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Mocked, illiterate, then taught myself to read and write.

"God started showing me that it didn’t matter if I couldn’t talk plain. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t read and write good, that He was going to use that."

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School was rough on me because I talk a little funny. I have a speech impediment because I’m tongue-tied. All through school people made fun of me, and it was hard. A lot of nights I would cry myself to sleep. My Momma took me to church a little when I was younger. I would cry and say, “God, why do I have to be like this? Why do I have to talk like this? Why can’t I talk like everybody else?” I never learned how to read and write. I finally got kicked out of school. In tenth grade, they kicked me out because I wouldn’t come to school but about once a week.

I just didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I didn’t feel like anyone loved me. I tried to commit suicide twice in my life. I said, “God if you don’t help me I’m not going to make it.” I said, “I believe that you will if you will help me.” I called my sister and asked if she would come and take me to the church. I received Christ in my life that night at church. The next day I was sitting on the porch and I said, “God, I don’t feel like anything is different. I don’t feel like my body has changed or like my mind was changed, but I’m not going to give up God.”

My sister gave me a Bible. I would try to read it, but I didn’t know any of the words in it. I couldn’t even spell the name “Jesus”. I couldn’t spell my middle name unless I looked at my license. So, I was praying and I said, “God, how am I going to learn what you want me to learn? How am I going to learn to be a Christian if I can’t even read your Word?” He gave me the opportunity to get the Bible on CDs. So I would listen to it on the way to work. Then when I got to work, I would try to read back what I listened to. I tried to memorize it. I did it every day for a long time. Then I got to where I could read some of the words of the Bible from what I had listened to. I just kept progressing trying to read. Finally, I started teaching myself (me and God) how to read. He started teaching me how to read. One day I told my wife, “You know, I can spell the name Jesus now.” I said, “Before I couldn’t spell his name. But now I can spell the name, Jesus. To some people that don't mean anything. But to me, that means a lot.”

Then He started dealing with me about preaching. I said, “God, there’s no way I can preach. I’m still learning how to read and write. I stutter. I talk funny. I can’t stand up in front of nobody.” I kept thinking, “Lord, it’s going to be like it was in school. People are going to make fun of me. People are going to say things about me.” God started showing me that it didn’t matter if I couldn’t talk plain. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t read and write good, that He was going to use that. Then I got to going to different places preaching. People started calling me asking me to come to preach for them. My reading got better. I got to where I could stand up and just read in front of people without being nervous. I have been out of the country three times so far preaching. We are working on going to India next.

I still get made fun of on my job. Even my boss sometimes will make fun of me and cut up with me, but God has taught me how to just deal with it. I don’t know if that is ever going to end. There is always going to be somebody who wants to say something about the way I talk or my teeth or make fun of me. But God taught me to deal with it. He has taught me His love. He taught me to love people no matter how they treat me. Still, love them. To love them as He loved me when I was nobody, when I was worthless, that He gave me an opportunity.

Johnny C. - Mocked, illiterate, then taught myself to read and write.

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