Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada
Saved: March 1991
I am the youngest in a family of six children, nine years removed from the last sibling. This being the situation, one could say that I was a little spoiled by my family. However, there was one thing that my parents were strict about with me: they insisted that I go to church every Sunday without fail. I obeyed my parents and went to these services for them, but in those younger years it had little meaning to me. When I was about 10 years old, my oldest sister and her husband left the religious denomination we belonged to. They had accepted the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour and decided that our religion would not help them grow spiritually any more. This is the first time that I heard about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a manner different than what was lectured to me every Sunday.
My sister and her husband have a great concern about the spiritual well-being of my entire family, and at that time they tried to share with my parents the truth they discovered in Scripture. Unfortunately, my parents were not open to the Gospel. Any attempts made of sharing the Gospel with them usually led to disagreements where my mother ended up crying and my father ended up threatening.
However, as time went by, my family slowly began to tolerate my sister’s "new found" religion. As a result, my mother allowed me to attend a Bible camp with them one summer. While I was at camp, I had the opportunity to hear the Gospel in a more relaxed environment. One of the councillors spent an entire evening with me talking about salvation through Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, this conversation left me confused because I learnt that evening that there was nothing I could do to get to heaven, the work was done already for me. All I had to do was to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. This message contradicted what I was taught all of my life: I was led to believe that if I was good enough, God would let me into heaven.
Shortly after that summer, my brother-in-law gave me a Bible in hope that I might read it. When I first got the Bible, I read a few chapters of it, but shortly thereafter, I set it aside.
A few years later, I went off to university where I met my wife. While at university, my wife and I participated in the on-campus religious community and attended services there regularly. After two years of active involvement within this community, the religious leader fell ill and retired. To our dismay, his replacement quickly began to make changes to the way the services were performed. Believing that the order and manner in which religious ordinances are to be conducted must be respected, we decided to attend the services of other religious gatherings within the city in hope to find this order adhered to. To our disappointment, our search led to more unanswered questions about the religious practices within our faith. Disillusioned with "religion" all together, we continued attending church services simply out of obligation. Consequently, it did not take long for us to lose interest in the system. In no time, we abandoned Sunday morning services almost completely.
In early September, 1990, my niece, the daughter of my sister who is saved, got married in Thunder Bay. While we were there for the wedding, we had an opportunity to mention to my sister our disillusionment with the religious practices we have observed. Unfortunately, we could not continue our discussion with her for long, for we were quickly interrupted.
After the wedding, my wife went off to teacher’s college for four months, and I moved in with her parents in northern Ontario: I was starting a new job in that area. Since I was living with my wife’s parents, I accompanied them to their local church services. I felt obligated to do so, for I belonged to the same religious denomination. However, I understood very little during these services because they were conducted in French, and at the time, I did not speak a word of French.
At Christmas that year, we visited my family. My sister and her husband from Thunder Bay were also there. During our visit, my wife took the opportunity to speak with my sister again but to no avail. As before, the conversation was cut short and our questions left unanswered. Frustration was setting in, and our hope of knowing the truth seemed dim.
It was not until three months later, in March 1991, when we had the opportunity to get our questions finally answered. My brother-in-law, a Shantyman, gave us a call one night and asked us if we wanted to buy some insurance. Little did we know at the time that he was talking about life assurance. Having answered him that we had sufficient coverage, he informed us that he intended on visiting with us the next day.
The next day, he showed up and spent a couple of hours talking to my wife before I got home from work. During those two hours, he presented the Gospel to her. When I got home, she jumped up with much excitement in her voice, for she was finally hearing the truth of God’s word concerning the way to know our sins forgiven and to have peace with God forever: "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) The religious ordinances were not what mattered, it was the relationship a person established with the Saviour through faith that counted. I also learnt that no other person but the Lord Jesus Christ could establish the union of peace between myself and God: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5).
After 17 years of hearing the Gospel, these truths finally became reality to me. That night, both my wife and I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. I now can say that I am sufficiently covered, for I have the assurance of life eternal.