I was born into a family who had immigrated to Canada from Europe after WWII. They settled in Sask. where I was born in 1959. There were 4 children two older ones then myself and a younger sister came along. My parents were nominal Christians who were attending a denominational church. After a while my dad felt that there were too many hypocrites there and so he decided we would no longer be going to church. I remember thinking, what great news because I really hated going anyways.

When I was 12 my parents divorced and I ended up living with my mom. She was a special person who did her best to raise the two of us who were still at home. I had become quite a troubled teenager and would frequently get into difficulties with the police for usually petty crimes. Eventually I was charged with breaking and entering and theft. I was found guilty and sentenced to 12 months probation and warned that if I kept it up I would end up in a juvenile delinquent center. Eventually my parents thought I would do better living with my dad. So I moved to Regina to stay with him.

In the spring of 1975 we received a cassette tape from my older brother Ed who had some years earlier moved to Vancouver. He was quite a wild fellow and we had not heard from him for some years. On the tape he described how he had a spiritual experience and had become a born again Christian. I had no idea what he was talking about and was actually quite concerned for him as I thought he had become involved with some kind of cult. After discussing it with my dad I decided to go out to Vancouver with my younger sister and see if we could rescue him from the clutches of this group.

I was 16 at the time my younger sister Evelyn was 14. When we first met with Ed we could see that what ever happened to him made a huge impact on how he behaved. He was so thrilled about the things in the Bible. I had never read the Bible before so he enthralled us with the things he had learned. After a few days with him I started to feel that it was me that needed the rescuing. I began to envy my brother’s outlook on life and his peace and joy. Finally I decided that I wanted to become a Christian too. That evening I went to bed and prayed and asked God to make me a Christian because I wanted to have the joy that my brother had. I didn’t feel any different after my prayer and so I prayed again, I still didn’t feel like anything had happened so I prayed again. Eventually I fell a sleep feeling quite discouraged, after all, shouldn’t God have been impressed to have had another follower.

The next morning before surfacing from my room I had overheard some excitement. Apparently that night my younger sister had received the Lord and had become a Christian. Now I was really discouraged, why was it that she got saved and I didn’t? What did I do wrong? Anyways in order to eliminate any button holing I decided to just announce that I had gotten saved too. After all I did say the “prayer of faith” so maybe it will grow on me after a while.

Well it did not take my brother long to figure out that I was just faking this profession and that I was not saved. I told Ed that really wanted to be a Christian but I did not know what to do. He said to me that he didn’t know what more to tell me as he had told me everything he knew about getting saved. That was very bad news to me as I considered my brother to be the expert on these things. He did tell me though that there was a “meeting” being held at a place called Victoria Drive Gospel Hall and that a man by the name of Sydney Maxwell was going to be conducting some messages on the “Seven Churches of Asia”. My brother said that he had to work the afternoon shift and would not be able to attend them with me but asked if I would tape the meeting for him. I agreed.

I arrived at the meeting with my sister, sister in law and two nephews and a ghetto blaster to tape the meeting. I was a fairly rough looking young man with long hair. I am sure I alarmed a few people as I proceeded with my ghetto blaster to the front seat of the hall.

As far as I can recollect this was the first time I had actually been in a place that preached the gospel. As I was waiting for the meeting to start I noticed the reverent way every body conducted themselves. Also they had various scriptures that were in framed pictures on the wall. I really began to feel like I was in the Lord’s presence and I was very uncomfortable. I felt entirely unfit to be seated in Gods presence and started to feel miserable. In fact that whole day I felt miserable, I wanted to be saved and just couldn’t seem to understand what more I needed to do. I tried that whole day to live like a Christian and seemed to fail miserably at that too. What a sinner I was! These thoughts continued to bother me while Mr. Maxwell preached his message. Finally I thought, I need to get saved, I need to get saved right now. So I began to quietly pray in the meeting and said “Lord now I know I am just a filthy sinner, and if you don’t save me now I will just have to go to hell because that’s what I deserve” As I was praying these words I began to think, “hey I don’t have to go to hell, that’s why Christ died!” That was it. The revelation of Christ’s love filled my dark heart and life and I was truly saved.

 

 

 

 

Sid HalsbandSid’s Testimony