"Why I Sing"

The Testimony of Terrell U. Hanna
Founder of Matthew's Table, Inc.

My journey as a Christian began when I accepted Jesus as my Savior at age eleven and was baptized. At age 16, I wanted to do more. What could a boy do? I wanted to tell everyone about the Lord. My pastor was an excellent example for me to follow. I knew he loved the Lord with all his heart, and it showed in his life. We prayed and asked for the Lord's direction. I almost never missed church. It was a fun place to be. I thought the Lord wanted me to preach His word even though I had been a Christian only a short time.

A pastor from Sumter, SC, heard that I had been preaching at a church in Columbia and was interested in having me preach a youth revival at his church. I preached about Noah and the ark. A young boy accepted Christ as his Savior. I was sure that preaching God's word was what the Lord had in His plan for me.

After graduating from high school, I was accepted into Free Will Baptist Bible College (now known as Welch College) in Nashville, Tennessee. This school was like heaven on earth to me. My major was Pastoral Training and my minor was Music. I worked part-time and took a full load of courses.

I looked forward to my sophomore year but it was not to be. I developed double pneumonia and didn't have enough money saved to go back to school.

There was a war going on, and they needed soldiers. I needed a job. I was a soldier in God's army, so I decided to join the Air Force. I knew it would be different from my heaven-on-earth experience at Bible College, but I also knew the Lord would be with me no matter where I was or what I was doing. I loved Him, and I learned early that He would always guide me if I walked by faith and looked to Him for guidance. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I wanted to help my country.

I volunteered for Vietnam after graduating from boot camp. It wasn't meant to be. Instead, I was assigned to serve as a Military Police Officer with the Strategic and Tactical Air Commands. I developed a disability that rendered me useless for that type of work.

"Now what Lord?" I asked. "I'm young and my life is ahead of me." I suffered many hospitalizations because of my health. I felt defeated and had been in and out of the Veterans Administration Medical Centers for what seemed like my entire life. I couldn't make the adjustment into civilian life. I didn't give up. My church life was almost nonexistent. I couldn't find my niche in the church. I thought about survival, not social or spiritual activities

At age 35 my prayers, were answered. I met a beautiful woman and got married. Cathy Lynn Hanna was my wife and the love of my life. I was in heaven. This time I knew in my heart nothing was going to go wrong. I was in the center of God's will and searching for a way to redeem the time. I must admit that there were times I wandered out of God's will. I hate the fact the Devil stole part of my life and made me weak and faint-hearted.

So, I lost a few battles to the enemy, but I knew that the war with Satan had been won long ago on a hill called Calvary. The Lord Jesus won the war for me on that fateful day. He is my advocate and I am His servant. However, I realize that as long as I'm alive I'll have troubles. Then, something totally unexpected happened.

I was happy. I was active in church. God had poured me out a big blessing. I had a wife and stepdaughter. God is good, but life was going to get hard once again. My wife went to have an annual check-up at the doctor's office. The doctors needed tests to confirm their suspicions.

On our wedding anniversary that year, we were sitting in a waiting area of a hospital hoping for a negative answer. The x-ray did not give us the answer we wanted. The doctor said exploratory surgery was necessary. Several days later, on Cathy's birthday, the doctors' suspicions were confirmed, cancer of the pancreas. A tumor three inches in diameter was the problem, and the fight of our lives was on. I was in the waiting area when one of the surgeons asked Cathy's mom and me to come with her. She told us that Cathy had cancer and had about three months to live. She said we needed to get our affairs in order. Surely this was a dream. No, it wasn't. I was in a state of shock.

I could write a book about how wonderful the Lord was to me during this time of hardship and trials. He is the greatest. Friends came out of the woodwork to help. Our church family, Cathy's parents, and as many relatives as could, as well as neighbors and folks I didn't even know came to pray and help.

Everyone was so kind. I did what I thought was right and was careful to ensure a good quality of life for my wife under these circumstances.

Would the Lord answer my prayers and help me with a miracle? Well, is anything too difficult for God? Didn't He make everything from nothing? Would He heal her? I prayed for God's will to be done. Cathy died June 2, 1996 at home, two years and three months after she was diagnosed with this dreadful disease.

A huge burden was lifted. No more chemo, no more pain. Our prayers had all been answered. She was in heaven with Jesus. I tell you the truth. God will never leave you. He is always there for His children, especially when their hearts are broken. Through these trials, a song of gratitude and love was planted deep within my heart.

"O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth" Psalms 96:1

Salvation in Jesus Christ

  • John 3:18
  • He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
  • John 5:24
  • Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
  • Ephesians 2:8, 9, 10
  • For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
  • Romans 10:9
  • That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
  • Romans 10:17
  • So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Receive Jesus as your Savior now by faith and except him as your Lord and Savior so you can go to heaven. He is listening and eager to forgive you. Dear Jesus, I now realize that I have sin in my life and that I can not save myself. I'm sorry for my sins and ask you to forgive me. Please come into my heart so you can live through me by giving me your Holy Spirit who will lead me into all truth. Come into my life now and become my Savior. Amen

If you prayed this prayer and mean it, welcome to the family of God. You've just made the most important decision of your life. Receiving Jesus into your life is the only the beginning of a wonderful life changing experience. Remember you need to identify with Christ. You need to become part of a Bible believing church.

Here is more scripture to help strengthen you in your every day walk with Jesus Christ. May the Lord bless you in all you do through the power of Jesus who now lives in your heart.

  • 1 John 5:11, 12, 13
  • 'And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.'
  • 1 John 1:9
  • 'If we confess our sins, he [Jesus] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.'
  • All quotes taken from KJV