Â SALVATION TESTIMONY:J. Scott Newton
I praise the Lord for the gift of a strong and faithful Christian family. I was born into a family that was surrendered to not only serve God, but to take the good news of Christ to another country. Thus, I was under the sound of the Gospel both at church and at home on a regular basis from infancy.
Many doubt the ability of a small child to grasp the truth of personal responsibility for sin before a holy God, but I remember the conviction from the Holy Spirit dealing with my heart at the age of four. I began to realize that when my pastor and fathers spoke of those wicked sinners that Christ died to redeem, I was included in that category. I cannot remember every detail surrounding my conversion, but I recall vividly the misery I felt as I thought of the awful truth that I had broken Godâ€™s law. One night, when I could take the guilt no longer, I told my father by my bed-side that I needed to be saved. We knelt together, and I confessed my sin to God, and very simply asked Him to forgive me and cleanse me of my sin through the blood of Christ. I remember little else except for the joy in my heart, because I knew that my home was Heaven, and that I had started a new life in Jesus Christ!
CALL TO THE MINISTRY:
I was saved at the young age of 4, and the very next year I boarded an airplane with my family, headed for the country of Portugal as missionaries. I thank God for that opportunity to live in a foreign country; to experience a different culture from my own. More than this, I am thankful for the privilege of seeing, and being a small part of, frontier mission work. In the small, backward Azores islands, I saw souls saved in towns and villages where no Gospel witness had ever been. I witnessed first-hand the attacks from Satan to prevent the light from shining in that dark place, through the Catholic church, through wicked people, through sickness, and even through family and Christian friends. Because of this, I believe I can say with the apostle Paul: â€œWe are not ignorant of his devicesâ€¦â€
When I was twelve years old, my family had to return to the US due to medical problems for 4 years. During this time, as I began to consider my own future, the Lord began to impress upon my heart a call to the ministry. For a time I supposed it was imagination, for God surely did not want me, and surely He did not call 12 year-olds! As I continued to pray and consider the matter, He gave me a total peace that this was His plan for my life. I surrendered to His will, and accepted the call.As I thought about the ministry, I had a desire to be a missionary, to reach people for Christ who had never heard the Gospel. I asked the Lord if He would allow me to go as a missionary, not yet knowing where I would go, and His answer was a definite â€œYes!â€As I reached my teenage years, the devil began to plant seeds of doubt in my mind. I began to believe him when he whispered, â€œyou canâ€™t do this! Youâ€™re not good enough!â€ I found hundreds of reasons why I could not possibly do what God had told me to do. I began to consider other alternatives, and at the age of 17, I enlisted in the US Navy. I worked hard, graduating from Basic Training with honors and an automatic promotion. I was shipped out to Pensacola Naval Air Station, where I was flight leader for my squadron in Air-Crew.
I found hundreds of reasons why I could not possibly do what God had told me to do. I began to consider other alternatives, and at the age of 17, I enlisted in the US Navy. I worked hard, graduating from Basic Training with honors and an automatic promotion. I was shipped out to Pensacola Naval Air Station, where I was flight leader for my squadron in Air-Crew.Outwardly, everything appeared to be in order in my life: I was making a career for myself in the military, I was financially secure, and I even attended church every Sunday! Inwardly, I was miserable. I knew that I was not supposed to be there, and that I was just being a coward.
Â Fortunately, God has ways of bringing you to where He wants you to be! Days away from graduation, I received a memo to report to the medic. When I arrived, I was handed a paper to sign forâ€¦ Discharge??? What was this? I was being discharged for an extremely minor pre-existing medical condition, effective almost immediately. Within 4 days, I was out with nothing to show for my time.
After spending a few months wallowing in self-pity, I moved to Tallahassee with my brother, intending to keep running, but in a different direction. I enrolled in FSU to study Anthropology, a subject that fascinated me. I also began attending a good local church, where God began to work on meâ€¦HARD. After about 6 months, like Jacob, I stopped fighting, admitted who I was, and clung to the Lord. I knew that I was nothing special, but I Cor. 1:27 gave me hope: â€œBut God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.â€
I realized that I needed to prepare for the ministry, and began to pray for direction. I did not feel ready for campus life at a Bible College, and I returned to Portugal to study in the Bible Institute, taught by my father and a national pastor. After about 18 months in Portugal, I enrolled in a small Bible College in the US, where I met and married my wife, Melissa.
After we married, we began to look for a better place to continue our studies, as missions were put on the back-burner at the college we were at. As we prayed for an open door, we were offered an opportunity to return to Portugal to complete our studies, and also to have more hands-on missions experience. We jumped on the opportunity, as we knew it was from the Lord! We interned for a year in Portugal, completing our 4-year degrees, and helping my parents to start a brand-new church in the unreached town of Castelo Branco. We distributed Gospel Literature, taught Sunday School, and preached. Actually, only one of us preached. Melissaâ€™s sermons improved greatly in our time there! Iâ€™m kidding, naturally. (They are still terrible)
Another benefit of our internship was that it gave us an opportunity to visit and pray about different countries as potential places of ministry. After visiting Portugal, Spain, and the UK, though were burdened for the people, the Lord made it clear to our hearts that He wanted us elsewhere. My mind returned to the Irish, as I had met and witnessed to several Irishmen, and was burdened by their complete lack of exposure to the Word of God. With this in mind, we took a survey trip to Ireland in October 2006. As we stayed with missionaries, went soul-winning with them, and met the Irish church-members, we saw the great need for more missionaries in the country. However, as we sat in the airport preparing to fly home, we knew that the answer from the Lord was, once again, â€œnoâ€.
As we began to pray, discouraged that we still did not know where He would have us to minister, our minds went back to the many South African people we had met in the mission churches. We remembered their descriptions of their home country, how that a most people knew the word â€œGospelâ€, but their only concept of it was twisted, perverse, and works-based. Though it took three years of prayer to hear a â€œnoâ€ for Ireland, it took 5 seconds of prayer for a â€œyesâ€ for South Africa! We were in shock (we had never even thought of South Africa), but we knew beyond doubt that God had spoken to our hearts. With this call firmly in our hearts, we are now preparing enthusiastically to reach the people of South Africa. Please pray for:
Us, as we prepare.
More laborers for the harvest, in South Africa and all over the world.
The many lost in South Africa, especially those seeking the truth.
â€œFor we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.â€
Scott and Melissa NewtonScott and Melissa NewtonÂ Â Â
TESTIMONY OF SALVATION AND BURDEN FOR MISSIONS: MELISSA NEWTON
I was privileged to grow up in a Christian home.Â Some of my earliest memories are of hearing the Word of God and the plan of salvation.Â At the age of six, while at work with my dad, I started thinking about the fact that I was lost.Â I knew that I was a sinner, but I didnâ€™t quite understand what I had to do to get saved.Â So, that day I asked my dad about salvation and how to get saved.Â He pulled his work-van over to the side of the road and led me to the Lord. I confessed my sin to God, and asked Him to forgive me and cleanse me, and I know that He did!Â
About two years after I got saved, my family moved to North Carolina.Â At the age of fourteen, I started thinking a lot about maybe doing something in the ministry someday, because I wanted to serve God with my life.Â I kept hearing the testimonies of the missionaries that would come into my church and missions started weighing heavy on my heart.Â I knew God wanted me to be a missionary but I didnâ€™t think that I could do it.Â I went to a special meeting on a Tuesday night where my youth pastor was preaching at a different church.Â That night he preached on the ministry and how God didnâ€™t need people with great talents and abilities to use in the ministry.Â He told us that God is just looking for a willing heart.Â He brought up Isaiah 6:8 â€œAlso I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send and who will go for us?Â Then said I, here am I; send me.â€
Â I heard that message and it broke my heart.Â I knew that God could use me no matter what, as long as I was willing to do it.Â I knew that all I had to say was, â€œhere am I, Lord, send me.â€Â That night I surrendered to the serve God as a missionary.Â
In my last year of high school a missionary came to our church and invited me to go on a missions trip to Peru.Â That summer after graduation high school, I went to Peru.Â The Lord really spoke to my heart while I was there.Â The night that the Lord spoke to me the most was standing on the hill over La Paz, Bolivia. I was so burdened as I saw the incredible amount of people, most of whom had never heard about Christâ€™s love, and that He died to reconcile them to God. That night I surrendered to go wherever He would lead me.
Shortly after my trip to Peru, I enrolled in Bible College where I met my husband Scott.Â We were married in May 2005, and shortly after moved to Portugal to finish up our classes and get some hands-on missions training with Scottâ€™s parents, Allen and Barbara Newton.Â Through many circumstances and much prayer, the Lord put a burden in our hearts for the people of South Africa. We are excited to see how God will use us there, and we are preparing for our ministry to the South African people.