Grant Hagan ~ Marion, Iowa

            I attended Sunday School and learned the Ten Commandments in a farming community in northeast Iowa. My Sunday School teacher once said, “We should think about Jesus every day.” However, often a whole week would pass without thoughts of Jesus, the Bible or God.

            When I grew older, I became a 4-H leader, sang with the church choir, and became the Sunday School Superintendent in church. However, the commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7) often came to mind. I tried to be careful around my parents, but after I returned from military service, they were ashamed of my language.

            Then, I met a veterinarian who talked about the Bible. I always assumed no one knew for sure they were going to heaven. However, he showed me that “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

            Two evangelists invited us to gospel meetings at my uncle’s farm. I was upset when they spoke about people going to hell. When it was over, I lit up a cigarette, shook hands at the door and spun the tires as I left.

            That summer, the veterinarian gave me a Bible and a pamphlet entitled, “The two Roads and the Two Destinies”. He then asked me if I saw myself as a lost sinner. When I said I didn’t, he replied “Well, I guess Christ didn’t come for you because the Bible says,’“The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost’” (Luke 19:10).

            Then he asked me if I was a believer and had everlasting life. I said I believed but didn’t think I had eternal life. “Well,” he said, “Something doesn’t add up. The Bible says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36).

            I tried to read the pamphlet and my girlfriend Pat looked up all the verses in the Bible. However, I could not understand how a person could know the Savior and have eternal life.

            Pat and I attended gospel meetings in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. To my surprise, Pat got saved in the first meeting. Soon, my friends thought I was taking this too serious. They didn’t realize I was afraid to meet God in my sins.

            Later, I attended special gospel meetings in Garnavillo, Iowa. I knew I wasn’t ready to die because my sins were not forgiven. One night after meeting, a Christian tried to show me how to be saved from the Bible. Then he prayed for me. I was heartbroken and deeply convicted thinking of the many years I never read the Bible and the many times I had taken the Lord’s name in vain. As I rode home on March 31, 1968, I told God that I was wrong. My thoughts then turned to the crucifixion of Christ on the cross.  I knew He had died for the sins of the world, but suddenly for the first time it dawned on me that He died for ME TOO!” My tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy. I had often wondered why Christ went to the cross, but now I knew for sure that He died for ME TOO.