Judy's Testimony, continued.... I remember feeling unsettled about my salvation as I grew older. When I was 11, we were living in Northville, Michigan and I talked with Pastor Trachsel about my concerns. He spoke with Mama and, together, they decided that I had been saved as a child, but they thought it would be okay for me to be baptized again so that I'd remember it. So, I was put under the waters a second time.
By the time I was a teen, we'd moved to Toronto, Canada and were attending Parkway Bible Church. They had a big teen group and I was very involved, attending every activity possible. Teen choir, youth group, concerts, rallies, parties, mall-witnessing trips. You name it, I was there.
I was having great fun, had wonderful friends and the phenomenal variety of activities suited my on-the-go personality perfectly. But, there came a day when a professional football player from Montreal was speaking to the teens at a special activity. Oh, I can't remember what he said. I can't remember his name. I can't remember if an invitation was given. But, I can distinctly remember that I knew he had something that I didn't have, and I wanted what (who) he had!
Immediately after the program finished, I ran to the basement "teen room" (the one with the green shag carpet - it was the early 70's, after all) and bowed my head and asked Jesus to come into my heart. Finally, no more worrying. no more wondering about my salvation. I was sure and excited, and I couldn't wait to get home to tell Mama the wonderful news. Unfortunately, Mama's explanation was that I'd had a "rededication," and that I'd become a Christian when I was a child during the conversation with Pastor Littleford in Minneapolis. She reassuringly told me that it was not uncommon to have times where we would rededicate our lives to Christ and that the excitement could seem as if it were the first time.
So, I went through life believing that I asked Jesus to come into my life and take me to heaven when I die back when I was a little child.
But then, I started attending Liberty Baptist Church in Columbia, MO. And when Pastor Caldwell asked people to share their testimony, once again I felt something was wrong. I felt I had no "real" testimony.
Now, I know people don't have to jump up and down and shout or cry when they have a salvation experience, but at least they should remember it! And, I didn't.
So, I was always a little sad when he asked for testimonies because I couldn't share anything other than, "My mother told me I got saved when I was 8."
That sure didn't seem part of God's plan for me, but I couldn't figure out what to do about it until one night in 1992.
It was the December 6th evening service and we were partaking of the Lord's Supper. As he commonly did, Pastor Caldwell asked people to share their testimony between scriptures and songs.
The first person to raise their hand was Gary Pilger. sitting in the very back of the church. Gary was a quiet man, and I was surprised that he offered to go first. But, I was more surprised by his getting up from his seat and walking toward the front of the church. I guess Pastor was surprised, too, because he asked Gary if he was going to come all the way to the microphone. "Sure," Gary answered. "Testimonies are very important and I want to make sure everyone here is able to hear what I have to say." Well, it was as if the Holy Spirit said, "Judy Todd. Sit up and pay attention! This is for YOU!" Of course, you can bet that I was at full attention and heard not just the words that Gary spoke, but imagined the scene at the lakeside when Gary was 15 at camp, and through his vivid description, I was able to relive the experience I'd had in the basement of the Toronto church. Oh, how vividly the memory of the time on my knees in that basement teen room came flooding back to me. And, I clearly heard the Holy Spirit say to my heart, "Judy, THIS is your testimony. THIS was when Jesus gave me to you. THIS was when you became a Christian. THIS was the day you could stop worrying. THIS is the day Jesus gave you eternal life."
I was so overcome with the joy of my salvation that I couldn't speak. I just sat there and quietly cried tears of joy. That is, until the Lord's Supper plate was passed to me and I realized that I had been "dunked" twice, but had not been scripturally baptized AFTER my salvation. Because I believe baptism is the first ordinance of the church and the Lord's Supper the second, I did not want partake of the Lord's Supper until I had been baptized.
Immediately after the service, I approached Pastor Caldwell and explained what had happened. The following Sunday, December 13, 1992, I was baptized.
Now, in defense of Mama. she did what all Christian mothers must do. She made sure she modeled the life of a Christian. She made sure we were under good preaching and teachers. She made sure we were all going to heaven when we died. But, the time she thought I was saved was when I was so little. Well, I have no memory of it.
I don't believe God would let me lose the memory of something so precious, so will be eternally thankful for the man, Gary Pilger, who stepped forward with a message for me that night so that God could restore to me the joy of my salvation.
A few other interesting tidbits about me:
1. I was an alto the day I joined Liberty Baptist Church in August of 1987. Cindy Pepmiller, the choir conductor at the time, asked me to sing soprano, since I could reach a "D" above middle C and there was only one other soprano at the time and many altos. I complied and God allowed my voice to be exercised to His service.
2. I studied music as an undergraduate student at NMSU (Now Truman State University) as a flute major, but switched my major to American History between my junior and senior years.
3. I married Danny Todd on October 8, 1977 and we have two wonderful children, Amy--who has given us four grandchildren (Aleeyah, Davion, Keelon and Chi'Marreon) and William-- who brought a sweet girl named Elizabeth into our lives when they married. They now have two sons, Ayden and Keegan.
4. I have worked at the University of Missouri since June 12, 1977. a. My current job at Mizzou is: Nonresident Alien Taxation Specialist
5. I adore singing with the Liberty Belles and am excited at what God has in store for us in the future!