It all started about three years ago. My father had mobility problems and his Christian friend used to pick him up in his car and drive him around, mostly to see his mates for a natter, to drink tea and put the world to rights. He also took my mother and father to church on a Sunday morning. I was always the odd one out in the family – my mother, father and brother were all Christians, but I was not.
Unfortunately, my father’s friend died suddenly. After his death I realised that my father couldn’t get to church as he had no-one to give him a lift. I decided that I would take him and my mother to church on Sunday mornings. At first, I had no intention of going into the service – I thought I would drop them off and pick them up when they were ready – but on the day, I thought to myself, ‘I am here now, so I may as well go in and listen.’
The pastor read from the Bible and he explained what it meant in layman’s terms. He was very good at making the message of the Bible clear. I decided that I would continue to go into the church and listen on Sunday mornings when I took my parents.
After a while I started to read the Bible myself at home, but there were lots of things I read that I didn’t understand. I thought that if God wanted me to become a Christian, he would help me to understand.
Consequently, every week at home, I read a passage from the Bible, and on the next Sunday morning the pastor would read the same passage in church and explain what it meant! This happened for many weeks. I even picked random passages from different parts of the Bible but every Sunday, no matter which part of the Bible I read from at home, the pastor would read that same passage and explain what it meant to the congregation! At this point, I realised it was no coincidence; I realised that God loved me and was looking after me, and I asked God to forgive me for my sins.
Several months later, the pastor explained baptism to me, and I asked to be baptised. At my baptism, I gave my testimony and told folk how I’d become a Christian. This is what I said:
For those of you who do not know me, my name is Neil Jones and I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried and defeated death to rise again so that I could be saved from my sins. It took a long time for me to become a Christian. There was no ‘blinding light on the road to Damascus’ for me. It was more like a battle of attrition between me and God. I thought I was a tough guy who didn’t need anybody. I had built these strong walls around myself and around my heart so that nobody could hurt me, but God kept chipping away at the walls little by little, and the cracks started to appear. Eventually, over the years, the walls came tumbling down. It felt that there was something missing in my life and I asked God to come into my heart.
My mother and father have been praying for me to ‘see the light’ for at least forty years, if not more. It just goes to show that their perseverance was rewarded and their prayers answered in the end. Nobody knows how God is working, quietly, in people’s hearts. My parents never gave up, and were rewarded after many years of faithful endurance.
I hope my testimony gives you encouragement if you have ageing members of your family who are not yet Christians, as it has others. Keep on praying; my story shows that it is never too late.