Gospel Light Foundation for the Blind
The following is the personal testimony of Pastor Bill Keathley. Bill has been ministering to the blind since 1972.
I was raised in a Christian home and attended a protestant church. As was customary in this church, I came forward to the altar along with several other twelve-year olds on Easter Sunday morning for the purpose of joining the church and becoming a “Christian.” Absolutely nothing was said about personal salvation. It was my understanding that I was not accountable to God for my sins until the age of twelve. Therefore as far as I was concerned, this ritual was intended to place me under the protection of God’s forgiveness. I only thought of Jesus as the Saviour of the world in some general way. At that time it meant nothing to me personally.
In the providence of God a year or so later, my parents took me to see a Christian film entitled “The Prince of Peace” at our local theater. As I recall, unlike many today this film on the life of Christ was very true to the Scriptural account. At any rate, the Holy Spirit revealed to me for the first time that Christ died for my sins personally. The best I knew how with my limited knowledge of the scriptures, I placed my faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was very real and precious to me.
Some years later as an older teenager, this experience faded into the background as I sought acceptance by my peers. I began to compromise my testimony for the sake of popularity. Then in college I began to have serious intellectual doubts about my faith in God and the Bible. I became a secret agnostic for a time.
I take it as a token of God’s fatherly love and chastening based on Hebrews 12 that I developed rheumatoid arthritis as a senior in high school, and then I began to lose my sight as a junior in college. I wallowed in despair and self-pity for several years; but through the witness of my brother, who had just professed faith in Christ, I was caused to reconsider my spiritual condition. I wanted to come back to God; but I was afraid He had utterly forsaken me, as I certainly had Him. Through the help of the same pastor who had dealt with my brother, I was reassured that as the prodigal son I, too, would find a loving Father waiting with open arms to receive me back again. In June of 1967, I surrendered my life anew to the Lord. I then followed the Lord in baptism by immersion in a local lake.
I had a burning desire to begin reading and studying the Bible for myself, but by then I was legally blind and confined to a wheelchair due to the arthritic condition. I found a home teacher who was willing to visit my home and teach me to read braille. This same dear lady also helped me to get the Bible in braille.
As I continued to read and study my braille Bible, God began to reveal more and more of the precious truths of Scripture to me. Through the study of God’s Word I slowly but steadily began to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I became burdened with a desire to serve the Lord in spite of my physical disabilities.
In December of 1971, I was ordained to the ministry. Then in April of 1972 I was married to a lovely Christian lady, Barbara, whom the Lord had marvelously brought into my life. God has blessed us with two precious children: a son, Rob and a daughter, Lilianna. Both of them are healthy and sighted. In closing, I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”
Gospel Light Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
3760 Village Main Street, Loganville, GA 30052