Jaclyn Horine missed a trip to the Holy Land a few years ago when she started a new job. Now, unexpectedly, she has seen Jerusalem through the eyes of a new believer.
Her coming to faith as an adult—and as a pastor’s wife— has stirred the congregation of Friendship Baptist Church in Blackfoot, where her husband, Jerry, serves as senior pastor. Since her decision to truly follow Jesus, baptisms at the church have multiplied.
“I thought for years that I knew God,” said Jaclyn, a self-described preacher’s kid from Indiana. Both she and Jerry believed she was a Christian. Jerry remembered an occasion when Jaclyn had some trouble articulating her testimony, but she had been raised in the church and surely knew Jesus.
Except she did not.
“Her hope wasn’t in Christ. It was in her religion and herself,” Jerry said.
“My religion was me,” Jaclyn said.
When a professor from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where Jaclyn is pursuing a master’s degree in counseling, suggested that she might be building a foundation on her family background rather than Christ, Jaclyn initially disagreed. Yes, the move away from family in Indiana to Texas had been difficult, but she had been involved in church all her life, hadn’t she?
Then the truth dawned on her on Sunday, March 6, as Jerry preached from Romans 3 at Friendship. Jaclyn had recently been studying Romans 3:21-25 for a seminary hermeneutics class, and suddenly, in the middle of her husband’s sermon, it all made sense.
“My husband is preaching on the hope we have in Christ. I basically realized I didn’t have that hope,” Jaclyn said. Admitting she “just felt broken” as Jerry issued an invitation at the close of the sermon, Jaclyn recalled, “God just picked me up and took me to the altar. It was a beautiful moment.”
Both husband and wife could tell the Spirit of God was moving. Women from the church surrounded her at the altar. Jaclyn felt embarrassed at the thought of the other women hearing her admit she had sinned and needed a Savior.
“God gave her a new heart. Salvation was just so real that day,” he added.
Since then, the church has experienced nothing short of a revival, with 32 people baptized since Easter. The church is rejoicing about all those baptisms, but number 31, on Sept. 11, was extra special, Horine said. A local young man whom “everyone had written off” as “too far gone” in substance abuse came forward for baptism.
“Now he comes to our prayer services and he is starting to lead his circle of influence to Christ,” the pastor said, adding that he believes more conversions and baptisms would follow this young man’s actions.
An ongoing revival
Growth continues at Friendship. The historic church, founded in 1860, had about 60 members when Jerry, formerly a church planter in Indiana, was called there five years ago at age 23 after attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Now some 200 attend the church and every children’s class is “busting at the seams,” Jaclyn said, noting that the congregation had prayed for children to come. The couple’s four-year-old foster daughter was recently overheard “baptizing” her Barbie doll, now that baptisms are a regular event at Friendship.
The growth is all the more remarkable when one realizes that Blackfoot, an unincorporated community of 33 according to the 2000 census, is nestled on a back road seven miles off the two-lane highway that connects Corsicana and Palestine. It’s not a place one will just happen upon.
Jaclyn’s profession of faith has inspired many of the baptisms that are a part of the growth.
“God is opening eyes. It’s beautiful,” she said.
“It’s an ongoing revival,” Jerry added.
“Well, if you came to know Jesus, Lord knows I need to come to know Jesus,” one older lady told Jaclyn. Jerry had been praying for the woman’s husband, and both came to faith during lunch with the pastor one day.
Renewal of vows in Israel
As for the journey to Israel in 2022—a trip sponsored for pastors and their wives by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention this past July—Jaclyn is thankful she could go and even grateful that she was not able to accompany Jerry on his original trip in 2017.
“The Lord opened my eyes to so much in Israel,” she said, admitting that her initial expectations of experiencing the places where Jesus walked had been replaced by a sense of mission to Israel.
Now she has a heart for the lost for whom Jesus wept: “We should be weeping for those people [over] the things that made Jesus weep.” She also understands the legalism and tradition enveloping many in Israel.
“I had been following tradition in religion all my life,” Jaclyn said. “I assumed if the letter of the law was intact, the Spirit would follow.”
Her salvation has brought renewal to their marriage as well, the Horines said.
“I am still super thankful for the quick sanctifying that showed me things in my married life, like pride. It really changed things in our marriage,” Jaclyn said.
Along the Sea of Galilee, the couple renewed their vows as Matthew Timmons, pastor of Norwood Heights Baptist Church in Palestine, officiated.
The ceremony was Jerry’s idea: “After her salvation, the Lord laid it on my heart to renew those vows.”
They rebraided the cord of three strands that they had braided in their original wedding.
“This shows there are truly three in our marriage,” Jaclyn explained, referring to the fact that mutual faith in Christ now characterized their union.
Said Jerry: “It’s God’s providence, knowing that she just came to Christ and got to experience that.”