MY FAMILY: Wes, Michelle, Kyle, and Haley
MY STORY: I was raised in Pensacola, FL. My parents divorced when I was five years old. My mom and stepdad took us to church occasionally, however the denomination we attended was quite liberal in its theology, promoting a “works based” faith.
My junior year of high school I found myself empty and searching to know God and to know peace. In twelfth grade, a Christian finally asked me, “Wes, are you saved?” My response, “My church doesn’t believe in that, we go through confirmation.” I was never asked again. A few weeks later a friend invited me to play in her church’s orchestra. I agreed, since she told me the orchestra director was one of my old band directors. I was a member of the East Brent Baptist Church orchestra for about eight months, and still was never asked if I had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However, this is the period of time that I fell under deep conviction of my sin and my need for forgiveness. I knew through hearing the word each Sunday at East Brent, that there must be more to Christianity than I thought. I knew that I was not “right,” however I did not know what I needed to do.
After my senior year in high school, I left Pensacola, FL, to attend the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS to study music education. USM was a new place for me; I did not know many people. Most of the friends I made happened to be Christians. I noticed that they prayed before their meals. I thought since I was supposed to be a Christian that I should too. I was searching for the truth, so I began visiting churches. Needless to say, I was still lost and did not know what to do. Then it happened, I went home to my dorm room after being out with my Christian friends, I turned on the T.V., and began to flip channels. I had never watched a complete televised church service in my life, but for some reason First Baptist, Atlanta with Charles Stanley, caught my attention. Dr. Stanley was preaching on Eternal Security. The Bible reference for his message was John 3:16, which I had never truly understood. The Lord used Charles Stanley to unfold the gospel story in a way that I could understand. Dr. Stanley kept emphasizing that I must believe/trust in the Lord and that I would be, not may be, but would be, saved for all eternity. That evening, of my freshman year, in the fall of 1990 in my dorm room at USM, I asked the Lord to take my life and do with it what He wants and to cleanse me of my sins – I gave my life to Jesus Christ. It was at that moment, and still is, hard to fathom how a loving Father could sacrifice His perfect Son for our sinful lives. Praise the Lord that He did! Praise the Lord that I was invited to hear the word at East Brent Baptist Church to prepare me to accept Christ a few months later in my dorm room at USM.
Michelle and I started dating when I was but a few weeks old in the Lord. We began to visit churches together to find a church home in Hattiesburg. We visited several churches until we finally settled on First Baptist Church of Hattiesburg. We joined the church in November of 1991 and I was scripturally baptized by Dr. Randy Von Kanel, pastor of First Baptist. Dr. Von Kanel left to be a missionary in the Cayman Islands in December right after Michelle and I got married.
Although I believe God was calling me to ministry shortly after I came to know the Lord in 1990, I was afraid of what a call to ministry might mean, and I resisted His promptings out of fear. I continued down the educational path I was heading, which was to prepare to teach band in public schools and university settings. I eventually discovered that one of my greatest joys was in serving the Lord in a vocational capacity, so I surrendered to full time ministry and was subsequently ordained in 1996.
I have served the local church and Christian universities through full and part time ministry since 1991. I love people and reaching them with the gospel; because of when in my life I came to know the Lord, I have always had an especially strong drawing to reach college students for Christ. My family came to Hardy Street in January of 2017, and it has been a great joy to serve this family of faith; it has been a great “marriage” between our ministry at William Carey and our students need to be plugged into a great local church like Hardy Street.
MY FAVORITE VERSE: Psalm 40:1-3
MY FAVORITE QUOTE(s):
“If you do not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week. There is no such thing known in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and Tuesday worship and so on.” AW Tozer
MY FAVORITE MOVIE(s): Star Trek II the Wrath of Kahn
MY FAVORITE HOBBIES: Riding my tractor, fishing, and playing games with my family