Paul DeLong

PaulNGrace

I am a native Washingtonian, who grew up and was educated in the Monroe area.  My parents loved the Lord, and always encouraged me, and my three younger brothers, to do the same.  Shortly after my high-school graduation, I enlisted in the US Air Force.  This all happened during the Vietnam era, when the draft was a very real factor in the young men graduating at the time.  I served my Air Force career overseas; first in Korea for 13 months, then the rest of my duty in that most difficult land of Greece!  That should have been a gravy assignment, but it was also at that time that I was facing some personal difficulties and physical illness.  I foolishly blamed God for my troubles, and threw a spiritual temper tantrum.  He did not seem to be treating me fairly, so I decided I would ignore Him.  This was not a gradual drifting away from how I was raised; but rather a deliberate, willful rejection of God.  What I didn’t realize at that time was that God had not abandoned me.   All the while I was unfaithful to Him, He was continuing (behind the scenes) to be faithful to me.  However “bad” I wanted to be, God would restrain and protect me.

When I got released from the service via a medical discharge, I continued my waywardness for a while, until through the intervention of some of God’s people, I returned to God.  But even after that, I still hung onto my willful ways.  After I had finally seen the futility of that way of life, I repented and really wanted to turn my life around.  I started attending my childhood church again on a regular basis, and it was there I met a gorgeous girl named Grace Fischer.  I thought she was out of my league, but God didn’t think so, and told her that she would be marrying me.  (She didn’t tell me this until long after we were married.)  We started going together Halloween night, 1970.  I delayed asking her to marry me, although I was enchanted with her.  So she put out a fleece to God, that if I had not asked her to marry me by a certain day, that she was going to stop going with me.  Unbeknownst to me about this fleece, I did ask her to marry me that very evening.  We were married about five months later (April 10, 1971) at First Baptist Church, Monroe.  In February, 1973 we moved into my birth-home, and it has been our home ever since.  It is the only home our children have known growing up.

Since then we have transferred our membership from the Assemblies of God to the Southern Baptist denomination.  The Southern Baptist doctrine and beliefs are closer to our own.  And also from that time, God has given us five children: Mark, Matthew (who died as a newborn), Andrew, Joy, and Sara.  Not only that, but He has also given us godly mates for our children; and, as of this date, 14 grandchildren.

In 1990, I began to teach at the Civil Air Patrol, and discovered I could teach.  In 2000 I began teaching regularly in the Pinehurst Sunday School, and have been involved in teaching (and learning) ever since in various roles.

In my life, as I reflect on it, having more days behind me than before me, I see that God is continually good and faithful.  I cannot have imagined as a boy how my life would turn out.  The lesson from my life, and from anyone who has decided to follow God’s way, is that through the difficulties and trials, He is with us, and He is good to us in ways we cannot begin to understand.  I recommend following and loving Him as the best possible way to live life. 

To God be the glory!

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