John Weston, Jr.

John WestonOVERCOMING LOW EXPETATIONS

   John was born and raised in a cotton mill village in Greenville, South Carolina. John grew up believing he did not have the mental capacity to do anything in life but work in a cotton mill or work on automobiles. John was born again in 1963 standing and looking over the ocean in Gulfport, MS. After 2 years out of high school and taking classes at a tech school to get courses needed for College entrance. John was admitted to college on probation. He graduated from University with a BS Degree in Education. John has had the opportunity to travel around the world, has met with Presidents, and is currently a Real Estate Broker who has worked with multimillion dollar transactions, with individuals, institutional investors and churches. John has served in music ministry and is presently Director of Higher Ground Men’s Chorus that sings Traditional and Southern Gospel Music. John is also a National Director with Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America in the state of Colorado.

John’s testimony describes how God's mighty power raised his grandfather from the dead, and other miracles and the life changing transforming power of God that delivered John from the pit of sin, fear and inferiority to confidence in the power of the grace of a loving God.

John Weston: Good evening everyone.

   I want to read a scripture Romans 5:17. "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ."

Praise the Lord for his grace. I'm glad that I know him as Savior and as Lord.

   I was born and raised on a Cotton Mill Village in Greenville, South Carolina. We were known as “lint heads”. If you had dark hair when you went to work for your 8 hour shift, you would leave with white lint covering hair and it looked like you were wearing a white wig. We lived with our grandparents for seven and a half years on Judson Mill Village in a house was built by the Judson Mill for factory workers. The houses were shotgun in layout. I don't know if you know what a shotgun house is. It is where you open the front door and you go through one room, then the next room and then the next room. You can shoot a shotgun through the house without hitting any walls and that's the design of house we lived in. We had a potbelly stove for heat. There were several villages around Greenville and they provided a sports league for kids and adults. My mother was a Smith and my dad was a Weston. Mother's family went from farming to the Cotton Mill for jobs and children could go to work in the mill when they were 12 and 13 years old. Homes were built around the mill, and my dad's family came from Cramerton, North Carolina, in Gaston County. My Dad had a very rough childhood and when he was 13 years old, his dad disappeared and left his mother with 5 brothers and sisters (6 Children). His mother claimed to be a Christian lady but was a manipulator and operated in the spirit of witchcraft. Dad was turned off by religion and considered most Christians as hypocrites. At 14 his older brother left home, join the Army, and dad had to drop out of school and went to work in the cotton mill to support his brothers and sisters and his mother. He became the breadwinner. My dad and mother began dating and ran off to Georgia to get married because there was no waiting period. There in South Carolina, you would have to wait three days to get married. So he wooed my mother off her feet, and she was barely just over 15 years old. My dad’s early life was a very rough and he was an ungodly man. He was a horrible example for Johnny. That was my nick name. In fact, I thought it was my formal name and when I went to get my first social security card and my driver's license I used Johnny Weston. I didn't realize my full formal name was John Hubert Weston Jr. That was sort of an ordeal not knowing proper way to record my name and later I had to go and get the records corrected.

   Dad was a chain smoker and played baseball in the industrial league in the Greenville area and he would chew tobacco when pitching. He was a Golden Glove boxer with a very foul mouth and I learned all the trash talk. I had two neighbor friends that were two years older than me and they cussed like Sailors and we would have cussing contests. I learned real well from my dad. We would also go to the mill and pick up cigarette butts when the guys would come out for their break and smoke. We were five-year-old kids smoking cigarette butts. I received my first “whooping” for smoking at age 6. The house across the street lived a family that one of the women worked at the beer joint and she was prostituting herself and bringing soldiers to her home. We knew what they were doing. Four houses behind the opposite direction the neighbor had a moonshine operation in the back of their house. In fact one night, I heard this big boom sound and looked out of the window and the moonshine still blew up and set the back enclosed porch on fire. We live with my mother's parents, the only electrical appliance we had besides the refrigerator was a radio where we would gather around and listen to the Lone Ranger and Amos and Andy. I remember walking eight blocks to watch on black-and-white TV, to watch the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the World Series. Advertising is very different today than what it was back then. Advertising was a whole lot cleaner than the ads today. Example: Gillette had an ad with a jingle that went something like this "To look sharp (ding), Every time you shave, To feel sharp, ding, and be on the ball." I’m sure the old-timers remember that one. My grandmother Smith, my mother's mother was a saint but my granddaddy was not a believer. She spent a lot of time praying for my granddaddy, my daddy, my mother, and the kids. She would take us to church and most time we had to walk. We had to walk through the black community to get there. My grandmother began attending Tremont Avenue Church of God, a full gospel church after my mother who was a sickly little girl was healed due to the Ministry of a lady named Granny Cole. Granny Cole who walked through the Mill Village visiting with neighbors and praying for those that would allow her. My grandmother was in her rocking chair on the front porch. While Granny Cole was visiting with my Grandmother Smith she noticed my mother Mildred who was very small and fragile for her age and was very sickly, Granny Cole ask my Grandmother if she could for her child, who was my mother and for she had noticed the very sickly little girl. My Grandmother had a Methodist background and didn't know anything about Divine Healing. Grandmother agreed and Granny Cole took a little bottle of oil out of her pocket and anointed her and my mother was healed. It was after that my Grandmother began attending church at Tremont Ave Church of God. After my Mother was married and the first three little ones were born Grandmother took me and my older sister Judy to church every Sunday morning and later my younger sister Brenda. One week the church was having a Sunday school contest and I don't remember what the prize was, but my sister Judy begged my mother and daddy to go to church with us. Mother talked Daddy into going and Dad had the only car and driver's license between my Grandparents and my Mother. My Dad didn't really want to go because he felt that church groining people were a bunch of hypocrites. It was an answer to my Grandmothers prayer that he agreed to take us to church. The church was also in a Holy Spirit charged revival. My mother went forward that morning and received Christ as her savior and was born again. She was also set free from smoking and received healing in her eyes. That night she was so excited she decided she wanted to go again to the revival and persuaded daddy to take her to the evening service. He agreed to with an attitude in mind that those hypocrites are not going to get to me. That was another miracle for Mr. rough and tuff John Weston to go to church twice in one day was a surprise. He had a strong attitude that they are all a bunch of phonies. The Holy Spirit was moving and the power of the power of the Spirit drew my dad and he was one of the first guys in the altar. He was born again and he came home a different man. My two sisters and I had stayed home with my grandmother that evening and Dad and Mother came home late after we were already asleep. I was awakened with a lot of commotion going on. I jumped out of bed to see what was going on and dad was at the potbelly stove which was our heat source, he was burning decks of cards, cartons of cigarettes, trashy books, magazines and novels. The potbelly stove was so hot that the exhaust pipe that goes up to the ceiling was red hot and glowing. If you have ever been around those types of stoves how the pipe would get so hot glow. Next my Dad went to the kitchen and poured his liquor down the drain. He was a new creature a changed man. The next Sunday, he took his sister to church and she received Christ and he became a soul winner and his first target was his family. They began seeking God and began attending cottage prayer meetings and bible studies multiple times a week and that came became the norm. They put their family and friends on a list to share prayer request at the cottage prayer meetings for salvation. I remember dad praying for me not too long after they began attending the cottage prayer meetings. I had pneumonia and measles at the same time with a very high fever and he laid his hands on me and started praying and prayed "Lord, I know it's not your will for this child to suffer, so you take him or heal him right now and I thought; Whoa, what a shocking prayer! But he saw results as soon as he finished that prayer, my fever broke and I started sweating with his hand still on my brow. Within two hours, I was out playing with the other kids in the neighborhood. That was my first experience of being healed. My dad also was healed of rheumatoid arthritis after he accepted Christ and made him Lord.

   An amazing miracle happened one night while they were at a cottage prayer meeting. Me and my two sisters who were home with my grandparents and already asleep, suddenly I heard my grandmother screaming "Daddy is dead. Daddy is dead. Daddy is dead." She ran out of the house and went to a neighbor's which was three houses up the street. There were eight houses on our block and only one neighbor had a phone. Anyone on our block that had an emergency had to go to that neighbor's house to use the telephone. Grandmother was in panic to use a phone to call the ambulance and she continued screaming. After calling the ambulance she went back out in the neighbor’s yard and while waiting on the corner to give directions to the ambulance driver because we lived on a dead-end street. My mother and daddy were coming back from the cottage prayer meeting, mother was driving and my dad was asleep. Mother said to my dad, “John wake up there’s mother get out the car and see what is wrong with her and I’ll go to the house and see what is happening.’ Mother drove to our house and came inside and I'm standing behind the closet door peeping out and looking at my granddaddy who was laying there with blood all over the walls and curtains where he had spewed out blood. He was laying back on the bed and his eyeball back in his head and wasn't breathing. I'm standing there looking at the bloody and smelly stench and I didn't understand seriousness of the situation for I had never seen a dead person before. This was a shocking experience for this 6 year old. My mother came into that room and she said, "Lord, I just came from a prayer meeting where we were praying for my dad's salvation and Lord you can't let him die. You have promised to save him. The Holy Spirit spoke to her and said, “Call him back”. I stood there and watched her call him back. She prayed “I come against the spirit of death” and he came back and was revived and in a few seconds he fell back out again and she prayed again and had to contend for him the second time praying a second time “I come against the spirit of death” and he was revived and began breathing very raspy. He was taken to the hospital and when they checked him and the doctor reported, "He didn't have enough blood in him to be alive." But the Lord had spared his life. Even with such a Miracle it was 15 years later before he actually was born again and received Christ. 15 years later my mother and daddy were pastoring a church in Augusta Georgia when a neighbor found my granddaddy on the floor in a coma and he was rushed to the hospital and as they drove from Augusta to Greenville, a 2 hour drive, they prayed "Lord, you promised to save my family spare his life”. While he was in a coma as they prayed during the trip, the Lord appeared to granddaddy and showed him in a vision of Heaven which was a beautiful place. Then he began to sink down into a pit and that pit was dark and the lower he went, the darker and hotter it was and in the vision heaven faded away. The Holy Spirit spoke to him said “this is your last chance”. He had become an alcoholic and had a really rough time in ad out of rehabs. While in the coma he accepted Jesus as his Savior and he was able to come out of the coma tell about the conversion. He was a changed person and the Lord spared him after his life was spared three different times. He was delivered from alcohol and never drank again. Because the rough neighborhood, daddy decided to move to the County so we could have a garden and be away from the bad influence of the neighborhood. We moved into a house that didn’t have running water and indoor plumbing for bathroom. We had a well and an outhouse. I remember while we lived at that place, my parents would be fasting and praying and seeking the Lord. Many times I would hear Dad out in the barn praying and asking the Lord to use them to win the lost and sometimes you could hear Dad pounding the floor and the planks rattling.

   I started first grade at Mauldin school and had to ride the bus to school. I struggled as a student and I was always compared with my older sister Judy who was Miss Perfect and I was a very hyper kid who couldn't sit still. In fourth grade, we moved back to Judson and I was always getting paddled for mischief activity. I was in the fourth grade and couldn't read, and I thought that I was mentally retarded and wasn’t capable of “book learning”. I was frustrated as a student and hyper, I would get in trouble by pulling the girls hair and talking in class when I should have been listening. At age 14, I got a driver's license and worked at Ayers grocery store that was near Parker High School. I had a 1947 Pontiac that my dad and I put together. We bought two old wrecked cars, one had a banged-up body with a good motor and the 2nd car had an excellent body with a bad motor. We took the best of each car and built one and once we had finished swapping the parts and rebuilding, we had a total of $55 in that car. One day my mother came to me asking for the car keys. She said Holy Spirit had told her that Satan was trying to kill me. Therefore she would not allow me to drive by myself and I could only drive if she or Dad were with me until further notice. I knew she had a connection with the Holy Spirit and I willingly gave her the keys. After a couple of months, she came to me and gave me the car keys and told me she had a release from Holy Spirit that I could drive again without them being in the car with and she gave me the keys back permanently. I was a poor student and my 9th grade algebra teacher was the counselor that assigned to me to help me choose my curriculum for high school. I was the worst of the worst in algebra and this teacher is to help me choose my life’s direction and career. She suggested I take textiles because I was good with my hands and Parker High School had a vocational education program with classes with equipment for an entire mill factory operation. So in the 10th grade, I took Textiles and learn to operate the all the basic textile equipment. The classes would teach the students bring a bale of cotton in one door and send a piece of cloth out the other door. My dad was a weaver in the mill and a Lay Minister, he would hold revivals in churches in many rural communities and he also bought a tent and would make a deal with a farmer to put up a tent in field and go around the community or neighborhood with a loudspeaker and say, "Come here gospel singing". Our family sang together and people would attend for the Southern Gospel Music. My dad was ask to hold a revival in McCall Creek, Mississippi and at the time Woodside mill was shut down for a couple of weeks so he accepted. Then Dad was asked to be the pastor of that church and he accepted. We moved when I was in the 11th grade to McCall Creek, Mississippi. I made lots of friends and our family sang and traveled to many towns in Southwest Mississippi and we really enjoyed ourselves. I went to Mississippi youth camp that summer and was at the altar every night during the camp and I would pray, "Oh Lord save me and help me to be a Christian" without results. In the fall of 1962 I went back to South Carolina and to live with my grandparents because I didn't want to be a damaging testimony to my Dad’s ministry at that church. It was a small community, everybody knew everybody and if I sped down the road in my 51 Chevy which had a split manifold with glass packs (you could hear me coming a mile away) the neighbors would tell my parents if I did something wrong, by the time I got home they knew about it. I wanted to get out of there. So I conned my dad by saying, "Hey, I want to go back and take vocational education courses at Parker High School and get my old job back at Winn Dixie and to my surprise he agreed to let me go back and live with my grandparents in Greenville SC. That was my senior year and I didn't even take the vocational classes I had told my dad I would take; instead I took Distributive Educational classes so I could get out of school at noon and work more hours at Winn Dixie. I spent the 12th-grade struggling but I had made good grades in the shop lasses in the previous year but I had to go summer school every year to pass my English classes. 1963 was the biggest year in my life. Number one, I barely graduated from high school. I took my vacation and traveled back to Mississippi Church youth camp, the same camp that I attended the year before, and had such a great time and had met so many friends and enjoyed it. I took a friend from South Carolina on the trip with me. During that youth camp, I was in the altar every night still praying wrong. “Oh God help me be a Christian”. Friday afternoon of that week they were having a baptismal service. Paul Henson the camp director came over to me and I was standing by myself about 30 yards away from the baptismal tank looking out over the Gulf of Mexico there in Gulfport, Mississippi. Brother Henson asked, "Shouldn't you be getting baptized?" I said "No. I've already been baptized twice." He put his hand on my shoulder said “John just make sure that you totally trust in the Lord." I thought "Hmm", you know, I've already been altar 60+ times and I still don't have what my mother and dad have with the Lord. They had something real and special with the Lord. As I was looking over the ocean I said, "Lord, save me and kill me I don’t want to take a chance and go to hell”. Then I finally prayed the right words with total surrender remembering what Paul Henson had just told me. “John just make sure that you totally trust in the Lord." Then I prayed, Lord! I'm a lousy no-good sinner come into my life and I repent and make you Lord”. Wow! Holy Spirit came right into my life at that moment I confessed Him as Lord. All those trips to the altar before were prayers trying to make a deal with God asking Him to help me to be a Christian. That would be works. My concept of getting saved and then losing my salvation was a false concept. I realized with Jesus Christ in my heart I knew Holy Spirit had come into my life. I recall saying to myself at that moment, "Lord I don't want to die now, don't kill me now I want to live." Praise the Lord I was saved and filled with Holy Spirit. The Lord is so good. I realized that all those prayers I prayed before, I was praying, "Lord, help me help me to be a Christian," and you know you cannot be a Christian by works, not by works of righteous of humans, but only by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ Three big events in June 1963:

1) I graduated from high school; (Which was a miracle in itself)

2) I was set free from the law of sin and death and was born-again;

3) I met my wife, Bonnie in the same month and she brought a great change and inspiration to my life. Bonnie was 19 a little older than me and had already completed three years of college. She was a smart person, skipped classes, and graduated from high school when she was 16 years old. When I found out about her background, that she had three years of college and dating this Mill village boy that barely made it out of high school, I was so intimidated and she also knew the word. We would study scriptures together, but I could tell her what I believed but could not support with the scripture and I couldn't give scriptures to support my beliefs and she was hungry for the Lord.

   I didn't know the word at that point, but I knew what I had was real. It wasn’t too long after that Max Morris, the associate pastor of our church; tremendous piano player, musician, and teacher came to me and asked me to teach a Sunday school class. I thought I cannot teach a Sunday school class. I can barely read, much less teach those 5th grade boys. But I agreed to do it and it was a challenge to study and teach due to my reading problem. Bonnie encouraged me to go back to school and take a speed reading class and an English class. When I started the speed reading class I was reading about 230 words per minute with very low comprehension. After taking that class, I was reading 1,200 words a minute and comprehension had increased. My life began to change as I took an English class and began to actually enjoyed “book learning” that I had always hated. I had a desire to go to college, but I didn't have the courses needed to get into college. Bonnie and I dated for two years and I worked to save for college. Then after two years in the fall of 1965, with the help of Max Morris I was accepted at Lee College in Cleveland, TN on probation. My poor grades did not qualify me for college but my ACT exam score was above average and was what helped qualify me to be accepted on probation. I made the Dean's List first semester. I went back to Parker High School to see my 12th grade English teacher Dewy Lemons and showed him my grades. He said, "I knew you could." He had an encouraging word for me when we first started his class as a senior in high school. He gave a pop quiz; I want everybody to take out a piece of paper and write the words to Wolverton Mountain. I thought, "Oh my goodness, what kind of test is this?" So I wrote it out and probably misspelled most of the words. The lyrics go “they say don't go on Wolverton Mountain if you're looking for a wife”. Anyway, he said I'm going to save these papers and if you can get these words, you can achieve in English and academics. I thought "Well, maybe I'm not really mentally retarded after all." So that was just a great encouragement. At Lee, I became a member of the Lee singers and in 1967, we traveled to Europe on tour with the singers and it changed my life. In fact, 1967 was the first time I had traveled on an airplane. We flew from New York to London and while in London the Singers recorded an album “Praise To The Lord” at Abby Road Studio (Where the Beatles recorded). Dr Delton Alford was the Director and a great mentor to me. After two years at Lee, Bonnie and I were engaged, and we were married September 5, 1967. I transferred to Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC where I graduated in January 1970.

   While at Bob Jones I directed the youth and children’s choir at Tremont Ave Church of God. One of our precious members was Joni Trammell Lamb she was approximately 9 years of age.

   After graduation I went to work at a business college even though I wanted to teach music, however I couldn't get a teaching job near the Greenville area in the middle of the school year.

   To my surprise I enjoyed working at the business college and thought it was only a fill gap job. Within a year, I was the president and operating manager of the school. In 1971, LTV Education Systems (Dallas Based) the owner of the school offered me a job at a school in Denver, Colorado one of the 36 schools they owned across the country. When we moved to Denver, we had one child (John 3) and one on the way (Hans).

   Later we received 2 more gifts from God, Janna and Jeanette 2 girls to balance 2 boys & 2 girls. All the children are involved in ministry and Hans is a full time Pastor.

   So it's been an exciting life. It's God's work through us by His Spirit. I went from a little boy going nowhere in life, and no confidence, to meeting with President Ronald Reagan twice, traveled to South Africa and China on mission trips. As a youth I had never been over 200 miles from my house, but graduated from college. Now I praise the Lord for he was so gracious to me.

   A highlight of my life happened when I directed a 400 voice Men's Chorus at the first big Promise Keepers Meeting in Boulder Colorado. The Lord's been able to use me in music ministry and I thank Him for the infilling of His Spirit. I thank Him for His salvation He provided. I want share a video of a song right now for you that sums up my testimony. The song that our Men's Chorus recorded called “My mind's made up.” And that song is a testimony of something that I did there in Gulf Port, Mississippi in 1963. I made up my mind that I was going to totally trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding, but all my ways acknowledge Him and I knew He would direct my path. Make up your mind, surrender to the Lord. Amen! Copy link and put into your browser for a video of the following song.

Higher Ground Men's Chorus, (Solo John Weston):

Chorus

   Well my minds made up. And my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way. Well my mind's made up and my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way, (All the way).

   Well my minds made up. And my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way. Well my mind's made up and my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way, (All the way). Verse 1

   Jesus fixed me, the day He saved, when I told Him I had a willing mind; Now I'm growing, I'm growing- stronger every day. And with Jesus I’m going all the way (All the way). Repeat Chorus Well, my minds made up. And my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way. Well, my mind's made up and my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way, (All the way).

   Well my minds made up. And my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way. Well my mind's made up and my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way, (All the way). (Verse 2) I got converted; and I want turn around tho the devil may try to get me down. I once was lost but now I’m found and brother for sure I’m heaven bound. (Repeat Chorus) Well my minds made up. And my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way. Well my mind's made up and my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way, (All the way).

   Well my minds made up. And my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way. Well my mind's made up and my heart is fixed. And I’m going with Jesus all the way, (All the way). Repeat Chorus 2 X’s. I made up my mind and finally followed Jesus the way the truth and the Life based on His grace and not my works. It is so simple when praying according to the Word.

John's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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