Mel Bellamy's Testimony
This was presented a few weeks before the flight.
I always enjoy hearing one's testimony of how their life has changed after asking the Lord to enter his or her life. As for my testimony of faith in Christ Jesus, I suspect I was rather disappointing for my Lord for several years. I asked Jesus Christ into my life in the Winter of 1966 while working at a sawmill in Michigan. I had not been to prison, didn't do drugs, and hadn't killed anyone in a bar fight. I didn't have a church background nor was I raised in a Christian home, but I was afraid of dying in Viet Nam, where I was sure I was going. After signing up for the Marine Corps I went to 'religious classes' where I learned about the Trinity of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Soon I was with a grunt unit that traveled the whole I Corps area and participated in over 14 operations. I was wounded in the frst firefight and came close to death so many times that it became second nature to have a good adrenaline rush. During one battle, while under intense mortar attack, I prayed to the Lord to take me early in the night. I saw no point in laying in my hole up to my neck in water with leeches and bugs crawling all over me, only to die at sunrise. The ground fire was meant for one thing only: to keep me in my hole until a mortar found me. At this time the Lord spoke to me very clearly that nothing was going to take me out of His hand. He said I wasn't going to die but was safe in His hand because I had asked His Son, Jesus Christ, into my life. I didn't even know that it was recorded in His Word until I read it in John 10:28 after coming home the following year.
After being 'in country' for 7 more months, we participated in operation Union 2. This battle changed the way I think, the way I look at others, and the way I perceive others under authority. We went in with 150 men, plus support guns and mortars, and came out with 27. After this operation I started having big trouble with our 1st Sgt. It got to the point where he'd send me out on missions not expecting me to come back. He also had me turn in all my grenades so I couldn't frag him. This was the time of blind obedience, and I started to question this system. I had tried to extend in country but after my 14th month I was shipped home abruptly the morning after three of us were sent out on ambush. Three of us went into a flooded village of NVA and were on air mattresses with not much more than knives and grenades.
After Union 2 I started smoking weed and drinking anything that would dull the memory. One Marine would wake me to go on watch, but I ended up carrying his body out of the field on May 26th. Dead! This marine would follow me back to the States and appear periodically in full jungle attire, smell and all.
Upon reaching the States, I tried to kill my Plt Sgt. with a bow and arrow after a night at the club. I would have succeeded if I hadn't run out of arrows. While in and out of the hospital I was discharged (Honorable), and soon married and settled into the routine life of going to church for the first time and trying to be 'good.' We attended or joined several churches, about 7 or 8, to my recollection. The majority of these churches contended that by living a good life, we would lead others to Christ. I failed miserably at the good life or leading others to Christ. Only through Christ was I able to lose my nightmares of Nam and chemical dependency.
My brother was dying of cancer in 1994, and at this point a change finally came into my life. My brother Gene, who was a Christian, looked at me and said my work on earth is done; apparently the Lord wants you to do something yet for Him!
Soon after this, my wife and I volunteered as missionaries to the military at Fort Leonard Wood. At the first Retreat with the Army I learned through Christ how to lead someone to Him. Not by being good, but by telling that individual about how Jesus died for him or her. After working with the Army for three years we were able to invite the Marine Corps out for weekly retreats, where many accepted the Lord. The Lord opened many doors at this time and gave us a heart for the military to share our experiences, and what the Lord can do.
It took over 30 years of being a Christian to figure out, as Paul said in I Cor. 16:13, to start acting like a man and stand up for Jesus Christ.
Keep Looking Up
This testament came from Sue Haney, who adds: If anyone wants to learn about the same Jesus Christ that changed Mel and Judy's life so dramatically, or if you just want to share your faith with others, you are welcome to join our group. We meet each Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Contact me at 448-2927 or Bob Hoogendorn at 448-2142.
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