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A Life Changing Experience
by Mitchell Painte

I was never brought up in church as a kid. I was an average teenager, played sports had many friends and no cares in the world. It wasn’t until I was around 20 years of age that I attended a church. I was dating my girlfriend at the time and her parents attended a Southern Baptist Church. I really thought I had it all together now, but when I look back nothing had changed. I still went to clubs with my buddies, drank the alcohol and did the drugs. I can recall sometimes staying out all night long on a Saturday night and then going straight to church. I remember the church getting a softball team together but you had to be a member of the church, so I proceeded to be come a member by filling out a card and going on about my merry business. I attended every Sunday and even some Wednesday night services, but hey to play softball I had too. In my mind I had it all together, I had gotten engaged to my girlfriend, made my appearances in church and still lived the life that I wanted too.
Things started to change after about 5 years, I had gone off to college in Savannah, GA and my fiance was attending MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN. I remember the week before Labor Day 1994 when I gotten a call that my fiance had been killed in a car wreck. I was totally devastated, so I withdrew
From school and headed back to Nashville. I was looking for answers on why God would let something like this happen, so I blamed God and thought that a good God would not do something like this. I was happy with that thought and once again went about my merry business. Things around me had changed but I didn’t change. I was going to do what Mitch Painter wanted to do.
On New Years Eve of 1994, my life was taken another change. I had my first date with Christie, my wife of six years now. We got married in February of 1996 and life seemed to be at its best. In September of 1997 we found out that my wife and I were expecting out first child. Christie was working at a doctor’s office and became real good friends with Sandra Rawls. I can remember her hounding us about going to church and how Christie wanted to raise our baby in a church, but I wanted no part of it.
Well in November of 1997 we stepped foot into Victory Missionary Baptist Church. I can remember sitting thinking that these people were crazy and I was waiting for them to bring out the dead chicken and the snakes. I just kept looking at my watch thinking, man this preacher (Elder Tim Binion) is on a role and when was he going to give it up. After the service I told my Christie that I would never be back.
In April of 1998, Christie gave birth to my first son Chaz and life was at its best. Couple of months after Chaz was born, Christie wanted to attend the baptism of a girl she worked with at Victory. We had a family reunion to attend that day so she took off and I would meet her later. Christie’s parents came to pick Chaz and me up and we were going to meet Christie at an exit by the interstate.
Now this is were my life was about to take a 360 degree turn, Christie was running late and when she finally pulled up I got in the car and she was white as a ghost. She told me that she had gotten saved in her car on side of road. I told her I was happy for her but I was not going to change. From that day on she was a totally different person. We started going to church at Victory but I was not interested in the least bit to go but went just to keep a happy home. Christie told me her next step was to tell the church of her salvation and to be baptized and to become a member of the church. She was baptized in August of 1998 and told me, which shocked me, that Chaz and she

were going to attend Victory with or without me and that God would deal with me. I remember thinking, yeah whatever it’s not for me.
Well wouldn’t you know I spoke to soon again. My life changed “big time”. I remember for weeks feeling like this big vise was cranking down on me and I tried to run but he was always there. Now I know that was conviction and I could not take it anymore. Well six weeks later or so I was down on my knees at the alter asking God to save my soul and to please, please, please forgive me of my sins. Then all of the sudden this peace came over me and it was like the world had been lifted off of my shoulders.
My life has been so blessed and I look back now and can see that God was taken care of me even when I did not give him the time of day. In June of 2001 were blessed once again with the birth of my second son Ethan and I thank God so much for my life and my wife and kids. I look at my journey as a perfect picture of how God can take a self centered individual who was not living right and change his life. What great power and patience God has with us, it took me 28 years to coming calling for him and he was right there waiting on me. Thank you, Thank you God for saving a wretch like me.