Today I have been thinking about my conversion to Jesus Christ. I am always overwhelmed that God would come to such as I. I was raised a Roman Catholic, but in process of time I wandered away from it because it was never real to me. As I grew up, because I was weak, I fell into very gross sins. When I was 16 years old and a senior in High School, I ran away from home and joined the army, using a forged birth certificate. I spent over five years in the army.

After basic training I was sent to Japan and assigned to the 11th Airborne Division. I completed jump school and became a paratrooper on 1 Jun 48. My catholic upbringing got farther and farther away from me as I experienced more and more of life. The lustful pleasures were so easily available in Japan at that time and I readily gave myself to them.

In February of 1949 my division returned to the US and was stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY. I bought a motorcycle and frequently went my home town in Princeton, Indiana, where I had been raised up. I met my dear wife at that time. She was sweet sixteen and I was eighteen. We fell in love (and still are in love after 62 years) and got married on 18 May 1950. We thought that we were all grown up but we were just children.

A little over a month later North Korea invaded South Korea and America went to war. Gen. MacArthur had asked for a regimental combat team of paratroopers and I was in the unit that went over. I landed at Seoul, Korea, on 23 Sep 1950 by air and went into action. For the next several months I experienced and saw terrible things. But in all that time I never seriously thought about God or what would happen to me if I were killed. Even when I came close to death and my two best friends were killed, God was not in my thoughts.

On 15 Feb 1951 I was wounded in the arm and the ulnar nerve was permanently damaged. The use of my right hand was as though I was wearing a glove and I could not pull my thumb back. In short, my army days were over. So I was finally discharged on 31 Jan 1953. And I didn't know what to do. There just is no need for a rifleman in civilian life.

I didn't have a high school diploma. So I thought that I couldn't go to college, even if I wanted to do so. But as it turned out, Indiana had a law that all state colleges had to take in a veteran on trial. So I attended the university in physics and mathematics. And this pulled me farther and farther away from God or even any thoughts about God.

It turned out that I was far more intelligent than I had ever supposed or cared to be. I graduated fro college in two and a half years and then went to graduate school in physics. By the time that I had been in college four years I had my masters degree and I had almost all of my course work finished for the PhD. But I had no real interest in anything. The war had done something to me. I could see no reason to live or work or try to excel. So I left school and took a job doing research for General Dynamics.

In time I became an agnostic. So now I was not only steeped in physical sins, but I was equally afflicted with spiritual sins. By the time that I was 28 years old, I was married and had three children. At that time I became a professor of physics at Indiana State University. I was grossly wicked and terribly proud and arrogant. I was filled with myself and had no place for God in my life. In truth, I sincerely doubted that God existed.

Then the most amazing, frightening, and exciting thing happened to me, even more so than my time in combat in Korea. I actually met the living God. He came to me and spoke to me. And I was never more afraid in my life.

On the 3rd of August of 1961, when I was 30 years old, I was teaching a summer class of advanced physics at the university. After my morning class I decided to go to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. I was very popular with the students and normally several of them would be going with me. But on this day I was alone. When I walked out of the building and started across the campus, I was about to experience the most frightening thing that had ever happened to me.

I was not thinking about God because I almost never thought about God. I was thinking about the physics problem that I had been working on the chalk board for the class. Then, and I am not able to adequately describe it, a voice came from somebody standing behind me. I even looked behind me to see who it was. But there was nobody there. This voice was so powerful, although not loud, that it reached down to my soul. It said, "But suppose that you are wrong?" That is all that it said. But it was so filled with power that I began to tremble because I knew what He meant. I knew without a single doubt that it was God speaking to me. And fear gripped my soul.

At that moment, for the first time in my life, I knew three things for certain. And I had never known anything for certain before in my life. First, I knew that it was the voice of the living God and that He exists. Second, I knew that He cares about how we live and what we think. And third, I knew that I was lost and going to hell. I trembled in fear.

But I was so ignorant about the things of God. I didn't know a single scripture verse because I had never learned anything about the Bible in my life. I knew that the Catholic Church could not help me because in reality they know nothing about the true God. I didn't know what to do. So I feared and trembled.

For ten days I would teach my classes and go home and listen to sad classical music. All this time the Lord was speaking to me in my heart (what the apostle John calls "the light that appears to all men"). I was lost, I was lost, and I didn't know what to do! But the Lord little by little showed me truth. First He showed me why Jesus had to die for lost souls. This is something that I never really understood before. Then He showed me that I had to have a changed heart or I would never be able to live a holy life. I began to see that God hates sin and will never allow a sinner to enter into heaven. But then He showed me something even more startling. He showed me that I would have to leave the world and all of its ways and pleasures if I wanted to belong to Him.

By revelation I saw that the world belongs to Satan and that one cannot serve Satan and God at the same time. In other words, I had to separate myself from every evil and worldly thing. I saw that the sports, the politics, the dress fashions, the TV, the movies, Disney World, in other words, all worldly pleasures and pursuits would have to go from my life.

Then I faced the hardest of all. I saw that I would lose all of my friends and that my Catholic family would despise me. I saw that all of the students that admired me so much would laugh at me and that all of my university colleagues would think that I had lost my mind. All of this became clear to me through the light that shone in my heart.

As I said, those ten days were the most miserable ten days of my life. The fear of a real burning hell gripped my heart so that I almost could not sleep. I didn't know if I could live a sinless life. I didn't know if I could bear the loss of all of the things that I saw that I had to lose. For ten days I was tossed up and down and from side to side.

Finally, on the 13th of August of 1961, a day to be remembered by me forever, I awoke at about 10 in the morning. When I opened my eyes, I knew that God was in the room. I could feel His awesome presence. And I could feel that He was angry with me. I was so scared that I felt like vomiting. Then He spoke to me in my heart. These are His exact words that I remember even after 50 years. "If you do not yield yourself to me this day, I will leave you and I will never come back to you again. If you live a thousand years, it won't matter because I will never come to you. You will drop off into hell without remedy."

Oh, my friend! I was so afraid that I could hardly breathe. All day long I wrestled with myself. I did not want to go to hell, but I could not bear to lose all of my life. I struggled and struggled until I was worn our. Finally, at about 9 that night I fell to my knees. I looked up to heaven and said, "Lord, I don't know how to pray, but I am yours." And with all of my heart I meant it. I meant that I was giving Him my body, my soul, and my spirit to be His forever and ever.

Oh, my friend! What can I say! Old things passed away and all things became new! I felt His hand reach into my heart and lift that 100 pound weight of guilt off of it. I knew that I was a child of God and that I was on the road to heaven. That was the happiest day of my life and I don't expect a happier until that day that I go to heaven to be with my wonderful Savior.

Then the Lord was with me every day, showing me how to walk to please Him. He delivered me from bad language so that in over 50 years I have not spoken a bad word. He took the lust out of my heart. He put a longing in my heart to be made to conform to the image of Christ. After almost 50 years I still love to tell the wonderful story of how He came to this poor lost soul and brought him freedom from sin and slavery to this world. Amen.