Christian Testimony of John LeHew

Every Christian is unique. Every Christian has something that no one else has: his or her testimony—an account of how Jesus Christ came to be the Lord and Savior of his or her life. That testimony is often a powerful tool used by the Lord in bringing others to know Him as their Lord and Savior as well. I would like to share my testimony with you, and my prayer is that it will be used by the Lord to bless you and perhaps bring you to a knowledge of Him, as your Lord and Savior, too.

"...always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." - 1 Peter 3:15b

Before Christ

I was born in LaJunta, Colorado, in 1940. My father, a railroad fireman with the Santa Fe, was not home much during my early life. He worked a"local" between Dodge City and Garden City, Kansas, and came home on weekends. My earliest memories of him is of a very strong man, who drank a lot at the Elks Lodge in our little town. Sometimes, he would take me there with him, and I would play the slot machines, while he drank with his friends.

My mother was a housewife, and my earliest memories of her was of her playing cards with other ladies, and smoking. I don't know whether she drank, but it was not a big thing with her. My mother was 24 years younger than my dad, and perhaps that is why they did not get along very well. In fact, they fought a lot—and at least once (my dad told me) they were fighting, and he had her by the throat, and my crying and clinging to his leg brought him to his senses—and he did not harm her, though he certainly intended to.

When I was eight, my parents divorced, and my mother and I moved to Pueblo, Colorado. That was a grand adventure for me, since we lived in a motel, and I had to ride the city bus to school each day. However, by Summer, we had to leave the motel, and my mother bought a home and began taking in "roomers"— single men who needed a room, but little else. By this time, my mother was also gaining her education, studying Cosmetology, and planning to go into business for herself. Sometime prior to this, my mother had become a Christian, and it was about this time that I began to have an interest in church. One of the roomers that lived with us was a young Preacher, who was finishing his education and preparing for the ministry. He worked during the week as a Singer Sewing Machine salesman, and pastored a small mission, that we began attending. His name was Al Wells, and it was through his ministry that my early biblical education began.

When I was 10, my parents got back together, and we became a family again. In fact, I stood with them, when they re-married, at Raton, New Mexico. My mother owned a beauty salon, and my dad was an engineer by that time, and things were going pretty good. Soon, another child, my sister Judy, was born. Our family was a quiet one, and we enjoyed playing games (especially dominos) together. Little did I know that things were not going well between my parents. But I was about to find out, for one day, when I was 14, I came home and found my mom and dad fighting on the stairs. He was about to throw her down the stairs, and I shouted some obscenity at him. This took his attention off of her, and he came and gave me a thrashing—the only time I remember him hitting me. Once again, I had saved my mother's life during a crisis.

They divorced again, and the judge awarded my dad the upstairs (where the bathroom and bedrooms were), and my mother the downstairs (where the kitchen was). It was the strangest arrangement I have ever heard of! But, this was of the Lord, for after a year, or so, they re-married, and we moved to Missouri. We moved to small 40-acre farm in the Ozarks, near West Plains, Missouri. Although this was a good thing for our family, it was a bad thing for me—for my rebellion grew and soon I was involved in immorality and sin that would continue for years to come. There was not a girl anywhere that was "safe" around me! Eventually, my father retired from the Santa Fe railroad, and the conflict between him and me continued. Finally, when I was 18, I joined the United States Navy, and set out on my own.

The years in the Navy were marked with immorality of all sorts. I smoked, drank, and caroused with the worst of them. I was the "typical" sailor, and—although I had good duty, my life was as bad as one can imagine! Again, there was not a girl anywhere in the world that was safe around me. I thank God today that AIDS had not yet made it's ugly appearance, for I would have probably been a victim if it had. God still had his hand on me, and — though I was far from Him, He was not far from me.

The last two years of my service career was especially evil. I drank heavily (especially whiskey and beer), and was drunk more than I was sober. I began writing to the sister of one of my friends, and whenever I was "mainside" (in the continental United States), I would call her. Strangely, I felt myself falling in love with this girl—but that didn't stop me from being involved with other girls, at the same time. Gunnie lived in Spokane, Washington, and I often called her from Alameda, California. We did not meet until after I was discharged, but we wrote frequently.

Finally, the four years was up, and I was discharged. I had made arrangements with Gunnie to come and meet me a week after my discharge. I had met her parents, because of her brother, and they were anxious for me to meet her. For some reason, known only to God, they approved of me. The day came when I would meet Gunnie, and it was on Saturday, September 8, 1962. What a day that was! For the next ten days or so, we would be together constantly. I told her I loved her on Tuesday, on Wednesday she told me she loved me, and on Thursday, we bought an engagement ring. We set our wedding date for May of the next year. Soon, we separated, and I went back to Missouri, and she returned to Washington.

We had made plans, but God had other plans. The last three months of 1962 were to be the most exciting—and most important—or our lives!

Continued: The Awakening