cover image Vestal


Vestal Goodman. Waterbrook Press, $19.95 (290pp) ISBN 978-1-57856-003-5

Long before Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker broadcast their histrionics to the world through television, The Happy Goodman Family, starring Vestal Goodman, was stirring up the sawdust trail to bring God's gospel music and message to tent revival meetings and gospel sings in municipal auditoriums throughout the South. Born in a small Alabama town, Vestal Goodman was the fourth of six children whose destiny was sealed by their father's prediction that someday Vestal--the name means ""purity and chastity""--would be preaching and singing the gospel message. At 16, Vestal dedicated her life to serving God through her own musical gifts. In her late teens, she met and fell in love with her soon-to-be husband, Howard Goodman, a preacher nine years her senior. Both husband and wife gave their all to God as they pastored churches and sang for congregations across the country, and they, along with their two children, soon became known as the Happy Goodman family. Vestal tells of God's challenges to their faith through a number of tragedies, including the deaths of family and friends and Vestal's own struggle with heart disease and cancer. Goodman portrays her healings from her medical conditions as proof that God can turn tragedy into an opportunity to trust God, and she has shared the healing work of Christ with music stars like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jerry Lee Lewis, among others. Goodman's fans will appreciate her candid portrait of her life as the white handkerchief-waving, gospel-singing Sister Vestal. (June)