My Mother was a Lutheran whose parents came from Denmark. My Father was Presbyterian, and his ancestry dates back to the Mayflower. Both lived faith-based lives. I was baptized and raised in the Presbyterian Faith, but my church participation was what some refer to as a “Christmas Eve Presbyterian.” My parents always sent me to Sunday School, but rarely went to church themselves. Dad could work his NY Times Crossword Puzzle, while Mom would get dinner ready.
To this day I regret not telling my father how much I loved him. My new goal was to be as good a father to my children as he had been to me.
I was confirmed in the church at age 12, but never went for youth groups. Instead, I became very active in DeMolay, the international youth organization dedicated to teaching young men to be better persons and leaders. I also played sports and actually played the bagpipes in a marching band.
I went to college and participated as much as possible in the college life. While there, I studied “Man’s Religions,” which started me thinking about how, regardless of the religion, all people believed in a higher being and life after death. The second semester of schooling we studied the Old and New Testaments. I still remember Nock’s Conversion, a book about conversion to Christianity.
From College I went to Officer Candidate School in the Navy and from there onto a destroyer in Viet Nam. It certainly was new experience for me, and I enjoyed traveling and seeing different places. At one time I was asked to be the Protestant Lay Leader on board ship, but didn’t feel qualified. After the Navy, I stayed in the reserves, joined a ski club, lived with my parents for a while, and actually returned to the church where I was baptized. I began attending more regularly.
My father died on Memorial Day in 1978 after a tough illness that required having his left leg amputated. A week after the funeral, I went to Baltimore on a sales trip and stayed in my usual Holiday Inn. Around 2:00 a.m. I was awakened and opened my eyes to see my father sitting there. I was afraid. Dad said he was “whole” again and doing fine and for me not to worry. When I came home a few days later, I told my wife what had happened. She had awakened the same night at the same time and saw my father sitting by her side. He told her everything was all right and not to worry. She said calmness came over her. I told her I had been so scared that I didn’t know how to react. I felt the need to talk to my dad rather than push him away out of fear. To this day I regret not being able to tell my father how much I missed him and loved him. My new goal in life was to be as good a father to my children as he had been to me. This event was my starting point for the rest of my life, to try to reach that calmness in my life.
Four kids and some company moves later, we settled down and again joined the Presbyterian church in New Jersey. We met more wonderful friends and committed ourselves to raising our children in an active Christian family. We launched a Mariner’s Club and a Presbyterian Adult Fellowship Group for Christian Fellowship. We moved to Delaware in September of 2005 and found a new home at a small Presbyterian Church.
My conversion has been slow, but I’m getting there. Jesus is my lord and Savior; I believe he has led me through my paths in life so that I can make a difference in the world. The Bethel Bible Study series says we are “blessed to be a blessing” to others. I believe I have touched people in a positive way throughout my life. I now believe I was called to this life. I Love Jesus because He has brought me to where I am today. Mind you, I’ve made a lot of missed turns and dead ends, but I can see clearly now the light of the Lamb of God, leading me down the path of salvation. Seven grandchildren later my conversion is still slow, but I’m getting there.
More Faith Stories
We built the first church with great difficulty. We went back to the States and the board asked us to become mission staff with the Outreach Foundation. That was 25 years ago, just about, and we’ve gotten more involved with Kenya as days and years went on.
I am a chef by profession. I’m happy because I do what I love. Now I work at Villadise Tours and Safaris, where I meet so many different people coming from far. Being helpful is just a blessing to other people.
Then God started tugging on my heart. There was a church sermon series that was about taking your God-given dream off the shelf. I was like, “I don’t know what my dream is. God, if you have a dream for me you’re going to have to tell me what it is.”
We attended church but maintained a passive religious life. Our family had been going to church and proclaiming, “Jesus is our Savior and Lord,” with our mouths only. It seemed that my heart was gradually drifting away from God.
So, I just put my faith in Jesus. I trust him and it is my prayer that my children and the entire community will know Jesus because of my faith. Our salvation should not be only our own. We should encourage other people.
I’m no longer worried because I have come to learn that God’s timing is the best. You cannot hurry God. These days, all I do is wait, no matter what, I just wait. I know my time will come and that time is God’s time. So, I keep on waiting for God to do for me wonders.