On FireThe


Sharing the love of God through poetry,
testimonies, bible studies and letters
 to an atheist and a teen.


On FireFor My SinsOn Fire

Mom And I In Gettysburg, PA  Circa 2000
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

The 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 is a 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 link below.
(audio) Listen To Testimony Of Jay L. Zumbrum (audio)

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 signed by 12 death row inmates and sent to me by my cousin John

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


#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

Learn 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.
Click link above to learn how # 7 was murdered on death row.

My Cousin John Plath
John On Deathrow In SC

My cousin John who sent me the bible pictured above

on his way to death row in SC before he was executed in July of 1998


(audio) Listen To Testimony Of Jay L. Zumbrum (audio)

    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 art.
    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 life.
    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 an end.
    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)

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.

Jay L. Zumbrum



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