My Paw-Paw’s testimony

Fifteen years ago, Paw-Paw left this life and into his next. I miss that dude.

Paw-Paw was funny, loving, patient, and just the coolest dude you’d ever meet. I have vivid memories of Paw-Paw eating late-night snacks of onions, pepperoni, and cheese. He owned a cabin in Cloudcroft, NM and it was like, the coolest place to go to with family. He would make a fire, let us ride three-wheelers, collect sticks that would become guns, and plant trees. He’d let me ride with him in his truck that I’d later own, and I’d fall asleep with him telling me stories about the Indians and Cowboys. We’d stay up late and make fried pies – something I do with my kids. He loved western movies and his cowboy hat. He loved to laugh and like I said, he was just the coolest dude you’d meet. He’d call me “Michael-Michael” – I don’t recall him calling anyone else by their name twice at the same time… but I’m getting older and can’t remember things.  But what made Paw-Paw cool wasn’t that stuff.

He had worn hands that had seen the world, but one thing I always knew – Paw-Paw loved me.  He loved his family, and it was because he loved Jesus. The picture below is one that is on my nightstand at our house. I think it may be the most cherished document or item I have from Paw-Paw (although I look forward to using his old cane one day). This testimony was written almost a month to the day before he went to be with Jesus.

I still miss you Paw-Paw, but your legacy remains. Thanks for being the coolest dude around.




I made my profession of faith at Fifth Street Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL at the Easter morning service in 1955. This was after much encouragement and prayer from our Pastor Rev. M.G. Wilson, church friends, and especially my wife, Donna. I was baptized that evening into the Baptist faith, our church and into full fellowship with Jesus. 

I then became active in Training Union at Fifth Street, and in the years that followed, I served where I felt the Lord led me, mostly in Boy and Cub scout work, since we were and Army family and the chapel had limited programs in which men could serve.

Through the years, on of the most devoted, dedicated, and inspiring servants of the Lord was our Chaplain at White Sands Missile Range, whose interested in us and example of Christian living sustained me in any compromising situations. We still stay in touch with Chaplain Joe Watterson and his wife, Mary Frances (now retired in NC) and are continually grateful for their service to the Lord and our personal friendship.

I was ordained as a Deacon in Mt. View Baptist Church in El Paso, April 1971, but have decided not to serve actively because declining health prevents me from serving in the many ways I know that I should and that fellow Deacon, my Pastor, and the Lord would rightfully expect that I should.

Lawerence B. Criner, October 3, 1999