Ashley Sasser – Ancestor of Lacey Bishop

Ashley Sasser – Ancestor of Lacey Bishop

I came to know Ashley through youth group at my church (she is the youth leader).

I was in sixth grade when she came to Vidalia First Methodist and was a completely different person than I am now, in tenth grade.

She has poured her heart and soul into the lives of the kids in youth group. Her love for God, and desire to disciple the youth of this world has changed my life.

I am forever grateful to her for all she has taught me, and done for me. God has used Ashley to impact my life and many others, and I can’t wait to see what He has planned next for her!

In His Love,
Lacey Bishop



Posted in Ancestor Stories | Leave a comment

Ashley Sasser – Ancestor of John Carroll

Ashley Sasser – Ancestor of John Carroll

From the first day Ashley became the youth leader at our church, everyone could tell that she had the light of God in her.

Whether it is overseas, on summer trips, or just in Vidalia, everything she did and still does today allows the light of God to shine through her.

Personally, she helped me by being so on target with everything she did. If I was struggling with anything or having a hard time understanding something, I knew she would be there to show me what God wanted me to see out of it.

Because of her help, I have grown much in my walk with Christ.

John Carroll

Posted in Ancestor Stories | Leave a comment

Brian and Kim Clift – Ancestors of Ashley Sasser

Brian and Kim Clift – Ancestors of Ashley Sasser

My Ancestors in Christ are my parents, Brian and Kim Clift.  I grew up traveling the country while my parents led worship and shared their testimonies at churches and Christian conferences. I felt like I was always a Christian just because my parents told me all about Jesus from the time I was born. It was easy to love the God they talked and sang about.

At the age of 6, I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life riding in the back of my parent’s station
wagon. Growing up, I was very involved in my youth group and had a lot of people in my church that taught me about Christ.  My parents, though, are the ones who led me into an understanding of who Christ is.

They led by example, always trusting and seeking God in everything they did. They encouraged me to do whatever God called me to do, even if that meant traveling to communist countries to share the gospel where Jesus was forbidden to be spoken of; and that’s exactly what I did at the age of 19.

They didn’t care that I wanted to forego a college education and step outside of the American Dream to be a missionary.  At the time I didn’t understand how weird it was that they allowed me and encouraged me to do the opposite of what most American parents were encouraging and expecting of their kids.

Now I am a youth leader at a church and I see parents every day putting priority in education and good work ethics instead of a relationship with God.  I realize people who pursue a good education and a good career can also be in God’s will, but I learned more about who God wanted me to be during my time traveling the world.

I had to defend myself to a lot of people who thought I was throwing my life away because I was not getting a higher education; but because of my parent’s encouragement and support in my decision I can share my life story with tons of teenagers… And trust me I got my education!!

Thanks Mom and Dad.

Your Daughter Ashley

Posted in Ancestor Stories | Leave a comment

Wayne Dirk Blount – Ancestor of Bruce Blount

Wayne Dirk Blount – Ancestor of Bruce Blount

“Do as I say, not as I do.” These words still ring in my ears today. Spoken by the man so many loved, and the man that loved so many… My dad, my hero Wayne Dirk Blount.

It’s been twelve years since he took his last breath on this earth, but only minutes since he last inspired someone, because of the life he lead. Everyday a lesson he taught me gets put into action. I am the man I am today because he showed me by living it himself, how to love, how to care, how to give, but more importantly how to pray.

In all the situations I’ve been through in life there’s always been one answer… Prayer.

Growing up I remember the whole family got told to go to the master bedroom, it’s time to pray. We had the sign hanging in the house “A family that prays together stays together.” Never meant much as a child and then I started a family of my own. Ok, now I get it. Prayer definitely changes things.

As I watched my dad day in and day out, there was one constant… the way he treated people. He didn’t see color, race, gender, rich, poor, he just saw a need. It was simple, it’s the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

He always told me God doesn’t bless you with gifts, talents and money for yourself, but rather for you to bless someone else. And as I’ve done some pretty amazing things in my life, I can truly say nothing I’ve ever done has given me more joy or more happiness, than using my gifts from God to serve others!

And as for “Do as I say, not as I do”,  even he knew he wasn’t perfect!

Love and Deeply miss you,
Michael Bruce Blount

Posted in Ancestor Stories | Leave a comment

Larry Purkey – Ancestor of Brian Clift

Larry Purkey – Ancestor of Brian Clift

Larry Purkey was hired as the Music and Youth Pastor of my church when I was a junior in high school.  I was a committed follower of Christ and excited about growing and learning more.  God brought Larry along at the right time.  He was just what I needed to help me move toward a deeper more intimate walk with Jesus.

Larry was a singer and musician.  So was I.  We hit it off from the start.  I know it was his job as a Youth Pastor to lead and teach me but, he went beyond the call of duty.

He spent lots of personal time with me, teaching me how to memorize scripture and study the Bible.  He invited me to his house one night to read through the book of Acts with him. It was just a small thing but, for the first time I got the picture of what the first church was all about.  It changed my whole attitude about church.  I realized church isn’t something you go to but, it is something you are.  From that night to now I’ve been learning to be the church wherever I am.

Larry let me sing duets with him in our church services which to me was very special.  He was the first person to teach me about true worship and leading a congregation to worship.

Larry nor I one knew at the time that God was preparing me for a lifetime of leading others to the throne of God in worship.  Larry was the first person in my life besides my mother to acknowledge God’s gift in me.  He nurtured and encouraged me and gave me opportunities to experience and learn what it meant to lead others in worship.

I’m sure Larry never knew about the real impact he had on my life. I haven’t been in touch with him since the late 70’s or early 80’s.  I went off to college and he moved away to another church.  His influence and impact on my life still lingers to this day.

Hopefully you’ll find this Larry, and know how much I thank Jesus for you and appreciate the time you invested in me.

Brian Clift

Posted in Ancestor Stories | Leave a comment

James Michael Talley – Ancestor of Brian Clift

Jim Talley – Ancestor of Brian Clift

I first met Jim Talley in the spring of 1972.  I was a sophomore in high school.  I knew who Jim was.  Back then he was known as Mike.  James Michael Talley is his full name. He went by Jim when he went off to college.

In the spring of his sophomore year, he began coming home on weekends to lead what he called “Jesus Meetings”.  I was intrigued to say the least.  You see, Jim’s nickname in our hometown was “Super”…Maybe short for Superman.  Who knows.  His reputation was, “If you want it, Super can get it.”

I was a Christian.  Not vocal of course… I was cool but, I had to check these Jesus Meetings out.  Super Talley… talking about Jesus… didn’t quite fit.  Jim brought two or three college buddies with him.  One played guitar and sang.  The others shared their faith.

Jim gave his testimony.  He had been radically changed.  He told how Jesus had transformed his life and I was seeing the evidence.  I don’t remember anything in particular that was said that night but, I was drawn to what I heard and saw.

I was overwhelmed!  Conviction by the Holy Spirit was all over me that night.  These guys had something that I was supposed to have but, didn’t.  I wanted it!

I couldn’t sleep that night.  2:00 am I got up, knelt beside my bed and cried out to God.  I prayed, “I don’t know Lord, if you live in me or not but, tonight I want to settle things once and for all.  Forgive me, change me, be the Lord of my life.  Whatever Mike has I want!

That night I made, for the first time, an adult decision to follow Jesus and have never turned back.  Jim befriended me that spring and the following summer.  He took me to other Jesus meetings, introduced me to his college buddies.  To a 15 year old high school kid, hanging out with college dudes was cool.

He asked me to help him run a coffee house during the summer.  I became his right hand man.  We told anyone that would stand still long enough about the love of Christ. The funny thing was, Jim didn’t know much about Christianity.  I probably knew more about the Bible than he did.  I was raised in church.   Knew all the stories by heart.   Jim had been a Christian only 6 months!… But he knew Jesus!

I had knowledge but, Jim had a relationship. He didn’t really teach me how to be a Christian, he just lived it.  I learned by watching him, what a relationship with Jesus really meant.  He was on a journey toward Jesus Christ and he just brought me along with him.

Jim, thank you for allowing the Light of Jesus to shine through you. You are my brother and I love you.

Jim and I have been friends for nearly 40 years. …Still on that journey.

Brian Clift

Posted in Ancestor Stories | Leave a comment