by Pastor Patrick Holt
Bible Baptist Church
Grover Hill, Ohio
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)
MY FATHER WAS BORN in 1923 to an unsaved father and a Christian mother. He attended church as a small boy with his mother but stopped going as a teen. He dropped out of school in the tenth grade to help on their farm during the Depression. He served in the Army during World War II in the South Pacific.
After returning home from the war he met my mother, and they would be married in 1947. Although my dad didn’t attend church, he told my mom that we would attend a church that was about ten miles from us when there was one that was only a mile and a half from us. After attending for a short time and hearing about salvation, my mom was saved.
And thus began the many years of praying for the salvation of my father. My dad would allow us to go to Sunday school and church on Sunday mornings and to revival meetings. My dad disliked the church and preachers. He said that churches only wanted people’s money. He would normally attend our Christmas program in December. Many people joined us in praying for my dad’s salvation.
About 20 years later a young soul-winning man became our pastor. My dad began to attend church on Sunday evenings. One summer Sunday afternoon after baptizing some new converts in a river near us, my brother-in-law, who had been saved a few weeks before, asked our pastor if he would come over and talk to my dad about salvation. My brother-in-law and I went over to my parents’ home, knowing that our pastor was coming.
This time my dad didn’t go out the opposite door as the preacher came to the door. After some conversation, my pastor asked Dad about salvation. Dad responded that he had never been saved. My preacher gave the plan of salvation and asked my dad if he wanted to be saved.
My dad simply shook his head “No.”
My preacher, knowing that my dad was under conviction, pleaded with him one more time, and we knelt at a footstool in the living room, and for the first time in my life, I heard my dad pray as he received Christ as his Saviour. We were all crying as we rose from our knees. Dad was saved about 26 years after Mom had begun praying for my dad!
Here are a few thoughts that might encourage you. My dad’s mother never saw my dad come to Christ because she died from a house fire while he was in the Phillipines during World War II. Still, God answered her prayer that her son would be saved!
While in the Phillipines, God paired my dad with a Christian young man from North Carolina. The two men carried wounded and dead back from the front and then returned with supplies on their trip back. This buddy prayed for my dad to be saved, and his prayer was answered. They were reunited 30 years later.
The reason why my dad wanted us to attend the church farther away was because he worked with a Christian man who attended that church, and he was always witnessing about Jesus. My dad knew that church cared about souls. Our witness on the job does matter!
Although my dad was verbally abusive to my mom, she still taught us to honor and love and respect him. She was in subjection to him. Because of her submissive spirit, he allowed her to teach a primary Sunday school class for over 30 years.
By the way, God does change lives. Only about a month or two after my dad’s salvation, my pastor preached about bringing in the lost. My dad took his checkbook the next Saturday and went to my preacher and asked if there was somewhere that they could buy a used school bus for the church. An old 1959 International bus was located, and my Dad wrote a $500 check to purchase it. That old bus started six bus routes at my home church and two bus routes in the first church that I pastored. Thousands rode that bus to church and hundreds found Christ as their Saviour. Although my dad never personally led someone to Christ, through the bus that he bought, many found Christ as their Saviour. One of those bus kids is now a pastor’s wife of a church some six miles from where she found Christ.
Don’t give up! Keep praying and believing!