When I was 5 months old, my father went on the evangelistic field full time. For the first 5 years of my life, I was in church 5 to 6 times per week. From a very early age, I believed in the power of God and had seen many great things in the kingdom of God.
At the young age of 8, I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost during a revival in Fields, LA. I was baptized in the name of Jesus a few days later in my Grandmother’s “claw-footed” cast iron bath tub. It started me on a path to serving God that has led me to see many great things in the kingdom of God.
While attending Holiday Youth Convention at the age of 16, I acknowledged my call to the ministry. I preached my first message in Anacoca, LA a few months later. The Lord continued to bless and open doors. At 19, I went on the evangelistic field full-time. For the next 5 ½ years, I evangelized across the US seeing many lives changed and experiencing the great blessings of God.
After 4 years of evangelizing by myself, on March 1, 1997, I was married to my wonderful wife, Lauralee Burks. We were on our second mission trip to Colombia, SA in 1998 when God begin to deal with us about a change in our lives that was to come. While preparing to speak at the graduation of the Bible College students in Cali, CO, God began to deal with me about attending Bible College.
In August of 1998, we sold all of our possessions except a small little house that we owned. We left for Stockton, CA to attend Christian Life College. The next 4 years were a tremendous time of learning and experience that helped set us on a course for greater things in the kingdom of God. I was privileged to serve as Student Body President the last two years we were there. I was blessed to graduate at the top of my class in 2002 with a BA in Theology. My wife, Lauralee, graduated with a BA in Music and Applied Piano. Since that time, she has also earned a BA in Child Development with a Minor in Education from Hope International University.
In August of 2002, we came to Jasper. Services were first held in the Community Room of First National Bank. We quickly moved to a store-front that used to be Jim’s Western Story. We remained there for 3 years when we were able to purchase a former Nazarene church. After 6 weeks of extensive remodeling, we held our first service at the new facility on Easter Sunday 2005. The Lord has blessed us to grow a great church here in the past 12 years. We are privileged to pastor the greatest people on earth at New Life Church! We have outgrown our current facility and recently purchased 5.195 acres on HWY 190 West. We are continuing to plant the seed and see God bring the harvest. The future is bright! It’s an exciting time to be working for His Kingdom!
Pastor Darwin Burks