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irishman

Irishman's testimony

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I was raised in a big city in Michigan. My family claimed Catholicism, but only my sister actually went to church, until I realized that all my friends were Catholic also, and I went because they went! I guess I got my roots in Catholic catechism. I had not learned anything about God, except that my dad often asked Him to damn something, and the Catholic church introduced me to "religion". One of my best friends was always talking about being an "altar boy"--helpers that got to help the priest serve communion, and prepare it. Actually, he was a mere "gopher"! I learned the "Lord's Prayer", the "Hail Mary" and the Apostles Creed, and even stole a catechism book from the church! I knew the stations of the cross, and said the rosary several times (mostly after confession, for retribution of my sins!) But I did pray at night after I recited the Lord's prayer repetitiously. I actually knew that I had to talk to God, and not man. I hated confession--partly because it convicted me, but also because it took too long to tell all my sins! Of course, the next week I started all of them over again, knowing that if I confessed, my sins would be absolved!

This went on until after I graduated from High School. Then, I became agnostic, there was nothing for me in religion as I knew it. Not one time did anyone tell me why Jesus died on the cross! I knew he did, it was part of the Apostles Creed, but I did not know that He died for me. It all seems meaningless without personalizing it.

Oh, I wore the scapels, the St Christopher medals, and all that, but I had an emptiness inside that church did not fulfill. I needed Jesus in the worst way, but didn't know it yet! I used to sit in my car in the driveway and discuss with a fellow agnostic if there even was a God. I sunk quite low at that point, and was the bane of the neighborhood. it is not worth going into the things I did, but when I later found out that I was a sinner, I already knew it, and a high ranking one at that!

I joined the Army OctOBer 10th 1968, and took my confused religion with me. I believe that the experiences in the Army, including Vietnam, made a huge difference in my life. I began to hope there was a God, instead of wondering IF there was one. I wanted Him on my side, I knew that. Anyway, By His grace, though unknown by me, I made it through, and came home to turmoil in America! Woodstock (though in Canada, mostly US citizens I would suppose) had taken place, and Kent state where rioting was tearing the country apart, and anarchy ruled the streets, this was my America, that which my friends had lost their lives for, and I put myself in jeopardy for it too. I couldn't believe it, but it wasn't long before I adapted to the "status quo" and became part of the drug movement. I will spare you much grief, and myself with the memories of those days, but it wasn't long after that I met my wife. She was different; she wore long dresses when the hippies were wearing mini skirts, and afraid to bend over for the shortness of them. My wife worked as a waitress then, and she was quiet (as I thought women should be!), and reserved compared to the others. I began to sit in her section every time I came there, after "closing" the bar. BOB Crane was there one night (of Hogans Hero's) and all the girls were swarming around him, so out of spite, I gave my wife my autograph and told her to take it over to him, and give it to him. Instead, she kept it herself! I was a plan in the making! Anyway, the first date, she brought her cousin along, because I looked like a wooly-booger with a huge afro and a "Fu Manchu" mustache, and an old tattered Army fatigue jacket which I wore all the time. It could have stood in the corner by itself, and prOBably reeked with sweat and other unpleasant odors, yes, I was quite a sight. Anyway, I had already stood her up one time, so I knew I was on thin ice when we went out for coffee. (She doesn't drink coffee to this day, and of course, she didn't then either.)
Anyway, we began to date, and during the dating time, she talked about church, and lo, and behold! about Jesus! Anyway, it wasn't long before we decided we loved each other (a novel thing for me!) and wanted to get married. her preacher would not marry us because I was catholic, and I threw a fit, wondering what kind of preacher would be so crass, but her aunt's preacher said he would if he could talk to us first. we made an appointment, and in his office, I accepted Christ just so we could get married. We began attending there; even if was a Baptist church, I was desperate! I did, however make a real profession of faith under the strong preaching of Bro Miller, our pastor. I was "saved" in February, but was not baptized until December, but by then I was hooked--on her, and on Jesus, and haven't lost it yet! We both read the Bible together all the way through, and I was amazed at the things I read; it wasn't long until I could not get enough of it, and still I thirst for that Living water, and my daily bread from the Lord. And that is the rest of the story.


Of course I do not remember the exact verse the preacher used, but it went something like this:
The preacher showed me four things;
1. that all people are lost (Rom. 3:10.23)
2. That all people need to be saved. (Rom. 5:12-6:23)
3. That all men are saved the same way (Romans 10:9,10,13)
4 That Jesus is the only way way (Rom. 5:8~John 14:6~Acts 4:12)

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What an inspiring testimony! I was particularly touched at how the distinctive dress and deportment of your wife was used by the Holy Spirit to draw you first to her, and then to Christ.

I would also like to thank you, and all your fellow servicemen, from the bottom of my heart for your service and sacrifices for our country.

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Thanks for all the kind words...and thank you Linda for mentioning my service to my country. To be honest, I was not happy about going, but to proud to flee to Canada like some did. We did not get a great welcome when we returned, and it means a lot now to know that some appreciate it. Thanks again.

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Thanks for all the kind words...and thank you Linda for mentioning my service to my country. To be honest, I was not happy about going, but to proud to flee to Canada like some did. We did not get a great welcome when we returned, and it means a lot now to know that some appreciate it. Thanks again.

I agree that vets didn't get a good welcome, and that is a sad thing. I, too, am thankful for your service. And I think a good number of people have realized how horrid things were back then. My son is constantly approached and thanked for his service. Something I don't remember happening much during 'Nam.

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Thanks for all the kind words...and thank you Linda for mentioning my service to my country. To be honest, I was not happy about going, but to proud to flee to Canada like some did. We did not get a great welcome when we returned, and it means a lot now to know that some appreciate it. Thanks again.


No, I should think you wouldn't be too happy about going. I cannot even imagine it. But that is what makes it all the more heroic. I remember going into a Starbucks a couple of years ago and much to my surprise there were four young Marines at one of the tables. I sat down close to them and could hear them talking. One of them was going back for a second tour of duty and the others were asking him how he felt about it. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I'll get the jOB done. Sometimes you go to places you don't want to be in, and you have to do things you don't want to do. You do it anyway. Somebody has to. It might as well be me!" Goodness, it makes my eyes water just to think about it. I asked the barista to wait until I left and then give them all another drink and a pastry on me and told her to tell them it was from a grateful American (even Irish lasses can be grateful Americans!!!). They all looked so very young.

My grandfather served in the Oglaigh na hEireann (Irish Defense Forces) and I still have all the letters Papaw wrote to Mamaw. I have pictures of him from that time, too. He also looked so young. Like a little boy with a toy gun. There was such courage in his eyes.

We are grateful, sir. More grateful than we can express!

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