost or saved yet. He knew I had been struggling a little, but my reply was, "Probably saved." We listened to the preacher, but the whole time I was struggling with some things he was saying. He was making salvation seem so easy but I remembered how Brother Charles would say, "It's impossible."

The preacher finished and the invitation started. God started showing me some things. For the first time, I was seeing that Jesus was on the cross for me. Even though I wasn't out in the world drinking and carousing around, I was still a lost sinner - and just as bad as any of them. If I was the only one, he would have died for me. For the first time, Jesus was real and I knew He was alive. Terry asked me if I wanted to go down and talk to Brother Charles. I told him that I didn't. I kept on crying because I thought that all my life, I was going to Heaven. I realized that I wasn't and I was so homesick. Terry asked me again if I wanted to go down and I agreed. It seemed the further I got down the isle, the heavier the burden got. I ran to Brother Charles with tears flowing down my face. He realized what was going on and said, "This girl needs to get saved." We knelt down and a lot of preachers gathered around us. I began to see some things, not with my eyes, but I guess with my heart. I saw Jesus bringing me a bag of blood and offering it to me. God was using the story that was previously told to Terry. I knew I wanted his blood but I didn't know how to take it. I struggled to believe as a woman in travail struggles to deliver. Little did I know but the birth would happen naturally just a human birth does. Brother Charles kept telling me it was a gift but I didn't understand. He also told me that I wanted to have the salvation before I believed. Then it would be easy to believe. He told me that I was going to have to believe to receive. I tried to and tried to believe for a long time but there was no relief in my soul. Finally, I just got so tired of trying that I got frustrated and gave up. It was then that the rest came. All of the tears and travail had stopped. I looked up because there was nothing else going on. It was so quiet. I couldn't bring it all back on me. It was done; the great transaction was done. Just as God rested on the seventh day, I rested when He finished His work in me. I got up from there a different person. I went and called my parents. When I began to go back over what had happened I got so excited and amazed. I couldn't believe God had been so real to me, just me, and saved me. I told people at college the next day, and it seemed I was the only one on campus that God had taken the time to come down and give salvation.

Oh what a wonderful day! March 11, 1985; God caught me by surprise, brought me to my knees and gave me something that changed me from the inside out. He showed me myself so He could show me Himself. I didn't deserve it but God loved this 'good little girl'and gave her His Son.

Romans 10:20 says, "...I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me." This verse means a lot to me because God came to someone who really wasn't looking for Him. He manifested himself to me when all the attention was on my husband. God loves those who seek him not. I know this for sure!

“…When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”