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Todays date is February 7, 1977. This is an interview with John Glenn
Wallace a Baptist minister.
C: How did you become a minister?
W: Well, I tell you it's been a long time since I've been a minister, I think
it's been, my age was about 17 years old when I started ministering. I'm
19 now, it's not 3 years or anything it's just only lyear and a half. That's
how long it's been. The first thing I started was at that time while I
was at they Youth Center. I used to live with a minister. A man that is
a minister I used to live with him. And he used to talk about Christ and
stuff about things to me and I got interested in going to church and every-
thing and the first thing they started me off with, putting me on as
Sunday School Director as my first work. And I started that. And a
few years later, in that next year some time and somewhere, in the house
some kind of whistle or a blowhorn or something Some kind of sound that's
made in the house, something, somebody told me I was going to become a
minister I didn't believe it. I said, I didn't believe it maybe it
was, I think was three of us in the house at that time. I just said, "who's
going to be a minister? Who's going to be somebody? (vA J A /' /
cof to be better. They all laughed and said, "well, that's something else."
We just keep on talking. And then the second time it horned again. We
realized that something was wrong, we start searching around he house
but we didn't see anything or interesting. A car orh h
So the next few weeks later I went home to Jackson. I was up there riding
around in a car and I was talking to this man about this, about this thing
that's going on and I was laughing about it, and I was saying "when somebody
going to become a preacher I'm going to graduate them, you know. You know
shake their hand or something.. That's what I was going to do. And I
started laughing and somehow, I really didn't know how it really came
about but when my first minister came sometime in 1975, '74 that year
we had a revival you know a crusade going on at Conehatta. Some evangelist
was there but I really don't know his real name. But on the first night
I know somebody was talking to me. Somebody was telling me to become
a minister. It was not a man or anything, something just reading my mind
And I heard something that said "Get up, get up" but I just didn't want
to get up. Just go out in front of the congregation and say something
that I wanted to say, but I couldn't. I just sat in my chair all that
night. It was I think is was Monday no Sunday to Saturday, Sunday to
Sunday that revival was going to last. I just sat there Sunday to the
other Sunday and I was fixing to get up you know when I was going to
get up it said, "Go, go," something said, it just kept bugging me it said
"go, go" But I couldn't go. But somehow I just had I don't know I
just didn't want to get up but something just made me get up and I just
walked down the aisle and I didn't know what to say when I got up there.
And the minister said he came and took my hand you know, Baptists use
confessionals minister confessing their sins, holding their hand, and
shaking their hand. And they and I started telling them about these things
that had happened And they said, Well, it's going to be your decision
whether you want to be a minister or not." I said I think it's time for
me to be a minister I think I've been called to be a priest. From that
that minister turned, when the invitation was over and the man went
to the microphone and said nt Well, Brother John was brought her tonight
and he was going to surrender to Jesus and everybody was looking around,
See- I was small I was only 17 years old at the time. And everybody
was looking at me and, I don't know I just started crying and stuff.
I just sat down and watched him talk. Well, then everybody stood up
and said "you can be a minister." And they got me to be a minister.
Finally, from there, the first time that I went up there I wanted to
run out that door, but I couldn't, people were watching me and I couldn't.
And that crusade was over and I went home. I thought I was going to ;eech
that Sunday, the first time in my ministry I was going to preach but I
couldn't. I didn't know theLLble or anything what to say and what
to do and all those things. But the time passes and I started learning
how to do it. And, well, it's been about a year and a half. Around there.
W: Tell us about your family and where you live.
C: I really don't know where my father and mother came from. I mean what
family they came from, but I don't know about them, but, well.
C: You don't know who your parents are?
W: I know who my parents are but..... Well. Ua -- .L CeA-A t -"ta
C: You don't know where they were living?
W: Yeah, they're living AW'; Ld -I That's neither.... Alright
that's kind of a long story, well, anyway, but I will start where I remember
it. At that time we were living in Noxubee County somewhere. We used
to live on a farm sharecropper or something they used to call it share-
cropper but we used to live up there. That was when I was about seven or
something, seven or eight. At that time they had an RCA up here. Howev er,
they used to have RCA up here. My parents. My parents moved up here
and I came with them. And I went to school up here about two years
and I went to Jackson in 1967.it was at that time that I went up there.
And I stayed up there about three or four years. 0 (. ')
W: And I went to school.
C: Public school.
W: Yeah, public school.
W: Well, it was only a usual life; same same life that everybody people live
that we had. It wasn't nothing special.
C: How many brothers and sisters do you have?
W: Including me, ks six, six in the family.
C: You just preach at one church?
W: No, no. I go around preaching the word of God to other communities. I
think the most opportunity I have is at Tucker or at Bo ue Homa, that's
where I used to have -Z "IA^ y t J --/- /- ,
Most of the time I go to Youth Revival and teach the Gospels to the
young people instead of the older people because I think most older
people want the younger preacher to preach to a younger people to under=-
stand the words of what they're saying and what life is like has been a
christian person so my membership is at Bethany Baptish Church up here
in Philadelphia. I've been around here since I think it's three months
now I really don't do much but we used to have revivals and stuff
going on so I just go around and'preaching the word so, and....
C: You don't get paid for this do you get paid?
W: No, no.
C: Oh you just do it because you are....
W: No, sometimes they pay.you but not really because somehow they
just think it's love offerings or something and they just give it
to you just as "love offerings" and most of them they just give it
to me and sometime I don't, I mean it doesn't matter to me what
they do or not because most people need money in other places so
I just go around free sometime.
Around here we have about 15 or 16 ministers around here.
Most of them just stick around in their churches 'about two or:three
of them in their churches. So I don't know why people don't go
around and speak the word but they usually pick out somebody that
can preach the word that they can understand.
C: Do many young people attend church? (t
W: Oh yes lots of them, few of them t'-obably about
the last time I was up there was about 59, I think 59 youths, I
had a good time up there. I think the church is different from
Catholic or other denomination churches cause sometime, I think
that it doesn't matter what kind of denomination you come from
as long as you hear the words of God speak cause that's more
important cause it doesn't matter whose church you come from that
you hear. But it's open to everybody and any other places you
come and hear the word.
C: Did you come to the ones they had, over at the F r' Baptist church?.
W: Oh yes, I did. They said I was the guest speaker up there, but I
don't know. They just think I'm somebody else like a regular
student or somebody that's going to stand up and say some words
sit down or something, but I didn't. Most of the young people
didn't know that I was a minister up here. Cause they think that
most ministers are older- and some are young, so they just stared
at me and I looked at them and I said, I want to sing, do you
want to sing," and they just started laughing. And, I don't know
There was about 30 or 26 persons up there.
C: You don't have any special uniforms to wear do you?
W: Oh, no., I don't go around wearing no uniform or anything. I mean
that's what we call a "out of Gods Society"or something, that's what
we call it cause we just wear our regular jeans and shirt or some-
thing. Sometime we wear something that we want to instead of things
that somebody wears coats or suits or something they wear why we
don't- we just wear some kind of checkered shirt or blue jean pants
or black pants or whatever you want to wear. They really against
us doing like this cause they just look at the person, what they think
they are or something. They think they are a different person.
Well in Choctaw churches we speak, instead of English we
speak Choctaw words to the people. Most young people can understand
English better than Choctaw so we speak English. Myself I speak
English better than Choctaw words because I give more attention to
the young people and the old people that's in there, they might not
understand what I'm saying about the young people mighthunderstand.
I think that's the way they think that the young people can
give reach to the young people teach others. By using words
that they can understands.
Well, our Baptist church is based on aEfible on the things
that we do on Lord's suffering things that we do they just based
on the bible. They read out from a bible lik most other churches
do. Maybe it will be different from a Englis-I mean a.white man's
church or something it will be different from them cause they use
a choctaw way or something they do it cause it's hard for them to
understand to other people understand the way we do. We take more
time and less time cause most Choctaw might get on time on churches
but most of them can't cause if they said on that time that they're
going to be there but they don't some people do some people don't
and sometimes it's confusing, but you got to understand the things
that they say and what they're saying. If you don't keep up the
words what they're saying you might get lost over it.
C: How do you go T5 the Confession?
W: Oh the confession, oh the confession that we go through it is some
kind of a we open an invitation hyme or something and if the pastors
there we ask the pastor to come in front,to stand in front, so the
people that are in the congregation will come and some people or
lots of people might come so, that's what we call an open confession,
that's what we call it. And by sharing by confessing their sins to
the minister. And after that we have a fellowship by shaking hands
[hThe Baptists go basically on the Bible: sometimes we ask how does the
Baptist people became Baptist ,here was a joke came up from that in a -
One bo said, I think it was Brother James, he said "Well, if a people
ask you 3F Jesus Baptistr or so "hm else9 and 3 CA
said and he said something like this,."Jesus baptized from John the Baptist
so Jesus must be Baptist. So Jesus is Baptist, is what they say. I
don't know. But the Baptist readings come from the Bible. But the
Baptist readings come from the Bible where it said Jesus-Christ is
your lord and savior. When they take you to Baptism, the Baptism that
your buried with is when you die with Christ. When you rise from the
water that means that when Christ comes at time the 2nd coming that
the resurrection from the dead, they rise from the resurrection -
and you rise from the dead.
C: How old does a person have to be to be Baptised?
W: Well, in Baptist some say 12 and some say you don't have to be a certain
C: Or when they're old enough to make their decision.
Yeah. Old enough to make their decision.
C: Do you think the young people listen to you?
W: Oh, yes I think they listen to me because of more things that I want to
say is more interesting to hear because I base on the Bible instead of
go jumping into another subject. I just base on one subject. So the
young people can hear what I say and what the Bible is talking about.
Sometime I use some illustrations or a little joke or something that the
people can hear. I get their attention by using a joke or something, see
if they're hearing, and most of them hear that. They will listen to what
toJwhat I say cause I give more attention to what I say to them. I
think I get through to the young people better some young people
doesn't want to listen to what the minister might be saying cause
it not be interesting cause it be boring to them cause it's kinda
different from a young minister speaking from an older person but
the older person knows better than young person sometimes it's
always the same both of them, one might know better and one know
might not so it depends on the person, how well he uses the Bible
and how well he does God's work and stuff they do.
C: How do you like your job?
W: Well, I enjoy doing things of God's way cause it's more interesting 7y At/JS
&'he thing about it is when you're a minister, when you're going to
school, you like to study more Bible than the books you have cause the
Bible's more interesting to study cause you going to have it in your
head or in your heart that you gonna u, r 2-> with it. So the
book I carry and the things that I want to do, it's nearly uninteresting
things cause the Bible's more important to me than the books but I
have to study the things I want to know so I just usually be happy doing
God's work instead of doing schoolwork cause I study more. When I get
out of high school I think I'm going to a Baptist College or somewhere
to learn more. I know I can learn it by myself but I want to know more
of what the people are doing in other places and what things they are
doing and it's hard being a minister and going to school on a public school
or any kind of school you going to, it's hard. Ithink most ministers here
are not really educated or anything, but that's not important, the Bible
the things they learn from, that's important cause they will know
what they are talking about,what they're saying. You might see
a young people now might not.read a Choctaw language book or a Bible
but most elderly people be reading Choctaw, cause I think the older
person knows better the things that they say.
C: What have you learned from your experiences?
W: I learned that it's hard for me to do what I wan to do, cause I used
to go drinking and sniff gas and stuff like that and it's hard_-fQr-
me to go back and look back. 1It's hard. Well, it's hard. It's not
-' really that hard from my experience the-things that I did to lay off.
I know what I got that is more important, than what I want to do.
Most important things that -(sometimes I think that I really don't
think the same thing at one time, I just think one thing at one time
instead of lots of things at one time) so whatever I think that's
good is what I do. Experience with young people is kind of fun
C: Are you satisfied with your job, with what you're doing?
W: Yeah, I'm really satisfied with fa-t I'm doing.. But really I really
want to quit school cause it's hard for me Nut 1ZEeB-i'll make it
I'll make it through school and do what I want to do. But I know that
I will make it if I stick with it. If I don't stick with it I'm going
to drop out cause it'll be hard
C: How long does it takeFto-bsm'minister?
W: Well my job is, I think it's working out well with others. More people
are interested to hear the words of what I'm going to say. They call me
whenever they get ready. They call me to come to their place to preach
the word. I think I enjoy this work cause I get in touch with more
people and I meet lots of people. Maybe some day I might go around
around this world preaching the Word maybe. I really don't know
yet, what really I'm going to do. I might be a pastor here, around
here. But I really don't know now. I really don't know what's going
to be next.
When I was small I think I told you I used to be a sharecropper
them. My father and mother our parents were sharecroppers at that time,
I think from their father's father they were sharecroppers at that time.
I think my father didn't have any education, he just know how to share-
crop and things. I think my mother comes from Bofue Chitto and my
father comes from Noxfbee County. So we really didn't stay at one
placeat a certain time, just a year or two years or something. We
just go around the country. But one thing: when I was little,when
we were sharecroppers I used to hoe the garden, or hoe the field, work
at the field, drive tractors, that's what I used to do. We had some
kind of special school that I went to every day; it's kind of a little
school, a one-room school or something that I used to call it. We had
about, about 28 or 30 students we used to have from kindergarten to
eighth grade that's what we used to have. We just called it one big ole
family. We had one teacher, we had a kitchen in that class. We used
to eat soup Campbell's soup ,. you know with those noodles and stuff -
we used to eat those stuff in those classes. And we had a milk box that
was in the hallway. We used to goof around in that hallway.
The school was big. It had an auditorium, and it had twelve classes)- I/' '
but we only used on classroom.
C: What room?
I think it was first\room to your left. It was a big room. We had
only one teacher we didn't have many teachers. We didn't have no
pencilsA ustla teacher; It was run by Memmonite people. I think
the teachers up there think Choctaw need education up there so I think
they run the places. I think that school has Beer on down, I:think
it was last time I was up there.
Farthest thing I remember is that aeehoG County was that County
that had a peace treaty Dancing Rabbit Creek. They used to talk
about legends and things that would happen up there. But I really
don't remember how it went. They used to say that some kind of stone
or marble thing (a white thing that they used to sign the peace treaty)
they used to say that the peace treaty is supposed to stand one the other
side of the road instead of the other side. Something they said
.? /" been tricked by a white man by doing that, you know. It
had some kind of chiefs name was up there but I really don't remember
it, whose name was there but it was up there. They used to say that
in that creek about, lets see I think it about 1/2 mile from that Ji
stone is standing. They used to say a little creek that used to run
about I think it's shallow water that's running across. They used
to say that that used be a diamond or gold or somate hng-uried down there.
When the sun sets, that water comes up I don't know how really they said
it but it's something. It sounds interesting but I really didn't believe
the things that they were saying.because sometime the water usually will
raise up by itself or something. Somewhere they said there's supposed
to be a gold in there somewhere but they couldn't find it. They only
thing they remembered is that the chief rs been telling about the
things that have been happening. The chief died a long time ago, 66i64
I think it was in '60, '68, We had a good time listening to those
things that we heard but I really can't remember what the things they
really did say been a long time. We used to have some kind of
dance or something they did, long time before, long time ago. It's
not a house dance, it's an outside dance. I think it was every
Friday or Saturday night. Sometimes Thursdays we used to dance
the dances. They used to dance a duck dance, or a snake dance or
something, they used to dance. I remember dancing one of them somewhere
but I can't remember where. But I did. That was when I was 10 or 9
or something. I remember the first time my father asked me to drive
a car when I was small. I couldn't even reach the clutch or accelerator
and but I didn't drive though. I mean I really didn't 5tep on the
accelerator I just steered the wheel that all. I was really that small,
C: What do you hope these young people get out of what you're saying?
W: I think they listen a little. I just brief their mind, what really
happened at that time. 'Cause most young people today are growing up
in a place where a good place. I think they really listen if they
have these books on Nanih Waiye ,9boo s they publish that. If they
buy some they will look at it an see what happened to other persons
at time. And it'll be interesting 'cause probably some person you
know but something you didn't read about and that's what's happening.
.- (^W D