Joe Dennison Jr. ~ Livonia, Michigan

I always intended to be saved. However, I found many reasons to put it off. My parents were Christians who attended an assembly in Livonia, Michigan. I grew up learning the scriptures, attending Sunday School and hearing the Gospel. As a boy, I often tried to get saved. I knew I was a sinner, but I thought that if I tried hard enough God would save me.

During my last year of high school, God spoke to me in two ways. First, He spoke through the death of a classmate, Jeff Little. Jeff was killed in a hit-and-run accident while riding his bike. His funeral spoke to me as I realized it could have been me.  However, my pride prevented me from being saved as I was determined not to show any concern.

Secondly, God spoke to me through the unusual conversion of a classmate. Dale Bowerman and I had been friends before he had gotten into drugs and a wild lifestyle. As seniors, Dale and I ended up in the same class. During that year, I watched Dale search for meaning, first in eastern religions, then in Judaism, and finally in Christianity. Within a few months of beginning to read the Bible, Dale was born-again and had a complete change in his life. I knew Christianity was real because I had observed it in my parents and others. However, the conversion of someone who knew nothing of the Bible, was a powerful witness to the reality of salvation. Dale often spoke to me about salvation.

God had given me many close Christian friends and I was reluctant to pull away from them. However, I started university in the Fall and began to make new friends.  I was drifting between two different worlds.

Finally, one Saturday in November, sitting in a Conference Meeting, I realized I could no longer continue with the status quo. I had to choose between salvation and the world.

On Sunday night, the gospel was preached clearly by Paul Kember and David Oliver. I could see how Christ had died in the place of sinners, yet I had no assurance of my salvation. I left the meeting convinced I had to get saved that night or I would never be saved.

At home, sitting at my desk, I began to read the Bible. Everything seemed so dark. With shock I realized, I did not know how to be saved! In spite of my hopelessness, I began reading a booklet, “God's Way of Salvation.” I came to the words “Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6).  As I re-read those words my mind went back to the words of David Oliver in the gospel meeting. He had said that Christ does not pay for the sins of a person at the moment of conversion. Rather, Christ already died for sins 2000 years ago. I thought, “If Christ died for my sins, why should I go to hell?” Then, the words of John 1:12 came to me: “But as many as received Him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God.” On November 4, 1979, I realized Christ had already died for my sins and I received Him as my Savior.