Labrador History - 1.3 CONVERSION


Mary Taylor1.3 CONVERSION
Why did I decide to go to Labrador in the first place? My original intention was to go there for one year only, but I stayed for over thirty years! At the time my motive was to get experienge before going to the mission field, but I was to learn that our plans are not always God’s plans. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” [Isaiah 55:9-10]
I was born in England, in the small village of Desford, Leicestershire. When I was six, we moved to the town of Malvern, in Worcestershire, where my sisters and brother were born and where the little family grew up. Malvern was a beautiful place, situated on a hillside and we spent a very happy childhood there. I had three sisters and a brother, all younger than I. My sister Jean was born when we first moved to Malvern and Brenda two years later. My brother Tom was born when I was twelve and Susan when I was fifteen.
When I was twelve, my sisters and I started going to school in Worcester, about seven miles away, travelling each day by train. It was while I was attending this school that I met a Claire, a girl who was to have quite an influence on my life. We were in our early teens, when one day Claire told me she had something special to tell me. The “special” news was that she had become a Christian, which surprised me, as I thought everyone was a Christian. She went on to explain that she had been attending the CSSM, a special beach mission for children and young people, where she had heard the gospel message for the first time.
“Claire,” I said, “I always thought I had to be good to go to heaven.”
“All we like sheep have gone astray,” Claire replied, quoting a verse from the Bible. She said the young man at the beach mission had explained that we are all sinners.
“Your heart is like an apple that looks red and lovely but when you cut it open, it is rotten,” he explained. He quoted a Bible verse, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
He went on, “We need a change before we can go to heaven. It is like a little girl who has a dirty dress. She tries to wash it in the stream but the stains won’t come out, so she starts to cry. Then Jesus comes along and washes it for her, so she goes away happy. Jesus wants to wash your heart and make it white in His blood which He shed on the cross.”
Many years later I still remember the verses Claire quoted to me. They must have made quite an impression!
She went on to explain more fully, “I found out that I was a sinner and not ready to meet God, but God, in love, had sent His Son, the Lord Jesus to be my Saviour. And He had taken my place when He died on the cross, bearing the punishment for my sin. I also found out that I had to take Him as my own personal Saviour if I wanted to go to heaven.”
This was all very strange to me, as I had always thought that everyone went to heaven if they were “good.” That is, if I thought about it at all.
During the Easter holidays Claire, who lived with an aunt and uncle in the small town of Droitwich, Worcestershire, asked me to stay with her. She told me that her aunt was a Christian too, and I remember thinking that she would probably give thanks to God for our food. As we were to eat in a restaurant I was quite worried about this, thinking that it would be embarrassing! On Good Friday, Claire and I went for a long walk and again she brought up the question so dear to her heart, her new-found faith in the Lord Jesus.
I was not very happy about it and became quite argumentative. Poor Claire! I must have given her a hard time, but she was very patient with me. She lent me some books to read and I became more and more concerned, although I was careful not to let her know! I tried to put up some philosophical arguments to Claire, along the lines that it was all right to do wrong for a good cause, such as stealing to help those in need! But it didn’t get me anywhere.
One day, her aunt and I were in the sitting room together and I remember thinking, “I hope she doesn’t start talking to me about religion.” She didn’t. Later she told me that she had thought of speaking to me about the Lord, but felt it was wiser to stay quiet on that occasion.
The holiday came to an end and I returned home, still quite disturbed about the question of my soul’s salvation. Claire lent me several booklets and, as I read them, I realized that if Claire was right (and she had supported her message with frequent references to verses from the Bible) then I was wrong. And what’s more, I was on my way to hell and I certainly did not want to go there! So, one day, I asked the Lord to save me and felt all was well. Until I returned to school, that is, and Claire again brought up the subject and I told her of my decision.
“Oh, you are no different!” she replied.
Painfully I had to admit that she was right, as I still had the same desires for sin and pleasure. She gave me a booklet entitled “Safety, Certainty and Enjoyment”, and the more I read, the more uncertain I became.
Later, I discovered my problem. I wanted to have Christ as my Saviour but wanted my sin and pleasure too, and I had not counted the cost of following Him. Jesus said, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” [Luke 14:33] And so, for the next two years, I was quite unhappy, until I came to the point when I was willing to say “Yes” to the Lord, and let everything else go. We all have to come to that place if we would know Christ, as He will not take second place in our lives.
Just along the road from where we lived was a Christian school and Claire had told me that the teachers there were Christians. Some of the girls attended the same church I did. Claire had also told me about the Lord’s return, how that some day the Lord Jesus would return to earth and take His own ones home. This time was very unsettling for me, and each morning I would watch to see if the teachers from that school crossed from their living quarters on one side of the street to the school on the other. If they did, I knew that the Lord had not come and I was relieved.
The crisis came through the life and bright Christian testimony of a young Air Force officer that Claire told me about. He had suffered much ridicule for his faith in Christ and he knew what is was for men in his unit to throw boots at him when he knelt down to pray. His patient acceptance condemned ie. I finally yielded my life to Christ during a Sunday morning service at which this young man was present. This was the 25th of March 1941. A few months later he was killed in the service of his country, so never knew what an influence his testimony had on my life.
Shortly afterwards I got help from a pamphlet by Robert Laidlaw. I was with my Dad in the car on Good Friday when he stopped to make a business call and, alone in the car, I read Mr. Laidlaws’s booklet, “The Reason Why” and this made the Christian faith easier to understand.
A verse from the Bible which gave me assurance at that time was, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” which was spoken by John the Baptist, when he saw Jesus coming towards Him. It is found in John’s Gospel, chapter 1 and verse 29. I looked to the Lord Jesus, God’s Lamb, to take my sin away too.
The words of a hymn were especially meaningful to me at that time, as they showed that it wasn’t through any effort of mine that I could meet God’s standards. They were from the well-known hymn, “Rock of Ages.”
“Not the labour of my hands
Could fulfil Thy law’s demands:
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone:
Thou must save, and Thou alone!”
Shortly after my conversion I started attending some meetings for Christians, which were held in the town library. There I heard Leith Samuel, one of the speakers, announce that he would be speaking at the little Gospel Hall on Sunday night. The hall was situated at the end of Cowley Road where we lived. I was quite impressed with him as a speaker, so I decided to go and hear him and I remember that he spoke about hell, the first message I had ever heard on the subject. There were a number of sailors there that night and some of them trusted the Saviour.
Following this, I frequently attended the Sunday night Gospel meetings, and shortly afterwards met Patricia St. John, whose father was the preacher, Harold St. John. One night she invited me to supper and I met her family. Later Patricia trained as a nurse and went as a missionary to Morocco, where her brother Farnham was a doctor, and she wrote several books for children, amongst which was, “Treasures in the Snow”. Theirs was the first truly Christian family I had met. I was very impressed.