It was afternoon in our little country of Estonia in the year 1944. The Russians were taking over. As we pulled away from the shore in our little fishing boat, my father and I caught a glimpse of the Russians coming down a highway on motorcycles. We were just in time.
From Estonia, we fled to Sweden, where we found safety. Eventually I became restless and decided to seek adventure and excitement. At 17 I decided to be a sailor. However, after seven months I gave it up. From then on I changed my place of work constantly and never seemed to be satisfied.
One day a friend approached me and asked me to go to Canada. I made a snap decision and went, signing a contract for a year with the Ontario Hydro. I stayed the year, then moved to Toronto, still as restless in spirit as ever.
This restlessness seemed to be somewhat overcome when I married in 1951. It was like turning over a new leaf for my wife and me, and we thought surely this was the most happiness we could ever find. We never dreamed that some day this new leaf would be surpassed by a new life.
Many times during our first married years, my mother-in-law
persuaded me to attend church. But it seemed the more I went,
the less I cared about it. Finally it became agony. One
Sunday I got in my car and drove out to the country and
stayed there until I was sure everyone had gone off to church.
Then I returned home, thinking I had put an end to the matter.
In September 1955, however, Billy Graham came to Toronto for meetings. The papers were full of publicity. I became so curious about the whole thing that I asked my wife to go along with me to hear the evangelist.
His message that afternoon was taken from the book of Joshua 24:15.
It seemed that Dr. Graham was speaking directly to me. I knew I was not serving the Lord, then.
"The Bible says you cannot serve two masters." He continued. "If you are not serving the Lord, then you are serving the devil."
When the invitation to receive Jesus Christ as Saviour was given, I
turned to my wife.
That afternoon my wife and I saw our new leaf transplanted, so to speak, by a new life — our life in Jesus Christ, whom to know is life eternal. We realized our marriage could never bring us the new sense of peace and joy we had now experienced in giving our hearts to Christ. For up to that afternoon I never really knew that Jesus Christ had died for my sins.
When I was ten days old, in Estonia, my mother died, and I spent my early years with my godly grandmother. I believe my salvation was in answer to her prayers for me.
Back in 1944, God's mercy saved me from communism, and now His mercy
covers my sins. I have new life through His Son.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,