My grandmother would visit each Christmas and often ask me if I had been saved. For several years I would reply, “I’ll get saved next Christmas!” Apparently, I used to think that I could only be saved when Grandma asked.My parents have been missionaries in Victoria, BC, Canada since 1985. They exposed me to the Gospel early and often by their godly example. They read Bible stories to me, taught me to memorize Scripture, sang hymns with me, and challenged me to read the Bible for myself. One early memory gives insight into my developing understanding of the Gospel.
While still young, I remember staying in a prophet’s chamber with my family while on deputation. There my dad first told me of the reality of hell. I remember finding the thought of eternal torment to be particularly frightening, and I still remember having nightmares that week. Later after we returned home, I asked my dad one night at bedtime why Jesus had died on Calvary. After he explained to me that it was for my sins that Jesus had shed His blood, I remember praying and asking Jesus to save me.
Nagging doubts about my salvation discouraged me for several years afterward. Many of the sin habits I harbored before salvation remained, and I felt as though I were little different than before. I mentioned these doubts to my dad one morning when he asked me if I were interested in baptism, and after some talk, I recommitted my life to Christ. I have not since doubted my salvation. I was baptized by immersion at our church in Canada shortly afterward.
My parents have also been missionaries since I can remember. The year I was born they were accepted at Baptist Mid-Missions, and we moved to Quebec City when I was four so they could begin French language school. One day while we were on deputation when I was three, Mom showed me the way of salvation. Although I had known I was a sinner, it was not until I learned about the Holy Spirit and the power God gives to serve Him and live for Him that I wanted to be saved. I distinctly remember kneeling and praying and asking Jesus to save me at that time. I was baptized by immersion at the age of seven in a lake in Maine.
Like Duncan, as a young person I found myself prone to fall into sin. It was also hard for me to be certain that I had really understood since I was so young when I was saved. One night when I was nine, I was plagued with the idea that I may not be saved. I remember praying, “If I wasn’t really saved when I was 3, I really do believe and want to be saved now.”
While I was in high school, the Lord allowed me to come to the BJU summer camps in 1999 and 2002. Here I heard preaching from Dr. Jim Berg and Darrel Daulton that challenged me—Was I still an immature, selfish believer? Was I really living for God first, others second, and myself last? This marked a real beginning of growth and more time spent in the Word.
When the Lord led me to BJU, I did not realize everything He had in store. But I have learned so much. It was not until my freshman year around Christmas time while hearing Pastor Mark Minnick’s preaching that I really stopped doubting my salvation. The four years I attended Mount Calvary were years of tremendous growth and change.