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September 17, 2014

Vietnam veteran shares his faith

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Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 12:20 pm, Wed Jun 11, 2014.

Ronald Jemison is a man of faith.

The Talladega native can be seen passing out flyers and pamphlets around the community outside of stores and at stop signs.

But these flyers and pamphlets aren’t just your everyday paraphernalia easily tossed in the trash can or swept aside on the street.

They come with a message of peace, prosperity and most importantly prayer.

“I kind of do it on a small scale,” Jemison said. “A lot of problems are going on in the country and community. It’s about helping people realize that the Lord can help them out.”

Jemison said he started his outreach ministry in 1996, around the time when gangs were rampant in the community.

He would go into the community and reach out to gang members with Bible verses and prayers, hoping to bring them closer to Christ.

He cites Nov. 18, 1996 as the exact date he started the ministry because that is the day he was ordained as a minister of God.

Although he is not licensed as a minister, he feels his message is just as important as anyone behind the pulpit.

His “Pray for Peace” bulletins contain several messages, Bible verses and psalms such as “The Lord’s Prayer,” “Psalm 23 The Shepard Psalm,” and “The Kindness Prayer” that reads: “Dear Lord, I pray now that You will bless the people of the world to be kinder to one another. Teach us to look within our hearts and find the kindness that can make bad things good, and good things better…”

Jemison’s faith is deep-rooted in his upbringing.

Growing up in a segregated Talladega was not easy.

Jemison attended Westside High School, now the Mabra Community Center.

“I turned bad in the 12th grade,” Jemison said. “I dropped out of school, went to the streets and was a wild child.”

He said although he prayed when he got into trouble, he did not have a close relationship with God.

After getting into a fight that he says was a breaking point for his turbulent teen years, he went back to school, graduated in 1968 and joined the Army that same year.

Being a soldier in the Vietnam War was a life-changing experience for Jemison.

While in Vietnam he said all the soldiers where handed small copies of the New Testament Bible; he always kept his Bible on him and still does to this day.

“That is when I accepted Christ and got saved,” Jemison said. “I read it and it made me realize how much the Lord loved me.”

Jemison served two tours in Vietnam and has served a total of 20 years in the Army, working in aviation flying and repairing helicopters.

Since returning home to Talladega, Jemison has served in Disabled American Veterans, an organization that supports veterans. He currently serves in the Talladega chapter known as George Washington Carver Chapter 78.

“Wonderful things started happening in my life,” Jemison said. “It just came into my heart to do something.”

Jemison was inspired by a friend to create his signature “Pray for Peace” sign that he wears and sometimes displays in his vehicle.

“I couldn’t afford any New Testaments so I came up with the handouts,” Jemison said. “When I first started I had half a page, then a full page, then I had to add a page.”

Jemison’s outreach ministry now has about 110 subscribers who receive daily prayers and Bible verses by mail.

Spreading the word of Christ has proved to be a mission that he is not ready to end.

Guided by faith, he believes that the pamphlets and handouts are making a difference in the lives of everyday Americans, one prayer at a time.

“Sometimes I get phone calls, sometimes people will stop me and talk about the Lord,” Jemison said.

“We are like a plant, it will say that in the Bible. We start off as a seed and when we accept Christ in our life we need to be watered, fertilized; the sun has to shine on us. We have to be nourished to grow. Our soul is the same way, and in order to feed our soul we need to pray and read the Bible. How many days would you go without eating?”

For more information about Jemison’s outreach ministry call 256-362-4297.

Contact Aziza Jackson at ajackson@dailyhome.com.

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