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Lee Walters

Retired former Church planter, USAF Chaplain and Pastor
My Conversion, Calling and Baptism
Rev. Lee A. Walters
 
CONVERSION:  I was raised in a nominally Christian, home.  My family went to the Lutheran church some Sundays and usually always on Christmas and Easter.  I went to a Lutheran School from the first through fifth grade.  When a girlfriend at church jilted me at age 18, I quit going to church.  I thought I was a Christian because I was an American.  I reasoned that I since wasn’t a heathen in Africa and since I was a nice guy who “didn’t smoke, drink or chew or go with the girls who do,” I was all right with God.  When I first went into the service, I visited a Christian serviceman’s center in San Antonio, Texas where someone shared the gospel with me and a friend.  When I got about a block away from the place I broke out laughing.  I thought it was all a big joke.  I noticed that my friend didn’t laugh.
 
In 1968, when I was 21 years old and stationed on Okinawa, my roommate in the barracks, Bill Roth, shared with me how to have a personal relationship with God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For two and a half months I ignored him and even tried to move to another room in the barracks so that he would “quit bugging me.”  I used some excuse for the move that wasn’t really valid and, to keep from hurting his feelings, I made the mistake of invited him to move with me.  I was sure he wouldn’t do it because he had been in that room the whole time he had been on Okinawa and had his pictures on the walls and was very settled into that room.  But he chose to move with me and then I was stuck.  I couldn’t escape.  His life was a consistent testimony of the truth of his words.  He was the first real Christian I had ever seen.  He showed me that the Bible teaches there is a need to repent of sin and personally embrace Jesus as your Savior and the Lord of your life. 
 
On July 11, 1968 Bill and I went to work as usual.  We were C-130 aircraft mechanics who worked in a phase maintenance hanger doing aircraft inspection and repair.  There was no plane in the dock that morning and we were told to come back after lunch.  Bill thought it was a perfect opportunity to share the gospel with me again.  This time, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and I saw my need for a Savior for the first time.  At 11:00 A.M., sitting on a metal folding chair in barracks 938 room 148 on Naha AB, Okinawa, I bowed my head and received Jesus as my personal Savior from sin.  There was no immediate powerful feelings but things started to change drastically from that time forward according to II Corinthians 5:17. 
 
CALLING:  Two weeks later, as I was saying my evening prayers, I felt a strong calling to become a pastor.  At that time, I didn’t even know what that meant.  I shared the experience with Bill but he downplayed it because it never happened to him.  I would not be discouraged from that sure calling and I have been following it ever since until it was disrupted at the end of October, 1996 by my wife who hated the ministry and has since abandoned me.  
 
BAPTISM:  I was involved with The Navigators after being saved on Okinawa, and they do not stress baptism so I was not baptized for the first two years.  When I started to pursue my education in my first year of Bible College, a guest chapel speaker alluded to baptism in his message.  God spoke to my heart about not being baptized, but I didn’t think it was necessary.  I went up to argue with him about the need to be baptized and he showed me what the Scriptures teach on the subject.  I was still involved with the Navigators (now at ASU) for my fellowship and spiritual growth and had not been involved with a church yet except to attend services.  So when this pastor of a Spanish speaking church challenged me to be baptized, I went to his church where I was baptized by immersion.  I never received a baptismal certificate and have lost track of the exact date of the baptism but it was probably in 1970.  

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