Testimony of Pastor James D. Dunn
I was born in Vancouver, Washington on October 16, 1946. We lived in a low income housing development and my father worked for the City of Vancouver Water Department. My mother worked day shift at the cannery in Vancouver during the time we lived there. My only sibling is a sister named Nola.
My family was not actively involved with a church while I was growing up, although I believed both my parents to be Christian as my father was raised in the Methodist church in Tennessee, and my mother attended the Church of Christ.
We then left Vancouver, Washington and moved to Salinas, California where my parents managed a neighborhood grocery store that was owned by my grandfather. We remained in California for two years before selling the store and moving to Tennessee. My father worked on the farm then with his family during this time.
When I was in the sixth grade, we moved back to Vancouver and rented a house in "The Heights" where I attended the MacArthur School. The following year, we moved to The Dalles, Oregon where I continued to live until I graduated from high school.
My family relationships had the usual ups and downs of most parent-child / brother-sister interactions. I would say a generally good family relationship existed, although my family was still not active in a church (we only attended occasionally). It was mostly just my sister and I that went to church during this time. After attending many different churches over my young life, my sister and I started attending Emmanuel Baptist Church in The Dalles, Oregon in 1959. I came to know the Lord Jesus as my Lord and Savior and was born again on November 13, 1960. I was mentored for a few weeks and then baptized on December 18, 1960 by Pastor Jack Dunaway who, at that time, was the Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist. About two years passed, and I heard the call of God in my spirit at the age of 16 years, saying that He wanted me to surrender into the Gospel Ministry and follow Him. I didn't understand everything about this call, but I said yes. I didn't receive much encouragement at this time, as I went forward to make it public, so I thought I was not good enough, or smart enough, but I pushed on without much encouragement from the leadership of the church. Two years went by and we had three other pastors. I began to run from the call of the Lord, because all I was seeing and hearing was church members running off pastors about once a year.
My parents recommitted their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1965 at Emmanuel Baptist Church and were baptized. They became very actively involved in the Baptist fellowships they belonged to until my father passed away from Lou Gehrig's Disease and my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Leukemia.
I met my wife Colleen in February 1965 and we were married the following September 17th. I was 18 years old.
In January 1966 I had a very good job working for Martin Marietta Aluminum Company. I was a Master Millwright and I was also a Union Organizer in the United Steel Workers of America. I was still running from the Lord's call.
I ran from the Lord and His call on my life for about ten years. My pastor came to me and asked me if I would pray about being a deacon in the church under his leadership. I prayed about this for about two months, and finally said yes. I was called to serve and was equipped as a deacon servant in the church I was baptized in. I was ordained in 1981. After about six months of serving as deacon, God began to work in my life even more. He reminded me of the call I received at the age of 16, and it was even more powerful this time on my life. Even though I was serving as a deacon, I was fighting the call to be a pastor. I told God that I would be an evangelist for Him in five years, if He would just let me retire, and then I would go anywhere He wanted me to go and share the gospel.
I was working in the mill on June 30, 1983 on the graveyard shift, filling in for a friend. At 6:25 a.m. I was crushed by a 10-ton vacuum truck and then run over by the same truck. I had many bones in my body broken and crushed in this accident. I knew that I was dying and I asked God to forgive me and I told Him I would never say NO to His call again if He'd let me live. I was taken to the hospital in The Dalles and had two major operations in a three day period, and I was not supposed to survive. Many of God's people began to pray for me all over the world. Praise the Lord, He heard their prayers!! I was put in a private room and on the 13th of July I went home. That night the men of the church came to my home, loaded me up in a vehicle, and took me to a prayer meeting.
I spent about three months in rehab, and the rehab people told me to stop coming because I was healing too fast and my bones were not healing straight. So, I quit going to rehab and went to my doctor and they said the same thing. I have not been back since. God totally healed my body even though I have steel rods and screws throughout my lower body. I was paralyzed on my left side for over a month, but I was totally healed by the Master Jesus. Most people would not know this about me had they not heard my personal testimony of my running from the call of God.
I surrendered to the Gospel Ministry during a revival meeting that Troy Smith was preaching in our home church. I began my studies over the next two years and in 1985 I was approved by the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board to become a Mission Church starter in Battle Ground, Washington. I was called by Mill Park Baptist Church and Emmanuel Baptist Church to start the mission work there. On March 24, 1985 I was ordained in the Gospel Ministry. We moved to Battle Ground and began our ministry on Easter Sunday. We were there for fourteen years, and during that time started two mission churches. I was called to Enumclaw, Washington in January, 1999 and started pastoring our second church on February 7th. I continue to grow here and be blessed.
My strongest gifts over the years have proven to be Ministry, by the grace of God; to be Evangelistic; to be strong in shepherding, teaching, preaching, and organization.
My wife and I are the parents of three wonderful, godly children, and grandparents to 8 godly grandchildren and 1 great grandson. Over the past 49 years, we have built a loving and supportive relationship. We have a very strong and loving relationship with our daughters and grandchildren.
My relationship to people of other cultures is very good, as I believe that Christ died for all men. Bridging the gap between cultures is one of the most important things I believe we as Christians must do. Then we will all be able to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ together, as He intended.
Photo: Pastor James D. Dunn