How God Touched My Life
I was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England in 1947. As a young boy God touched my life in two ways. My grandmother who lived with us always prayed the Lord’s prayer each night before going to bed. I was also in a church choir. A highlight was when the choir made a trip to London and on my 8th birthday we sang in Westminster Abbey.
In 1957, at the age of ten, I came to Canada with my parents and grandmother settling in St. Catharines, Ontario. Those early years in Canada were difficult as my parents struggled to make ends meet.
At the end of high school, I entered Electrical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. The same year that I came to Canada, a young girl named Michelle, moved with her family from Quebec City to St. Catharines. Thirteen years later we met on a blind date set up by our friends. We became engaged on a rainy night, close to the edge of Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We married in 1972. This relationship of a bilingual French-Canadian with a unilingual Englishman has stood the test as we approach almost 50 years of marriage. Over the years God has blessed giving us two children and five grandchildren.
During the first year of our marriage, I worked as an electrical engineer in St. Catharines. We then moved to Waterloo, Ontario so that I could continue university. After graduating with a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering we moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where I worked as a Defense Research Scientist. A few years later, I took a job as a Computer Systems Analyst at Maritime Command Headquarters in Halifax.
One day I was told I would have to share my office with a new employee. The first thing my new co-worker named Hal did, was to place a huge black Bible on the corner of his desk closest to my desk. He was not afraid to share his faith and did so every day. At that time, I felt like a prisoner in my own office. My feelings must have been like those of the guards who were chained to the apostle Paul while he was held prisoner in Rome. One day I went with Hal to a Bible bookstore where I purchased and read a book called “How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious.” It was a study of the Book of Romans. As well, Hal and his wife invited Michelle and I to join them at a Billy Graham Crusade in Halifax.
Career-wise I started getting itchy feet. Looking back, I know that God was working out His plan. I applied to different jobs and at the end of a multi-hour interview I was offered a position in St. Catharines. I gladly accepted and in December 1979 we moved back to St. Catharines. We put an offer on a house below asking price and they accepted. The Lord’s hand was in that since it placed us very close to a church that would play a big part in our conversion. At that time, we started receiving a monthly newsletter from a Christian organization, that I believe Hal had subscribed for us. In the newsletter there was a schedule for reading through the Bible in a year. Over the next two years I followed that schedule and read my Bible twice. We also started watching TV evangelists.
We began discussing religious instruction for our children. One Sunday morning in 1980 Michelle ran into the bedroom shouting, “Get up, we’re going to church.” She had called to find out if they had a Sunday school. We were invited to come as a family. Off we went to our first meetings at Scottlea Gospel Chapel where we received a warm welcome. But it was the biblically based preaching that really grabbed us. Perhaps I should say the Holy Spirit grabbed us through the Word. From then on Michelle and I could not get enough of the Word of God, and we faithfully attended the meetings at Scottlea.
Mr. Arnot McIntee (an elder at Scottlea) and his dear wife Helen, along with other believers from the assembly, spent time in our home and invited us to their homes. In the summer of 1982, Michelle accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. I struggled with salvation as pride and supposed scientific logic kept me back. Then on Sunday morning September 26, 1982, Arnot spoke from Mark’s Gospel chapter 10 concerning the rich young ruler who turned his back on Jesus. One phrase stuck in my mind, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him” (Mark 10:21). That afternoon I wrestled with what to do. I was not rich, I was not a ruler, and I was not young anymore. But I wanted what that rich young ruler had rejected. Before the evening meeting I met with Arnot in a Sunday school room in the chapel basement and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.
My dear friend Mr. McIntee spent many hours discipling me, picking me up very early on many Friday mornings to go for prayer with a few other men at the assembly. Then Arnot and I went to a restaurant where we did a Bible Study together over breakfast. Following that wonderful time in God’s Word, Arnot drove me to work in downtown St. Catharines. Arnot led a Bible study in his home for us and other new believers. At Scottlea, I was given the opportunity to preach the Word of God with the help of Mr. McIntee and the other elders.
In 1986 I was offered an opportunity in Ottawa, Ontario or face job loss. In Ottawa I had several jobs in IT consulting, ending my career with my own one-man consulting business. For 34 years, Michelle and I have been in fellowship at Bridlewood Bible Chapel and it has been a pleasure to serve the Lord in various capacities as well as preaching the Word in other assemblies in Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, and New Hampshire. At times we engaged in children’s and youth work and for several years I served on the oversight of our assembly.
The Lord has been good. However, becoming a believer does not mean that we will be free from difficulties. Our son was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that spread to several organs in his body. The prognosis was not good. But thanks be to God, he made a full recovery and has been cancer free for over twenty years.
Our God has brought us safely through some rough times and He continues to do so. In August of 2019, I was diagnosed with high-risk aggressive prostate cancer, and in the autumn of 2019 during a CT scan for the prostate cancer, a tumor was found on my left kidney. In June 2021, a very skilled surgeon at the Ottawa Hospital surgically removed the tumor and part of my left kidney. Pathology confirmed clear cell renal cell carcinoma.
The cancers are now under control. Again, we praise our God for the healing, strength, courage, and comfort He gives us. During my cancer journey, the Lord has opened many doors to share the gospel. Even during the days spent at the cancer center for radiation treatment I was able to hand out tracts and speak to others about the Lord. I have become acquainted with other cancer patients both in person and online. There continues to be many opportunities for me to witness to and encourage them.
When I look back, I can only marvel at how our God brought into my life the circumstances, events, and people that led to our salvation. Our great God continues to bless us in so many ways.