I was just recently looking through some files that I found on an old thumb drive, and came across my first testimony that I ever shared in a public setting. This took place almost 14 years ago now, during a Teen Choir performance at Hale’s Chapel Christian Church in Gray, TN. This brought back some good and bad memories, but it’s also very cool to see how much I’ve grown in my walk with Christ since then, not to mention my writing and speaking skills as well. What follows is an unedited version of my testimony that I gave at the age of 17.
*Warning* This includes references and details of my dad’s death:
Hi, I’m Kraig Birchfield. I’m a 17-year-old junior at Daniel Boone H.S. I would like to share something with you. My freshman year at Boone was just about over as the summer of 1999 approached. My family and I had planned a trip to begin the summer to go to the Amish country in PA. My dad was really looking forward to this trip, even more than I was. For some reason my mom didn’t really want to go on this trip. Finally my dad insisted enough that we go that mom gave in. So when that last day of school came, we left for our vacation. By midday the next day we had arrived in Gettysburg. We toured the battlefield and then found a hotel room. The next day we went on into the Amish country around Lancaster. We had planned to stay in the area until we went home and on that Tuesday we made plans to go to Hershey, PA to tour the chocolate factory. Little did I know that on Wednesday morning I would wake up to the unthinkable. Mom woke me up and said that something was wrong with my dad. Well she called 911 and then we pulled him off the bed so she could do CPR and I went out in the hall and cried until the paramedics left. When the ambulance left, mom called Clint Andrews, our preacher. Then we went to the hospital and found out that it was pretty bad. WE spent the day at the hospital and then went to our motel room. When we went back to the hospital on Thursday, Clint came walking in. He had driven all night so he could get there around midday on Thursday. He realized that I needed to get out of the hospital so we went for a ride in his Miata that he calls his mid-life crisis. Later that night, Clint and I went to a movie and when we returned to the hospital, there was my cousin Matt, who was in a full leg cast at the time, his mom, and my mom’s sister. They had driven all day Thursday to get up there. The hotel let my family stay in our room for no extra charge. The next morning more support arrived. My neighbor Boo Croley and his mom had driven all night Thursday to be with us. On Friday my mom and aunts went to the hospital while Matt, Boo, Boo’s mom, and I drove around the countryside. Sometime in the afternoon we went back to the hospital and Mom told me that the doctor’s needed us to make a decision whether or not to take Dad off of Life Support. I looked at Mom and told her that we should because that is what Dad would want. I went up to ICU to see Dad one more time and then Boo, Matt, and I were taken back to the hotel by Boo’s mom. Mom, after telling the doctor’s our decision, started to second-guess her self. But after seeing that they pulled the life support at around 5:30 P.M. and Dad died about 10:30 P.M., she knew we had made the right decision. I would like to tell you how God prepared me for this and was a constant presence in my life throughout. On Tuesday night before my dad’s heart attack, I was lying in bed and before I went to sleep I pictured paramedics rushing into our hotel room. I would also like to thank God for the people He surrounded me with. I would have never have made it through this hard time if it hadn’t been for people like Clint, Boo, Matt, my best friend Byron Tolley, really good friends like Michelle Keebler and Sheri Aubrey, the whole youth group here at Hale’s Chapel, and Curtis Booher. But even with all their help, I wouldn’t have made it without God. At the time all of this was going on, I couldn’t imagine any good ever coming from it and I didn’t understand why it was happening to me. But now I see that through experience, God has helped me to grow up faster. I’ve also developed a lot stronger faith in Him because of how I’ve learned to trust Him. Just remember that whatever is going wrong in your life, God is with you and will always bring good out of a bad situation.