Some weeks after we began meeting each Saturday morning for bible study during our senior year, John Ed Robertson asked Ed and me if we would like to go with him to a Christian conference in northern Indiana at a place on Lake Wawasee. Ed couldn’t go but I decided to give it a whirl.
Soon after the long drive up there, I was sure I had made a huge mistake. I was assigned to a small, one room cabin furnished only with bunk beds and populated with a bunch of rowdy college age guys I had never seen before. It was my first experience bunking with strangers, as I hadn’t joined the Army yet. That and the Spartan accommodations made me feel completely uncomfortable. I finally managed to get to sleep that first night despite all the loud talking and lights on until well after midnight.
The general meetings at the conference were basically singing and preaching services. I was
totally surprised by the spirited singing and the many testimonials given by young people who had a personal experience with Christ. They spoke of God as if they knew Him personally. The break-out sessions were bible studies on specialized topics of interest to young people. Football wasn’t discussed, nor politics, nor even girls. Everybody talked about God and what He was doing in their lives. I never heard anything like it.
We ate our meals in the dining room and except for John Ed, I knew no one there. After several
days of this, it became clear to me that these people had something that was missing in my life.
After studying the bible for weeks, I had come to see that there is a need for each of us to be
saved from our sins. But I had no idea how to be saved. As I spent some free time one afternoon alone in the orchard on the grounds, I found myself quite frustrated with my inability to break through the spiritual fog. Finally, I remember saying within, “Lord, whatever it means to believe, help me to do it.”
No orchestra started up nor did any fireworks begin. But I was aware somehow that God had
heard that prayer. That time was followed by a growing consciousness of God’s presence and of
His reality. There was a sense of joy and purpose that came into my life that I knew was of a
quality I had never before experienced. I somehow knew that this was a new beginning for my life.
Later, back in Louisville, I found that my comprehension of the bible was greatly increased. It was as if my understanding was opened to spiritual things in a new and marvelous way. My desires seemed to change. The most important thing became knowing God better and living for Him.
As I studied the scripture more and more I came to see that what had happened to me was a
conversion, a new birth. Certainly, it was THE Turning Point of my life. Nothing else compares with the change within that took place when God reached down and saved me.