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Monday, January 5, 2009

Helen Allen's Conversion to Christ

A few weeks after I was saved, I was baptized again and was soon received back into the assembly at the Collingwood Gospel Hall (this time as a genuine believer!) We continued to gather there with a few of the Lord’s people until March of 1989. It was then that we felt the Lord was leading us to Norwich (about 3 hours to the south west) to help another brother, Steve Kember, who was preaching the Gospel there and seeking to establish a new assembly of believers in that area. But here, let me share a bit of Helen’s story…

Helen Ferguson married Steve Allen and their daughters, Stephanie and Cassandra were born before we left Collingwood. When we left, Helen remembers that I asked her to be sure to call me as soon as she got saved! She agreed to do so. (But I was to wait over 8 years before that call came!)

Helen had been about 14 years of age when the others in her family had been saved. She professed to be saved as well. The Christians were so thrilled that it seemed no one seriously questioned Helen about her own experience of salvation but accepted her simple testimony at face value. But it was not long before Helen realized she did not have peace with God. She often heard folks talking about her and saying, “Helen is such a good girl!” But in reality, these comments only made it harder for her to really come to grips with where she actually stood with God. But finally at the age of 19, Helen realized she could not let herself or others continue under such an illusion. She knew she must acknowledge openly that she did not have peace with God, that she was not a child of God and that she did not belong in an assembly of believers. So she withdrew from the assembly. She had no idea how the Lord would use her decision to speak so loudly to me about my own standing with God!

Like many who have often heard the Gospel preached, Helen struggled with what it was to “believe”. Intellectually, she accepted the truth of the Gospel message and could honestly say she had never disbelieved it! But knowing facts about Christ and resting in confidence upon His finished work for her own salvation were two different matters!

She longed to be saved and attended Gospel meetings regularly . In 1996 two preachers – Tim Walker and Jim Beattie came to Collingwood for a series of Gospel meetings. She wished they would come for a visit with her at home but was too timid to ask them! But one night after a meeting they asked her if they could come to see her. She gladly agreed!

In conversation with her, it did not take them long to realize that Helen was struggling with what it meant to “ believe” the Gospel. So Tim Walker asked her, “Helen, if your husband, Steve, wrote you a letter –would you believe what he wrote to you?” She responded, “Of course I would!” She understood clearly, the illustration: Not only had God given His Son, the Lord Jesus, but He had also written a letter (the scriptures) to tell her what Christ had accomplished for her.

Then Jim Beattie turned to Titus 1:2 and read the words of the apostle Paul concerning the truth of the Gospel , “ hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; but hath in due times manifested His word through preaching…”

Helen then realized, that if she could not only trust the facts of what her husband might write, but also rest in full confidence that he wrote the truth, how much more could she rest in full confidence for her eternal salvation upon the faithfulness of a God who could not lie! And so it was that Helen Allen, at the age of 35, came to personally rest in faith upon the faithfulness of God revealed in Christ. It was then that, in the words of John 5:24, she “passed from death unto life”!

So you can imagine how thrilled I was, over 8 years after we had moved from Collingwood, to receive a phone call from Helen telling me that she had at last trusted Christ as her own Saviour and had the peace of God knowing her sins were forgiven!

(In my next post I’ll return to the spring of 1989, about a month after we had moved to Norwich. At a Conference of Christians in the city of Toronto, during a Bible reading on John 14, a radical idea would be suggested by an older preacher from Ireland. That idea would eventually upset my former understanding of the coming of the Lord and the order of events of end times prophecy!)


The Woodford's said...

Thanks for sharing that, Dad - another miracle of grace! Hope you're doing well there by yourself. Mika was a little distraught at the thought of "Grandma being away, and Grandpa all by himself!" =) Praying for you!
Love, Steph

Bruce Woodford said...

Thanks so much Steph, another miracle of grace to be sure! I certainly do miss Judy, but you can assure Mika that Grandpa is not alone! What a promise we have from the Lord, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee..." Heb.13:5 Please give Mika, Shaelyn and Kyla each a special hug for Grandpa!