TIGERVILLE, S.C. -- "I came to Christ on my 10th birthday, August the 24th, 1965. It was at the vacation Bible school in the little Baptist church I attended in Hope, Arkansas," Mike Huckabee explained.
After delivering a youth-oriented speech to a crowd of over 600 students a North Greenville University, Huckabee was asked by the president of the small Baptist college to describe how he found God.
"I need to tell you the full story; I did not go to vacation Bible school to be spiritual. I went because my sister had gone the day before and said that in Bible school, you could get all the Kool-Aid you wanted to drink and all the cookies you could eat."
Huckabee said that "sounded like a good deal" so he went the next day. He was "disappointed" that people didn't think he could drink more than one cup of Kool-Aid and eat more than two cookies. "They were wrong about that," he said.
"But they were right about... telling me what it means to come to Christ. I remember the pastor of our church came in that day and explained to us how to ask for forgiveness for our own sin and ask Christ into our lives. And I was a shy, bashful little kid. I know you're going to find that very hard to believe considering what I do now, but I really was shy. And he said, if you want to pray the prayer, just lift your hand. And I wasn't about to lift my hand because I was so afraid he'd come back there and embarass me or call me out in public. But I thought, you know, he can't keep me from lifting my heart even though he can't make me lift up my hand. And I remember praying that prayer that day and feeling overwhelmed with the presence and sense that God really does love me. In fact, so much so when everybody went out to play baseball during the break in Bible school, some of my friends said, let's go play. And I said, no man, I don't want to get dirty, 'cause I've never felt so clean in my life."
Continuing, Huckabee said, "I think whether a person comes to know Christ at age 10 or maybe like a great uncle I had that came to know Christ when he was 103 years old - now that's cutting it close, folks. I don't recommend that. But whether it comes at the early part of life or the late part of life, the result is still the same."
"But I think it is better to come early and live it. Because all those years he missed out on the joy of the Lord, I've had that joy and I hope that you've had that joy as well and you will not only posess it but you will share it," Huckabee said.
The university's president later led Huckabee and the crowd of students through prayer, which is common on this campus and at events such as this. He put his hand on Huckabee's shoulder; Huckabee lowered his eyes toward the ground, his hands in his pockets.
"Lord, we don't know what your will is for the next president, but we know you gotta be pleased that one who loves you is running for such an important position."