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Your Christian Cowboy Resource

A damaged spleen miles from help

shows God’s authority over our lives

There is no good testimony or bad testimony when it comes to the testimony of salvation.  

Some are more dramatic than others, but the power of Jesus and the Grace of God that is demonstrated through salvation is the same regardless of the background of the person, or the current state of the person.  

My testimony may sound familiar, but one thing God has shown me is that a person’s testimony doesn’t stop at the time of salvation; that’s actually only the beginning.  

I was raised in church, with my dad being a deacon and my mom teaching Sunday school and doing anything else that needed to be done in church.  We always went to church, every regular service, every revival service, and every fellowship.

If something was going on, we were there.  When I was nine years old, our preacher mentioned to me that if I ever felt like I needed to be saved, to come talk to him.  Well, what do you think a nine year old is going to say to that? Of course I do.  

So, my cousin who was about a year and half older than me was confronted with the same comment.  He went to the altar, and I followed.  I answered all of the questions, said the prayer that the preacher told me to say, people cried and hugged me and then I was baptized a few weeks later.  And so I was saved, as far as everyone was concerned.  

When I was fifteen years old, I heard preacher preach a sermon from Matthew 13:24-30, about the parable of the Wheat and Tares. This message stayed on my mind and I struggled with it for about a year.  Finally, one night while at church, I was hit with the reality that I wasn’t saved.   As Jesus spoke of the tares, which look like wheat, except they are empty and useless, I came to the realization that I was a tare.  At sixteen years old, I confessed to God my sin and acknowledged Jesus as my savior.  

Jumping ahead a few years, as I got into college, I began to get on a few bulls.  One thing I noticed was that I saw many guys kneeling to pray before climbing over the chute, but I also noticed some of the same guys cussing and drinking just like the ones that hadn’t prayed.  We’ll get back to this in a minute.

In 1996, I had the opportunity to go to Wyoming for the summer and work as a guide.  I led day rides, overnight trips, and extended pack trips in the Bridger Teton National Forest and the Wind River Range.  Waking up every morning and seeing the Tetons surely got your attention to the reality of our Creator.  During that summer, I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the country as they came to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and I found it very easy to talk about God in this setting.

All was well until late July of that summer.  While breaking a three-year colt, I ended up getting in a pretty bad wreck in which the colt came over backwards with me.  Cowboying up, I carried on with my work.  Finally as I was headed out for 15 days in the Wind River Range, I was kept awake all night in my tent by severe pains in my side.  Suffering through the night with temperatures in the 30s and sleet falling, I prayed, and prayed, and prayed.  Finally making it to sunrise, I began the 3-1/2 hour ride back to the trail head and  then drove another hour to the doctor in Pinedale.  His words, “ I don’t I have the tools to diagnose you or help you here, you need to get back to Jackson”.  Another two-hour drive to Jackson, and finally a doctor that can help.  At 22 years old, I sat across the desk in the doctor’s office and answered all of the questions he had in trying to figure out what was wrong.  He had already determined my spleen was swollen but didn’t know why.  I recalled the wreck to him with the colt named Pat, but didn’t tell him about the bulls.  As I told him what had transpired the night before and my trek to get to his office, he told me, “Heath, I really don’t know why you are sitting here in my office.  You should be dead.  Your spleen is swollen, I’m not sure why it didn’t rupture.”  Being nearly six hours from the hospital, I never would have made it out alive.  Long story short, he scheduled surgery, removed my spleen, and later explained to me the old injuries and recent injuries.  Finally fessing up to the bull riding, he shook his head and walked out.  

With all of that said, God spoke to me and for the first time I realized that I wasn’t in control. God has all authority in our lives.  

Moving ahead a few years, God called me into ministry.  As doors opened to preach and play the guitar and sing, I began to grow and understand God’s calling, later pastoring a church for about 2-1/2 years.

As I said earlier, I noticed many guys praying before getting on a bull, but really not living like they knew who they prayed too; God began to reveal to me the need for ministry outside of the church.  Doors began to open, and my wife and children and I began to have opportunities to minister.  God showed us that His Word needs to be shared outside the walls of the church.  I began doing Cowboy Church at AQHA shows, rodeos, training clinics and just about anywhere that had horses, cowboys and cowgirls.

My testimony?  It’s very simple: through the preaching of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin and revealed my need for a Savior.  After that, it’s lesson on top of lesson, taught by God to mature us to a point that He can use us.  

  

Heath Perry,

Walnut Grove, AL