The Baptist Beacon
My Experience of Salvation
by Elda Wilkes
When I was age 10, the summer of 1947, the second week in August, during revival at Westport Missionary Baptist Church, my best friend, Betty, and I were sitting on about the third pew from the altar that evening. The pastor, Bro. Fred Prince, had just brought the message and gave the altar call. Sis. Romie Spoon, a good Christian lady, came and asked my friend if she was lost. My friend was two years older than I, and anything she did I thought I had to do it, too. That's called "peer pressure" now. I had never heard those words then. My friend began crying and made her way to the altar. Sis. Spoon then spoke to me and asked it I was lost. I was not sure that I was, but then I thought if Betty was lost, then surely I must be, also. I, then, went to the altar and the dear brothers and sisters prayed for us, for what seemed like a very long time. I remember crying when I first went to the altar, but I think it was because my friend was crying. The service finally dismissed, with the revival continuing for a couple of nights after that. We continued to go to the altar each night, but I never really felt as if I was under conviction that year.
Now, the summer of 1948 was different. My mother and daddy had bought a book from a young salesman who came by the house. The book, entitled "Bible Readings for the Home" by Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, TN, had many illustrations in it, and one, in particular, depicted Christ coming back in the clouds of glory. This really scared me and made me realize I was not ready to meet Him. I tried to do everything I could to be saved that summer. I prayed, attending all the church and Sunday School services, studied my Sunday School lesson, read my Bible, went to the altar at Westport during the revival and at other revivals we visited that summer. For some reason, I was never able to turn it over to the Lord that year.
Thank God, I attended a little one room school, Halls Elementary School, about 2 miles from Westport, where Bible reading and prayer was not only allowed; it was part of the curriculum, I think, as a day never went by that we did not have reading of the scriptures and prayer. We had a good Christian teacher, Mrs. Evie Ellis, as teacher of all 8 grades.
It was the custom that a revival be held in the evening at the school, a couple of weeks before the Westport revival. The revival at the school was usually the last week in July. We always returned to school in July, as we got out 6 or 8 weeks in the fall for the fall harvest, as most of our parents were farmers. This was the last week in July 1949 ( I was age 12), and the revival was in progress in the evenings at the school building. Several of us had been going to the altar during this revival. That particular Friday, our teacher did not have the devotional at the beginning of the school day and had it after lunch. After reading the scripture, she began talking to us about being saved. There were 3 of us, who got under conviction and made an altar in the school classroom. Our teacher prayed with us and all 3 of us were saved. Such a glorious peace came over me. I felt so light I could have flown away. Needless to say, the rest of the school day was disrupted and school was dismissed early. I walked 2 miles home with my friend, who was one of the three who got saved, and we walked back to the revival that night. I hardly touched the ground those 2 miles to and from the school building. My parents met us at the revival that night and I told them the wonderful news, as we did not have a phone to call them, so the news had to wait until that evening. Two weeks later, I united with Westport Baptist Church and was baptized by Bro. Prince. That experience will take me to heaven.