My mother and I on a trip to Gettysburg, PA
after God healed our wounded hearts
Mom left this world on October 22, 2004
To receive prayer, know more about Jesus, or link to my other pages, scroll
to bottom of page
testimony that appears below is my original testimony as written
around 1996/1997 and was written when I was 43 years old. This page has
a picture of the signatures in the Bible my cousin John sent me signed
by 12 death row inmates below as well as a picture of my cousin. There
link to part two of my testimony below at the bottom of this page. To
listen to the testimony on this page as narrated by Karen Ness rather than read it click on the
Death Row Bible
As you read my testimony, you will read about two of my cousins on death
row in SC. Please make note of the fact that both cousins were executed,
Butch (John Arnold) in March of 1998, and John Plath in July of 1998. I suppose
I will edit the text of the testimony someday to reflect these facts, but
for now, the text of the testimony will remain as it was while Butch and
John were still alive. I will also be adding another page to my web site
that will hyper link to a letter I wrote to thank the hundreds of you that
stood in prayer with me as my cousins were put to death, and that gives info
on the state of their salvation as they were strapped to the table to die.
That link, when completed, will appear directly below this update for those
of you who have already read the testimony, and also below my testimony,
so that you may read the testimony first and then go directly to the letter
without returning to the top of this page The title of that web page will
be "How They Left This Earth". Below this introduction you will find a scan
of the inside front cover of the Bible my cousin sent me from death row. My
two cousins are # 1 and # 9 on the page. John must have had the Bible ready
to get out to me for a few months before he was able to send it because it
came to me as the NFL Football season was getting started.
With Tears And Prayers
All My Love
Bible sent to me from death row in SC signed by 12 death row inmates including
my two cousins, numbers 1 and 9 above, both executed in 1998
|KNOWN DATES OF EXECUTION FOR THOSE|
WHO SIGNED THE BIBLE ABOVE
#1 July 10th, 1998
#3 April 27th, 1990
#4 January 11th, 1985
#5 December 4th, 1998
#6 December 4th, 1998
#7 Murdered, see link below
(September 12th, 1982)
#9 March 6th, 1998
#10 January 10th, 1986
#12 August 18th, 1995
how inmate number 7 in Bible above, Rudolph Tyner, was murdered, literally, had
his head blown off by an explosive device, while in a cell on death row in SC just a few feet
away from my cousin John, number 1 above, in 1982 by Donald Gaskins. A prolific killer, dubbed the Redneck
Charlie Manson in some press accounts and also known as Pee Wee Gaskins, by clicking below.
My Cousin John Plath
My cousin John who sent me the bible pictured aboveon his way to death row in SC before he was executed in July of 1998
THE TESTIMONY OF JAY L. ZUMBRUM
I was born illegitimately, on August 10th, 1953 in York, PA. My father was
married to another woman. My mother was considered to be mildly retarded
and was already an embarrassment to the family. So when she became pregnant
to a married man at the age of 31 while still living at home, you can imagine
what kind of emotions that stirred up within the family. My mom had, (I've
lost count), seven brothers and two sisters.
Needless to say, I was never supposed to come home from the Hospital. So
when stubborn old mom brought me home anyway, I was not exactly welcomed
with open arms.:)
My grandfather had passed away long before I was born, and my grandmother
died seven years after I was born. All that time my mom and I had lived with
my grandmother. Grandma did come to love me. :) Since mom was mildly retarded
she could not get good jobs. She raised me all by herself while working in
laundries and never really making enough money. We were very poor, and as
I got older and realized just how poor we were I began to hate my mother.
My grandfather was an alcoholic and abusive to the kids and my grandmother.
So that was what my mother learned and what she passed on to me. She also
lied to me all the time about everything. So I grew up trusting no one. One
thing mom did right was attend a little country church every Sunday and send
me to Vacation Bible School in the summer. Most of the kids were told by
their parents to stay clear of me, probably because I was born out of wedlock
and we were so poor and mom was retarded and everyone thought that if mom
was retarded, then I must be too. However, I did quite well in school in
my early years.
This must be where the Lord began to touch my heart. Because as I got older,
there was always this desire to do what was right. Prov. 22:6 Train a child
in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (NIV)
However, at the age of 11, I discovered the magic elixir, Alcohol! And it
really was like magic. By that age, I had come to understand just how
underprivileged I was, and it hurt so much to be made fun of. But I had found
a group of guys and gals to hang out with and one night we abducted some
beer, and I took my first of many drinks.
That beer made me feel like I had never felt before. It really made me feel
like I was not so bad after all. Gave me a confidence and notoriety I had
never known before. It gave me an identity that I had never known existed.
Not long after that I met a cousin of mine from my dad's side of the family.
And like me, he was poor. His mom was alcoholic. He was one year younger
than me. And he had something new. Drugs! We really hit it off, being kin
folk and all. Since we were poor, and liked girls just as much as the next
guy, we needed a way to attract girls. Money helped, so we started selling
drugs so we wouldn't have to buy ours. And with money we could buy all the
booze we wanted. And that was a lot!
Within a year I had almost quit going to school, was always in trouble with
the law and had joined a gang. At the age of 15 I was sent to a State
Correctional Facility for juveniles. And I spent the next 1 1/2 years there.
I was 17 when I got out. All that place did was hone my rebellion to a fine
When I got out, having earned my confinement badge of honor, I was welcomed
back to the gang and all it's glory. And there was only one thought on my
mind. I have missed a year and a half of booze, drugs and girls. LET THE
PARTY BEGIN! I did quit one thing though. That was dealing drugs. I had no
desire to go to prison for a drug bust, and when everyone got too nuts in
the gang, I slid into the background. I had already lost 1 1/2 years of my
One of my conditions of parole was to keep a job. And I did. I bounced around
a lot, but always seemed to have a job. And I began to notice that I didn't
enjoy some of the things that the gang was doing and felt guilty about them.
Nothing that a good drunk wouldn't cover up though.
Over the next ten years I tried to quit drinking from time to time. Usually
when it had caused another major upheaval in my already tumultuous life.
I also had tried to stay away from my cousin whom I used to deal with. He
had really gotten nuts. Started carrying a sawed off shotgun to protect his
money from dealing and other nice things. I suppose I was about 25 when he
and another cousin of mine decided they were going to take their gals and
head south for a real party vacation. They were in SC when it all came to
They had been drinking and drugging for days. They picked up a female hitchhiker
and she started to party with them. From all accounts, she was wasted before
she ran into them. Anyway, it seems that she began to flirt with the guys,
the gals got jealous. Things got totally out of control and the girl they
had picked up was killed. So, both of my cousins ended up on death row in
Columbia, SC in cells right beside each other.
As they had gotten crazier, I had gone the other way, realizing I was wasting
my life. By the time I was 30 I had already quit doing drugs for ten years,
but was still getting falling down drunk from time to time.
One Saturday a package came to me from SC. It was from my cousin on death
row. I opened it and looked inside. There was a cassette tape, a few letters
and a bible. I opened the bible and found some names in the front. What it
said was, "Death row inmates, if you believe that booze is the devils soda,
and drugs are his candy, and that my cousin needs to change his life before
he ends up here, please sign below." ( or something close to that) Then there
was another note. It said, "They all signed it." I have to tell you, that
threw me for a loop.
I then popped in the cassette and listened to my cousin's testimony for the
Lord. And his plea for my redemption. I then read the letters, more testimonies.
But I was not ready. I put it all away and headed out to get plastered. And
I did. I don't remember coming home. But the next day, (Sunday), I got up
with a pretty big hangover, looked in my wallet and realized how much money
I had spent and thought to myself, "Man, I must be nuts!" I got that bible
out again and looked it over real good. Then I put it away again.
It was time for the NFL football pre-game shows, and I didn't want to miss
that. As I was flicking the channels, I came across a preacher. He was talking
about Salvation, forgiveness, the fact that God loved me just as I am. He
was saying I could change my life. For some reason I wanted to hear what
he was saying. The next thing I know I was crying like a baby, on my knees
asking God to help make sense out of my life and repenting of my sins. That's
how I came to the Lord. 1980 :)
In 1987 I had just come back to the Lord after backsliding after my separation
from my ex and my daughter 5 years earlier. It was winter and we were in the middle of a blizzard.
Being an adventurer at heart, and wanting to see how my car would do in these
conditions, I took off from my place to go to moms to see if she needed anything
from the store. It was about a 9 mile drive to moms. By the time I got there
the roads had gotten so bad that I barely made it into moms parking lot.
I did try to get out again, but the snow was up past my wheel wells. I was
stuck, and stuck good! :) So, I resolved myself to spend the night on mom's
couch. Mom was not a Christian yet, even though she had taken me to church
as a child, but I had bought a Bible for her to read hoping it would sway
her toward the Lord.
I asked her if I could borrow it for the night to read as I settled in on
the couch. We were reading Isaiah at church, so I turned there and began
to read. Since mom had a learning disability I got her a bible that was easy
to read. It was the Living Bible Paraphrased, and I had just finished these
vss. Isaiah 46:9-10; 9 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am
God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10 I make
known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. These vss
are from the NIV. I don't remember the exact wording from the LBP, but I
remember something like this. I am God, what I say I can and will do, there
is no other God like me.
Two seconds after I read that I heard a voice. And I mean just what I said.
I heard it. It was so clear and so loud that I turned to see whom had just
spoken to me. It did not scare me, because such a peace flooded over me as
I heard it. It was unlike anything I'd ever felt before, and I've never felt
that same exact peace since. I am sure it is what I will feel in heaven.
What God had said to me was, "I can restore your family." I was so overwhelmed
that I slid off the couch onto my knees and began crying like a baby. I still
don't know what God had in mind when he said that, but I know he has restored
love between my mother and I in a way that I never could have imagined in
my wildest dreams, and if that is all he ever does, that was more than I
ever thought possible. :) And one other thing, I have a very awesome church family
right here on AOL! :o)
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
The above testimony is excerpted and condensed from a nine page testimony
that I have available to send to those whom desire to know more of just how
much God has moved in my life. After you read the nine page testimony, there
also is available chapter 1 though chapter 2 of my book, "Who Cares"
. The poem
on my ministry page, "Who Cares", opens the book
and each succeeding chapter
begins with a poem. To request any of the above, just click on the "Send
mail by clicking here" hypertext at the bottom of this page and send me a
request, you will have it in your E-mail box within a day or so. There is
never a charge for any of these items. They are free, for the Glory of God!
Any of my poems appearing on any of the web pages may be used freely to bless
those you love and witness to. The only request I ever make is that you please
include the copyright symbol and my name if you would be so kind. I am also
attempting my first writing of fiction in a work entitled "The Need To Know
List". A small excerpt from this book is also available in E-mail free of
charge, my request, please let me know if you like it! :o) It is about the
second coming of Jesus.
May God richly bless you as we move forward together, in the knowledge and
truth of the most famous man to ever walk the face of the earth, the only
man in history with the keys to the gates of Heaven, our precious, loving,
risen Savior, JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH.
IN JESUS PRECIOUS NAME
AND FOR HIS GLORY
Jay L. Zumbrum
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