John Dennison ~ Hermosillo, Mexico

john dennison            It was awful. One day I left school with Freddie and Frankie who were twin brothers. There sister was waiting on the other side of the street for them, leaning up against the front bumper. I said good-bye and watched as they walked towards her.

            Suddenly, for some unknown reason, Frankie bolted out into the street. A car screeched its tires and I heard a sickening thud. About 100 feet away from me, I watched one of my good friends get hit and killed by a car.

            That afternoon, I went home and began to think, “Where is Frankie now?” My mind then turned to think, “John, if that had been you, where would you be?” I knew the answer. My parents were Christians. They had taught me the Bible since I was little and we attended Sunday School every Sunday noon and Gospel Meeting every Sunday night. I knew the Bible said that “we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) to go to heaven. I knew I had never been saved so I was clear that I would not have gone to heaven.

            Some months later, I went to a gospel meeting. When I sat down, suddenly it hit me, “John, if you die tonight, you will be in hell.” This bothered me so deeply I could hardly listen to the speaker.

            After the meeting, I continued to think about it as I went outside the Gospel Hall where my friends were. At first I tried to hide my concern. But then, I decided it did not matter who knew. Nothing was more important.

My parents saw my concern and took me in to talk to the Mr. Lavery who had preached that night. He asked me what was the matter. I told him I wanted to be saved. He then asked why I wanted to be saved. “Because I don’t want to go to hell”, I answered.

            “Why would you go to hell?” He asked further. Suddenly I realized that I was going to hell to suffer the punishment for my sins. We read many Bible verses together. Eventually we read John 3:18: “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” He told me there are two sides to this verse. I knew I was in the second because I was condemned already and I did not know how to get into the first side.

            We read more verses until finally we read 1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” Suddenly, I thought, “If Christ has already suffered the punishment for my sins, then I don’t have to suffer in hell.”

            Mr. Lavery quickly turned back to John 3:18 and asked me which side I was in. I told him I thought I was in the first. He then asked, “How will you know?” Panic struck! I wanted to know I was saved, not just think I was.

            Then my eyes looked down at my Bible and I read the last part of John 3:16, “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I put my finger over the word “have” and said, “I know I’m saved because God promises it right here.” On March 31, 1974, I was saved. I knew from then on that if I were the next Frankie I would go to heaven because Christ suffered for me.