I’m Jo Anne Arnett, from a small town in south Florida.
Was taken to Sunday School by a friend of the family because my family did not go to church at that time – and accepted Jesus as a young girl, about age five for six.
Went to the front of a Baptist church and began to cry, not knowing that tears were of the Holy Spirit. I thought that maybe I was not accepted, because I didn’t know Scripture that said, you know, “…for all who come to Me I will in no wise cast out.”
I had heard only testimonies of prostitutes and alcoholics and people that had had a dramatic experience, and I wasn’t old enough to be involved in any of those horrible things.
Tried to be a good girl – thought that’s what Christianity was about. I thought it was about being good and bad.
Went to vacation Bible school, attended churches through high school, and I went to whatever congregation needed a fill-in piano player, because I love to play - and I soon learned during that time to see the body of Christ as one.
As an adult I continued to worship the Lord. I was not much of a Bible student. I found that I didn’t understand many things that I was reading so I sort of read and continued to try to do what I believed was right.
During a period of time, during the “God is Dead” movement, I was not finding a Bible study or the life I needed. I knew there had to be more. I knew that saints had to have died for more than I had - and began to search.
I began to visit other congregations, and found outstanding teachers. These teachers began to open the Scripture to me.
Now during that same time I met a group, and as we began to pray we decided we would meet, study the Bible, see what it said, try it, report back.
So, when it said “Pray for the sick,” we prayed for the sick. We came back to report what happened.
When it said, “Bring the poor into your house,” we brought the poor into our homes, came back and reported what happened.
We began to grow in the Lord, and someone brought a tape recording about the Holy Spirit, and the fact that the Holy Spirit, through men, wrote the Scripture, and that we needed to pray for that Holy Spirit to invade our lives.
When I did that it impacted my life tremendously. Scripture opened up. I began to know better how to pray. My relationship with the Lord changed. It became alive. The Word became alive.
I’ve always thought that one of the basic needs of a human being was for adventure. And so I did scuba diving and I flew – loved to try things. And I grew up thinking that probably a life with the Lord would be pretty boring, and that I’d have to cut out a lot of things.
But of course what I’ve discovered is that there’s no adventure like the adventure in the Spirit. There’s just nothing like it! There’s nothing like following Jesus Christ, and loving Him, and having Him love me.
I’m way behind my plan to be wonderful by now, but I know He’s going to complete that which He began in me, and He’s beginning to use me in the way He created me, in ways that are satisfying to me, and I pray will matter to other people.
And that is such contrast to my upbringing which said, “If you want to serve Jesus, you have to do something that you’re miserable about.”
I didn’t know that He created me for certain things, and will call me to things that will fulfill that, and that the fruits of the Spirit of love and joy and peace and so forth will follow.
There have been lots of turning points in my life. One major time as an adult was when I was in a little prayer group.
I had heard that God could heal, and I remember thinking that if God could heal, then maybe Jesus would be today who He used to be, and who I hoped He would be again in heaven.
We had never prayed out loud in public, but a group of us began to pray for a friend who had never had a baby, wanted a baby, didn’t want to adopt because she really wanted her own baby. She was not a church-goer, but probably a believer.
Anyway, we knelt and prayed that she would have a baby. And nine months later, she had that baby.
So it was the first miracle I saw. I’ve seen many since.