Brian’s Bio and Salvation Testimony –
As I look back over my life, it is probably best described simply as “a trail of God’s grace”. The older I get, the more I understand this to be true. How I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior is an incredible “tale of God’s grace”. Any testimony I can give in that regard is not mine, but His.
I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 27, 1954, the youngest of three. At that time my dad worked as a locomotive engineer for The Milwaukee Road. Basically, he drove trains around the switch yards of the industrial section of the city. He was cut from the typical Great Depression – WWII “tough guy mold” that many of us grew up with. Until I confronted him during my college years, he had never hugged me, nor ever told me that he loved me, though I never doubted it for a second. My mom was a loving woman and hard worker, taking whatever job she could find to help make ends meet for the family.
My folks attended a Baptist Church, until I was six years old, while we lived in Milwaukee. As a child, however, I do not remember them ever talking to me about the Lord. As I grew up I heard my dad use God’s Name on a regular basis, but unfortunately it was always in profanity, not in teaching or in prayer. So, while they made sure that we were in church most Sundays, it would be years before I ever had my eyes opened to see The Father’s love and to truly understand what Jesus had done for me.
When I was six, back in 1960, my dad moved us to a small 60 acre farm home 45 miles outside of Milwaukee, near the small town of Hartford. Owning a farm was a life-long ambition of his. However, there was no Baptist church in that town. So, to keep faithfully attending, they began by commuting to church in Milwaukee on Sundays. After that grew old, they decided to find a church that “felt right” for them in the Hartford Area. Somehow, they settled on an Evangelical United Brethren church there, in spite of the doctrinal differences. In 1968, that denomination merged with The Methodist Church, and so then “by default” our family became members of The United Methodist Church. I turned fourteen that year.
It was not until I approached my senior year in college, in August of 1974, that things finally got real and came into focus for me. I had been pursuing a degree in wildlife biology at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. But I honestly felt there was more that I was supposed to be doing. As much as I enjoyed the outdoors and my studies that took me there, I could no longer see myself doing that type of work for the rest of my life. While walking out on the family farm one day, in the midst of a reflective mood over what direction I was to go next in life, I came to Christ. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that He came to me. I had heard many times about Calvary and Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. But until that day, that had all been an abstract story with no personal connection. That day, however, the Lord truly opened my eyes and impressed upon me how great the price was that He had been sent to pay for my sins – His own blood. How moving….how humbling! All I could do when finally coming to realize this powerful truth was to fall to my knees. I prayed. Nothing else mattered. I did not know where I was to go, or what I was to do with my life. But the point was, from that time forward, I wanted my life to be His life. Life for Life. I asked Him to take me, such as I was, and to use me any way He chose. That was the beginning of my new life in Christ.