Clyde Penn preaching in the tabernacle at the Portland camp meeting in 2009.

Conversion in the Midst of Crisis

April 01, 2012

An international confrontation caused this man to see his need to get ready for eternity.

By Clyde Penn

I am thankful to God that I can give a testimony of what the Lord has done in my life. I was raised in a home where the name of the Lord was mentioned often. My mother was a Christian but my father was not. My mother prayed with us every day, taught us the Word of God, and took us to Sunday school.

On many occasions I saw the miraculous power of God demonstrated in our home. One day as my brother and I were playing together, he got a cut in his hand. It was a deep cut and the blood was spouting out. He screamed, and my mother heard him. She came out of the house quickly, and when she saw what was happening, she grabbed his hand and prayed, “Lord Jesus, stop this blood. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.” Immediately the blood stopped flowing and in a few moments, the wound closed. It was amazing to me because I had never witnessed anything like that before. I believe it was the miraculous power of God.

Many other times we saw His power demonstrated in definite ways. Sometimes we were sick with fever, or with severe colds and coughs. My mother prayed in the Name of Jesus and we were made well. I knew that God is a real God!

As I grew older, I learned more about God. There was a time when many questions about Him were in my mind: where God came from, why He allowed sin to exist in the world, why so many terrible things were happening on this earth, and why so many people were hungry and starving. Why were so many people dying? Why were there so many wars? At one point, I even began to think that there was no God, or that He was out there but simply did not care. Perhaps He did not have the power that He said He had.

However, I praise God that He confronted me during the time of the missile crisis in Cuba. Khrushchev was sending shiploads of missiles into Cuba, and President Kennedy, who knew the dangers of those weapons, did not want them to be so close to the mainland of the United States. President Kennedy decided to set up a military blockade that would prevent the missiles from getting into Cuba.

While that international confrontation was going on, a greater confrontation was going on in my life. I was without God. Realizing the dangers of those weapons in the hands of a hostile nation, fear gripped my heart because I understood that if those weapons were released, a world war could be triggered. Since we lived in the Caribbean so close to Cuba, I recognized that hundreds and thousands of us could easily lose our lives. I knew that if I died I would go to Hell, and that thought terrified me.

One day I got down on my knees at my bedside, and said, “Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and make me ready for Heaven. Then if I die, I will live with You in the Eternal Home.” I prayed in faith believing. There was no loud crying, no great emotion, no big fanfare, but I invited Christ into my life to be the Master. He came in and sweetly saved me, and from that day on, He took possession of my life.

God did a great job in my heart and I became a happy young man. I began to tell the story of salvation. There were old folks that I had not cared to be with in prayer meetings and in Sunday services, but from that time on, they were the ones that I found myself next to. As they prayed in the old-fashioned way, and gave those long testimonies, I felt good in their presence and had fellowship with them. Those were happy days, glorious days, joyful days.

One Sunday afternoon at about three o’clock, God sweetly sanctified me. Then I began to hunger for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. I was desperately seeking that experience, tarrying day and night. I fasted; food became of little importance to me, because I hungered more for my baptism. At times I thanked God in advance for baptizing me. I waited before God in great expectancy, praying to receive that experience.

At about that time, a man who had been a wild sinner came to Christ. He asked God to be his Lord and Savior, and shortly thereafter he was sanctified. He began seeking his baptism. I had been saved and sanctified long before him, but he was moving in that direction seemingly faster than I was. That motivated me to pray even more. The Lord honored my prayers, and one night when I was not really expecting it, He baptized me with the Holy Ghost. I found myself glorifying and magnifying the Name of the Lord, but I could not understand what I was saying. I was speaking in an unknown tongue, but I knew I was glorifying God. Praise God, I had received my baptism!

The Lord has been so good to me through the years since then. The Holy Spirit has been ever present in my life—the Third Person of the Godhead dwelling within me. He has guided me, kept me, and taught me many things. God has been everything to me!

While I was still a young man, I prayed at different times and asked the Lord to give me the wife of His choosing, and He answered that prayer. He gave me a lovely wife, Padecia, and then blessed our home with three beautiful children. I thank God for them. As they were growing up, I was able to pray with them often and hold family devotions with them in our home. There at the family altar we could meet and praise God, talk about the goodness of God to us, read His Holy Word, and pray together.

My wife and I prayed many years for my father’s salvation. He did not accept the Lord during my mother’s lifetime, although he did not prevent her from going to services. He did not even prevent her from going to a different island to spread the good news of salvation, and remaining there for seven years to establish the work of the Lord in that place. However, he persecuted her relentlessly. But praise God, less than four weeks after my mother passed away, my father came to Christ. One afternoon when I went to visit him, he said to me, “Clyde, I am saved. I have accepted Jesus as my Savior.” It was a great moment for me. I didn’t know whether to shout, cry, or laugh. What a feeling! I whispered within the depths of my soul, “Lord, may he stay with You forever.” And I praise God that my prayer was answered.

My father had never been to church, but that Sunday he said to me, “I am going to the house of God.”

My father had never been to church, but that Sunday he said to me, “I am going to the house of God.” He did, and there he gave his testimony. Oh, what a wonderful day! At every opportunity from then on, he was in the house of the Lord. He was baptized in water, received his sanctification, and took part in our foot washing and communion services. It was so beautiful! And within eight months of my mother’s death, my father joined her in the Glory Land. By the grace of God, I am looking forward to joining them one of these days.

The Lord has done so much in my life. He has blessed me, provided for me, given me the comfort of a home. He has taken me many places that I never dreamed of visiting, given me so many friends—mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers in the Gospel of all races and walks of life. He has showed me what a big, glorious, unlimited Gospel we have. He has been a great God to me and He will be the same to whosoever will give Him their hearts.

About the author

Clyde Filmore Penn was born on July 18, 1941, in Road Town, Tortola. He began pastoring in St. Thomas, USVI, in 1988 and became the District Superintendent in the year 2000. He went home to Heaven on October 9, 2010.