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28 students turn to Christ

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Twenty-eight students made professions of faith and many more participated in an emotional prayer time with their adult companions after hearing the testimony of evangelist Ken Freeman on June 21.

The ONE Student Rally at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville also featured the Dove Award-winning contemporary Christian band Building 429, Chagy the Clown of Circus of the King ministry and worship leaders Dean and Gayna Forrest and their son Geoffrey.

Joe Ball, youth strategist for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, reported that 30 church student groups attended the rally, which was sponsored by the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, the Long Run Baptist Association in Louisville, the Kentucky convention and North American Mission Board.

COSBE music director Dean Forrest helped coordinate the outreach, now in its second year, utilizing space already rented for COSBE’s Sunday morning worship preceding each year’s SBC annual meeting.

Freeman, author of “Rescued by the Cross,” shared his testimony of how God moved him from being a “hater of God” who vandalized churches to an evangelist who has seen more than 200,000 decisions for Christ over the course of 25 years of ministry in thousands of churches, rallies and school settings.

In his message, Freeman urged his listeners to repeat after him: “God has a purpose, a blueprint and a plan for my life. The devil has a plan, purpose and blueprint for my life.”

“I never dreamed I’d be doing what I am doing,” he said, pointing to Psalm 149:13 and Jeremiah 29:11, which share that God has a plan for every individual. But, he also noted that the enemy also has a plan — “to steal, kill and destroy” as John 10:10 puts it.

“Every six minutes, there is a murder; every eight minutes a girl is raped, often by her own date; every 90 minutes there is a suicide; and every 28 seconds a baby is being aborted,” Freeman said, noting, “You are always one choice away from a different life.”

Freeman, the oldest of seven siblings, recounted that he went to 24 different schools, including five different high schools. His father was absent and his mother was a severe alcoholic who often abused him and had even held a knife to his throat, threatening to kill him. His mother’s ex-boyfriend also sexually and physically abused Freeman and his youngest sister.

Freeman told of a day when he was in the sixth grade, only 12 years old, that he almost killed his mother, who had passed out after a drinking binge.

“I ran the blade across my mom’s throat, but I didn’t cut her,” he said. “Instead, I ran out of the door screaming.”

During that time, he never ran into any Christians, he recalled. “There were churches all around us, but no one invited us to church.”

He later moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, where he soon left his abusive family to live as a “gypsy,” moving from one house to the next. During that time, he met a Jesus-loving football player who constantly spoke to him about Jesus.

Freeman ended up attending the football player’s church, where he surrendered his life to Christ in 1968. He eventually moved in with the church’s former worship leader who was living in San Antonio, Texas. There, he graduated from high school, with no family present, and grew in his faith. He later forgave his parents and attempted to witness to them about the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

His mother, dying at the age of 52, rejected the Gospel. Freeman preached her funeral.

His father, whom he hadn’t seen in 42 years, finally accepted Christ at the age of 78. Twelve days later, he died.

“I know what it is liked to be ripped off, but I know what it is to have an abundant life, too,” Freeman said. “Those who have been wounded deeply, God will use mightily.”

To the students, he stated, “When you pray and worship and tell somebody about Jesus, the devil will get out of the way.”
Shannon Baker is national correspondent for BaptistLIFE, newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. For more information on the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, visit www.sbcevangelist.org.

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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