The Prodigal at the River’s Edge
I received the Lord at the age of fourteen. My older brothers’ dynamic salvation was a real testimony to our whole family. Within a few years all six children and my parents had given ourselves to the Lord! Praise the Lord for household salvation!
Having grown up in a strict French Catholic family and attending eight years of parochial school was some-what of a preservation to my humanity. However, after receiving the Lord my family began to be restless in the place they were meeting and seeking for something more. We began meeting with a charismatic group within catholicism. Eventually the Lord led my parents to leave and seek fellowship among various Christian denominations. Around this time two of my brothers began reading some of Watchman Nee’s writings and were led by the Lord to leave the denomination they were meeting in to begin meeting as the church in Torrington, CT. One summer I worked in my brother bicycle shop and lived with his family during the week. I observed their love for the Lord, family life, and church life. It was very attracting! I remember an occasion when Ron introduced me to the biblical practice of calling on the Lord. It seemed awkward at the time but they seemed to be touching something very real. I regularly attended denomination meetings with my parents through high-school. I even attended a Christian school my sophomore year and had my sister Lorraine as one of my teachers.
By the time I graduated I felt malnourished in my Christian life. Outwardly I was a “good Christian” and didn’t get into trouble, however, within, the Lord didn’t have the first place and He was relegated to Sundays. I left for college in Maine on August 1980 at the age of eighteen. For the first time I was not under my parents’ eyes. I tried to throw off all restraint and enjoy the “world” much like the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. The more I indulged in the “temporary” enjoyment of sin the more empty and vain I felt. The Lord never left me and at my darkest moments he seemed to shine on me the brightest. The Lord gave me a wakeup call one afternoon in northern Ontario as I was returning, with my team, from a woodsman’s competition in Thunder Bay. We lost control of the school van on a snowy road and went off the road at approximately 65 mph. After flipping end over end and revolving 180 degrees we landed in the ditch on our wheels facing the direction we were traveling. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured. In the midst of that accident the Lord showed me my life and I had a deep sense of impending judgment if I were to die. Afterwards, I realized I could die at any time the Lord chose to take me. This began my turn back to the Lord.
During that summer break I took a construction job working at a condominium complex called “Rivers Edge”. I was given a job no one else wanted to do-I had to clean-up after everyone. One hot afternoon I was scraping drywall compound off the plywood floors to get ready for the carpet layers. I felt so empty and miserable. At that moment the Lord reminded me of that “awkward” practice of calling on His name. I dropped my tools and began to call for the first time! I was flooded with God’s life! Spontaneously I began to repent of all my sins and weep for all the wasted time. I don’t know how much time elapsed but I felt full, invigorated, new, and happy. I felt like I came home. I jumped into “the river of water of life”! (Revelation 22:1) I realized that if I was going to live the Christian life I needed to be with believers like my brothers. I called them and asked, ”Are there any Christians like you up here?” They gave me the number of a believer in Hartford , CT and I began meeting with the church in Hartford. Its now been 16 years that I’ve enjoyed the fellowship with the local church here (and many other cities) and I can testify that I don’t regret a minute!! Through the ministry of Witness Lee I have been led to treasure and appreciate my wonderful Lord Jesus and His organic body, the church!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!