Tempe's Testimony

As a divorcee with three small children, I had to work two jobs just to make ends meet. I started out as an artist for Century Press, a printing and publishing company. Later I became editor of "Key To Oklahoma City This Week," a magazine that was owned by that company. I also sang jazz and blues in the local supper clubs.

It’s hard to raise a family when you’re never there.
My daughters,
April and Melinda (Mindy), started getting into trouble. I sent my son, Tommy, to live with his dad who had remarried in Florida. The girls wound up in a girls detention center. It was a tough time for all of us. They eventually got out and went their own separate ways.

I quit my day job and put a show band together and we hit the road. I lived in hotels and motels sometimes two and three weeks at a time. My life was pretty miserable and I needed some answers, so I started reading the Gideon Bibles that were in those rooms. For the first time in my life I saw Truth.

If you’re not in Truth, you’re in deception. The problem with deception is you don’t know you’re deceived—until Truth comes alongside and points out the deceptions of your life.

I was raised in the church and was taught "The Power of Positive Thinking." (I was the most positive sinner you ever saw.) I knew about Jesus, but I did not know Him. As I read those Bibles, I was literally being introduced to Jesus Christ. The Scripture that really convicted me was John 3:19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For the first time, I realized I was living in darkness.

I went to my knees in a Holiday Inn in Owensboro, Kentucky, crying my eyes out, and invited Jesus Christ to come into my life. He wasted no time at all; He’d been waiting for that prayer for thirty-eight years.

After that, nothing looked the same. That night when I went down on the stage, I turned to my band and said, "How come it’s so dark in here?" It wasn’t any darker than it had always been, it’s just that the Light of the world had come in, and when He crawls up from behind your eyes and starts looking around, nothing looks the same ever again. The second thing I noticed was that I loved everybody in the room. Now that had to be God because there were some pretty unlovable people in there!

I began sharing Christ with anyone who would listen. That got me fired. I left my band one hot August morning in 1977 in San Angelo, Texas and never looked back. I threw away my cigarettes and never picked up another one.

I had given up my apartment because I was on the road so much and my furniture was in storage. I had no place to go. So, I prayed and asked the Lord to guide me. I started getting this real homesick feeling for Lawton, Oklahoma, where I had graduated from high school. my parents no longer lived there; I had not communicated with any of my classmates in twenty years. For some reason, I longed to look up my best friend in high school, Katherine Stanley. I called her and much to my relief she invited me to come over and spend the night. She turned out to be a born again Christian.

She had the ladies in her church come over to meet me the next morning. I was scared to meet them because I didn’t think I had the clothes to meet the ladies in the church. But these ladies just loved me. For the first time in my life, I understood what the church was all about, because Jesus said, "You’ll know them by their love." And these ladies personified the love of Christ. We had a great time and they left.

I knew I needed to call my kids and let them know where I was. When I called Mindy and told her what had happened to me, she asked me to come to Greenville, South Carolina to live with her. She said, "I need you, Mama." I knew immediately that’s where I was supposed to go.

So I moved there and found a job and found a church and began living my new life. I called my son Tommy in Florida and said, "Son, I’m off the road and I’ve settled down. Why don’t you come up for a visit?" We made the arrangements and his plane landed on Saturday night. He got saved Sunday morning. He wasted no time at all; he saw what he needed. He never went back and now he owns a Christian charter bus company called His Majesty Coach in Atlanta, Georgia.

I got a call from April, my oldest daughter, thinking it was the good news that I was a grandmother. Instead, she was crying and said, "Mama, he’s left me." Three days before their baby was born, he walked out. (That’s what drugs will do for you.) She had my first little grand-baby out there in Tulsa all by herself. She named her Summer. Pretty soon April and little Summer came to Greenville and moved in with us and started going to church with us. She had an encounter with Jesus when she was twelve, and now she was able to turn her life completely over to the Lord Jesus Christ. Talk about a changed person! The prison couldn’t do it. The psychiatrist couldn’t do it. One touch from the Master’s hand and she’s changed forever. Three years later, the Lord brought her a new husband. Jim Summer. Now I have a granddaughter named Summer Summer! The Lord has a sense of humor. (She's now married and has a new last name).

My mom gave her heart to Christ when she was eighty-three years old. She went home to be with the
Lord in April of 2004 at age eighty-eight.

God took a messed up family and put it back together again. Now my children and I are closer than ever and they love the Lord with all their hearts. Thank God for great mercy!

~ Tempe Brown