Don Westbrook

DonWestbrookFILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AT AGE TWELVE

   My name is Don Westbrook, and my testimony is somewhat uneventful, which makes it pretty amazing. I’m a third-generation spirit filled believer. I spent my early childhood almost living in church. A typical week included church on Wednesday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night. There was the fellowship meeting the first Monday night of each month, and the youth rally the last Friday of each month. When we had a revival, they lasted anywhere from two weeks to six weeks, seven days a week and twice on Sunday.

    I fell asleep under a church pew many times. My dad was Assistant Pastor and Pastor at times. I learned quickly that it didn’t pay to cut up in the back of the church. A number of times, church service was stopped, while I was called out and made my way to the platform and sit where everyone could see me. That was a long trip down the aisle.

   My dad was a man that trusted in God for everything. One day he hurt his back in the oilfield. He asked the tool pusher to take him home, but was told if he didn’t go to the doctor, it would get him into trouble. Dad said he didn’t want to get him into trouble, so off to the doctor they went. After a few minutes of discussion with the doctor, my dad told him that he didn’t have anything against doctors, but he trusted the Lord for his healing and to please sign something so his boss wouldn’t get in trouble. The doctor scribbled something on a piece of paper for his employer and they went home.  

   Within a couple of days, a preacher stopped by and prayed for my dad. My dad was healed and went back to work. He testified that he had tempting thoughts of a big financial gain from the oilfield injury, but said he doubted if it would be worth more than a strong back. From his healing up to the time of his death, I never heard him complain about back pain.

   I was blessed with a strong heritage. I was filled with the Holy Spirit in a revival when I was twelve years old. I grew up during a time when they would preach hell fire and brimstone so hot you could feel it. Except for a few strays, I have lived for God most of my life. By God’s grace I have never smoked. I had my first taste of beer when I was about nineteen and in college, but by God’s grace I didn’t like the taste and never tried it again.

   I met my future wife at my girlfriend’s house and though she was very young, sometime later we started dating. In 1972 we were married and in 1974, we welcomed our only child. We have been blessed by our son and all that he brought into our lives, which includes our four precious grandchildren. Although I have to be careful not to give away my wife’s age, it’s very easy to see that she’s is a lot younger than me. I often tell others I’m the only guy I know, who put his wife and son through Texas Drivers Education.

   Early on in our marital journey, my wife and I worked as leaders in several churches with the youth groups and relocated from Dallas to Gainesville, Texas within a few years. It was here, that I answered the call into the ministry. I hadn’t been ministering long, when our Pastor became ill and I was placed quickly into on-the-job training. God was faithful and helped me through this period. During this time, I was responsible for preaching and teaching three times a week, while working a full-time job. You learn very quickly to trust in God.

   My full-time job was the fence company that I owned and was responsible to keep my crews working. The church decided to start a Christian School and I was asked to be the Principal and Administrator. My wife also volunteered at the school. It was challenging, rewarding and time intensive. If that was not enough, I also raised cattle and hay.

   A few years later, the Pastor had a stroke and I was given the position as Pastor for four years until the founder of the church once again could resume the role. At this time, we sought direction from God, which led to accepting a position as Assistant Pastor at a local church in Denton. Eventually, I scaled back my fencing company and went to work at Weber Aircraft in Gainesville, Texas. It was later sold to Zodiac, a French company that was known for making Zodiac boats.

   I began working the second shift, still did fencing and also raised cattle on the side. I later learned that our company had a college reimbursement program and decided to once again finish my degree. I took some computer courses that led to other opportunities, and soon moved from the manufacturing floor to a Technical Writer. However, it was during this time that God showed me He had a sense of humor. I was moved to the first shift and continued to work on the manufacturing floor with a group of young men and women that would head to the local bar for a few drinks after work. They would always invite me, but I declined and soon became the outsider. During this time, one of my friends from church who worked in another department, nominated me for Employee of the Month for which I was selected. This was at the same time that I had applied for the Technical Writer position.

   The supervisor that interviewed me was in Human Resources and mentioned that she really liked me; but my supervisor had given me a bad recommendation. My manager from the second shift, who was accidently (designed by God) in the office at 10:00AM, overheard them and asked if she was talking about me. He gave her a good recommendation and sent her to talk to my second shift supervisor. After talking to him. she came straight to me and told me I had the job.

   When I won Employee of the Month, I was working in the shop and the recognition ceremony took place in my old department. They had refreshments and all of upper management attended. The supervisor that gave me the bad recommendation, had to get up in front of all of them and tell them what a great worker I was and presented me with the award. We have since become pretty good friends in the office; but I never let him know that I knew what he had done. Friendships are more important than making a point that God had so perfectly made clear.

   After a short time, I became Supervisor of the department. We had just finished a good year with about $45 million in sales. Our fiscal year ended in August. Our sales had greatly increased, and we were looking at a budget of about $75 million for 2001. A few days into the year, disaster struck and suddenly no one was flying because of 9/11. The cancellations began and the backlog was soon back to a little under where it was the previous year. I was called into my manager’s office and told that we were going to have to reduce our work force, and for me to select someone to let go the next week and then another employee two weeks later.

   In my six years as supervisor, I had never had to lay off anyone and was really struggling with it. I went to church that Wednesday night, the day before I had to make my selection and went to the Lord in prayer to intervene so I wouldn’t lose any of my employees. The next day I was called into my manager’s office, praying for the best, but my faith was a little weak. I was told that the President of the company had changed the rules, and we were going back to the same manpower that we had when we were a $40 million business. He said that since you are the same size, you won’t have to lay anyone off. This was truly exciting news and I couldn’t wait to get back to my office and share the good news with my employees.

   Recently, I told one of my employees about one of my nephew’s that was looking for a job. He came by the house and wanted us to pray about an opportunity he had. I invited him to go to church, but he said he couldn’t. I jokingly mentioned if he didn’t have his priorities straight, God might not answer our prayer.

   He said, “Uncle Don, don’t say that. You know God listens to you.”

   I went back to my office and related the reprieve from the layoff. I pointed to the heavens and told my employees that because of Him they all still had a job. The employee that I had talked to earlier about my nephew looked at me and said, “I think your nephew may know what he’s talking about.”

   There are other stories of people that would come into my office, shut the door and request prayer for healing from cancer, for their children and other problems they were struggling with. I remember a somewhat comical story when the engineering manager was in my office talking about work and let an inappropriate word slip out. He quickly apologized. I thanked him, but then told him I had a little problem with his apology. He looked confused and asked why. I told him there was a God above that also heard him and I really had a problem with him showing me more respect than he was showing God. He paused for a minute and told me that he had never thought about it that way. We became friends, occasionally played golf together and the last time I talked with him, he had started going to church.

   You never know what impact you can have in the lives of others, even on your job. One of my biggest surprises came while I was sitting in a restaurant in Hong Kong. We had just closed a $100M plus deal and finished all the major negotiation. The waiters came out and were pouring celebratory drinks and I quietly asked for a Diet Coke. I was raised to refrain from alcohol and by the grace of God never developed a taste for it. Our Vice President of Sales, who at one time told me he was agnostic because he just wasn’t sure about God’s existence, based on what he had experienced while growing up. When he joined Weber, he was going through a divorce. Most days we would go to lunch together, and I became his sounding board. I also tried to share encouraging advice when I thought it would be received. In explaining why I was drinking Diet Coke, he told the people from Cathay Airlines that I was a minister and had been very instrumental in getting him through that difficult time in his life. To this day, we still have discussions about the Bible and recently were discussing the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues. After sharing a few scriptures, he concluded that he was going to need to study and pray about it some more. Now he is currently involved at Gateway Church as an usher and is frequently telling me about speakers that he has heard there. He also told me that he is considering water baptism and wants me to be there; due to the impact I’ve had on his life. It’s not always what you speak, but just living a life that honors God in front of people that causes them to say “He/She is a Christian.” In the Bible, they didn’t call themselves Christians, but as the Word says “they were first called Christians at Antioch.”

   This is the first time that I have taken the time to write out this testimony. There are many things of the world that I have not experienced and I have lived close to God most of my life. Just because I was not delivered from drugs or had some other miraculous miracle, doesn’t take away from the miracle of God’s grace and power that is able to keep us. I learned at an early age that living within the church did not make you a Christian; and I was taught early on that I needed to experience the salvation of God. I hope this has blessed you in some way and agreed to share this testimony for the glory of God. I am nothing in myself; but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.   When we have a personal relationship with God and a daily time with Him, He develops our character, goodness and becomes a part of our DNA.

   The Scripture says in 2 Peter 1:4 “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

   As we project this divine nature in our daily lives, people will recognize it and be drawn to us for help when they have needs in their life.

Don Westbrook Hearing His Voice Testimony

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