About thirty-eight years ago, I lived in Portland, Oregon. I was a happy-go-lucky person who loved to party and go to night-clubs and bars. That is what I thought life was all about. I had a new sports car and a motorcycle. Everything seemed to be going my way, until one day when I gave a lady friend a ride on my motorcycle. We got into a very serious accident. She was taken to the hospital, but I was able to take care of my myself. A Day or two later, I went to see how she was doing. She was bedridden for a while. So, a young lady began coming to her home to take care of her.
This young lady seemed different from any girl I had ever met. She dressed very modestly—no makeup or jewelry. She did not curse or use bad language. She seemed to always have a glow on her face.
After being around this young lady two or three times, I thought that she would be a nice girl to take to my mother’s home for Easter dinner. So, I asked her, and she said that she went to church on Sunday. She said if I would go to church with her, she would go to dinner with me.
I had rarely gone to church, but it would not hurt me to go just this once. When I got to the church, it seemed very strange. The people seemed so clean and pure-looking.
I went back the next Sunday. I worked night so when I went to work that night, I laughed with my buddies about going to church two Sundays in a row. I said to them “Those people are too straightlaced for me,” and I did not want to go back. I called the girl the next day and told her that I did not want anything to do with her or her church.
A few weeks later, I was thinking about the church and the people. I thought, “Maybe they really have something I want.” I went back to church without calling the girl. The church service had not started yet when I got there. So, I stood on the porch and lit up a cigarette. The usher when inside and told the girl who had brought me there previously that her boyfriend was outside, smoking a cigarette. She looked at him with a disgusted look and said, “He’s not my boyfriend.”
I went in and sat in the back of the church. I could not tell you what was preached, but at the end of the message, when the altar call was given, I went straight to the altar and prayed my way through to full salvation.
I went home after church to get some sleep, because I had to work that night. As soon as I got in bed, one of my buddies came rushing in and said, “Hey, let’s go get drunk, smoke some dope and play some pool.” I look at who I thought was my best friend and said, “I don’t do that anymore; I just got saved this morning, and God delivered me from all those things.”
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
My friend talked me into going with him, but I said that I would not do any of those things. I went in and played a game of pool and had a soda. I listened to the bad language and the lust they had for each other. I look at my buddy and said, “I don’t belong here anymore.” That was May 20th, 1973
About a year later, I married the young girl who brought me to church, and she is still my wife today.
“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22)
Many years later, we left the church when the doctrine was being changed and the standard was being let down. We went to many churches that proclaimed holiness, trying to find one that preached all the Bible. We finally quit looking and stopped going to church. We thought we could make it on our own, without the fellowship of the saints, but we were wrong.
We had sold our home, and my wife and four children were staying with her sister while I was out of town for a couple of months, giving bone marrow to my sister who had leukemia. My wife found a 16’ travel trailer for sale, and agreed to buy it if the owner could deliver it to a RV park in Canby, Oregon. David Van Doozer, the owner of the RV park, helped her get it all set up, using this time to speak to her about the Lord.
When I came home a few days later, she told me David wanted to meet me. So I went up to the office where, again, David began talking about the Lord. As he spoke I was reminded of what God had done in my life before and how I used to be. He opened up his Bible and began reading. We stood there, talking for many hours. David invited us to visit his church, the Canby Church of God, on Sunday. As soon as I walked into the church building, I felt the presence of the Lord. This was what I had looked for so long, but my thought was, “What if my wife doesn’t want to go to church?”
The next night when we went out to dinner, I became very angry with my wife, throwing my chair down and making a huge scene. My wife just got up and left the restaurant. My boys began walking home, and my daughter followed after her mother, crying. I finally convinced my wife to return home with me.
The next day, without a word to each other, we went to work. After work my wife said that we needed to have a family meeting. I really thought she was going to ask for a divorce, but instead she said, “If we are going to stay together, we need to start going back to church>” The old adage says, “The family that prays together stays together.”
My wife had no intention of getting involved with a church again, but she thought it might save our marriage. So, on Wednesday night, February 13th, 1991, we went back to church. At the end of the service, during an altar call, my wife began to push me out into the aisled, as she wanted to pray. I followed her because I, too, want God back in my life.
Together we again gave our hearts to the Lord. God had a wonderful plan for our lives. After searching from church to church for so many years, he finally led us to where He wanted us to be. After going there for almost twenty years, there is no place I would rather be. I love the old-fashioned Bible way!