Why did Harold Rice care so much about people?

Something was wrong. I was seventeen. I had enjoyed a wonderful upbringing in a loving family, attended church, worked a part-time job, made decent grades in school, planned to attend college, played lead guitar in a successful rock band, and was very unhappy. Despite the shiny future ahead of me, I felt a deep sense of hopelessness within me. If life held any meaning for me or anyone, I wasn’t sure what it was. I didn’t want to die and I didn’t want to live. What was I to do? I began to pray. Perhaps I did want to live but just didn’t know what life was.

I had read the Bible as a boy and while I accepted it as credible, I had always imagined that those who were serious about implementing its principles were relegated to a life of asceticism. They were the ones who wore funny clothes, went on retreats, held rummage sales, worked only on certain days, and confined themselves to their homes on weekend nights. Incapable of emulating this demanding lifestyle, I felt uncomfortable around religious people.

However, a local minister had made an impression on me once when I visited his church. There was something very different about Reverend Harold Rice that caught my attention. He was the kind of guy who would just tell you outright that he loved you, not that there was any doubt. Just the fact that he would actually say it echoed his actions, which included helping the sick, poor, troubled or anyone with a need. He would minister to his congregation, residents at the local nursing home, and people of other races with whom it was not acceptable to mingle in our small southern town.

I have met only a few people who immediately give me the feeling that they are full of love for their fellow man, an indiscriminant love that transcends the natural boundaries of what is typically understood as love. Why did Harold Rice care so much about people? I guessed that his unusually robust love originated either in something he knew that others didn’t or from a supernatural source.

Word had it that Harold Rice worked on cars as a hobby. Supposedly, he had developed some type of gas-saving device that when installed on a vehicle, could increase the miles-per-gallon with little or no performance loss. As my state of mind grew increasingly dispirited, I decided to stop by his home one afternoon under the pretense that I needed his advice regarding a mechanical problem my truck was experiencing. The problem was real, but a minor one, something like a loose battery cable which I seem to remember him fixing with a penny. He soon realized that the real reason I had visited was to find out the secret to the love and happiness that he possessed.

He sat down with me and enthusiastically answered my questions about God. He didn’t preach at me or try to scare me with hellfire, but explained things in a clear manner via the scriptures that he so passionately believed and the experiences of his own life. He showed me that through an act of love, God sent Jesus to lift man out of the depressed state that he was in, the state that I found myself in. I felt fortunate to receive an interactive message very different from that of the pulpits to which I was accustomed. I came away with a sincere belief that Jesus Christ was not just some great religious teacher, but a person who was actually alive today due to the supernatural power of God. I asked the Savior into my life and discovered that He would literally enter me and live in me, my body being a temple for his Spirit.

The more I learned, the more amazed I became. The scriptures were coming alive for me. I hadn’t realized that there was such a deep and intelligent divine plan outlined in the pages of the book that I had read as a young boy. If anyone had ever explained God’s purpose for me, I had missed it. The fact that I believed the words of Jesus and put them into practice made all the difference imaginable. I admit that I did not fully understand all that was happening to me as my life transformed. I knew that what was happening to me was having a positive effect on my life and those around me. I felt better. The weight of depression lifted as I began seeing life differently. My life took on purpose and depth as I experienced the Savior through faith. Many years of discovery followed. I witnessed powerful miracles as well as painful trials as a Christian. I remain convinced that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and is still alive today.

–Emory Rowland

16 Responses to “The Testimony of Emory Rowland”

  1. Steve Says:

    Thank you for your testimony to the love and grace of the Saviour Jesus Christ. May God bless you in all you do.

  2. messenger Says:

    The Rapture is when those who love Jesus go with Jesus Christ to heaven in a Twinkling of an eye,and those left behind will be forced to think weird explanations, like the millions who disappeared went into a ufo etc.

    After the Rapture, the world will be in chaos immediately. Some people will be raptured while driving in their cars, causing the cars to crash. Some people will disappear while working the most important jobs in the country, and once they disappear, cities will be destroyed. Planes will crash, electricity will go out, and phone lines will be jammed for days. If you think THIS sounds bad, the Judgements are much worse. Dont Be Left Behind!

  3. Dawn Says:

    Praise God for your testimony.

  4. MANISHA Says:

    SITUATIONS IS HERE, DIFFICULTIES IS HERE, ALL KIND PROBLEMS IS HERE, BUT ONE THING BROTHERS AND SISTERS. DON’T TURN OUT FROM JESUS CHRIST, YOU WILL FALL FOR ETERNITY. BE CLOSE TO HIM, HE WILL ANSWER YOU BECAUSE HE IS THE WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE. LOVE THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND SPIRIT. THOSE WHO IS READING THIS MSG, GIVE YOUR HEART TO JESUS RIGHT NOW, ACCEPT HIM. HE IS THE WAY.DON’T DISCOURAGE, HE IS YOUR COURAGE.

  5. T M Says:

    I want to thank the Lord for His grace and mercy and forgiveness.

    Before I was a believer and filled with the Holy Spirit my life was a mess full of misery etc.

    I want to praise the Lord for healing and restoration in my life and the life of my children.

    I also praise the Lord that my children have the Lord in their lives today. I never had that privilege when I was young.

    I want to praise the Lord for now; He has blessed us so much in our lives. I am so glad that He has given me joy and peace that I never had before. My pasts is my past and praise Him for taking out a heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh and giving me the oil of joy.

    I came out of a catholic background, was the youngest of five, there was ten years between my sister and I. My Father was ill so he had no time for me; my mother had to look after him then.

    When you are a child you think your parents will protect you from everything. My parents use to visit my aunty and uncle house for weekends, I was 7 and they had me watching pornographic movies.

    I was molested by my brothers friends saw things that children should not be subjected to.

    I was very rebellious child full of anger and hatred to everyone. When I was 12 I was interested in the occult.

    My school years were out of control, I felt like I never belonged anywhere. I was 16 years fell pregnant, my family doctor wanted me to have an abortion and so did my parents. I put my child up for adoption. Then my life just went down the sewer. God is the God of restoration my daughter found me in 2000 I have 2 grandchildren Blake and little Shay. We have had interesting journey.

    By this time I was such an angry hateful rebellious person. That when I started drinking hard living an ungodly life. I found witchcraft and occult to help me. I hated myself so much when I did astral travel it was such a comfort to me because I was not in my body, which I hated so much. Meditation was another way of escape and was this re-birthing. No matter what I did there was no peace, no love no joy, such an emptiness in my life.

    I use to come home so drunk from the disco and try and watch TV round 5 in the morning there were Christian programs on then, I would stumble the channels they would talk about Jesus.

    I have had little bits of Christian talk about Jesus now and again.

    I was married in 1988 which was a big mistake. Divorced 1997 have 2 wonderful children from that marriage.
    Well my marriage was a disaster and I do take 50% of the blame, but I had enough abuse I left my husband went to a refuge where there my life changed gradually.

    It was January 1996 I was in this refuge, where a lady named Lyn Wilson (who prayed for someone to listen to the gospel as no one there wanted to no Jesus).Lyn was leaving the refuge when I moved there. I was at the end of my rope, I did have a pocket bible and read psalms sometimes, in the gospel where Jesus said my God my God why have you forsaken me. Well that’s how I felt.

    Lyn asked me to go to a church in Wynnum on the Sunday. I went to church people there were so happy I could not understand why they were so happy. Even though they did speak in tongues there. I repented of my sins, was later that year baptised, but did not receive the Holy Spirit till 1997. That church fell apart. Since 1997 we have been to 22 churches.

    I was married in 2003 for only three months, (to a so called Christian) I learnt a hard lesson you can’t be married to a non Spirit filled person. Praise the Lord He is the only one in my life.

    In 2006 we went to Toowoomba for a holiday ended up staying there for 6 months. I was going to the AOG church, not having a car was very hard to get to church, and the church had a bus but only picked up uni students. It was around Christmas time the church had this Christmas drive through rubbish, decorations in the church. I was in church there and said to the Lord there has to be a place where they have the truth and love one another. Sitting in the church I opened the and there was Jeremiah 10: 3-10. There was my answer.

    I did this course and met Regina, who asked us to a bbq at Pasta Steve’s place; people there were just as the bible said. Regina asked us to a meeting that week. I was in the Toowoomba library met Jenny we chatted and Jenny ask me to meeting, well tuned out to be the same meeting that Regina ask me to.
    Well I praise the Lord that this fellowship was where we were meant to be. My children and I have never looked back since the day we went to the fellowship. Even though our journey took a giant detour in our life we finally have ended up in a true believing bible church. I have moved back to Maryborough now. I believe my Christian walk has started a fresh; I thank the Lord for the Holy Spirit. I have so much to be grateful for. I love the Lord with all my heart and all my soul, God is great. I am so happy with the joy of the Lord because He does turn your morning into dancing and your sorrow into joy. Halleluyah Praise the Lord.

  6. JOERAM Says:

    Yes only Jesus Christ can save as what the Bible says in John 14:6, “i am the way,the truth,and the life no comes to Father but by me”. only Jesus is the way to heaven!! and also eternal life is within Jesus. when you receive Jesus you became the son of God(John 1:12). and salvation is forever..believe in the promised of God..Revelation 3:20..our only authority that Jesus is now in our life after you received Him is His Promised!!!!

  7. Jamall Says:

    Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. I love the way that you write Emory. You made me think of my mother, who taught me about God. I so happy that Mr. Rice was the conduit that lead you to Christ. I’m am African American and it really touched me that he was a man who would, ” mingle with other races” in a southern town where it was not acceptable to do that. May God bless you to reach out to all races as well. You are a light to many people brother. I pray that you continue to stay encouraged and I pray for your protection as a brother in Christ.

  8. Christian Testimony - How I Became a Christian Says:

    [...] longer version of this christian testimony and other testimonies are available at [...]

  9. MaxBro Says:

    There are two main problems I see with Mr. Rowland’s testimony that delegitimize its value as a useful means to communicate the validity of his belief.

    Firstly, the concentration of emotion and personal feelings over reasoned arguments for his belief. Rowland makes the statement in the final paragraph “I felt better.” Whether this was intentional or not, that sentence all but sums up the true reasoning behind his conversion into Christianity. The problem with that is that feelings and emotions are highly subjective things that can be influenced by myriad factors. Someone can just as easily feel good about Christianity as someone else can feel about Satanism or Buddhism or any other kind of religion or belief. If one is truly interested in learning what is true, then that person will have to put aside the notion that just because an idea or belief make you feel good, that is not proof that the belief is true.

    Based on Rowland’s emphasis on his feelings in regards his belief, I think it is fair to conclude that he is not so much interested in knowing what is true, but in simply adopting a worldview or set of beliefs that provide him some manner of emotional or mental pleasure. In fact, I would go a step further and say that had Christianity not provided such pleasure, he would not have finally accepted it and perhaps would have pursued something else.

    Secondly, I am very interested in knowing what “powerful miracles” Rowland apparently witnessed after his conversion. If he indeed did see things that were supernatural or events that he could tie directly to his god, why not share these things in the rest of the testimony? It seems that if you’re trying to communicate with others why you believe something, miracles and other such happenstance would be important things to share as evidence. If, for example, he had visions or saw someone healed via the intervention of a religious figure, he needs to record these things. I take the fact that he merely mentions these miracles at the end in a kind of throwaway comment as evidence that either he cannot show any real miracles, or that the ones that supposedly happened were not important enough to warrant writing about.

    Further, I question the validity of this entire testimony in light of his age at the time of conversion. As probably everybody knows, 17 is a time of much internal conflict and decision making when it comes to choosing one’s direction in life. Depression or questions about life’s meaning, or even simply thinking something about oneself is wrong, are not unusual experiences at that age. Rowland does not draw any real reasons for why he felt that something was wrong, just that these feelings were present.

    In conclusion, as an atheist, this testimony does nothing to make me believe that Christianity represents a valid set of beliefs over any other kind of faith or religion. I would even argue that this entire statement by Rowland represents a hugely naive and dangerous way of thinking. If feelings are the predominant reasons for accepting one belief over another, then there is no objective, rational way to determine what is true and what is not. If you’re going to base your entire life on a set of belief or principles you had better have good, concrete reasons for why you believe what you do. Feeling good is not a valid argument.

  10. Emory Says:

    MaxBro, thanks for offering this critical look at my testimony. Your remarks have afforded me an opportunity for self-examination. I’d like to respond.

    The year that my testimony was published on TestimonyShare.com was 2004. I am guessing I wrote it, around 2000. The events in the account began in 1981, when my conversion occurred.

    Your problems are with my testimony being useful to communicate the validity of my beliefs.

    One difficulty in writing a testimony that spans this length of time is the inevitability of leaving out details that could be helpful to some readers. Another problem is the audience. Who do I write for? Christians? Nonbelievers? PHDs? Kids?

    And, what was the purpose of writing this testimony? When I sat down to record my testimony, I was not attempting to prove that my beliefs were valid. I wanted to give an account of what happened to me using wording that would appeal to a broad audience. Thus, there is much that doesn’t come through here. I’ve thought of expanding it into a longer essay that gives more details and explains more about the rational aspect, perhaps listing some of the books I was reading and arguments that I was having with myself and others.

    First, as regards the emotional objection, the testimony emphasizes the joy that resulted after I believed. I wanted to record this because I thought a large number of people would find it of interest, perhaps people who find joy lacking in their lives. Perhaps you’ve encountered Christians who put a high priority on emotion and assumed that because I emphasized it, that I was using it to validate my beliefs. I do not believe it follows that emphasizing the emotional indicates the writer is not interested in knowing the truth. I do not believe that I am an emotional person. I often find myself wishing that I were more emotional like others.

    As for the miracles part, I guess I’d define miracle as a point at which there was clear evidence of God performing an extraordinary action which is backed up by scripture. I’d personally consider some types of answered prayer or personal interaction with God like being filled with the Holy Spirit as falling in that category. The sort of stuff I was referring to in that statement was observances in church of the gifts of the Holy Spirit like healing, prophecy, word of knowledge and others in 1 Corinthians 12. I am probably not going to detail the things that I think are miraculous and say you should believe because I experienced them, but I did feel it was important to mention in the testimony because they are there.

    As for the age of my conversion, I agree that the age of 17 is typically a time of conflict and emotional upheaval. The timing of one’s adoption of a belief does not make that belief untrue.

    It’s been good thinking through these things today. If you have any additional thoughts, please free to post anytime.

  11. GLENN Says:

    Thanks Emory, and I am requesting that you stop people from further commenting on my post here!

    I am not really happy over what MaxBro wrote about your testimony here on this site… that your statement ‘I felt better’ poorly validate your conviction. Most of what he said sounds logically correct but lack discernment.

    The two moments of my spiritual walk with God when I really felt good by my emotions was when I gave my life to Christ in 1989… and when I got filled with the Holy Ghost in April, 1990. I experienced great joy and happiness within me that was translated to zeal, from my own part towards serving God, that enable me to wither all the storms that came after the first 6 months of salvation.

    MaxBro forgot one important factor that we humans have control over our own emotions… can’t a man be happy over the knowledge of his own salvation? That has nothing to do with God but is more like an appreciation from our own part.

    Thinking about it now, I have also seen nowhere in the Bible that our feelings (even the inward peace) have anything to do with validating our convictions. Sometimes every child of God experience moments of joy or even great turmoil (Jesus own moment of agony was in the travail at the garden of Gethsemane).

    If MaxBro knew, as he surmised, that our feelings cannot validate our convictions, why did he assume that you were using it to validate your conviction? I think MaxBro took you out of context by failing to quote the sentence preceding ‘I feel better’ where you validate your conviction. And I quote:

    “I knew that what was happening to me was having a positive effect on my life and those around me. I felt better.”

    For the fact that you “knew what was happening to you” is a solid prove that your conviction was already established before you ‘felt better’!

  12. Emory Says:

    I appreciate your comments, Glenn. I haven’t given up hope that MaxBro will show up and post again.

    I’ll be glad to turn off the comments on your testimony post but could I ask you to reconsider? It’s one of our most active posts and it seems to be encouraging people. Your call. I greatly appreciate your participation here and I know others do as well.

  13. GLENN Says:

    A word for you:

    You are a child of destinymeant4d top; created4impact; molded beautifully; configured4xcellency; packaged2b distinguished&ordained2b great.

    You’ve weathered the storm and have remained patient, even when you seemed not to understand all that is happening around. You’ve not wholly followed your mind but have trusted me with your heart.

    The time of testing is coming to an end and I WILL LIFT U UP SHORTLY TO GREAT HEIGHTS.

  14. Emory Says:

    Thanks for sharing that word, Glenn. I receive it. These words come at the right time and comports with things that I’m struggling with now. God bless and praise God!

  15. pietergabriel Says:

    Hi Emory! although I’m not as active as I want to be on this website, I can but just confirm – our Lord Jesus Christ is alive!He did rise from the dead and is the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth! The more you read the Word of God, the more you learn and the more you grow in your faith! We must never ever think that God Jesus Christ is just a ” night time story” !

    Over the last 2 years God has done so many things in my life(as He does in everybody’s life everyday) we must just learn and listen to see how wonderful, amazing and far above our human understanding God can work! It is because these things are so big, that we don’t want to except that it can be real! So many things we want to see as co-incidence , but God’s plans are definitely NO co-incidence! I’m nothing in myself but with God Jesus Christ our Lord, we are capable of sooooo much more as our human minds can think of! I just love God and I urge all people to start reading His Word and find the Truth and the Light and the Way in Jesus Christ! There are so many people in this world that stand cold in their believe or struggle with the idea of religion – not believing that God Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are one, and that He really lives! Jesus healed me in a miracle moment,from years of head-aches , and the 5th of July 2013, it was 2 years without ANY headaches!What I say now, will make some people laugh or even stop reading but whatever who-ever say, it won’t change the fact – I’ve been healed! While I was praying to Jesus (as so many times before)I saw a face, which I truly believe was the face of Jesus! His eyes were so beautiful – it was filled with the most passionate of love, sincerity ,joy and peace I’ve ever seen!It covered me and it was the most wonderful feeling that I ever felt!To describe it in words won’t be really possible!The next moment He spoke to me in a normal soft voice. He said:”You were faithful, I’m going to heal you!” What followed was amazing, and I’ve written about that moment under the section “healing” in Testimonyshare -”Ever wonder if God is real?He truly is!” Jesus healed me on that day , on that moment from my headaches! There are so much more to say, as what happen on that day, please go and read the part I’m referring to!

    So many people ask questions about it and rightly so!Do you know how how it feel when something like that happen to you – I have read about many other people who had experiences and the most important question we should ask is :”Was it really Jesus Christ or Satan – the false angel of the light!?? I have no doubt for what I saw ,what I felt was no fear but amazement only! Love,peace and joy that words can’t describe!I was praying to our Savior Jesus Christ the Lord, how is it ever possible that God will allow Satan to trick me while I pray to Him(God,Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit?). Satan won’t heal me and let God get the honour.The Word of God clearly says Satan won’t fight against himself!

    As for my MIRACULOUS healing in seconds, I give all honor power and praise, to our Creator God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and were raised from the dead by God His(our Father)after 3 days and to the Holy Spirit who God send to us as our Comforter on earth! Who-ever reads this, don’t ever doubt and if you still feel it is a joke, read more of the Testimony which I referred to and all the beautiful testimonies on Testimonyshare!

    God, thank you for a website like this! Bless Emory and all those who are driving this website!Please open the hearts and eyes of those who read these testimonies! There are so many people who are in desperate need to be saved.People who’s worlds are falling apart! Please God, fill them with your love, give them strength as to follow you and overcome the world of darkness and become your children! We ask that in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ!We thank you Lord! Amen! Please trust in the Lord – He is the EVER FAITHFULL and will never fail His Word!

  16. Emory Says:

    Pietergabriel, I’m always so glad to hear from you. We have many readers who just drop in from time to time and comment when they can. Some people keep leaving comments and encouraging others over several years time. Thank God for those people and yourself who are giving encouragement to visitors. There are so many comments from visitors who have received help or been pointed in the right direction. The scripture that there “in an abundance of counselors, there is safety” comes to mind. Proverbs 11:14

    Thanks for your prayer for the site. We’re praying and listening as to what direction to go. It obviously needs a redesign to bring it up to date with modern web standards and make it easier to use. Thanks again to you and everyone who participate and pray for us. Praise God, our Father for what He’s doing through those posting here!

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