- Matthew's Testimony
- Sarah's Testimony
- Doctrinal Statement
I was born in 1979 and born again in 2000. I was raised as a non-religious Mormon, steeped in their overall tenet of good works; yet I knew I could never be that good. From ages 11 to 18, my innocence was lost as I indulged in almost every form of drugs, alcohol, and worldly pleasure one could find.
The day came when a young man named Darrell Marshall asked me if I knew that Jesus is God. I was sure that if anyone was God, Jesus would be Him, but I was not sure. Within a year of being asked that question, continuing a friendship with Darrell, and searching the Scriptures for myself, I came to see that the Mormons were a lie, the Bible alone was truth, and only by Jesus Christ and His shed blood for my sin could my soul have any hope of Heaven. I knelt down with a tract of John and Romans that Darrell had given me. In a midnight hour, I cried out to God, confessed my sins, repented, and asked God to save me from sin, self, and an eternity in the Lake of Fire. I had been crying tears of pain, but when I got up; my tears were tears of joy, for I had been saved.
In 2002, Pastor Joe Kotvas of Efata Deaf Ministries visited my home church in Leesburg, Georgia. I do not remember much of what Bro. Kotvas preached, yet while he showed his presentation about Efata, my heart was moved for the Deaf. Since I had been saved, God had been dealing with me about doing something for Him somewhere in the world. At that moment in my home church, I knew God wanted me to step out on faith and go confirm His will that He wanted me to work in Efata Deaf Ministries.
After that service, I asked Bro. Kotvas if he needed any help. He said, “Yes, we always do, but don’t be in a hurry. Come and visit for a week and pray about what God would have you to do.” After I fasted and prayed for one week, I told my Pastor that I knew I had to go to Peru, but I didn’t know how I was going to get there. My Pastor explained that I should go for one week with a construction crew from our church. I went to Peru in 2002 with the construction crew and determined to stay there. Pastor Kotvas told me, “No. Go home for now, then come back for three months.” So from May – July 2003, I worked in Efata.
Efata Deaf Ministries consist of a Deaf Baptist Church with a hearing ministry, a Deaf Christian School, and a home for Deaf children. During those three months, the Lord led me to seek a multitude of counselors, to be open to whatever He wanted me to do, and to preach Christ to the Deaf in Peru. Pastor Kotvas counseled me to go to Oklahoma Baptist College, so I could “have my rough edges knocked off.” In July 2006, the Lord brought Sarah and I together. I graduated from OBC in May 2007. We were married on August 10, 2007. The Lord did a wonderful job of matching us up with the same love for missions and the same heart for the Deaf.
I was raised in a Christian home. My parents taught me from a young age to serve the Lord. For a long time, I thought I had gotten saved when I was 4 years old. As I became older, I started having doubts about my salvation. I couldn’t remember asking Jesus into my heart. When I would start doubting, Satan would remind me that I must have gotten saved. After all, I could remember being baptized!
One Sunday when I was 11 years old, my Pastor preached a message about people who were members of the church, but you wouldn’t meet them in Heaven because they were not saved. I felt the Holy Spirit convicting me and telling me that the message was for me. All I could think at the time was, “How does Preacher know I’m not saved?” I didn’t want to go forward during the invitation – what would everyone think? Fear of going to Hell overcame my pride and I went forward. My Preacher’s wife showed me from the Bible how I could know for sure I was going to Heaven. That morning I prayed and asked Jesus to live in my heart. Now I know for sure I am on my way to Heaven!
The summer I was 13 years old, I went to church camp. I don’t remember any of the messages from that week, but God spoke to my heart about surrendering to be a missionary. I went forward the following Sunday, and made it public that I was surrendering my life to be a missionary.
After I graduated from high school, I went to Oklahoma Baptist College. It was not until after I graduated from OBC in May 1997, that the Lord showed me the next step in His plan for my life. After counseling with my Preacher, Bro. Vineyard, I started deputation to raise support to go to the Philippines. I arrived in the Philippines on August 4, 1999. For 7 ½ years, God allowed me to work with the Sisson Family in General Santos City, Mindanao, Philippines.
While I was home on furlough in 2004, I met Matt. I did not know then that he was the man God had chosen for me to marry. I returned home to the Philippines, never dreaming of the plans God had in store for me! In November 2005, God showed me that I should be praying for Matt as my future husband! I was rather shocked, since I had been praying about someone else! I began praying for Matt, but he did not know.
When I returned to the States again in 2006, I saw Matt again while I was in Oklahoma City. He invited me to go with him and our Deaf Group to a baseball game on July 4. Not knowing that he had been praying about me, I agreed to go! Before church the next evening, Matt asked me to pray about allowing him to court me. Imagine the shock on Matt’s face when I told him I had been praying for him since November, so if he was asking the answer was yes!
We believe that the King James Bible is verbally inspired and Holy Spirit preserved for English-speaking people and that it is the sole final authority in all matters of faith, doctrine, and practice.
We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-again persons. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control. We recognize baptism by immersion and the Lord's Supper as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age.
We believe that the Bible reveals God, the fall of man, the way of salvation, and God’s plan and purpose through the ages.
We believe that there is only one true and living God, existing in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe in the Deity, Virgin Birth, and the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We believe that salvation is “by grace,” plus nothing and minus nothing. The conditions of salvation are repentance and faith.
We believe that men are justified by faith alone and are accounted righteous before God, only through the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We believe in the visible, personal, and pre-millennial return of Jesus Christ.
We believe in the everlasting conscious blessedness of the saved and the everlasting conscious punishment of the lost in Hell.
We believe that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, converts the repentant, seals God’s children, and endues them with soul-winning power.
We believe that the so-called charismatic experience is both a doctrinal and a practical error; and therefore, neither to be sought nor practiced.
We believe that the Word of God is sufficient for doctrine and instruction in righteousness, both Armenian and Calvinistic doctrines are to be shunned in favor of Bible doctrine.