My life was transformed at the stroke of midnight on December, 31, 1957. I was twenty years old and searching for meaning in my life. My twin brother Don, home from army duty and a new believer in Christ, urged me to attend a New Year’s Eve service at a church he found.
The Riverview Baptist Church on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Paul Minnesota planned a special time of sharing, singing, fellowship and refreshments. The sharing time was filled with testimonies of God’s blessings, healing and provisions of the past year.
Testimonies and stories were filled with excitement. God had blessed many families in the church. My heart pounded within me and I longed to have what they had.
A sixty year old man named Rueben, stood to his feet and said, “fifty years ago to night I attended the service in this church. I heard the testimonies and stories but I did not become a Christian. No one ever told me. My father and I left the church at midnight to walk home across the open field. The full moon was brightly shining on five inches of fresh snow.”
God worked in Rueben’s heart, and he cried out to his father, “I want Jesus to come into my heart.” They stopped and the father questioned him about who Jesus is and what He has done on the Cross to bring salvation to the world. “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and came into the world to save you?” he questioned. The boy responded yes. “Are you willing to confess your sins to Jesus and ask Him cleanse you with His blood that was shed on the Cross?”
In simple faith, ten year old Rueben knelt in the snow and invited Jesus into his heart and life at that midnight hour.
To conclude the service, the pastor invited everyone in the group to pray the New Year in. I panicked and wanted to get out of there. I had never prayed before and had no idea what to say. The people on both sides of me had placed their heads on the pews in front of them. There was no way for me to leave, all I could do was hang my head in shame for my sinful past. Tears of remorse dripped on my shoes. My only prayer was, “I want the joy that these people have. I want Jesus in my heart.”
At that moment a flood of joy and peace filled my soul. My life was changed forever. I heard a voice say to me, “Full time Christian Service,” my call to ministry. I recall talking to Jesus and asked, “What do I do with my sins?” His reply was, “Give them to me, I paid for them with my blood on the cross.”
I began the New Year with new life in Christ and a real sense of purpose.
“I’ve found a Friend who is all to me,
His love is ever true; I to tell how He lifted me
and what His grace can do for you.
Saved by His power divine,
Saved to new life subline!
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
for I’m saved, saved, saved!”
Jack P. Schofield, 1882