I first heard the gospel the summer after high school graduation living with my grandfather in Florida. My grandfather lined up a mechanic job in a lawnmower repair shop. One day in the middle of the summer, my boss, Hal Foy, gave me a small New Testament Bible and nervously shared the the gospel and how I could have peace with God. He then asked, “Can you think about it overnight and let me know what you think?”
I returned to work the next day and told Hal, “thanks but no thanks” and went on with my summer not giving God or the Bible another thought. Hal didn’t bring it up either but I’m sure he was praying.
At the end of summer, on the plane back home to Tucson, I was sitting in my seat when I saw a college age guy coming down the aisle with an “atlas sized” book under his arm. He sat down in the open seat next to me. The huge book in my mind turned out to be a study Bible. On the first leg of the trip to Dallas, I peppered him with questions like “so what about the dinosaurs and Noah’s Ark?”
What surprised me was how he answered honestly and when he wasn’t sure of answer, he admitted it. Which gave him even greater credibility on what he did know. He shared the gospel again with me and again I was not interested.
That fall, I started at the University of Arizona to study Mechanical Engineering. There in the midst of the stress of my first year of studies, I found the little New Testament my boss had given to me rifling through my desk drawer and then I read through the highlighted verses that Hal had underlined. At the end it gave directions to “pray and invite Christ into your life.” So I prayed a simple prayer. At that moment I experienced a degree of peace I had not felt before. Somehow knowing that God was in control helped my anxiety. Just to be sure I continued to pray for several days following until honestly I eventually forgot about it.
The following semester, I pledged a fraternity and really forgot about God. It wasn’t until my junior year, a fraternity brother invited me to a retreat with Cru. It was there that I experienced Christian brotherhood that far surpassed what I was experiencing in my fraternity. I then got involved in a Bible study with some other fraternity men, started attending church, and began sharing my faith with my friends.
After college, I worked several years as an engineer and was involved in my local church discipling and sharing my faith alongside my college pastor. It was during this time that I believed God was calling me into full time ministry with Cru. I was a good engineer and was leading a lunchtime prayer group, but I seemed to enjoy what I was doing in my spare time at church discipling men more than my engineering work.
This led me to pray and seek counsel from my pastor and trusted friends. I then took a step of faith and resigned my engineering job and joined staff with Cru in 1986. My first assignment was a summer mission trip with Cru in Romania and then in the fall I joined the staff team at UCLA.