I Became a Christian at the University of Oregon

I became a Christian the day I met a man named Lee Bennett. Lee came to my dorm room and, after we got acquainted, he asked if he could share the Bible with me. I said he could. Lee spoke to me the immortal words in the gospel of John:

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I felt something pounding in my chest; It was Christ; He wanted in! As Lee talked to me, and answered my questions, Jesus became my master. That was January 27, 1970.

Jesus Christ’s words, at the entrance to the University of Oregon Library

So, in my twenties I became an evangelist in the student union building on my college campus. Though I am by nature a shy person, my heart was still pounding, for my classmates, because “whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That was in my twenties.

In my thirties, I pastored a church in rural California. I am grateful to those farming families for giving this young man a chance to preach the gospel of God so loved the world.

We sold our possessions and, in my forties, became missionaries. I moved my family to the Middle East, because the love of God compelled us. Those were probably the happiest, hardest days of my life. No wonder Jordan Grooms said, “If God calls me to be a missionary, I would not stoop to be a king.”

In 1997 we moved to Seattle, having been forced to leave Iraq during a time of civil unrest. We thought we would never again see our Kurdish neighbors and friends; Saddam Hussein threatened to come north and kill them all, and this was no empty threat. The US Government took this threat seriously and brought thousands of Kurds to the US in a great act of mercy. I started a non-profit in Seattle called Friends of the Kurds and arranged for many Kurds to arrive in Seattle and be welcomed by church friends who opened their hearts and homes.

In 2000 we moved to Arizona. There, in my fifties and sixties I led a wonderful mission agency, Frontiers. I am told that I guided almost a hundred new team leaders to go to “the regions beyond.” Our mission: “With love and respect inviting all Muslim peoples to follow Jesus.” Some missionaries saw miracles; some suffered great sorrows. All made a difference that will last for eternity. If you can think of anything better than that, you will have to tell me, because I can’t!

When I was 64 I moved to a new role, President of Frontiers US. Now, in our seventies, Jan and I have led a soldier’s life for fifty years. I have been a college evangelist, a pastor, a missionary and a mission agency executive. And you know what? Our hearts still beat for John 3:16. And you know what else? Greg Livingstone said, “It’s too soon to celebrate, and too soon to quit.” The world cannot end yet; a better day is coming for millions who will “glorify God for his mercy. We should be on tiptoes to see what is going to happen next!