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Hillbillie Newbie
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Author:  Aaron [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Hillbillie Newbie

Hello everyone!

My name is Ken Allgood (Aaron just happens to be my middle name), I am 37 years old and live in a small town in western Kentucky. I am of the Baptist faith...however, I believe Jesus has asked me to join the Catholic Church, and I have accepted his offer.

This is not something I have decided to do on a whim or to do because I think it would be "cool" or "hip." Nor has anyone ever approached me to join the Church or is forcing me to do this. I honestly believe Jesus is asking me. It all started nearly 8 years ago, just after my wife Jessica and I got married.

She and I had become very (for the lack of a better word) disappointed with the direction of where the churches we grew up in were going. It had been several years since both of us had been to church after we both moved out of our respective parents' homes and into our own separate houses. Before we were engaged, we decided to go back to my old church to try to bring some sense of religion back into our lives.

In the few short years we went, the church split 3 times (I believe)...once over a preacher being too religious, another not being religious enough, and another for simply not liking what the preacher had to say. We both half-expected something like this to happen while we were trying to go back to church (my church split a total of 9 times for such silly reasons as playing basketball on church property)...the church she grew up in split several times as well (she's Baptist too).

So, we tried Methodist, Church of Christ, and several others to try to find God...all with the same disappointing results...fighting among themselves or even between different churches of the same denomination. I often heard from the people attending the different churches the "evil" of the "others." That is, Baptists would speak of how wrong they believed the Church of Christ is, or the Methodists would talk of the lost souls of the Baptist faith...the church I grew up in decided to have a Revival once when "Satan's Church" was building a new church just down the road (it was Mormon BTW)...people from my church went out into the community and, in a sense, preached, what I call "ill-will" to the community about the new Mormon church.

Hatred was all I felt was coming from the pulpits of these churches I attended. Hatred for other churches, hatred for each other, and ultimately, hatred of God. I vowed right then to never go to church again, and even asked God to forgive me for doing so.

Fast-forward to about 1998 when my wife and I married and moved to southern Mississippi to attend graduate school. I noticed something different (other than the weather) in this region of the US...alot of Catholic churches. I soon found out that me being raised a Baptist became sort of an oddity for my fellow classmates (I remember one girl saying to me "I don't think I've ever seen a Baptist before." ::): ). Many aspects of the people and their lives in that area of the US centered, for the most part, around the Church...and it interested me.

I experienced something else there that I didn't have in KY...cable TV! Flipping through the channels one day, I find EWTN and saw Mother Angelica...I couldn't stop watching her shows, even though I knew very little about the Catholic faith...I always enjoyed her humor and her simple explanations of things very foreign to me.

Partially in an effort to learn more about the Church (and admittedly to "fit-in" with my classmates), I bought a book of the Catechism and began reading it...not from cover to cover, but skipping around, looking for reasons why Catholics, well, do what they do...and to look into the reasons behind the negativity I heard about the Church while I was growing up...I soon found out (and still am) that these "truths" about the Church were false and found scripture to back-up the Church's teachings.

Enthusiastically, I went to ebay to look up "Catholic" to see what I could buy. I found medals, pendants, cards and a variety of other things I didn't know what they were. I even went to a local store specializing in things like rosaries and bought a St. Helena medalion to wear (someone told me she is the patron saint of archaeologists, which is what I used to do). In one of these auctions I won, the seller sent me what I used to call a Bible tract (A New Guide to Praying the Rosary)...I read it, which lead to more questions, which lead to more research...more books I bought...ultimately I became overwhelmed and even confused, soon realizing that I couldn't learn about the Church on my own. I soon felt guilty for buying all this stuff I knew little about, and figured I had somehow offended God by wearing the St. Helena medalion (especially when I found out it should be blessed by a priest, which it wasn't).

Soon afterwards, I calmed myself and spent a few years doing more "mature" research into the Church. However, I ultimately placed the Church, not necessarily on the back burner, but on "simmer" :wink: .

Fast-forward a few more years...

About 10 months ago, our daughter Emily was born in St. Joseph's hospital in Lexington, KY. While holding my several hours old daughter, I began thinking about what (and how) I should provide for her...clothes, medicine, food....and as I looked at my sleeping wife in her bed, I noticed the large crucifix hanging above my wife's bed and I felt my stomach drop...I forgot about God...my daughter needs God.

That kinda brings me to where I am today. I feel that, for my daughter's soul and for that of our future children, I need to finish what God asked me to do several years ago and follow Him. I've been praying, in the best way I know how, for God to help me. I don't want my daughter growing up in a church that preaches hate, like what I grew up with. I have been to several Masses before and since my daughter was born, have spoke to numerous people of the Catholic faith, and found nothing but love, respect, humility and kind, outstretched hands.

At times, it is difficult for me to curb my enthusiasm for this process. My family and I recently moved into our new house and I have been attending, almost daily, Mass at a very small Parish here in town. I spoke with the priest, Fr. Tiell, about my situation. He has showed enthusiasm and a willingness to take the long journey with me and has spent the past few weeks instructing me in the teachings of the Church. Additionally, I've come here for help and education as well and have greatly enjoyed reading the debates going on in the other forums...I'm learning alot there, too!

Author:  Kalona [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 12:49 pm ]
Post subject: 

Yours is a wonderful story Aaron! Welcome to Defenders of the Catholic Faith, and welcome Home to the Catholic Church! I'm praying now for your journey to confirmation.

Author:  Signum Crucis [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 2:12 pm ]
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Welcome to the board. I agree with Kalona.

Siggy

Author:  FotBG [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 2:34 pm ]
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Welcome Aaron and family! Beautiful post. May our Lady and the great cloud of witness be a guide and inspiration for you. Welcome to the Covenant Family of God. Peace.

Bob

Author:  sea star [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 2:37 pm ]
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Thank you for the beautiful story. Congratulations on hearing and responding to the call.

From one newbie to another.

Author:  faithfulservant [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 3:32 pm ]
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awesome story aaron... and thanks for sharing... welcome to our board, courtesy of our host, steve ray , and welcome home

is your wife also "crossing the tiber" with you? i pray this is the case

the Cath101 forum is where you want to spend most of your time...and we're always happy to field any questions anyone might have...you will find we have a solid group of faithful Catholics here.. well , the vast majority are anyway :oops: :roll:

Author:  DLB [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 3:59 pm ]
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Hi Aaron,

Thanks for sharing your story with us. Welcome home to the Church founded by Christ Himself. I am a former So. Baptist also. I too, felt the Holy Spirit calling me to the Catholic Church. I entered the Church last Easter. I also discovered EWTN which shares time on our local Catholic station.

Debbie

Author:  Crusader X [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 4:53 pm ]
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Hi there. I'm in WV, so I'm technically a hillbilly as well. :) Welcome aboard!

Author:  Jackie [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 4:58 pm ]
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Hi Aaron! Welcome to the board and to the Church. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I think you will find this board to be a great place to learn more about the Catholic Church.

Author:  Helene [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 5:19 pm ]
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Welcome Aaron! I'm always in awe of conversion stories since my faith was handed on to me when I was 17 days old!

Author:  BobCatholic [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:26 pm ]
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Welcome to DCF! :)

Author:  Aaron [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:26 pm ]
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faithfulservant wrote:
is your wife also "crossing the tiber" with you? i pray this is the case


She is interested in the Church as well and wants to come to Mass with me (and bring our daughter). However, she's not quite as certain as I am about the decision to join the Church. She hasn't done quite the research that I have and I'm certainly in no position to try to teach her.

Additionally, since our daughter was born, AND since we've moved back to where our parents and extended family live, our house has been Grand Central...and she feels obligated to entertain, feed, and clean for everyone.

When I come home from Mass, she asks all kinds of questions...most of which I'm not able to answer. I ask her to go with me next time and she usually says she will...but someone usually calls to come see the baby or just shows up just as we're thinking of going to Mass.

She can tell that I'm happier and more mentally calm when I come home after Mass and is glad that I've found something to make me feel more at ease. I think, maybe, through my example (going to Mass every day it's available, talking about it with her, and her seeing how happy it makes me) she will put forth a more solid effort to come with me...and hopefully things will calm down here at the house, too! :)

Author:  faithfulservant [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 7:43 pm ]
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hehe, with a newborn, things never "calm down".... will pray to our Lady and St Monica for your wife's decision to join you in your journey home...in the meantime , if she has any "spare time", have her join up and ask away... we're always happy to help :wink:

Author:  nesseca [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:54 pm ]
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Welcome Aaron! Great story, btw. I too am considered a hillbilly. I spent my formative years in West "by Gawd" Virginia.

Author:  King's Daughter [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:29 pm ]
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Hi, Aaron. It was great for your to join us. I, too, am on my way to Rome, so to speak. From what I gather, there's lots of us on the journey, too. :D The more the merrier, I say!

Author:  1HCaAC [ Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:25 pm ]
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Welcome, welcome, welcome.

Thanks for taking the time to tell us of your spiritual journey and how you became attracted to the Catholic Church.

We will pray for you and your family.

Author:  Gracie2004 [ Mon Aug 29, 2005 7:52 pm ]
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Hello, Aaron, and welcome to the board, from another convert from the baptist Church to the Holy Catholic Church :)

Gracie

Author:  Aaron [ Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:35 pm ]
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Thanks to all of you! :D

Author:  Air Frog [ Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:03 pm ]
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Wow, Aaron, what a neat story.
I was born and raised in Ohio by parents who made sure I knew I was conceived in Pulaski Co. KY. They said they wanted me to know I wasn't a useless nut (buckeye). So technically I'm a hillbilly too. Or more specifically a briar hopper. :D
Welcome to the board and encourage your wife to log on too.

havejoy

Author:  Lolly [ Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:14 pm ]
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Hi Aaron, and welcome! What a beautiful story!

God bless,
Lolly

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