For years of my life I didn’t know anything about the Gospel. I never went to Sunday school in my younger days and only attended church a few times. I was born and raised in eastern France, growing up there during World War I. My mother prayed for me and I knew it, but I was stubborn and rebellious, and I thought I would miss something in the world of sin if I served God. I thank God for that godly mother who tried to bring me up in the right way; but it seemed too straight and too narrow for me, and I went my own way.
I went with a mad rush into sin. I spent my younger years around Paris, had a good job and all that a young man could want in this world, but I didn’t find any satisfaction. Many nights I reveled around in that city—and the next morning I had a headache! I wondered what life was all about and I wanted a way out.
For years I walked around in darkness, and wondered why I was ever born. I had such fear in my heart. I knew there was a Judgment Day coming and that I wasn’t ready to meet the Lord. Many times after I moved to America, I would sit on an old stump on a hill in a logging camp and would look to the skies and wonder where God was. I wondered if God would do something for me. But I never had anybody tell me what to do until the day I met these people on the street corner at Third and Burnside in Portland, Oregon. They told me the story of Jesus. I never heard anything like that in all my life—that a lost soul could pray through and that God could save him. I could not understand how the great God of Heaven would look on a creature such as me and reach down and save a soul like mine. But that night I took courage and faith and realized these people told the truth.
Thank God, I asked them to pray for me. They did pray and God saved my soul one night when I was alone in my room. I did not pray a single word out loud, but thank God, He read the language of my soul. I promised Him my life for time and eternity—my all—if He would only forgive me for my sins against Him. He saved me and planted something in my heart that has kept me for many years.
I went over my old life. It wasn’t the minister who told me I had to make restitution, but God in His own way showed me I had to go back and straighten up my life. I paid back about nine hundred miles of railroad fare. After that, for about three weeks, I was so happy it seemed my feet did not touch the ground. This Gospel is real.
Oh, the love and mercy of God and His guiding hand! I lived in one apartment for fourteen years and thought I would stay there the rest of my life, but something kept telling me to move. I moved on a Wednesday and on Saturday that house burned down. God spared my life. I thank God for His goodness to me.