I grew up in a Christian home where, as far back as I can remember, I was aware that I needed to be saved if I was ever to be in Heaven. Despite an open Bible in the home, many memory verses learned, and hearing the Gospel clearly preached, I was a rebellious child and enjoyed the company of boys who had no knowledge of spiritual truths. Our family attended a Bible-believing Baptist church where the Gospel was clearly and regularly preached. In addition, my parents listened regularly to radio programs that featured the clear preaching of the Gospel. I was aware that I was a sinner, and that I needed God’s salvation, but I was in no hurry to pursue it. And yet, there were many times during those years when I was stirred up and loudly spoken to. The death of my grandfather when I was 10 was one such loud voice.
One day when I was 12 years old, my mother informed me that a relative had provided the money for me to attend a Bible camp. My first thought was that camp would be fun; my second thought was that maybe this would be the time when I would get saved. The camp was very enjoyable, but there was a constant emphasis on the Bible, and frequent Gospel messages. Some of the children who were saved made a deep impression on me with their joy and their bright testimonies. Campfire gatherings in the evening were times when the director would clearly present to us our need of a Saviour and the claims of Christ.
On a Tuesday evening, as I listened to Mr. White and watched the tears of sincere concern for our souls trickle down his cheeks, I made a decision: “I will be saved tonight”. As we departed to the hayloft that served as our dormitory, I resolved to speak to the counsellor. When I did so, he sat down with me. We read numerous Bible verses, most of which I knew by heart. I understood my need and wanted to be saved more than anything. I listened to those verses describing how the Lord Jesus had died for sinners like me, so that I could be forgiven. As we got down on our knees to pray, there arose in my soul a great cry to God, “Lord, save me, save me”. As I listened to the counsellor pray, I realized that God heard my cry, and that the Lord Jesus had taken my sins away.
My conversion almost 50 years ago is a reminder that Salvation is not found in a fancy building (I was saved in a barn), not even in a Gospel Hall (I had never heard the Gospel in a Gospel Hall up to that point), but in the Lord Jesus Christ.