I was born in Ottawa, ON, Canada on February 23, 1943, in the middle of World War II. I was my mom’s first child, and the first grandchild of my dad’s parents who we lived with all during the war. For a time, I was the “fair haired boy,” that is until my dad who had been away in the air force came home. I did not appreciate his arrival home; he was a superior rival for my mom’s attentions. This caused a lifelong tension between my dad and myself. I was a sickly child, missing many days at school with asthma.
We were a zealous Roman Catholic family. As the oldest son, at thirteen years of age, I was sent to study for the priesthood at a monastery in Nova Scotia. I decided that this was not for me, so I left the monastery after the first year, never to return. I never did tell my parents the reason. I associated religion with God and turned away from both for 25 years.
Fast cars and a worldly lifestyle occupied my teen years. In my early twenties I met Trish. We married in 1966, (she has now been my wonderful wife of 57 years). Trish soon gave birth to two special sons, Christopher and Robin who brought us 8 grandchildren.
In a 1968 automobile accident, I killed a young 13-year-old girl who was riding her bicycle on a busy highway. This event left me traumatized and turned my peaceful life upside down. I continued my running pastime, eventually working up to running marathons. While out on one of my runs, as I reviewed my life, I realized something was missing. I prayed to God that He would take control of my life, “IF” He could improve it. “What a strange prayer!” I thought afterwards, after years void of any meaningful religious or spiritual activity.
I was employed in the Narcotics Control Division of the Federal Health and Welfare Department for nine years and 49 days. One of my duties was transporting millions of dollars of heroin to the incinerator at Tunney’s Pasture, a block of government buildings in Ottawa. I was uneasy about transporting this in a small Ford Falcon, with no armed guard. My boss told me, “Don’t worry, no one will ever suspect this method of transport,” thankfully he was right.
Eventually my Thaasophobia (fear/dislike of boredom) got the best of me while working mostly in clerical and microfilm duties, (though I did well, winning the highest value suggestion award in the history of the department up until 1972). I left the government, to the chagrin of my family, and began to recruit on the street for a cosmetic company, (great for overcoming fear of rejection which served me well later doing door-to-door work as a Christian). As I progressed in the cosmetics company, we moved in 1973 to Toronto. When the company closed in 1975, I worked as a headhunter for DGS Group. During that time, I was recruited myself as the Toronto rep for an Ottawa pollution detection company. We later moved back to Ottawa where I became sales manager for that struggling company. As sales increased, my commissions decreased. It so happened that my friend who was doing engineering, was also unhappy. We got together and decided to start our own business. We aimed at building an electronics company but had no startup funds (I had previously worked for an office cleaning company during high school).
We borrowed $250, bought a used floor cleaning machine, and built ADEUM Cleaning one customer at a time. We built ADEUM electronics in the daytime and cleaned offices at night. ADEUM Electronics grew quickly, serving many international clients. Several years later, my conversion to Christ would cause division between my partner and me. When he left in 1991, I ran the business for a few more years then retired.
During my travels after office cleaning, I began listening to Bible preaching on the radio, (not biblically correct teaching as I now realize), but there was much scripture from the book of Daniel which didn’t return void (Isa. 55:11).
As I was listening to a radio broadcast several years later, on a February Sunday morning in 1984, I realized that all my many sins had been forgiven. I believe that the speaker quoted from 1 Peter 2:24: “Who His own self [Jesus] bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” I realized that He is “the Lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world” as stated in the Gospel of John.
I knew nothing about the “brethren assemblies,” so I called several local churches and asked Bible questions. An elder at Rideauview Bible Chapel gave the best answers, so we showed up on a Sunday and hurried past the greeters to avoid questions! They explained later, to my surprise, that I had been “born again” at 41 years of age. Truly this was the work of the Holy Spirit since we had been told often in the Roman Catholic church about the death of the Lord Jesus, but I had “head knowledge” only.
In 1987, Jim Paul, a full-time worker in Ottawa, was beginning a prison ministry at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre and asked me to join him. The thought of prison was repulsive to me at the time, so I flatly refused. I soon lost my peace, and reluctantly agreed to accompany him. The ministry grew quickly, but my peace was again disturbed a few years later when Jim announced that he was moving away. How could I, as a relatively new believer with zero prison experience, possibly lead a prison team, and represent an international ministry.
Soon after I began, I was unexpectedly asked to join the board of directors of New Life Prison Ministry, where I served for 24 years. The Lord blessed, upheld, and enabled me to continue as team leader in Ottawa for 33 years. God was indeed faithful!
As we attended Rideauview Bible Chapel, it came to our attention that a new work in Kanata, a growing city west of Ottawa, was planned. This sounded interesting, so we attended the initial startup meetings at the home of Fred Shaver, one of the elders, and Bridlewood Bible Chapel was born in 1984, initially meeting in a house.
The Lord kept placing me in positions where, in myself, I was completely inadequate. With no assembly background, a few years later in 1992, I was asked to begin a new ministry as an elder at Bridlewood Bible Chapel which I continued in for over 12 years. I had no idea what that meant but the Lord was with me. He strengthened and helped me (Isa. 41:10). As the assembly grew, and building plans took shape in the new assembly building, I was asked to take over as treasurer, with absolutely no accounting or bookkeeping experience. Brother Harry Norris came alongside and mentored me through the successful construction completion. As I look back, I realize how completely it was the Lord who carried me through (like the “Footprints” poem).
In my final days, I am enjoying door to door ministry with excellent reception in the Bridlewood neighborhood, as well as VIA magazine distribution in my own neighborhood. Recently diagnosed with incurable liver cancer at age 80, my life expectancy (according to doctors), is 6-12 months.
I am completely at peace. Jesus said:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” John 14:27
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
“And even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isa. 46:4)
Surely these promises of the Lord have been and continue to be true in my life!