Testimony of Pastor Mike Paulson
Since I was a little boy in Huron, SD, sitting on a crumbled curb at the corner of 3rd and Colorado — next to Skeeziks Grocery Store, drinking a bottle of Nehi Grape, keeping track of the different car license plates as people from across the country drove through town on their way to Mount Rushmore, I always fearfully wondered if I was ever going to be able to leave this town and get out and ‘see the world.’
Looking back, I continue to see how God has truly led that kid around!
After I had graduated from college in 1972, I have lived in two towns in Southern Minnesota as well as in Las Vegas, Nevada; Pocatello, Idaho; Rochester, New York, back to the Black Hills of South Dakota and now here in the state of Washington. I have traveled into every state with the exception of the Deep South & lower East Coast. I have even traveled up into Canada and down into Mexico — yet always being so relieved when I would return to American soil.
Now that isn’t too bad for a kid who was scared he was never going to be able to ‘get out of a small town!’ Sure, I realize that most of you have traveled more than that, but for me, this is almost a miracle, especially if you were to ever know the details of each move and each new lifestyle those moves created.
I once even had a map of America in my school office with all the major highways highlighted
that God had allowed me to drive. I looked with amazement at that map for years!
I have gone from a skinny ‘lost’ kid reading comics & practicing the piano, (occasionally shooting a few ducks & rabbits along with a few ‘stupid» 100 yard gopher kills right off of a farm house step) — to an older KJB Baptist pastor preaching salvation in the KJB (I won’t say fatter, but…) with guns in his office hoping someday to shoot his first bear! You would think if I could shoot a gopher from that distance, I would surely be able to hit a bear! Anyway…
Professionally, as a music teacher, I have taught in schools as large as 3000 and as small as 500 — not forgetting our own homeschool of two (3 if you count learning some of that stuff myself!) I have been involved in churches as large as 1500 members and as small as 4-12. I have directed school choirs and adult choirs; bands of students in 4-12 grade and even a few adult bands & «orchestras as well as one session of adult Bible Institute class.» I have lead anywhere from 20 to 1000 people in the singing service at various churches. I have performed on almost every band instrument as well as on piano and organ.
All of those ‘experiences’ had those many times of toil and tribulation, believe me! I should have my doctorate degree by now as a result of all that I have learned through the classroom experience.
You see, in all of my years involved with instrumental practice, God would always see to it that I never would get ‘too’ good. Seriously — I know of a specific event in 6th grade where if I had played what I was planning that night in that school program, my ‘fame’ would have been established on the piano from that moment on — however, it got snuffed by being inadvertently left out of the program — thus, no fame ever came of me.
As I went on to college, I was never able nor was I even willing to really concentrate on any particular instrument — thus I never did get very accomplished on any particular instrument; but I did receive that «all around» musical instrument teaching education. I did enjoy learning to play all the instruments — even the marimba & accordion, but like I said, I never really became greatly accomplished on any of them. I could teach them, but I could never «woo» the world with any playing talents.
When I started finally started teaching, even though I believe I never was that good of a band teacher, (although I sure did love ‘many’ of those students of mine — about 20,000 or so over the years I figure.), After my salvation and the subsequent return to church, God proceeded to carry me through those schools in such a manner that I progressed from small school band/choir programs on up to a great HS band program in Las Vegas with 200+ rich & talented marching band members who took trips all the time — — — only to see after 3 short years of serious activity, that public school band was not «for me» as a Christian!
I then became involved in a KJB Believing Church where I started a Christian school in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was there where I did my first and last stint at administrating as well as teaching history and English in grades 4-12.
We eventually moved up to Pocatello, Idaho to help a man from Las Vegas start a church. I had done a few ‘interesting’ days as a mortician (go ahead, ask me about those details!) but ended up being the Culligan man for the area. I was not only selling soft water, I was giving away living water in Mormon country. My boss was a Mormon bishop — I sure did some learning during that year!
We were then ‘called’ across the country to start a band program from «scratch’ in Rochester, NY, and through it all, was able to carry a few kids from their beginning years to their graduation. Teaching those kids to play their instruments ‘for the Lord’ as we would travel to NYC and to a few other churches — I would eventually find out the hard way that I was to «graduate» along with them.
As devastating as it was at the time, it really was just another of God’s firm ‘kicks’ in preparing me for a music ministry. You see, at that time, I had prayed and told God that I didn’t have the courage to do what I know I needed to do at that time — and that I knew that I really needed to leave!
However, at that time, a movie called Sheffy came along and showed me that I could to be loyal to the word of God, not just to some organization; and after that movie, my life would never be the same again.
After some great preaching from a camp meeting in Connecticut and some preaching from Dr. Sam Gipp, God moved us half-way across the country back to the Black Hills of SD! It truly was a miracle that we were able to make that move — and to think that God had me teach in a public school again! Then, He puts me down with back surgery — such a plan, eh! It appears more clearly now, that He was just continuing to work-me-over regarding music and the Bible. If you only knew the details of those years…
During all those years, I was able to research all the music verses in a King James Bible. I have even researched how modern perversions have affected music today. God graciously has allowed me to preach a number of sermons regarding music and the Bible. I have been able to teach much of this material to students in grades 4-12 in public & Christian schools as well as adults across the country.
Piece by piece, I have watched it all develop into charts, sermons, bible studies, powerpoint messages and now I hope, into a mission field aimed at those Believers in churches who are seeing music suddenly ‘destroy’ the spirit in their church, in their family and even in their own personal lives.
Pastor Touchet Baptist Church
196 Balm St.