Photo by Brianna Rapp
The first time I remember the Holy Spirit convicting me of my sin was in 1972 when I was 18 years old. My mother was being baptized in John’s Creek and I was standing on the swinging bridge overlooking the creek. The song that was sung was “Shall We Gather at the River?” I felt a tug at my heart, but I didn’t really know what it was.
A few years later, in 1981, I was invited to play on a softball team with a member of a local Baptist church. I had anger issues and I always wanted to win. Sometimes I got really upset, but the man who had invited me to play never got upset or angry. There was something different about him. He was a super person—very helpful, very patient.
He and his wife came to visit my wife and me in our home. I remember the night very well—it was on a Thursday—and before they came I knew someone was coming. He shared the gospel with my wife and me that night. I responded, “Not today,” but told them I would go to church with him. He gave me a New Testament outline Bible which had outlines of different topics in it, such as “What is faith?” and “What is sin?” The next day at work I read the topic, “What is sin?” and after I finished, I knew I was a sinner.
The next Sunday morning, we played a softball game early and then later that morning I went to church. My wife, daughter, and mother-in-law went to church with me. When the invitation was given, my mother-in-law made a profession of faith. Then after the service was finished, my wife made a profession of faith, but I didn’t. I knew I was a sinner, but I thought I had plenty of time. “Not today.” However, that afternoon I kept thinking about it—and it was the most miserable day of my life. My wife and I went back to church that evening. I will never forget the invitation hymn that was sung that night: “O Why Not Tonight?” I went forward and made a profession of faith.
It was the beginning of my walk with the Lord. The people at our church were so loving and good to us. It was as if we had fallen into a gold mine of love. Within a month after my baptism, I began the Continuous Witnessing Class. It was a 13-week study of scripture memorization and training about how to share Christ with others. I decided to go through the study twice because I felt like I had just memorized it the first time. The second time I really learned what it meant. After completion, our church had a visitation program. My wife and I participated in the weekly visitation. Once a week we went to different homes in the community to talk with people about Christ. Sometimes we would know the people we were visiting and sometimes the people were strangers to us. We would knock on the door and I would say, “Hi, I am Roger. I am from the Baptist church and I wanted to sit down and talk with you for a few minutes if you’re got the time.” It was very rare for people to say no. Sometimes I could tell people were not receptive and we did not share the gospel, but many times people were open and we would share. The home visitation was fruitful. One year we had over 100 baptisms at our small church and a good part of this was a result of the church-wide participation in visiting. At church, the gospel is shared in general but not in a personal one-on-one way. This one-on-one sharing is what many people need, as it becomes personal. I am a very shy person, and knocking on doors and sharing with people was hard for me, but along the way God changed me. God was always with me and He always preceded me in everything. He gave me more confidence and helped me to share what He had done for me—which is the best testimony of all. God gave me the words; I was just a tool.
One of the ways that God has worked in my life is through my job. I started working as a heavy equipment operator when I was 18 years old. I worked 10–12 hours a day, six days a week and sometimes on Sunday. Several years ago I felt the Lord was calling me to do something different. I didn’t have any time for my family and my body was beginning to ache. It was not a healthy way to live. I started praying, “Where can I get a different job start to support my family?” Out of the blue someone called me and asked if I was interested in beginning a new career. The job would be for the county school system. I was told the staring salary. It was a $2,200 pay cut per month! I accepted the job. My wife is a school teacher (former banker) and she created a budget to make the new salary work. I am now on my 17th year in the school system and we are debt free!
In my job at the school system I take care of all the textbooks (ordering and distribution into the classrooms), and I also drive a school bus. It is 40 hours a week, compared to the 70-plus hours per week I was working before. It has been so refreshing to spend time with my wife and daughters that I never had before. After I changed jobs, I was able to drop my youngest daughter off at school every morning. Now I have a granddaughter that I can enjoy activities with. It has been the best money I have never made in my life! Also, physically and mentally it is so much healthier for me. My body would have been broken by now if I had stayed at my old job. Now I get up at 4 a.m. every morning and walk six miles before I go to work.
The change in jobs also allows me more time for ministry and service for my Lord and Savior. My wife and I are very involved in our church. I have an opportunity to visit people who may be sick and in the hospital. I also have opportunities for ministering at funerals. I also know some of the needs of the children and the families in our church field as a result of driving a school bus. This allows me to better serve them because I see what they really need. My job often requires me to be out in a lot of our schools daily. I have had people ask me to pray for them, and I pray for them right then wherever it may be.
God has saved me and has given me the opportunity to serve Him and grow spiritually. I am so grateful for the opportunity. He didn’t need me but He used me. God has always placed positive people in our lives that have helped us to grow spiritually. My Savior is so loving and forgiving, so full of grace and mercy. I don’t know where I would be without Him. The blessings of God are all around us. All we have to do to receive them is to be obedient.
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.