Gospel: This is My Story

For the first five years of my life, my family only went to church on holidays or funerals. I first heard the Gospel at the Gospel Hall in East Los Angeles. My most vivid recollection of those days is Sunday school. I learned stories about the Lord Jesus and His salvation, about heaven and hell, how I was born a sinner, and that the most important thing in my life was to be saved. This was all the more impressed on me when I almost died on a camping trip with my father. I had lost my footing on a steep incline, and if my cousin had not pulled me back from the edge of the cliff I would have undoubtedly fallen to my death.

The event that had the deepest impact on me was the death of my father when I was only seven years of age. It was an Easter Sunday. My mother looked very sad as she told me that my dad had gone to be with Christ. I was stunned! I asked her if he had left me a letter or something to tell me that he was going, but there was nothing. Mr. Tom Baker spoke at the funeral. I can’t recall what he said because while he was speaking I was looking at my father’s body in the coffin and was crying. I had thought he was invincible, but there was his body, cold and still. He would never smile at me or talk to me again. Once more, I began to think about my soul and about eternity. I tried to tell people that I was saved, but as time went by, I realized that I was not. I kept this to myself because I did not want anyone to know that I was still in my sins. There were nights when I would lie awake, thinking about eternity. Often, I would get out of my bed and walk down the hall to check that my mother was still sleeping because I feared the Lord had come.

Sometime later, I went with the Baker family to Mission Beach for a picnic. While I was swimming, I realized I was caught in a current and was being taken farther and farther from the shore. I wasn’t a very good swimmer and I began to yell for help. I tried to do everything in my power to reach the shore but I could not save myself. God spared my life that day and I was rescued, but it left a deep impression on my young mind.

At the 1986 Phoenix conference, during the Saturday evening Gospel meeting, the preachers emphasized how horrible it would be for a soul to be lost. They also spoke about heaven and the Savior’s work to provide salvation for me. As I thought about eternity, I did not want to move from my chair. I wanted salvation more than anything the world had to offer me and, if possible, I wanted it that night. After the meeting, the preachers read to me three passages in the Bible. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). I listened, but was more confused than ever. They said they would pray with me and send me home to think over what we had read. It was while they were praying that I thought to myself, “What do I have to do to be saved?” Immediately, I had the answer from God’s Word. There was nothing more to be done because the Lord Jesus Christ did it all when He died for my sins on the cross of Calvary. Right there, I trusted Him as my Savior and, at the age of 11, I knew that I would be in heaven for eternity.