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Elder Joseph R. Holder

I was born on July 10, 1941, at Thrasher, Mississippi. Although I had no deep religious convictions until I was about twelve years old, I always respected the churches and people for their desire to follow Bible patterns.

At about thirteen years of age, I attended New Hope Church near Booneville, Mississippi, where I saw a young lady submit to the ordinance of baptism. A heavy burden descended on me, which I could not escape nor satisfy. Shortly thereafter, I heard my uncle, Elder J. D. Holder, preach a touching sermon on the afflictions of David. After going to bed that night, I felt another burden -- this time to speak in the Lord's name. Relief came only when I sat up in bed and preached out to myself the thoughts on my mind regarding David. This burden did not return until after I was baptized.

The burden to take up my cross in the Church became progressively heavier, and I felt more overwhelmed with fears than ever, until in December of 1955, I was baptized by Elder J. D. Holder, my uncle.

In February of 1956 I was asked to open the services at my home Church, Sardis. My efforts seemed weak and unprofitable, but I felt a blessing in making them, and the Lord's people who heard me were kind and encouraging, which gave me much strength. In May of 1958 I was ordained to the ministry. For the next few years I preached at the Churches near home and made a few trips among Primitive Baptists in other areas, but as time passed I began to feel that the Lord had a ministry for me in some other location. The love and kindness of the people in Mississippi made me feel a sense of sadness at the thought of leaving them but I continued to feel that conviction. I traveled from Maryland to Florida to Texas, but I could not feel that I had found my place. In 1961 I made a trip to northern California where I met some wonderful Primitive Baptists. Shortly thereafter, I moved to that area where I labored primarily at the Church in Ceres.

I had not been there long until I met my wife Sandra. A desire for the Ceres Church and proximity to Sandra's parents were strong, but I still felt sad at having left my people in Mississippi. I thought I could go back and be satisfied, but soon the Lord began to stir my nest, and I realized that I must follow the leadership of the Spirit, regardless of where it led me. That Fall Sandra and I (we were married on July 7, 1962) moved back to California. I felt many doubts about myself, but I could not be satisfied until I followed the sense of leadership I felt. We settled in southern California, where I found a job and began serving Churches in the area.

The Lord has blessed us with three daughters and a happy home, for which I feel extremely thankful.

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Husbands and Wives--Chapter 21
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Husbands and Wives--Chapter 23
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Husbands and Wives--Chapter 27
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.