My parents took me to Sunday school and church services ever since I can remember. My first personal experience of the Lord was when I was six years old. I went to a Christian high school and also attended Christian colleges. I was president of my church's high school youth group. My desire was to serve the Lord in some way. While I was in college I started questioning things. A big question I had was why God was real to the people in the Old and New Testaments but not to me. I talked about God and studied His Word with other believers, but it was all historical and theoretical. One day, while walking on some hills in the Shenandoah Valley, I said, “God, I don't believe that You are not real today. Bring me to the people to whom You are real.” Matthew 7:7 came to my mind, “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” I said, “Lord, I take this as Your promise to me.”
A few weeks later, through divine arrangement, I found myself in the local church in Los Angeles. One afternoon as I was with some young brothers fellowshipping around their dinner table eating strawberries I had the distinct realization that I could see God right in those brothers! He was real to those believers! Early the next morning as I was sitting on some steps outside, I remembered my prayer and the Lord's promise in Matthew 7:7. I knew this was His answer, and I felt that I had found my home.
My parents were very concerned when they heard that I wanted to move to Los Angeles to be more involved in the Christian fellowship I had enjoyed there. Those first few years were difficult because of their fears. (That period of time was during the hippie and Jesus movement in this country in the late '60's and early '70's). But as time went on, they discovered that nearly the only ones in our family that they could have true fellowship with and who understood and agreed with what they had to say about the Lord were my wife and I. Now, they are in their mid-eighties. They often read 15 or 20 chapters in the Bible a day, and we have wonderful fellowship.
I have now been meeting in the local churches for about fifty years, and I know with assurance that the Lord has done much in me that satisfies His heart.