Friday, March 6, 2009

My testimony

One thing that I wish I knew was the faith walk of my parents now matter how short it was. I asked my mother a few years before she died if her parents talked much about Jesus as she grew up and she said no. That surprised me because I remember my grandmother Duell telling me I would be a good preacher some day but I wrote that off in a hurry; heck, I'd have to give up golf. It is my opinion that many/most people that have a faith in their adult years their life go through three stages.
The first being the fact that they believe what Mommy and Daddy believe. They go to church, SS etc. because Mom and Dad go. The second has them in a transitional stage. This usually occurs during their teenage years as they struggle to find themselves. This stage many last 15 minute to 15 years and maybe longer. The last stage has them deciding for themselves their faith and then growing in that faith until their death.
As a child, I did not get much from Mom and Dad in the way of spiritual influence. I really can't remember anything from them but they must have said some things. I remember that during eating times it was "Come Lord Jesus, be our guest etc.". It became so redundant that at times, we could not remember if we said it or not. At night, there was the worst prayer in the world to teach a kid; Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should DIE BEFORE I WAKE, I pray the lord, my soul to take. DIE!! Man, I'm not going to sleep for nothing! No wonder, they had such a hard time to get me to nap/sleep. What a poor choice of a prayer for a little kid. My grandmother Duell was a big influence in what she said. I can't remember things specific, but I know she was religious. that is why I wurprised to hear what my Mom said about her upbringing
About 10 miles from the resort, there was this little concrete block church on hwy 40 that I would attend VBS. Mrs. Brainerd would pick me up and take me there. It is where I first heard John 3:16. We made David harps out of willow branches and string. We memorized verses to win prizes. My favorite was John 11:35- "Jesus wept". The shortest verse in the Bible! It was there that I learned to pray to Jesus. I would too. I was lonely at the resort, I used to pray to Jesus and my make-believe friend, George. If I would lose a toy, I would pray to find it and funny thing, I would. So, I had this little kid faith up into my teen years and then things changed.
Oh, I still believed but this belief did not control too much my actions or attitudes. If anything controlled my actions it was the wrath of my mother. I went to SS and church in Rice Lake but there was very little influence in my life. I was struggling with inferiority complex and things that many normal kids do in those years.
When college came, there was no mother watching over me and I became an idiot. I joined a fraternity to try and be the BMOC and that sort of worked a little but for the most part I was still just a little guy inside. I never went to church when I was in college. Only when I came home.
Up until this point, I thought real Christians were "square, L7," : zitty face, white socks, black shoes and pants and white shirt" where I got this, I have no idea. (See photo above) When I was a junior, there were some guys hanging around campus that were Christians and talking to students about a personal relationship with Christ. They were with Campus Crusade for Christ. These guys were cool looking. They dressed cool too. One sat down with me and went through the 4 spiritual Laws with me and I received Christ. Man, I was flying on cloud 9. I never knew that Jesus could live right inside of me; I just pictured Him in Heaven about a zillion miles from Earth. This new conversion was not reinforced by the fraternity brothers, nor my girlfriend at the time,(Diane Crotteau) or my parents. My little faith sprout was like the seeds parable, it flourished and then was choked out by worldly concerns.
I continued to live like hell, right through graduation. I signed up for Coast Guard and was sent boot camp. Good opportunity for prayer; nope. Sent to light house 1000 miles from home. Good opportunity for prayer; nope. got married; good opportunity for prayer; nope. My enlistment almost up; good opportunity for prayer; nope. Re-entered college for education degree; good opportunity for prayer; nope.
Into my life comes Dr. Don Birr. I had him for an ed. class. The first day of class, with a huge grin on his face he tells us that Jesus is his best friend. I could not get over how happy he was; all the time. I should be; I had a bride, two young healthy children but I had an emptiness inside. Only way I can explain it. One day after class I ask him if I can talk to him. I tell him about this emptiness and he gets this big grin on his face. I know now what he was thinking: "This guys is ripe fruit on the vine". I was. We sit down and he whips out his 4 Spiritual Laws and we go through them, just like I had done 7 years previous. I pray to ask Jesus to forgive my sins and ask Him to come into my life and guide me life.
I go home and I am soooo happy. My wife is not too excited about this at all. She has her own problems with two little guys to tend after, running the house and a husband that is gone all day. Next day in her exhaustion, she sees the 4 Spiritual Laws on the table and she goes through them and receives Christ too. Now we are not only husband and wife but brother and sister. Having the God the center of our lives has been the key to our marriage. We not only have placed God in the center of our marriage but also our family.
In Eau Claire, I taught in a Catholic school for a couple of years but found very little Jesus there. We attended a presbyterian church there and got involved in a small group. I remember the people in the group were not used to praying out loud a non-recitive prayer. Just a "thank you , God" was a big things for us all.
When we moved to Amery, we visited three churches but the Baptist church felt the most comfortable. Marion adams was the pastor and he was so down to earth that we were drawn to him. We got involved in children's ministry and have been now for 31 years.
To this day, I am still desiring to grow closer to God, His Son and His Spirit by loving, being grateful and respectful. All that I have is His and I pray that I do with what He wants with what He has given us. The older I get, the more I realize how much I need Him.


  1. >>The last stage has them deciding for themselves their faith...

    I think this is true. You grow up with whatever faith is presented to you by your parents. When older you take your life experience and learning and decide on your own view of God and the world.

  2. I had just assumed you and Diane had been Christians all your lives. I didn't relieve you had came to faith that late in life. You must have been about mine and Anna's age.