We live in a country that is rich in Christian tradition and culture. Our country has been founded on a rich combination of strong Christian leaders who were in business, politics and in education that really helped shape our nation into a thriving democracy that has been the envy of the world. The bloody American Revolution helped bring Canada to become a nation in more ways than history would like to admit. However, over all the tragedies and wars on this earth, there is a God who reigns in the universe over the affairs of men; we learn that fact from the best history book ever written-the Bible. Christianity is something every person can experience but few do. I want to share my story of how I became a Christian.
It all started with me following my belief in Christ as my personal Saviour in 1977. I had not been brought up in any type of church life. I was raised on a cattle ranch in British Columbia as the oldest of seven boys, my dad and mom being hard-working people. I would call them salt of the earth type people. My dad was the kind of man who would give his neighbour the shirt of his back to help him. My mother was a school teacher who took a temporary leave of absence from teaching to have her first baby—which was me—that lasted for eighteen years and six sons later. When I became a born-again Christian and started attending the Baptist church in Prince Albert in 1979, I became infatuated with learning truth about the Bible and history. I wondered why did I not learn any of this Christian perspective in my twelve years of school? Why did no one ever teach me these things, I pondered? Well I learned later the public schools do not want to teach Biblical anything about history or anything else. It is very sad that our generation are missing out on what Christianity is all about.
I asked my mother, “Why did you not take us to a church when we were growing up?” She said, “We lived too far from town and Dad was always so busy with work on the ranch. I would have liked to have taken you boys to a church somewhere so you could have learned more Christianity from someone besides me, but it just was not practical and not a priority, unfortunately.” My mother said to me one time, “I regret we did not make a bigger effort to get our family to church while they were growing up but it is not too late.” At that time there were still several of my younger brothers living at home. She began to make some serious changes in the family to make church life more of a priority. One time my mother told me, “I envied families who were taking their families to church while you were growing up. I knew the family vehicles that drove past our home each Sunday morning. I knew they were going to church in Quesnel.
The area I came from was known for being a little on the rough side. Boys growing up there grew up to be cowboys and loggers. We learned how to work hard and play hard. I loved the ranch life, the logging life and the playing life. The logging life paid more than ranching so more and more boys from the ranches gravitated into logging and mill jobs. I became interested in aviation and started learning how to fly after graduating from high school. That is how I ended up coming to Saskatchewan in 1975 for my first flying job. I flew a float plane in the summer of 1975 out of La Ronge. Then in 1976, graduated to a twin engine plane. On my first flight as co-pilot into the Arctic in August, we crashed with nine people on board in the middle of the night in fog, just east of the Prince Albert airport on our return trip. We had a well-equipped airplane but something went wrong in the instrument approach and we crashed. The cause of the crash was never determined because the airplane upon impact burst into flames and everything was burned to ashes. Miraculously, all nine people survived with relatively minor injuries. You can go to our web site www.pababtist.ca and click on About Us, then click pastor’s testimony and you will see a photo of the plane after the crash. You can also hear a full audio documentary on my testimony as well.
That crash was the shakeup for me that caused me to really start wondering about what happens after a person dies. I knew I had come as close as a person can come to dying that August 28, 1976 night. It really hit me the next day when someone brought me a Prince Albert Herald with our accident as front page news and a photo of the burned airplane. That was a devastating blow for a 21 year-old pilot hundreds of miles from his ranch home trying to make his first mark in an aviation job. I recall thinking in that hospital bed that all I wanted to do is get out of there and go back to the ranch and never come back here again. I laid in that hospital bed with my body full of pain wondering if the cause of the crash was my fault. I wondered if I had called off an altitude wrong or something to the captain. On that painful August 29th day at the Holy Family Hospital, I was sure my job was finished as a pilot. However, I found out within a few days that it was not my fault and the company kept me employed. They were in the process of getting a replacement airplane as there were projects in various places in the arctic where an airplane was needed. Dad taught me that when you got bucked off a horse we were breaking, you get back on. He always made us get back on and I knew I needed to get back flying. Within weeks I was flying in the Arctic again.
That Christmas of 1976 my mother got me my first personal Bible. I think she did that because I had expressed thoughts to her after the accident about my close shave with death and also some thoughts about God. I asked her about God things but I think in a mother’s wisdom, she thought this boy is ready to start reading his own Bible. I brought the Bible back to Saskatchewan after Christmas and started reading it. Through endurance, time, persistence and listening to preachers on the Swift Current radio station 570AM each night, and on television over the next year, I finally got my direction and the call figured out to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour in the summer of 1977. John 3:16 impressed me: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Also Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
I wanted that everlasting life and eventually discovered it is so simple to obtain it. All I needed to do was repent of all the false things and sin, then believe on Jesus Christ the Son of God for the gift of eternal life to become mine and real. Without doubt has been the best decision and best thing that ever happened in my life. I hope you will consider it too? It says in Hebrews 9:27: It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment. You do not want to be at that judgment without the Son of God as your Saviour. There are only two places after death where everyone will end up. One is hell and the other is heaven. I can tell you that, without a shadow of a doubt, if I have another airplane crash tomorrow and die, I will be in heaven for all eternity for one reason: I heard the gospel and believed it. If I had died in the 1976 airplane crash, I would have ended up in hell because I was not yet a whosoever that believed? What about you? Are you yet a whosoever that believes? When you die it is too late then to believe. The best thing you can do in a Covid pandemic is trust and believe on the Son of God for salvation. If someone dies with salvation then death only brings something far better.
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