Stories

STORY ONE 

A Calling into Medicine

This true story submitted by: Dr. Pat Barrington

When I was 25 years old, my husband Carl was working on a Master of Divinity degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.  For spring break that March he went to Montana to preach for a week of special services at a church there.  I stayed home and worked at my job as a dietitian at Huguley Memorial Medical Center. When I was not at work, I spent more time than usual with the Lord.  I had been reading the Bible through that year and was in the book of Numbers.  I was also listening to my 8-track tapes of the Imperials singing.  One song seemed to really jump out at me with its lyric “I know you can do it this time if you’ll just try again.”  I was also praying for further direction in my life.  The Bible verse in Numbers 8:24 said the Levites entered the training for the service in the temple at the age of 25.  I felt God was saying “Pat, you’re 25.   It’s time to enter the training for what I called you to do.   I know you can do it this time”.  I asked Him to confirm this to me by allowing me to tell Carl about it when he returned home and if he was fully supportive I would go for it.

When Carl returned to Texas, we went out for a walk in the seminary mobile home park where we lived.  I shared the Bible verse, the song, and my interpretation of them with him. He believed that if God wanted me to go to medical school that I should do it and that he would support me all the way.  I had never applied and needed a few courses to meet my requirements for medical school. I enrolled in them at the University of Texas at Arlington and started towards my medical school training at the age of 25.  

I applied to ten medical schools and got invited to interview at six of them.  During the interviews at the first three or four schools, I was told by the interviewers that I was exactly what they were looking for and that I would most likely be accepted at each of them.  Since these schools were far away and in various parts of Texas such as Galveston, Houston, and Lubbock, I did not know which one I should choose if I was accepted at all of them. Therefore, Carl and I agreed together to pray that God would open the door to the one He wanted me to attend and to close the doors to all the others and not let me be accepted anywhere except the one He wanted for me. 

I went for my fifth interview at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth. Dr. Clyde Gallehugh was one of the interviewers.  He said that he believed that medicine was a calling just as my husband was called into ministry.  He asked me to share my “call experience”.  I shared the Bible verse from Numbers 8:24 and the Imperials song and the confirmation of all this with my husband.  Since I had told him I was a Sunday school teacher, he asked me how I planned to teach the next Sunday’s lesson.  I didn’t know at the time that he was a deacon in a Baptist church and also taught Sunday school.  Thinking that we had the same lesson, he wanted to see what I would say about it.  It was quite an interesting interview.  The next day, as a total shock to me, I was called on the phone where I worked as a dietitian for Raleigh Hills Hospital in Dallas and told that I was accepted into that medical school.  I cancelled my interview at the sixth school.  The other four schools did not accept me or even send me a letter of denial. God had chosen to open one door and close all the others.  I was only accepted at the one in Fort Worth where we had previously lived and my husband was able to work at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary as placement director in the Church-Minister Relations office for the four years of medical school and my internship year.  God used Dr. Gallehugh to put Christian students into the school.  He placed me in the city where my husband could get a great job and finish a second Master’s degree while I was in my medical training.

STORY TWO

My First Witness

This true story submitted by: Dr. Pat Barrington

When I was a teenager growing up in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, the summer thing to do if you were a Baptist or had any friends who were Baptist was to go to Falls Creek.  Falls Creek is the largest Baptist camp in the world with thousands of teenagers spending a week there each summer in a cabin with a group from their church or as a guest of someone at that church.  Since I belonged to a very small church we joined with Eleventh Street Baptist Church in Tulsa to go to Falls Creek each summer from the time I completed sixth grade through high school.  When I was fourteen years old, they had a summer youth minister named Kenny Lewis.  Kenny was seventeen years old and headed off to Moody Bible Institute that fall and a preaching ministry.

Even though I had been a Christian since I was seven years old and had accepted Jesus as my Savior at Sunnyside Baptist Church during a revival, I was like many teenagers and adults are even today.  I was afraid to witness.  I was even more afraid if I was to be asked to approach a total stranger and witness to them.  Of course you know that is exactly what Kenny asked me to do… 

During the afternoons at Falls Creek was free time.  Most students swam, hiked, played ball or just hung out and drank Icees.  Kenny approached me early in the week and said that he perceived that I was a leader among the girls and that he wanted me to share my faith and witness to each of the girls in our cabin by the end of the week.  He also wanted me to go out witnessing in the afternoons to other students outside of our cabin.  First of all, I was afraid to speak to them.  Actually “terrified” might have been a better word to describe my emotion back then.  I really don’t know why.  I had the Holy Spirit but I had never really allowed Him to witness through me.  I also came from another church and really didn’t know the other kids in my cabin.  I felt like an outsider.  How could he perceive me to be a leader? 

Kenny told me to pray about it.  He told me the Bible says, “Not by might, nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord of Hosts” (Zechariah 4:6b) and, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. (Philippians 4:13)  I was fully aware that I was unable to do what he asked me to do in my own strength.  This is the first time I realized what it means for Christ to live in me and through me.

By Wednesday or Thursday Kenny was ready for me to go out witnessing in the afternoon by myself.  By this time I knew I had to rely totally on the Holy Spirit speaking through me. I could not fathom doing any witnessing in my own strength.  As I went I prayed and trusted God for the words to say.  I approached a young man about my own age who was near the refreshment stand sipping on an Icee.  I opened my mouth and began witnessing to him about Jesus.  About 95% of the way through the conversation I realized that I had no idea what I had just said.  The gospel was proclaimed to this boy by the Holy Spirit speaking through me.  I was completely unaware of what had come out of my mouth.  God had used me because I had given up on my own effort and surrendered to His power and spirit.  

 I was amazed as I realized that as unprepared as I felt I was, God used me.  I was ecstatic and hardly remember anything else except that His Holy Spirit spoke through me!  WOW!

Reflecting back on that day now, I realize that was the beginning of my really close, intimate relationship with Christ.  Knowing that when I give up and admit that I cannot do anything for Him in my own strength He quickly steps in and empowers me with His Spirit who does it through me if I get out of the way and let Him.  Being from a small town the local newspaper The Broken Arrow Ledger put an article in the paper entitled “Girls Turned on At Baptist Camp” where I shared what a marvelous experience it was to be on fire for Christ after really letting Him use me that week.  I will never forget that feeling as the first time He spoke through me.  I still enjoy that wonderful intimacy with Him.

 

STORY THREE

A Love Story

This true story submitted by: Dr. Pat Barrington

When I was in the eighth grade and at Falls Creek for the week, I felt God’s direction and leading into medicine and missions.  The worship services were in an open air tabernacle that held 5,000-8,000 people.  We had a few fans and an occasional breeze but otherwise we sat on old hard wooden unpainted benches and heard teaching and preaching for one week each summer of my Junior High and High School years.  Many of the teenagers were there for fun and friends.  However, I was really there to hear from God.  I loved Jesus so much that I wanted to be sensitive to anything He asked me to do.  I made a public commitment to tell my family and friends that I felt God wanted me to serve and give my life’s work to being a physician and missionary.

 At age seventeen I loaded up my things in my dad’s pickup and he drove me to theUniversity of Oklahoma to start my freshman year as a pre-med student.  Although, I was fully committed to my studies, I also was involved in Baptist Student Union (BSU) and in the college choir at First Baptist Church of Norman, Oklahoma.  On Thursday night October 31, 1974 while riding across campus with some friends to the weekly Vespers service at the BSU, I met Carl Barrington who was coming along for the first time.  We instantly liked each other and I even had to sit on his lap that night because we had too many people crowded into the backseat of the car.  He walked me back to the dorm that night and we had our first date about a week later. 

 After two years of exclusive dating he broke up with me.  He thought he saw wedding bells in my eyes and it scared him.  I did feel that God had led us together and that he was to someday be my husband.  However, God’s timing is always perfect.  Carl was not ready to marry and I wanted to finish my education too.  I was really devastated at first.  How could I believe so strongly that he was “the one” and now we weren’t even dating.  I cried and cried for about a week.  Then Susan Boyer told me that if he was the one I was to marry some day to let him go and he’ll come back. She said, “When you set someone free and he comes back, then you really know he loves you and wants to be with you.”

It was extremely difficult for the next year to see him at church and BSU and not want to be with him.  I dated several other guys but never felt the closeness that I felt with Carl.  Then in the summer of 1977 Carl went to Oxford, England, to study for six weeks and then touredEurope for the rest of the summer.  I was working as a summer missionary in the inner city of Oklahoma City.  That summer I truly surrendered myself to God and served Him in various churches, a mission, and a medical clinic.  I was finally able to start feeling like I could possibly live without Carl and depend totally on God to fulfill all my needs.  I wasn’t focused on Carl any longer.  That was exactly where I needed to be. 

At this time God allowed me to have Carl back.  Carl called the Baptist Mission Center from Greece.  It cost him about $12 for three minutes.  He had to wait for them to find me and bring me to the phone.  He told me that after doing a lot of thinking and praying that he wanted to start dating me again.

When he arrived back in the United States for the fall semester of our senior year at theUniversity of Oklahoma, we did start dating again.  I really fell more deeply in love with him and wasn’t surprised when on April 14, 1978 he got down on his knees and said “Patricia Michelli Hulsey will you marry me?”

Because I was young and in love and wanted to get married, I didn’t even apply to medical school. I thought that he would not want to wait for me to go through all that education. Instead, I had changed my major to Nutrition-Dietetics and became a registered dietitian. The one year traineeship was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so we married November 17, 1978 and lived in a one bedroom apartment in Tulsa.

Carl didn’t have a job and I wasn’t getting paid for my traineeship.  He was looking for a position on a church staff.  He had spent the previous summer as a youth minister at PineBurr Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas, where he was ordained to the gospel ministry. When God did not provide a ministerial position at that time, he accepted a sales position with IBM.  Although it paid well and met our financial needs he couldn’t get excited about selling computers.  The company sent him to Dallas for a training meeting.  While there, the sales manager said, “And then you will have that check in your hand for 6.2 million dollars (or some other huge sum) and won’t that be the greatest feeling in the whole world?”  Carl said to himself, “No, it doesn’t do a thing for me.”

 Carl knew immediately that he needed to quit.  Although, he never did quit anything like that before or since, he told the leader at the training meeting that he was quitting, called and told me, and got in his car and drove about six hours home.  While he was driving home, Monroe Palmer, pastor of First Baptist Church of Collinsville, Oklahoma called our apartment and asked me if he could interview Carl to be their youth minister.  What timing! God provided this position of ministry at the exact time Carl quit the job with IBM.  We also moved into their four bedroom parsonage for the time he served there.  What marvelous timing God has!  Although not original to him, I have heard our dear friend Earl Stephenson who pastors in Oklahoma say many times that God is seldom early but He is never late. 

STORY FOUR

An Unexpected Conversion

This true story submitted by: Dr. Pat Barrington

While my husband Carl was getting his Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary he served part-time on the church staff at Bethesda Baptist Church in Burleson, Texas for awhile.  Like many Baptist churches, this church had a time during the week when we went into peoples’ homes and visited them and shared the gospel with them.  I enjoyed doing this and also teaching others how to share their faith.  Therefore, I asked God to show me who in the church I should ask to accompany me on the upcoming night of visitation. (I usually went with Carl but he was going out with someone else that night.)  The Holy Spirit caused my eyes to be drawn to a young woman about my same age at the time who was singing in the choir.

This young woman was well-known to me as a regular member of the church.  After the service I asked her if she would go with me to visit people in the neighborhood and explain to them how to become a Christian.  She was willing to go but shared with me that she was not able to talk to anyone about how to become a Christian.  Since I previously, as a teenager, was afraid to speak to others about my faith until I learned the secret of the Holy Spirit speaking through me, I understood her comment.  I assured her that she would not need to do any of the speaking as I would do it all.  I asked her to pray during the time we were in the homes.  I knew she could do that silently and that it would not seem threatening to her.

On the appointed day we met at the church and she and I went to the home of a middle-aged gentleman who had some remote connection to the church but did not attend regularly. After some conversation to get acquainted with him, I asked him if I could share with him how to know for certain that he would go to heaven when he died.  He permitted me to fully explain how we are all sinners and cannot save ourselves and how God sent Christ as the perfect sacrifice for our sins when He died on the cross.  He also allowed me to illustrate these points and to make sure he understood how he could pray right then and ask Jesus Christ into his life to be his personal Savior.  I offered him the opportunity to accept Christ and become a Christian but he declined and said that he wasn’t ready.  I thanked him for allowing me to share all this information with him and made sure he knew to call us if he changed his mind. 

Then I looked at my friend to see if she was ready to go.  She had her head bowed and was praying.  I had told her to pray but thought that she would do it with her eyes open.  We went out to my car and as we were about to back out of the driveway she looked at me and said, “I was just now saved in there.  That was the clearest presentation of the gospel I’ve ever heard.”  WOW!  Praise God!  He is so amazing!

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