So, here we are getting ready to set sail again for the rest of this amazing journey. After 35 years at the Pentecostals of Greenville, NC, Pastor Ron and Mrs. Charlene Lappin are ready to continue in this ministry that has enriched their lives. As a church body, we can only say thanks for all that you’ve invested into our lives. You have worked through the storms of this life and still you can rest assured that Jesus Christ is guiding you every step of the way. We thank you for your commitment to reaching the lost, because we were lost until the Lord led us to this church. You led us to Christ through the preaching of the Word.
We are blessed to have had your friendship through the years. The years have multiplied, and the challenges have strengthened our character, but our faith has kept us standing even when we might have fallen if we turned our eyes away to the left or the right. When the waves tried to overwhelm us, I remember you reminding us not to quit: to keep in this race. Thank you for giving us your confidence when we may have felt disillusioned with the onslaught of negativity in the world. It was always your prayers that touched heaven when the darkness surrounded us.
Thank you. It is the seemingly insignificant gestures of kindness that I am most grateful for. When I was in a trial, or confused about some direction that I needed to take, it was you who encouraged me to find the joy in the small things. Maybe it wasn’t even noticeable to others, but God knew exactly what I needed to put life in perspective. You could sense when a word was needed, and also, when all that was needed was a prayer.
My life is blessed beyond measure and I thank you that you obeyed the Lord to come to Greenville. The Lord’s timing is excellent. So many people have been touched by your ministry. Never forget how much you are appreciated. People may not always express their gratitude effectively, but the results of your compassion for others is evident. We may never know fully how our words have impacted others, until the Lord comes, but that is okay. As you have often spoken about planting seeds, it’s not for us to worry about who or how those seeds will thrive; it is our purpose to plant the seeds, because it is God who will give the increase.
Testimonies from the heart after twenty-four years
I entered the church in the old building at 11th and Forbes. I lived three houses down the street in a boarding house (the only female). I could sit on the front porch and hear the music from the church. I could not make out the words, but that was okay.
One evening (a Wednesday), I was in my room, and heard a voice telling me to get up and go to church. I obeyed. I knew no one there but felt welcome. I remember Zelma handing me a tissue as I sat in the pew crying due to the love I was feeling. I do not remember what was sung, or what was said, I just remember hearing Brother Kenny Marshburn was the special speaker. It was the first day of revival. I was so touched by the feeling of God’s presence that all I could do was cry. I quietly cried throughout the entire service. When altar call was given, I may have been the first person to respond. I instantly received the Holy Ghost with evidence of speaking with other tongues.
When I returned the next night, Brother Lappin came off the platform to greet me personally. Service had already started. That night I was baptized in the precious Name of Jesus. I grew up Methodist, but God had other plans. It took running away from home twice, and ultimately arriving in Greenville to find my way home. I truly believe if I had not run away the second time, then, I would not be in a Pentecostal church. Who knows, maybe not in church at all. –Jill Miller
God Had Given a Sign
About this time of year 33 yrs. ago a girl named Mary White invited me to church. She knew me from a cell group (of marriage-troubled people) that I had formed as a catholic.
Wayne Huntley was preaching and had brought his newly formed choir to sing. When I heard the choir I said to myself, “they can’t sing too well but they’re very excited”. When I saw some in audience worshiping I said to myself “I’ll never do that”. After service I had no intention of going back. Later around Thurs or Fri I had a lingering lump in my throat such as I would get as a kid and left home for a time (i.e. homesickness). I had physical homesick symptoms for something I knew not what! So I was unable to not go back to that church.
Over the next few weeks the services worked on me. Finally another girl (from my cell group) named Edna said she thought I was going to be baptized that Sunday before sundown. Since it was October, sundown was before church time. I sort of thought she was a prophetess. So all day Sunday I prayed if I should get baptized. I told God if I did I wanted Him to give me a sign that it was right thing to do.
I called Bro. Lappin and told him I wanted to get baptized before sundown. He wanted me to do it at evening service but I was adamant (he didn’t understand why).
When I went into water (at 4:00) I felt so amazing I would not come back out except Pastor pulled me out. Then strange sounds started to come out of my mouth. (I now know that it was the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking with tongues).
God had given a sign. Ken
God’s Way is Perfect
- God’s way is perfect.
- God is my strength and keeps me going.
- God is the foundation that I have built my salvation on and without Him, I wouldn’t feel like going on.
When I was first introduced to the Pentecostals it was probably in the late 70’s. I saw the differences in dress and attitudes, but I still knew nothing about what they believed. I knew that there was an emptiness in my life, but I didn’t know what it would take to fill it. I also knew it wasn’t being done in the church I attended as a child and adult. I finally stopped going to church.
Then, my daughter introduced me to the Pentecostals in 1991, and they were located on the corner of 11th and Forbes Street here in Greenville. I was taught a bible study called “Exploring God’s Word,” and I have never been the same again.
When I was filled with God’s spirit it was the most awesome experience that I’ve ever had in my life; the more I studied the Word, the more committed I became. I don’t know of anything that is more important and fulfilling than living for God. I’m just in awe of Him. Sometimes I sit back and meditate on His greatness. In my little mind, I can’t begin to comprehend His greatness, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and longsuffering and he does it for me and everyone.
When I pray, I ask God to put into my heart to be able to love as He loves, forgive as He forgives, and not to hold on to anger, bitterness, and resentment. In other words, I want to be more and more like Him every day that I live. It is down inside of me, that the most important thing in my life is God.
Don’t love the world or the things of the world, because all the world has to offer is death and destruction, and who in their right mind would desire to suffer for an eternity and on top of that, we can’t even comprehend something that never ends. I choose life with Jesus, and I always study the Word of God, pray, and attend the Pentecostals of Greenville. If you decide to live for Him, you will never be the same again. –mc
Bible study student
In 1990, God had been drawing me and since I was pregnant, and I knew I was a sinner, I was ready to make changes in my life, so I began to cry out to Him. I wanted to know him and soon God sent Bro. Tom Miller with a bible study and while reading the scripture, God revealed His Oneness to me. As a child, I was taught trinity–baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and something never seemed right about that to me. On the day of the bible study, God gave me the understanding and my life was forever changed–soon after I repented and was baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus–There are not enough words to describe that day when a loving God sets you free and forgives you and then, fills you with His spirit. It really is Joy unspeakable and full of glory–He has never let me down, and he has always been good to me. Thank you, Jesus! – Marina Tate
In this week’s Lattereign, the-best-is-yet-to-come, we read more about my journey to Pentecost and what this church has meant to me.