Bevans Welder’s Testimony

For readability, this is the condensed version of my testimony.  I have found long testimonies can be boring, as you are probably aware.  So, I’ll spare you the boredom.

I was raised Roman Catholic; we went to church as a family faithfully every Sunday.  I went to parochial schools under the continuous influence of nuns and the Brothers of Mary.  I was also an altar boy.  By the time I entered the eighth grade, I had become interested in the priesthood and enrolled in St. Anthony’s Seminary in San Antonio, for my freshman year of high school.  St. Anthony’s is an Oblate seminary.

One night in May of that year, an upper classman and I snuck off campus for a double date with two girls we met at a debate competition.  We attended a drama called the “Fantastics.”  The kiss my date gave me convinced me that the priesthood was not for me.  No way was I going to spend the rest of my life as a celibate!!  So, I left San Antonio to attend McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the remainder of high school.

While at McCallie, I ran track and cross country.  Rocky Young, the chaplain of the school, invited me to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting and I was happy to go.  I was an athlete and I considered myself a Christian.  This was also a chance for a good meal at the Read House Hotel and a few hours off campus!

At that meeting, I heard a young man give his personal testimony about his relationship to Jesus Christ.  I knew immediately that there was a vast difference between his relationship to Jesus and my relationship to Jesus.  He and Jesus were friends, but Jesus was more like the school principal to me.  The only time I went to him is when I was in trouble.  You can only imagine the feelings of guilt and shame, if you have never been through this yourself.

I told Rocky that I wanted what that young man had.  So, Rocky took me back to the campus and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to me all the way “home.”  When we arrived on campus, I asked Rocky when I could get saved.  I was thinking there must be a particular Sunday in the year when you could do that or a particular church which you had to attend.

He said, “If you want to get saved, you can get saved right here and right now.” So, he and I got on our knees in the parking lot outside of the Chapel and I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior!  Man that was way better than the priesthood.  Jesus and I were now friends; I had been reconciled to God through the death of his Son!  For the first time in my life, I enjoyed the Lord and I enjoyed praying.

Well, fast forward a bit.  I attended Rice University in Houston, Texas, and while there I joined First Baptist Church.  Pastor John Bisagno was a great preacher and he helped me get through college with his encouraging sermons.  My roommate, who still faithfully serves the Lord, was also a great influence in my life.

When I graduated from college, though, and started my banking career with Capital National Bank in Houston, I began to socialize a lot and in time strayed from the church and the Lord.  I never had been a Bible reader and so I had no light to guide me.  The darkness of the world closed in and I found myself backslidden and away from God.

It was in this condition that I met my lovely wife, Anne.  She had been raised Presbyterian.  She and I assumed that her confirmation as a 12 year old was the same as my conversion as a 15 year old, and so, in May of 1980, we were married.  And here is the strangest thing, as a backslidden Christian, I asked her for a King James Bible as a wedding present.  Somehow, the Lord had enough influence in my life to make sure that I had his words in my hand for a day down the road when he would use them mightily in my life.

The year after we married, we moved to Beeville, Texas, where I became president of the First National Bank of Beeville.  We attended the Methodist Church in those days and under Pastor Buddy Johnston, I was asked to teach the adult Sunday school class.  That was funny looking back because I really had no business teaching anybody anything about the Bible.  I was regurgitating Dr. Ed Young’s Corinthians tapes and teaching out of an NASV.

One night, in September of 1986, I said to the Lord, “I really ought to be reading at least one chapter of the Bible each day if I am going to be teaching Sunday school.”  Oddly, when I went to get my Bible, I didn’t reach for the NASV, I picked up that King James Bible my wife had given me several years before.  I silently said to the Lord, “Wherever it falls open is where I am going to read.”  It opened to Ps 119.  I couldn’t believe it, 176 verses!!  I looked up to the ceiling and said, “You’ve got to be kidding.”

It didn’t take the Lord 10 verses to get my attention.  I was out of that chair and on my knees.  I read every word of every verse after verse 9 on my knees.  I was bawling like a little child as the Lord showed me my life from his perspective and I was horrified.  I confessed every sin that I could think of.  It sounds strange now, but I didn’t think that I would live through the night; I was so weighed down with the burden of my sin.  Through all of the godly sorrow, I eventually prayed this prayer, “Lord if I wake up in the morning, my hands are off the reins.  From now on, we are going your way, not mine.”

Things really changed after that.  The transformation was so drastic and so complete that I honestly doubted whether I had even been saved when I was 15.  I was voraciously reading my King James Bible and the Lord was guiding my life.  Because we weren’t getting fed, we left the Methodist Church and joined First Baptist Church.  Three weeks later, my wife received Jesus Christ.  We started witnessing to all of our friends and I was “preaching” to all of my customers. 

Within two years, I had been called to preach.  In 1989, I resigned the bank to go into the ministry full time.  Shortly thereafter, we moved to Pensacola, Florida, where I enrolled in Pensacola Bible Institute for Bible College.  Man what a change!

Well, in August of 2012, I will have been in the pastorate full-time for 20 years, preaching and teaching the King James Bible.  It still seems like yesterday that I trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.  As they say, “time flies.”  And truthfully, with the abundant life of Christ, time dissolves into eternity.  It just gets better every day!!

If you are not saved, I highly recommend Jesus Christ to you.  Watch the video Christ’s Plan of Salvation and I’ll show you from the Bible just how easy it is to get saved.  Jesus is the only worthy Savior.  That’s because HE is the ONLY Savior.  Won’t you trust Him!

 

Bevans Welder           

Salvation Video