This blog today is for my children and grandchildren. As I get older and into my senior years I’m thinking more and more of certain people in my life who’ve had great influence on my life. I’m also watching them pass away before my eyes. I also realize though my children and grandchildren didn’t know most of these people I want them to understand how some of these individuals had a guiding and directing affect on my life and how things could have been completely different for our entire family had I never known them.
One of those people just recently left this earth for the next life. His name is Rev Derrel Friend, from Dawson, Missouri. As I sat on my porch this morning and received the news of his passing the Lord helped me understand the importance of Bro Derrel’s impact on my life and the lives of my family.
In 1964 as a young teen I was struggling with understanding where I fit in the Kingdom of God. The denomination I was raised in was very legalistic and I wanted a better understanding of God and his ways however I didn’t have a clue which way to turn for answers.
My father Raymond Reasoner was also struggling with the same issues even while he was a pastor in this same denomination. Back in the 1940’s Dad had stepped out of the religious world of a nominal church he was raised in and eventually led his entire family into the Holiness movement and to a deeper understanding of God’s word concerning sanctification and the Holy Spirit.
In 1964 Dad had been visiting different churches looking for answers and he heard about a revival just starting in the local Assembly of God church in Ava, Missouri. He attended a couple of nights and then began to encourage me to go with him to the revival. I told him I had no interest in a Pentecostal church. I had been indoctrinated in our church that speaking in other tongues was of the devil and I wanted nothing to do with “tongue talkers”! But Dad knew what I did like. I loved great music. I was already playing lots of gospel music then and he began to tell me how good the music was at this Assembly of God church. I still wasn’t interested until he started telling me about one of the evangelists who played the guitar just like Chet Atkins. I had a record album at that time by Chet Atkins called Down Home with Chet Atkins. I was wearing out that record! Dad had heard me playing that record at home and he knew that if I would just come to the revival and hear Dwayne Friend play I would love it. So……I made a deal with my dad. I told him I would go but if anyone started talking in tongues I would walk out and sit in the car! I went to the meeting that night and when Bro Dwayne began to play the guitar and flash that awesome grin of his I was hooked. I never heard anyone play like that with such charisma! Long story short…my world forever changed that night! I was never the same.
Bro Derrel Friend was the older brother and also a good musician. He would preach one night and Dwayne would preach the next. That went on for three weeks. Not only was the music wonderful but the preaching was like none I had never heard. Both of these men were uneducated country boys but extremely gifted preachers of the Gospel. Bro Derrel was a Bible scholar with a gifting to teach and preach while Bro Dwayne was (and still is) an incredible evangelist with a powerful anointing to throw out the salvation net and pull people to a saving altar.
That was the beginning of my entry kicking and screaming into the Pentecostal world. It took years to get all the old stuff out of me and finally come to a better understanding of the Holy Spirit and eventually to the infilling of the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.
Because of this change in my life I married who I did and have the children I have. I have no doubt that if my path hadn’t crossed with Bro Derrel and Bro Dwayne my life would have been totally different.
So as I remember Bro Derrel Friend today I think about how God used him to change my life for the better.
To my children, Travis Reasoner, Jason Reasoner, Heather Summers, Brooke Reasoner, Zach Reasoner and all my grandchildren, our family is who we are and have what we have not only because of other important family members but also because of great people such as the Rev Derrel Friend of Dawson, Missouri. That’s important and I wanted you to know that.
Cogitate on this,