The Truth... What is it?

Another Special Life in Christ

These testimony lives are not stories of "role models". Jesus is the role model!
These are lives wonderfully touched & changed by Jesus!


Silas Luther Long:

He was born in Newnata, Arkansas 28 February 1907. "I (Diane O'Connell) met Silas Long, a semi-retired Missionary Baptist preacher, when he was 74 years old.  He had lived in the hills of northern Arkansas since his birth.  He wasn't a handsome man or a man of means or notoriety.  Actually, Silas was raised in abject poverty, barefoot and uneducated.  He loved to fish the mountain streams like most mountain boys; and like most of his peers, he only completed the 3rd grade. Many years later, his wife was the one primarily responsible for teaching him how to read.  But in spite of such humble beginnings, God handpicked Silas to open my eyes to the wonderful truths, mysteries, and promises of the Bible; and my life has never been the same!"

"Silas was nurtured in a Christian home, and he eventually surrendered his life to Christ.  But when he sensed God's calling on his life to preach the gospel, Silas (like Jonah) headed in the opposite direction!  He soon developed a mischievous and rebellious spirit, rejecting his family's bent toward religion.  Those who knew him then would never have described Silas as a spiritual man!"

Summary: He did not have a seminary education or degree, but he was a church planting Missionary Baptist Church preacher who became the fount of biblical knowledge that Diane O'Connell siphoned for years when she became a believer. As a carpenter, he planted and built many a church in Arkansas. He swam a river to go propose marriage to his wife, Grace; and they had one daughter. As a most pastors...Silas suffered at the "hands" of various church members. This lead to problems with bleeding ulcers. He died in 1990.

Here is Diane O'Connell's memorial of Silas' testimony:

"When he grew up, Silas became a carpenter by trade, and later met and fell in love with his future wife, Grace.  Jane was their only child.

"Prior to their meeting, Grace resided in another small Arkansas town that was located many miles from Silas' home.  He met her while working in that town and soon became quite smitten with her.  Their relationship drew them close together.  Grace's home was located on an island that you could only reach by boat.

"On one occasion, the river surrounding the island had risen to flood level because of heavy rains.  One of Silas' co-workers came to him and reported the distressing news that Grace had become extremely ill, even to the point of death.  By this time, Silas had fallen deeply in love with her.   He tried desperately to get to her, but the rising waters formed a barrier.  And the small boat that should have been on his side of the river had already been used to transport someone else to the island where Grace lived.   But Silas could not be stopped.  He jumped into the treacherous water and began to swim across the swollen river! But even his love was no match for the turbulent waters which began to overtake him, and he started to drown.  Until that day, Silas had firmly rejected God's invitation to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  But as he watched himself slipping down into the swirling waters, Silas realized that his only hope of saving his life was to give that life to the One who had created him, to the one who programmed his life for a specific purpose.   So, in desperation, he cried out to the God that he had turned away from so many years before.  He begged God for mercy and promised that he would do whatever God wanted if God would only rescue him.

"What happened next defies logical explanation! After his desperate cry for God's help, Silas immediately and mysteriously found himself miraculously transported to the other shore!  Silas reported that it was absolutely a divine intervention from his Savior and protector, Jesus Christ!  There was no question in his mind that God had spared his life to provide him the opportunity to preach the message of salvation that would ultimately bring life to so many others.  

"And when he finally arrived at Grace's home, he discovered that she had never even been sick!  It seems that God used his mischievous co-worker and this curious turn of events to position Silas into a circumstance where he would be forced to seek out and realize the relationship, role, and calling of God in his life.  That experience led to his proposing marriage to Grace who became his life-long partner, co-laborer in Christ, and source of strength during a lifetime of subsequent hardship and difficult ministry.  And it also led to Silas devoting his life to preaching God's word and pastoring God's people, which he did until his death many years later.  He lived to be 93 years old!

"Growing up in the impoverished regions of rural Arkansas did not make for an easy life for Silas.  Even after he surrendered his life to the pastorate, he still had to work bi-vocationally as a carpenter to support his family.  The churches were tiny and far apart, and Silas often had to travel by foot (barefoot!) to the small congregations in the mountain towns.  But his first love was preaching the gospel!  And he was committed to doing whatever it took to bring that message of hope to the poor and uneducated members of his community.  I have heard him mention a time when he preached a revival service for two weeks, traveling many hours each way by foot, and only receiving a pumpkin in return for his labors!  He definitely wasn't serving God for the money!

"Silas was blessed to not only start numerous church congregations, but he also was able to use his carpentry skills to actually build many of those church facilities, as well!  Whatever it took to anchor the people and the Word of God, that is what Silas' devotion led him to do.

"One unnerving experience that came into his life occurred when his eyesight began to seriously fail, resulting in his being classified as legally blind.  Yet nothing could hinder his intense love for God that compelled him to continually search the Scriptures.  He simply bought a very large, round magnifying glass to help him as his eyes moved ever-so-slowly from one precious word of the magnified print to the next.  But this was probably one of the primary catalysts that led Silas to become such a master at knowing and memorizing so much of Gods word.  On most occasions, he could preach for a solid hour using only one scripture after another to thread together the message that God had given him to deliver.  Once again, his life circumstances forced him into a position to have to slow down as he read, enabling him to dwell on the deep significance and meaning of each individual word of God.  And we were the better for it!

"Silas was full of life lessons!  At one point in time, he had sensed God's calling to go and pastor a church in a town several hours away.  But, stubbornly, Silas didn't want to leave his home, family, and local community to serve in this new location...until the day came when Silas' home mysteriously burned to the ground!  This not only served to sever his ties to his home in Mountain View, Arkansas; but it also gave him an appreciation for the Lord's provision of the pastor's position offered to him in the neighboring town of Blytheville, Arkansas!  Silas learned to take God's directives and leadings very seriously! He became very convinced of God's ability to use your life circumstances to position you so that you will deeply desire the very calling that you previously rejected! He learned that God, as His Father, will do whatever it takes to ensure the successful unfolding of His design and plan for each of our lives!

"And I was one of the fortunate ones blessed to have my path run across this godly, backwoods preacher!  He did not have a seminary education or degree, but he became the fount of biblical knowledge that I siphoned for years after becoming a Jesus believer.  His spiritual nurturing of me ensured that biblical roots would anchor very deeply in my soul.  Sensing the hungering that God had placed in my heart for my spiritual Father, Silas made himself available to teach me, a new Christian, day and night about God through His Holy Word.  Many times, we would study the Bible in his home for 12 hours straight, stopping only for meals!  Sadly, we often had to stop reading God's word because our eyes were so tired and strained at the end of the day that we could no longer see to read!

"Frustrated at the frailty of the human body, I would return home to sleep and rest my eyes.  Then, I would excitedly arise the next day to find my way back to Silas' door in anticipation of more instruction and enlightenment on the wonders found in the Word of God!  Silas was always more than willing to impart to me the truth God had poured into him.  And that was all I wanted to know my Spiritual Father in the most intimate way and to learn to follow His footsteps in bringing life to a very broken world.  Silas willingly became my spiritual umbilical cord, showing me the way to connect with the One who had transformed my life.  For that, I will always be profoundly indebted to this little-known, back-woods preacher for the incredible legacy he left in me.  And as I now enjoy sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ with others around the world, it brings me great joy to know that the seeds that Silas planted in me will live on and impact countless generations to come!"

Silas died 9 April 2000 in Batesville, Arkansas and is buried in Levisy Flat Cemetery, Newnata, Arkansas, HERE.



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(posted 27 November 2003; latest addition 27 September 2004)


You have just read a very brief example of the powerful, supernatural transformation of a person's life which is possible through the acceptance of Jesus as your savior. Are you tired of life as it now is for you? He will accept you just as you are right this second! Consider accepting Jesus now [check it out]!