Sunday School teachers beware. Your ministry is of utmost importance. My elderly Sunday school teacher was Ms. Grace Petts, and I remember her faithfully teaching young brats (mainly me) through all of my childhood in Quebec. One sunny spring day after Sunday school when I was 10, I just felt convicted, and I just wanted Jesus and what he offered. It’s still hard to explain, and I just knew I was in the wrong. I went up to Ms. Petts and surprised her by saying, “I want to ask for forgiveness and follow Jesus” (or something like that). I do remember that she seemed almost as surprised as I was because I had this strong conviction of sin and knowledge of needing Jesus. We prayed that instant, and although I wasn’t a convicted murderer, I just felt lighter. A long time afterwards, when I began to study the Bible in earnest, I understood that it’s the Holy Spirit’s work to convict the world of sin and all we need to do is accept this free gift which is available to all. Jesus’s sacrifice is sufficient for all, and the message is so simple!
A few years later on a Sunday night service, a missionary was showing slides of his time in Africa, and one slide depicted people getting baptized in a river. That weird thing happened again to me, and after that service, I told the pastor of the church that I needed to get baptized too! Although I knew it was not for salvation, it was an act that I wanted to follow Jesus. Again, I remember that surprised look on the pastor’s face because he probably thought I wanted to be a pilot like that missionary that just spoke. I was baptized shortly afterwards at thirteen. My love for the Bible was likely handed down to me, unconsciously by my father and mother. I found out when I was older. The Catholic Church excommunicated my parents because they stood by the simple Good News that is clearly stated in the Bible that by believing (repenting and following) in Jesus alone, you are saved, once and for all!
Growing up as they did in the 1930-1940’s Spain, it was a courageous thing to do. My father would show me those scriptures by which they lost family and friends, and I am still amazed how such simple words that scream love, compassion and giving by our only Saviour can make people so angry. Finally, this part of my young life ended when I ‘stole’ my father’s Bible when I was fourteen, as I forgot my Bible at home on Sunday morning and I asked for it. He handed it over to me in the back seat of the car, and I never gave it back. I still use it today, and I am reminded of how he underlined some essential truths that are available to all.
Anyone who reads this knows that God loves you and wants all to be saved in Jesus. (PS, He never asked for it back but instead bought one of those super Bibles with tons of commentaries), so it all worked out.