Growing up, I was raised in a very worldly household. God was mentioned sometimes, but He certainly wasn’t a priority in my family. Discipline was lacking, and my brother and I were largely able to do whatever we pleased and had free rein to get into all sorts of trouble. For my part, I was a ridiculously disobedient child and would try to get away with anything and everything, constantly defying my parents and not doing what I was supposed to do.
When my grandmother died when I was five, one of her last wishes was that my brother and I be baptized into the Catholic church and attend services. This was done according to her wishes, and my mother took us to church and Sunday school every week. We eventually stopped attending church, and I forgot all about it. I continued to live my life my own way. I was a horrible liar and had fallen into other grievous sins.
When I went to college for two years in Colorado, I had the gospel explained to me for the first time. I did not understand it, but eventually made a profession of faith. I came to believe that the Bible was God’s word and that everything in it was true, but my faith wasn’t true faith, and it was dead. As James 2:17 says, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” I believed in God intellectually, but I hadn’t given Him my life or surrendered to His will or accepted His method of salvation. I was still going my own way. My life did not change; if anything, it got worse. Sin took a deeper hold on my life and my hobbies became my idols in place of God.
When I came to the University of North Dakota to pursue a career in aviation I still thought I was saved. One day, when walking to class, I found a flyer for the Bible Baptist Church’s campus ministry on the ground, and figured I’d have a look. I heard the true gospel again, and talked much about the things of the Bible, but still did not truly understand anything. I attended church a few times at Bible Baptist Church but fell away without gaining any true understanding. I finished my studies, built my flight time, became a flight instructor, and eventually got hired by an airline and started training in February of 2020. I was doing great, I was passing my tests and progressing in training, and everything looked to be going my way.
Then COVID happened, and I was furloughed. It was a difficult time. I was directionless and without hope. Nothing seemed to be going right, nothing I was doing gave me any fulfillment. I had an overall sense of dread. I eventually came back to UND to flight instruct again and wait for the airlines to call me back. One day in November of 2020, as I sat in my car in the parking lot at Ryan Hall, I was seized by conviction. I knew that the world was spiraling out of control, and that I was not right with God. I knew I had to go to a church, and I remembered the Bible Baptist Church, where God’s Word was taught.
I attended a few services, and I was like a starving man, eager to hear the truth. I still thought I was saved, but for some reason whenever they would call people forward for the invitation to talk with someone about salvation, that troubling sense of conviction came back to me. It was like I was sitting on a nest of fire ants, and I had no peace in my heart. Then on November 23rd, the morning after church following two weeks of miserable quarantining, I was finally ready to give in to God. I prayed like I had not ever prayed before; I was at the end of myself. I acknowledged that I was a horrible sinner bound for hell, and nothing I could do would change that. My only hope was Jesus and I asked Him to save me. I told Him I didn’t want my life or anything I held dear anymore, I just wanted Him to have my life, and all I wanted was for Him to save me and for Him to rule over my life. Since then, everything has changed! Sin is no longer my master, and the idolatry of my hobbies which had ruled my life lost all interest for me. I now want to live my life the way God wants me to live. He has done wondrous things with my life that I could never have dreamed of. I am so glad that I finally decided to give my life to Him!