Linda Shive

On Saturday morning, Oct. 5, 1974, two baptist preachers–not of our belief–rang the doorbell. When I answered the door, I was asked if I wanted to be saved. I, of course, answered, “Yes.” They asked me if I had a bible, and when I said yes, they asked me to turn to Romans, chapter 10, and read verses 8-9 aloud. When I finished reading, they shook my hand, congratulated me and told me I had just been saved–all I had to do was believe it. Well, I guess this was the beginning of my heavy conviction.
All day long, I would ask God if I really was saved and just needed to believe it. In my mind, though, I knew I wasn’t because my parents had always taught s that when we were saved, we would know it. I spent the rest of the day and night praying and pleading for God to save me. On Sunday, October 6, Southside Missionary Baptist Church was starting revival. I told Keith, my husband, “I have to go to church tonight. I don’t expect you to understand this, but I really need to go.” Elder James Jones was the pastor and Elder Hugh Hudson was the helper. Brother Hudson preached that night and I remember so clearly that he was preaching to me and me alone. It was as if there was nobody in the church but me, even though the church was full. Well, I thought I had a heavy load when I went to church that night, but my load became even heavier than it had been. I went to the altar that night, but left without salvation. I continued to call upon God to save me after I got home. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and went to the kitchen, continuing to call upon God to save me. Morning came and I was still lost and was so heavily burdened, because I didn’t think God would save someone like myself.
I went back to church on Monday night and went to the altar. I remember Brother Larry Hainey and Brother Ancel Jones praying next to me. They were praying and crying and I couldn’t believe that these men were crying for me. Men are strong and the just don’t cry. Well, these two did and that really touched me and made an everlasting impression on me. Well, I again left unsaved that night and, once again, couldn’t sleep and was up praying for God to save me again. Morning came and I was still lost. I tried to bargain with God, telling Him that if He would save me, I would do this or that, but I soon found out that you don’t make bargains with God. Sister Ruth Emberton called me to see how I was doing and asked if she could help me in any way. She said that Brother Emberton had just come in and wanted to talk to me. Well, we talked for over two hours. When we started talking, I was thinking “maybe I’ll be saved,” but by the time we hung up, I was saying “I know I’ll be saved!” I went to my bedroom and knelt down and prayed. I got up and went to my sons’ bedroom, opened the closet, and was beginning to hang some clothes. As I was hanging my daughter’s dress, I said, “I know You’re going to save me!” I clapped my hands and said “I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but I know You’re going to save me!” the last thing I remember was facing the closet and hanging clothes. When I came to myself, I was looking out the window and singing “Heaven’s Really Gonna Shine.” it was 2:45 pm and my son, Brian, had just come in from school and was asking me if we were going to church again that night. Well, he was only seven at the time and had never been to church until two nights before, so I got him up in my lap and tried to explain to him why we go to church. At this time, I still hadn’t realized I had been saved. The doorbell rang and it was Sister Mary Hainey. As I opened the door, I said, “Mary, God just saved my soul!” She said, “Really?” I looked around at all the beauty that surrounded everything and I said, “Really!” She asked me if I was to die, where would I go? I said, “Heaven!” This was October 8, 1974. I joined Southside that night and was baptized the following Sunday in Fall Creek by Brother James Jones.