Koula Kramer ~ Hitesville, Iowa

I am thankful my Dad attended Sunday School in the Ferndale Gospel Hall in Detroit, Michigan. When he was older, he sent me and my brothers and sisters to the same Sunday School. There I learned the basic Bible Stories as well as the gospel. Even though I was young, I learned that I needed to be saved to go to heaven (John 3:3).

Another Christian that we knew unwisely invited us every summer to a Bible camp. This is where I almost lost my soul. One summer when I was 12, I said a prayer with a camp counselor to be saved. They had reduced salvation down to a simple prayer. Although I could never remember the exact time when I had said the prayer, for many years after, I thought I was saved.

As I grew older, I lived for the world like most teenagers. Although I knew I wasn’t really living for God, I still thought that maybe I was saved.

Then I went to live with my aunt and uncle who attend the Stark Road Gospel Hall. I chose to live with them but attended a huge Presbyterian Church. This church offered many programs and support groups, but inside I knew it was not the truth. I even began to teach Sunday School. All the while, I maintained the front that I was confident in my salvation.

Then one night, some preachers came to my aunt and uncle’s house. Mr. McCandless asked me why I wasn’t baptized. Although baptism isn’t necessary for salvation, all true Christians should be baptized. I got really mad at him, but inside I started to seriously question my salvation. I began to pray that someone would come to me and ask me about my salvation. I wanted help but was too proud to ask for it.

A few months later, another series of gospel meetings began in the Ferndale Gospel Hall. My aunt said she really wanted me to go. After every time I went, I was mad at myself that I did not stay to talk to the preachers and get help.

Then one night, one of the preachers spoke on “How NOT to be saved!” He explained various ways people think they get saved that are not according to the Bible. One of the points was that some people think that by saying a prayer they will go to heaven. Nowhere in the Bible does it give us instruction to say a prayer for salvation. At that moment, I knew my profession would never stand. I was just trusting in my prayer. I knew then I was definitely not going to heaven.

            After the meeting, I stayed behind to talk to the preacher. I knew I was going to hell to be punished for my sins. We read Isaiah 53 how that “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Then we read, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). At that point, my question was, “If there is nothing I can do to be saved, what do I do to get it?”

I read the verse again. Suddenly, it was like a light bulb went on. I understood what God was saying to me. He was telling me that before the Lord, I was without strength and could do nothing to save myself. Best of all, I did not need to do anything. Christ did it all when He died for me, the ungodly one. Finally I was saved!