GREATEST THING OUTSIDE OF SALVATION
By John LaFontaine
PROVERBS 18:22 “ Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.”
“The Greatest thing God give man outside of salvation was a wife….” (Branham)
It would be some time before I would meet my “Greatest Thing”. After receiving my commission from the Lord in February of 1962, doors began to open for me, and I started holding weekend revival meetings around the state of North Carolina. I didn’t have a car so I would have someone drive me, or I would have to take a taxi, to the meetings.
While I was booking meetings in North Carolina I met and became good friends with a taxi driver, nicknamed “Hambone.” He would use his cab to drive me to special meetings, and If I didn’t have the money to pay him, he would wait until I got my Air Force check. There were times that Hambone would get almost my whole paycheck for his services.
One Sunday afternoon, in Smithville, North Carolina, after preaching, I was invited to eat lunch with a family from the church. Everyone was in the kitchen, preparing lunch and I was standing in the living room, looking at the wall behind the couch, Suddenly, a vision appeared before me. I wall faded away and I was looking at a church service going on before my very eyes. I recognized the church from the morning service. There was an altar call, and people were all around the alter praying, I was kneeling, praying for someone, when I look up at the clock on the wall. It was a couple of minutes to midnight. The vision closed and the wall appeared again. I walked into the kitchen and shared what I had seen. That night, the service happened, just like the vision had foretold. That was the only open vision, I have ever seen. God has given me dreams and many other conformations, but never an open vision like that one.
God helped me get out of the Air Force early, so that I could pursue the evangelistic calling that I had on my live. I received an Honorable discharge in July of 1963 and stayed in NC for several months, holding revival meetings. A couple that came to one of the meetings had a son in the Air Force. He was stationed in Madison Wisconsin, and was pastoring a little church on the East side of town. He sent me a letter, inviting me to come to Madison for a revival meeting.
Money was tight in those days. I can remember getting $15 to $20 a week in the offerings. In December of 1963, I did some side jobs to make enough money to get home to Michigan for Christmas. From there I was able to set up revival meetings in Madison, Wisconsin for February of 1964. At those meetings, I met a young man, who later would become my brother in law. He invited his sister to the meetings.
I’ll never forget the night she walked into the church. There she was, my “Greatest thing, outside of salvation”, My Rib, My helpmeet, My Piano playing, alto singer. I remember telling her brother, someday I’m going to marry your sister”, he said, “you’ll never even get a date with her.” Challenge, accepted.
As the meetings progressed, their entire family began to come out to the services. In those days, revivals didn’t just last a weekend or even a week. Revivals could last for three or four weeks. Loretta’s dad and mom were pastors of a little church across town, on the West side of Madison. Before the first revival was over, he had invited me to come over to his church and preach him a revival meeting. This was my chance. Through persistence and as many romantic gestures as I could muster, I finally wore her down, but that’s a story for another day.
I remain His servant and yours
Bro. John LaFontaine