I was born in the flat lands of West Texas in 1951. I had a great childhood with no big problems.
In my late teens I became convinced that the key to life was to eat organic food and drink pure water. In 1972 I moved to N.W. Arkansas to “live off the land.” My friends and I told a local realtor that we wanted 40 acres with a spring. He accommodated, and we were on our way. Little did I know that I was on my way to find the “living water” of life.
In 1975, I married a “hippie” girl who had three children. We lived in a teepee in southern Washington County. It is at this point that many stories talk about endless searching, inner emptiness, and loneliness. Not so, for me. It is hard to be lonely while living in a tepee with three children. I was happy. I had found the “good life”.
That same year, we purchased a piece of land without water. We heard about a man with a backhoe in the neighborhood and went to talk to him about digging a well. It turns out that this family was from Latvia. They had ten children and were living on 40 acres of land near us.
The remarkable behavior of their children (when contrasted with our own) caught our attention. This family introduced us to Jesus Christ. They told us that we were all sinners and that Jesus had died to take the penalty of our sins on Himself.
Being told I was a sinner made me mad, and I told Lynn I would not go back to visit the family from Latvia.
That night I had an encounter with Jesus. God’s Spirit revealed to me I was indeed a sinner, a person who had spent his life seeking only self-fulfillment. Even though I had never robbed, raped or murdered, I had hurt numerous people by being self-centered with no regard for how my actions impacted others. The Lord reminded me of several situations where this had happened and I began to feel a sorrow about my selfishness.
The most impacting realization was that God was indeed real, and I had ignored Him for my entire life.
I felt as if Christ had His hand extended, offering reconciliation.
The family from Latvia had shared with us that Jesus had gone to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. I was impacted that this One who had suffered so much was now in my presence giving me a personal invitation to come to Him.
For me it was not so much an issue of heaven or hell but an offer to have a relationship with a God who loved me. I acknowledged my sins to Christ, asked for forgiveness, and invited Him into my life. I received Christ as my Savior and He welcomed me as his born again child. I remember how happy I was that I now had a relationship with God.
I did not know it at the time, but my wife had invited Christ into her life earlier that day at the Latvian family’s home. She had been praying for me to come to know Him too.
God was very gracious to bring us both to Him on the same day. That was in the late summer of 1975. In the fall of 1976 we joined the Mission Boulevard Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
We are still privileged to be serving Him there and we are thankful for our new life in Christ. Indeed, I was looking for water and found the “living water” of life.