Michael Lancto saved since 1978 - Thank you Jesus!

Personal Testimony

Michael Lancto

Quote: "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right."  Ronald Lancto (my father)

Michael Lancto

- Rejoicing.com
-  Heaven
-  Bible Reading 1yr

-  Email Michael


Welcome!  I am so glad you stopped by!

Click here to see recent pictures of my family


I (Michael) was born and raised in Flint, MI and Houghton Lake, MI into a Roman Catholic family. I attended a private Roman Catholic school from 1st grade through 12th grade. A perfect child I was not. If there was a way for a young man to find trouble, I usually found that way, sad to say. After high school I attended the University of Michigan for one semester, and then I joined the U.S. Air Force.

While in USAF Basic Training in April 1976 another serviceman by the name of Larry Head held Bible studies in the evenings. After I attended several Bible studies, one evening Larry asked me, "Michael, where will you go when you die?" My reply was, "Purgatory." Larry said, "Purgatory isn't in the Bible." Being quite sarcastic at the time I said, "The Bible is a big Book, you must have just missed it." Larry wasn't shaken, he said, "NO, I didn't miss it. I've read the Bible through from cover to cover quite carefully and it's not in there. But don't take my word for it, go ask the Catholic priest for yourself."

I could hardly wait to speak to the priest, and when I did ask him, "Where is purgatory in the Bible?" the priest's reply was startling to me. The priest said, "Purgatory is not in the Bible." Frustrated I asked him, "Then why do we (Catholics) believe in purgatory if it's not in the Bible?" The priest said, "The Catholic church has believed in purgatory for several centuries. It's a part of our church traditions."

Well I left that priest's office quite upset. I didn't know the Bible much at all, but I did believe the Bible was the Word of God! I thought ... if purgatory wasn't in the Bible and only Catholics believed in purgatory and no one else believed in purgatory ... then someone has to be right and the other is wrong. With this simple logic I determined right there that I had been DECEIVED by the Roman Catholic church to trust in a LIE called purgatory. Yet it was that hope in purgatory that I thought I had my only chance at heaven. Now as a "non" or "ex" Catholic I would only wish to learn the Bible.

Back into the Bible studies with Larry Head I went. The next Bible study was on 1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Another large portion of what I had believed was shattered by God's Word in that Bible study. All my life I had prayed to the Virgin Mary, Joseph, St. Anthony for lost articles, St. Christopher for traveling, St. Hubert for hunting or fishing, etc. But 1 Timothy 2:5 clearly said that there was only ONE mediator for me ... and that was and is JESUS.

That night before "lights out," Larry came by my bunk and asked me, "Michael, what did the Catholic priest tell you?" "Purgatory isn't in the Bible," I replied. Larry continued, "Do you know now where you would go?" I thought for a second and said, "No." Larry compassionately "put the cards on the table" and said, "Michael, you will go to Hell if you died right now." I was shocked as I said, "Wait, I haven't killed anybody." Larry said, "You don't have to kill someone to go to Hell, just sinning against God sends people to Hell. You have sinned haven't you?" I had done more than my share of sinning, so I said, "Yes, I've sinned." Larry replied, "You can't take your sin into Heaven. Sinners go to Hell. (Romans 3:23) That is unless you don't want to go there, because there is one way out." I said, "What's the 'way out'? I don't want to go to Hell." Larry said, "Repent of your sin and trust in Jesus. Give your life to Jesus and He will save you."

I said a sinner's prayer that night only because I did not want to go to Hell. Unfortunately, I did not want Jesus to be Lord of my life, and thus there was no commitment on my part of surrender to Jesus Christ. I simply did not want to burn in Hell and I viewed my prayer as a kind of "fire insurance policy" to stay out of Hell. What I didn't know was that you can't pick and chose your own way to Jesus or Heaven. You either trust only in the finished work of Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, in true repentance from sin (a life of trusting anything other than Jesus for salvation) or you will die in your sins (John 8:24) and go to the lake of fire for eternity (Rev. 20:14,15).

It would be two years later on military leave in Michigan with a girlfriend from high school (Diane K.) who had been saved (born again) during a brief visit in Florida, when she told me, "Michael, you need to find a good Bible preaching church to help you." That was great advice.

While the USAF sent me to Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, Co I visited a local Bible preaching church in a nearby town. I filled out the visitor's card and the pastor's secretary called the house asking for a time when the pastor could visit. We set a day and time, and I typed up two whole pages of questions to ask the pastor when he showed up. Most of the questions were either "trick" questions or intended to "impress" him with what little I knew. But one question stuck out among the rest. It was a sincere question of mine, and I hoped for a good answer.

The pastor came to my house. His name was Dallas Schaeffer. He sat at the kitchen table and I began to tell him about the sinner's prayer in basic training. He accepted me as a true believer and even I myself thought that prayer I prayed in Basic Training was enough to save me.

I began asking the questions from the list and each time, the pastor would say, "Well, let's see what the Bible says about that..." and he would turn in his Bible, read a verse or passage and then explain it. Wow, it all made sense I started to seem foolish for my list of "trick" and "impressive" questions ... so I got right to my BIG question, "Pastor, now that I'm saved (as I thought I was) and I was baptized as a baby, I don't have to be baptized again do I?" Again the pastor said, "Let's see what the Bible says about that. Let's look at Romans 6:3-5

  • 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Pastor continued, "You see baptism is only a 'likeness' or a picture of what Jesus ACTUALLY did to save you. Jesus loved you so much that if you were the only person on the planet, He would have became man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for your sins, be buried, and rise from the dead. Jesus loves you that much. He did it to save you from sin and it's result which is Hell. Now baptism is a public testimony with your body that tells everyone that you believe Jesus died for you, was buried, and rose from the dead. Jesus commanded us to be baptized after we are saved and not to be ashamed of Him."

There was no need to talk me into accepting Jesus that night. You couldn't have kept me from trusting Jesus as my Savior. That night in 1978 I trusted Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Savior. I was born again into the family of God, eternally saved. Thank you Jesus.

Top of Page


In 1979 the USAF sent me to Ramstein AB, Germany. A lady (Denise Schoonover) that I worked with invited me to attend Rheinland Baptist Church. I accepted and we attended. Would you believe she wanted to sit on the front row? The message by Pastor Roy Grigsby was exactly what I needed to hear. So much so, I really thought this lady had told the pastor all about me before the service. At the invitation I was under such deep conviction for not living for God, I knelt at the altar to rededicate my life to Christ. Someone came to pray with me. His name was Gib Wood. I prayed and he prayed for God to help me.

That became the beginning of my real growth in Christ as a child of God. I purposed in my heart to attend all the services of church. Even though that meant quitting the office bowling team and forfeiting my part to the prize money. (Bowling was on Wednesday nights and the church was meeting on Wednesday nights for Bible Study and Prayer. I knew it would please God more for me to be in church than at the Bowling lanes.) Being faithful to the church services helped me to grow in Christ more than anything else that I did.

Top of Page


Although I had been introverted most all my life, in February 1981 I spoke to Pastor Grigsby and told him I thought the Lord was leading me to preach. He prayed with me and shared John 7:17 with me:

  • If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

Pastor Grigsby said, "If God is calling you, only you will know. God will give you a desire for it, and you will know if it's of God or of your own desire. When God gives you an opportunity to preach or serve Him, TAKE IT and don't turn it down. If God wants you into His ministry God will confirm it for you." We prayed together and later I asked Pastor Grigsby in a church service to tell the church of God's leading me into the ministry and to pray for me.

I approached the pastor one day to preach or teach, thinking he would make me Youth Pastor or something. Instead he said, "We need you as an assistant teacher in the 4 - 5 year olds on Friday Youth Nights." My spirit humbled, I accepted and I learned some wonderful things about serving God in that class.

Later another serviceman had been witnessing to prisoners as they ate in the dining hall. He had been told to stop talking to the prisoners while they ate, and if he wanted to talk to the prisoners about the Bible, he should visit them on Sunday mornings and hold a Bible study with them.

While he felt comfortable witnessing, he did not wish to do a Bible study. So he asked me to do it. Scared to death, I asked my good friend Greg Dowell to join me. We began that jail ministry as a team. We would see anywhere from 1 to 8 men each Sunday morning come out for a Bible study at 9am. After our Bible study, we could still make the morning worship service at our church. What a thrill to see several of these me trust Christ as Savior and one man even get special permission to obey the Lord in believer's baptism before he was transferred to prison in Ft. Leavenworth, KS. The jailer said of this man who got saved and baptized, "Something's changed in that man's life -- he's different now!" What a testimony of the grace of God.

I was asked to preach from time to time in our church and once for another pastor of a military church in Mannheim, Germany.

Top of Page


I was honorably discharged from the USAF in August 1981 and began Bible College in Florida that month also.

I transferred 10 college credits to start with. Still being a single man, I took 20 credit hours every semester, while working a full-time job for the next two years and nine months to finish in May 1984 with a B.A. Degree in Church ministries. I majored in Bible with proficiencies in Pastoral Duties and Associate Pastor Duties. Only by the grace of God did I finish with highest honors as salutatorian.

Top of Page


After graduation I sold two cars and my house trailer to buy a truck and travel trailer from another missionary, Dennis Deschene. Debt free, $200 in my pocket, two meetings, and $60 per month supporting coming in, I launched out into the deep of deputation ministry on our journey to end up on the mission field of Germany working with the U.S. military.

After 21 months of deputation and over 60,000 miles of travel the Lord gave me $1800 per month support to live on the mission field. I arrived in Germany in February 1986 to establish the Rheinland Servicemen's Center as an extension ministry of my "home church," Rheinland Baptist Church.

I rented and renovated a landmark building on the main street (B-40) of Landstuhl, Germany. What a thrill to see this ministry birthed into existence. After 4 years of labor, I turned the ministry back over to the local church. By the end of four years, the Rheinland Servicemen's Center was 95% self supported, and the church was committed to making up the difference and taking it from there.

I returned to the USA for a furlough to report to our local church supporters and raise the additional monthly supported needed to return to Germany as a "church planter" in a new military community in Germany. Just weeks before returning to the USA, the wall between East and West Germany came down and the military presence in Germany became uncertain.

Top of Page


While reporting to a supporting church in Michigan in Aug 1990, they asked me to candidate as their pastor. Their previous pastor had resigned four months earlier and the church had "split" upon his leaving. In Germany my pastor told me it was just announced that most of the military bases in Germany would be closing and there would be a major reduction in US military forces there. Was this the hand of the Lord closing one door while opening another?

That small country church in Northern Michigan extended a 100% call for me to be their pastor and I accepted that night on Sept 16, 1990. I had earnestly been praying for the Lord's Will for weeks by that time. I had the joy of serving God as the pastor of that church for 4 years and 3 months. I resigned as pastor in Dec. 1994 with no promise of another ministry.

Top of Page


A missionary friend asked for my resume to send to a church in Alabama. I sent it and within 2 weeks of resigning as a pastor in Michigan I was preaching as a pastoral candidate in Alabama. The next month I was extended a call to be their new pastor. I accepted on January 22, 1995 and my family and I served Christ there until May 5, 1996.

What a blessing to see 52 people added unto the church in 15 months. That was clearly one third of the church upon our leaving.

It is so EXCITING to be a position where you NEED GOD to work, to bless, to lead, and to provide.

Top of Page


Aug 96 - June 97 - I served as a Bible Teacher for the 8th and 9th grade with 137 students at a Private School in Florida.

VOLUNTEER Preacher/Teacher/Counselor

July 97 - Present - God has opened numerous doors for me to preach for pastors who ask, teach, and often times asked to counsel hurting people.  As a servant of the Lord, I am willing to serve the Lord in any way He provides for me.

I was an accountant before going into the ministry and I love helping others with finances, computers and the internet.

Most people find me to be a very happy person that enjoys life. My greatest thrill in life is witnessing and winning people to Christ, and basically helping others any way that I can.

God has provided the income to meet all our earthly needs via my home-business.  This has made my dream come true, of serving the Lord on a volunteer basis.

Top of Page


Only by the amazing grace of God has He allowed me to preach and teach the Word of God.  For this I am eternally thankful.  If you are familiar with any of these places, I would enjoy hearing from you via email.

In the USA (Alphabetical by state/city):

  1. Alexander City, Alabama

  2. Dothan, Alabama

  3. Ft Payne, Alabama

  4. Grand Bay, Alabama

  5. Jackson, Alabama

  6. Ozark, Alabama

  7. Prattville, Alabama

  8. Troy, Alabama

  9. Baldwin, Florida

  10. Belleview, Florida

  11. Brooksville, Florida

  12. Carrabelle, Florida

  13. Chiefland, Florida

  14. Clearwater, Florida

  15. Floral City, Florida

  16. Interlachen, Florida

  17. Jacksonville, Florida

  18. Keystone Heights, Florida

  19. Lake Butler, Florida

  20. Lake City, Florida

  21. Leesburg, Florida

  22. Macclenny, Florida

  23. Middleburg, Florida

  24. Ocala, Florida

  25. Orange Park, Florida

  26. Palatka, Florida

  27. Pensacola, Floridap>

  28. Riverview, Florida

  29. Sanford, Florida

  30. Spring Hill, Florida

  31. Starke, Florida

  32. Tallahassee, Florida

  33. Tampa, Florida

  34. Orlando, Florida

  35. St Petersburg, Florida

  36. Winter Park, Florida

  37. Albany, Georgia

  38. Brunswick, Georgia

  39. Douglas, Georgia

  40. Valdosta, Georgia

  41. Louisville, Kentucky

  42. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

  43. Slidell, Louisiana

  44. Silver Springs, Maryland

  45. Adrian, Michigan

  46. Alpena, Michigan

  47. Belleville, Michigan

  48. Davison, Michigan

  49. Flint, Michigan

  50. Flushing, Michigan

  51. Grand Blanc, Michigan

  52. Grand Rapids, Michigan

  53. Grayling, Michigan

  54. Higgins Lake, Michigan

  55. Houghton Lake, Michigan

  56. Manistee, Michigan

  57. Mio, Michigan

  58. Onaway, Michigan

  59. Warren, Michigan

  60. Nashua, New Hampshire

  61. New Londonderry, New Hampshire

  62. Las Vegas, Nevada

  63. Asheboro, North Carolina

  64. Cambridge, Ohio

  65. Columbus, Ohio

  66. Coshocton, Ohio

  67. Lima, Ohio

  68. Marietta, Ohio

  69. New Concord, Ohio

  70. Williamstown, Ohio

  71. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

  72. Indiana, Pennsylvania

  73. Mechanicsville, Pennsylvania

  74. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  75. Clarksville, Tennessee

  76. Dallas, Texas

  77. San Antonio, Texas

  78. Alexandria, Virginia

  79. Parkersburg, West Virginia

  80. Zanesville, Ohio


  1. Austria, Mittersil

  2. Baumholder, Germany

  3. Bitburg, Germany

  4. Hanau, Germany

  5. Kaiserslautern, Germany

  6. Kindsbach, Germany

  7. Landstuhl, Germany

  8. Mannheim, Germany

  9. Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, Germany

  10. Zweibruecken, Germany

  11. Holland

  12. Vicenza, Italy

Happily the servant of Jesus,
Michael Lancto saved since 1978 - Thank you Jesus!
Michael Lancto



© Rejoicing.com