Marion, Iowa, USA
Saved: April 1989
I grew up in Garnavillo, Iowa assembly. I went to every Gospel meeting and grew up hearing the Word of God read and my name was often mentioned in prayers.
My Great Grandfather, Louis Brandt, was a preacher and though I have very few memories of him my Great Grandmother would ask me if I was saved every time we visited and it bothered me because I respected her. Otherwise as a young boy I do not remember being troubled. I went to meeting because my parents wanted me to and I always slept through meeting. Even when my sister got saved, I was happy for her but never thought about myself. Then my brother got save and we were very close. We shared a room and did everything together but again I was happy for him but did not let it bother me. I went on like that for a few more years and I do remember complaining at school that I had to go to "church" every night during the fall because it seemed like we had a series of Gospel meetings every year!
Then Murray McCandless and Paul Kember came for meetings and I went as usual and was really bothered by my sins for the first time that I can remember. At one point Paul asked me if I would like a ride home (that was one way they could talk to you personally!) and even thought I didn't want to I said sure! On the way home he asked if I wanted to be saved and I told him "Yes, but that I was never going to be saved because I had sat through hundreds of meetings and I still wasn't saved!" He didn't say a word the rest of the way home and then as I was getting out he simply said "Alex, I hope you are wrong!"
I went on for a number of years like that and I got into rock music and bought a lot of tapes and was having a lot of fun! Then in 1988,a song became popular on the radio called "Honestly." This song was sung by a Christian rock group called Stryper. I began to really enjoy their music, not the words because I really wasn't listening to them, but the guitars and drums. I went out and bought all their tapes. In 1989 a new tape called "In God We Trust came out. I immediately bought it and as I was laying on the floor at home listening to the title track I began to listen to the words, "In God we trust, in Him we must believe, tomorrow's too late, accept him today" and everything I had heard at meetings came back to me and I just put my trust in the Savior and the work he had done on the cross!!! That was the last week in April 1989.
Immediately I had doubts because nobody in the assembly that I knew listened to Christian Rock and I thought they wouldn't believe I had gotten saved through a rock band! Besides that it was too easy!!! So I didn't tell anyone but I was always looking for assurance. Then a friend in school got saved and I couldn't figure out how she new she was saved and I didn't! One Sunday night we had visitors from Canada and one gave his testimony. At the end he said he had received his assurance from 1 John 15, but later I couldn't remember which verse, so I decided to read all of that chapter. I never got further than the first half of the first verse! "For whoso believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." When I read that I thought that's what I believe so I must be born of God and that means I am saved!
Since then I have not always lived for the Lord but I have recently come to realize what I have missed by not living for him. My faith in him has helped me through some hard times and I have turned to him to lead and guide. He has now blessed me with a wonderful wife, Karen, and we LOVE the meeting here in Marion, Iowa!