The time of my salvation was a little past seven o’clock in the evening on Friday, the 22nd of June, 1962. I was living and working in a small industrial town called Ocean Falls, on the coast of British Columbia, about 300 miles from my home. This was an unexpected turn in life for me, but it led to the most important and happiest experience of all. I was almost twenty years of age at the time. My parents were actively engaged in the religious denomination to which we belonged, my father being the organist and my mother the Superintendent of the Sunday School. We were expected to attend Sunday School when young and, later, the church services, and also become involved in church activities. But something seemed to be lacking. My experience in the interests and pleasures of the world helped me to realize that this could not bring real satisfaction, so I began to pursue a course which I hoped would lead to peace. This involved a period of travel and also contact with a pseudo-Christian movement, but this did not lead to the answer that I was seeking. A desire for a new beginning in life prompted me to think that a greater religious involvement might bring the change I needed. I therefore offered and was accepted as a candidate for the ministry of our denomination.
The need for employment at that time took me to Ocean Falls, where I came into contact with a small group of evangelical Christians who were active in the community. I was deeply impressed by what I could see of spiritual reality in these believers, and felt that they had what I needed. Learning of my spiritual interests, they challenged me with the question, “Have you been born again?” I did not know how to answer that question, but it soon became the most important matter in life to me. They also began to tell me what the Bible taught about the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His people. I could not remember this truth ever being taught or even mentioned in all that I had learned in Sunday School or the religious services. Over the next few months, a sense of my own sinfulness and unfitness for the presence of God, along with the fact of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, deepened my inner burden and the longing for peace within my soul. On the night before I was saved, as I entered the room where I was staying, I became impressed with the fact that I was lost and perishing.
The next day after work, I went to speak with one of the men who had shown a kind interest in me. I expressed how I felt. He opened his Bible to John chapter 3, read verses 14 and 15, and then began to relate the dilemma of the children of Israel who had been bitten by the poisonous reptiles. The reason for their affliction was clear. They were now faced with the consequence of their ingratitude and sin. Death was the inevitable result, but God provided an unexpected remedy – a serpent of brass raised on a pole in view of the stricken Israelites. Then the simple message, with its assurance, was given: “Every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”
The parallel was so clear. God directed my attention to the death of the Savior at the place called Calvary: “Even so must the Son of man be lifted up that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” In a moment, I realized that this took me in. It became personal as I appreciated the loving provision that God had made in order that I might be saved from sin’s power and its fearful consequences. What a wonderful picture it was of what I had to do! It was simply a matter of believing His Word and relying upon what Christ had done in order to be saved. That was the moment of accepting the divine remedy. I said to the dear man who had been such a help to me: “I see it now.” Then we both got down on our knees and I thanked God for giving His Son. His dying for me, and my acceptance of His provision, meant that I was saved.