In recognition of over 60 years of Apostolic ministry we are pleased to establish - The Billy & Doris Sales Scholarship for Christian Education ("the Sales Scholarship")
The Sales Scholarship shall be granted for the purpose of furthering studies in pursuit of apostolic ministry and evangelism.
Recipients will be selected based on the following minimum criteria:
- Passion for ministry
- Pastoral and ministerial references
- Need for benevolence
- Personal integrity
The base grant of $500 will be awarded each year during the month of August. The number of Sales Scholarships awarded may vary depending on donations, sponsors & need.
Each subsequent Sales Scholarship will also include the name of the sponsoring party with the phrase "In recognition for the ministry investment of Rev Billy Sales into the ministry of (Name of Recipient), we are pleased to award you this scholarship in the amount of $500."
Purpose of Scholarship
It is our intention that through this scholarship, future generations will continue to be blessed by the life and echoing ministry of this great man of God.
With greatest honor and admiration,
Pastor Rob and Shara McKee
The Billy Sales Story
"Oh! taste and see that the Lord is Good! If you've never tasted it, you can never know the joy that Holy Ghost brings" - Rev. B.M. Sales
The following is a transcript of an 2012 interview of Billy Sales conducted by Cheryl Kroske of The Pentecostals of Katy, Texas. This article, along with many like it, will appear in a forthcoming book chronicling the conversion stories of pioneering Pentecostals.
I was born in 1930 in Louisiana. My dad had been brought up Baptist but they dis-fellowshipped him for having a fistfight at church. After he was kicked out, he started attending a Pentecostal church. He felt conviction and it wasn't long before he received the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. My dad was a very simple man and couldn't read or write. He taught himself to read by reading the Bible. He read the Bible in our home for the 17 years I lived there. He started preaching in homes and brush harbors as he had no church building. In the town we lived in, the lumber yard closed down and people started moving away. Several of the churches in town shut their doors so some of the Baptist and Methodist folks started attending Dad's revival meetings. He kept the message alive in that area of the world.
My mom gave birth to 12 children but 5 of them died before reaching the age of 6. I was the middle child of the remaining 7 children. Even though my mom and dad held revivals and reached out to the community, they never pushed us to get the Holy Ghost. They lived a holy and separated life before us and expected us to do the same and be good kids. We always had prayer in our home, especially when my older brothers went off to war. When one of my brothers was dying, I feel it was prayer that brought him back.
All I knew about church were the "don'ts" involved -- all the "thou shalt nots". Our parents would never let us do anything that we thought were fun. Since I didn't have a direct relationship with God and had never received the Holy Ghost, it was hard for me to see the good in church.
After the war, my two older brothers moved to the Dallas area, got married and settled down and it wasn't long before I moved there too and took turns living with each of them. When one got tired of me, I went and lived with the other one. They smoked and drank and did all the things our parents had forbidden in our home.
At the time I was living with my brother Hester and his wife Dora Jane, there was a young lady living next door that I wanted to meet. Her landlord and Dora Jane made it possible for us to meet and we became engaged to be married.
Once I left home, I only attended church twice -- the first time at a Nazarene church and I only attended because there was a girl I liked. When I went, they tried to force me to go down to the altar so I never went back. The second time … well let's just say it brought a change to my life.
Hester and Dora Jane lived in Old Cliff and there was an alley way behind their house that led to the corner grocery store and the bus so we walked that alley many times. There was a Pentecostal Holiness church that had started up and they were having revival with a woman evangelist. During those days, there was no air conditioning so we could hear them praying. One Monday night, Dora Jane decided she wanted to go visit and since Hester couldn't go, he wanted me to go with her.
This old church had slatted pews and a dirt floor. I sat through the service not really paying much attention. I just wanted it to be over. At the end of the preaching, we all stood up and the lady asked if anyone needed prayer to raise their hand. I wasn't afraid of prayer -- I remembered having it daily in our home and felt it was a good thing so I raised my hand and so did Dora Jane. All of a sudden the lady asked all those that raised their hand to come to the front -- oh no, it was a trap. I didn't know what to do so I stepped out into the aisle to walk up front.
As soon as I stepped out, I felt conviction and realized at that time that I was going to hell if I didn’t make some changes. I had had a dream years prior that Jesus came and I wasn't ready so I pleaded with him to give me one more chance. I felt like this was my chance.
By the time I got down to the front, I attempted to pray. The preacher told me to raise my hands and when I did, I felt the power of God. I repented of my sins lying in the floor bouncing my head and kicking my feet. I felt such a lightness and relief in my spirit. I really felt forgiven.
At this point, I just started saying "Thank you Lord" because I felt so clean. It wasn't long before I was no longer speaking in English but in another language. It was some time before I was able to start speaking English again. When I went home that night, for the first time, I felt like I would go to heaven if I died. The next morning I walked down the alley to get the street car to go to my data processing job at Goodyear. I felt so different I reached down and pinched myself to make sure I was still on earth.
At our first break, we all went across the street to drink coffee at a BBQ place. All the conversation was about what they saw on TV the night before. As the conversation died down, I said "let me tell you what happened to me last night -- I got the Holy Ghost." My supervisor said "getting married and getting religion at the same time" -- a little sarcastically.
I kept going to the revival and sat on the front seat -- during the worship, I danced all over. I felt that was the only way I could be blessed. Shortly after that, I called my fiancé and told her I had gotten the Holy Ghost -- it ruined her night and here's why. She was raised Baptist but she had an aunt and uncle who were Assembly of God. When she was 13 and visited them, she received the Holy Ghost. Her mom threw a fit and told her she couldn't visit them again so she wasn't able to go back. She felt her parents would reject her if she did. In the Baptist church, she knew they believed "once saved, always saved", but she never felt that was right.
In the Pentecostal church, going to the picture shows was considered a sin and most of our dating life was spent going to picture shows. When her landlady heard about my conversion, she told her she would never be able to go to another picture show. My fiancé met me at work and told me this -- I told her it was no big deal, we would just go to the park. It must have been okay with her because she married me anyway.
After I got the Holy Ghost, I wrote my dad a letter. He wrote back and told me I needed to obey the scripture about baptism and gave me some scriptures. I knew I needed to be baptized in Jesus name. At the end of the revival, they lined up everyone who had received the Holy Ghost and asked us if we were ready to be baptized. I told her I wanted to be baptized in Jesus name. The evangelist turned to the pastor and asked her if he would do that and he said "No, I will not". That set me back a little bit. Dora Jane had gotten the Holy Ghost the night after me -- she agreed to be baptized in the titles (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) and she kept going to church.
I wrote my dad another letter telling him about my experience and he told me I could find someone else to baptize me in Jesus name. During lunch one day, I went across the street and found a pay phone. I flipped through the directory and found First Pentecostal Church. I called and the phone was answered by Sis. Norman, the pastor's wife. I asked her two questions -- 1) do you baptize in Jesus name? and 2) will you baptize me? She answered "yes" to both questions and we set up a time of 10 AM on Saturday.
That Saturday I took the street car to South Dallas, got off at Pear Street and walked down to Lamar. The pastor was outside clipping hedges and when I walked up, he asked me if I was the one who wanted to be baptized and I said yes. We went inside, went down into the water and he baptized me in Jesus name. Once again, the power of God hit me and I splashed water everywhere. It was a very powerful experience.
Bro. Norman told me his church would be meeting at the park but I told him I already had a church, however, after being baptized in Jesus name, I never felt comfortable back in the old church -- maybe because he hated the Oneness message.
I told Hester I was going to a different church -- Dora Jane wanted to stay at the Pentecostal Holiness church. When my other brother's wife, Leola, heard we had gotten the Holy Ghost, she wanted it too. She went to the Assembly of God church and got baptized in the titles. When my brother Travis found out, he pulled her out. Both Dora Jane and Leola went to Bro. Norman's church and got re-baptized in Jesus name.
My wife was still Baptist and didn't seem to be affected when she went with me. She told me one time "I go with you to church, why won't you go with me?" I told her they would kick me out -- I didn't feel liberty to worship there. During the 5 years after I got the Holy Ghost, my wife had never acted like she felt anything. I told her that she knew what I had was real -- why didn’t she want the Holy Ghost? Her family held positions in the Southern Baptist organization and she felt that if her mother found out she got the Holy Ghost, she would be dis-fellowshipped from the family.
It was about 5 years later when we went to visit my dad and he asked me to preach. By this time, our son had been born. When I gave the altar call, much to my surprise, my wife walked down to the front. The baby had been fussy so she handed me the baby. I had to take him outside so he would stop his crying. I wasn't there but I was told she got the Holy Ghost and spoke with tongues. When we were headed home, she told me she didn't remember speaking in tongues. I told her it would happen again.
We went back to Dallas and a few weeks later our baby boy was burning up with fever. I knew that fever is what caused the death of my five siblings so we were scared. I told my wife we needed to pray. We both started praying -- I felt God's power and was lost in worship. Afterwards, I opened my eyes and there was my wife sitting on the edge of the bed speaking in tongues and this time, she remembered it. We ran over to the baby's crib and felt him -- there was no more fever.
After my wife received the Holy Ghost, my sister-in-law ended up telling her mom – her mom didn't say anything about it. One thing she did notice and comment on was how much I read the Bible -- she thought it was weird. Some time later, her dad died and her mother was afraid to stay by herself. She was given a choice of where she wanted to go and elected to come live with us. I divided a part of our house so she would have private quarters.
I became assistant pastor to Bro. Norman -- he treated me like a son. I went to General Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas on the train. After that, I started preaching anywhere I could, including on the street. During this time, an Apostolic prayer meeting had been started in Lewisville, TX with two ladies -- Sis. Weaver and Sis. Prater. Somehow they found out about me and asked me to come preach in their home. After that, they said "let's start a church" -- that was in 1956. We started having services in a skating rink located where City Hall is now. One Sunday morning, there was a family reunion scheduled there and no one told us so we had to find somewhere else. We ended up renting a BBQ place. During that time, Bill and Margaret Hardin came to Lewisville to help with music. He preached his first sermon at the BBQ house. We became friends for life -- they were like family to us.
We rented a storefront and the Ayers family started attending church -- they were our first family. Bro. Ayers preached a revival for me some years later. My two elder brothers, Hester and Travis, were very faithful in helping out around the church but they were heavy smokers. They were also seekers for the Holy Ghost -- they would come to the altar and pray, then go out and smoke. When Bro. Ayers preached from the scripture "He that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin", it made an impression on Hester. The next day, he confessed that it was wrong to smoke so he quit. The next time he went to the altar, he received the Holy Ghost. When Travis heard Hester had quit, he didn't want to tempt him so he decided to quit also. He also received the Holy Ghost shortly afterwards.
My advice to anyone who is skeptical -- Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! If you've never tasted it, you can't know the joy the Holy Ghost brings.