My Sheep That Was Lost

My Sheep That Was Lost

By the time I was a teenager, I had been studying the Bible for many years. At the age of 13, I entered a ministry training program called Evangelism Exposition. In 1985, I was ordained a pastor. After I began preaching, I came to find that there was something wrong with the doctrine; the gospel was not being preached in its fullness. 

I felt troubled because the Word was used for man’s gain. Church doors were open only to selected people and monies from tithing were used to pay ministers while the offerings were often not recorded on the books. It seemed to me that the Lord’s house was used to buy and sell for gain. At length, my family and I concluded that we must leave such things.

Being impressed of God, we went out to the streets, prisons, hospitals, and communities, to teach the Gospel of Matthew 25:40 which states, “...Inasmuch ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” With a mobile patrol unit we provided meals, blankets, clothing and companionship to the needy. We also opened shelters and drop-in centres as an outreach for building up the local churches. We found, however, that some churches did not want these kinds of people in their midst.

From 2000 to 2005, my family and I traveled throughout Ontario and the eastern United States ministering in local churches, teaching the importance of reaching out to the community, and looking after the needy. Then a personal tragedy hit our household that changed me from a very strong, God-fearing man who served the homeless, visited the imprisoned and sick and who preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, to a lonely and depressed individual. My family fell apart, my wife walked out and I lost my job. Sickness came to my body and I was diagnosed with epilepsy. For three years, I fell into a downward spiral of depression and substance abuse. 
My Sheep That was

In March 2009, I made a fateful decision. I boarded a bus in Toronto and headed to the train station to take my own life. The bus was jammed with people that day and as I sat thinking of my depressed state, two men wearing white shirts and names tags boarded the bus. They made their way through the crowded bus and came straight toward me. In my mind, I murmured the words, “Don’t even bother coming over here. I am not talking to anyone.”  “How is your day going?,” one of them asked.

“How is my day?” I asked. “Don’t even talk to me.” “So how is your day?” I was asked again. “I’m getting off at this stop” I said. “So are we,” they replied. “Stop following me,” I said. Before the bus stopped, one of the men asked me for my phone number.  I thought, what does it matter?' They won’t be able to reach me anyway because I’ll be dead soon .'

As I walked from the bus toward the subway station, one of the young men caught up with me and asked if they could meet with me to share a message. As I strode toward the station, I answered, “Yes, we can meet; just leave me alone.” By the time that I arrived at the train station, my reason for going there had completely left my mind. All I could focus on was how angry I felt with those two men as they talked about how they could teach me, an experienced minister, anything about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

With my 'mission' thwarted, I returned home. Soon I started meeting with the missionaries. As we met, I realized that what they shared with me started to fill the emptiness that I felt during my years in the ministry. I felt strongly that they were teaching me the truth and the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

When they gave me the Book of Mormon, I did not want it. They told me I should read and pray about it, which I delayed for quite some time. When I did start to read the book, I tried to find something wrong in its message. As a minister, I had preached against the Mormon Church; we knew it to be a “cult.” But as I read, I could find nothing wrong with it. The more that I read, the truth of its words became ingrained in me. In April, I began attending church meetings. One Sunday soon after, I asked for a blessing. As the prayer was being voiced, I felt a warm feeling go through my body. Sometime later, after going to my doctor, I learned that my high blood pressure which I had suffered with for many years had come down, and it has remained normal since then. Other health situations also improved.
Following my move, sister missionaries began to teach me which troubled me, because, in my experience, sisters were not allowed to teach brothers. I finally put aside my reservations and had them meet me in a park by my apartment as I did not want them to come to my home. As we visited, our Heavenly Father was revealing more and more of Himself to me and the empty space that was in my life was finally being filled. In July, I received revelation of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the prophet, the line of apostles, the quorums of the Seventy and of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

I also felt a strong impression that I needed to be baptized, but I questioned baptism, as I had been baptized five times previously. However, the Lord was saying, “Yes you were. But this is the only one that I am telling you about.” 

In late July, I walked into the church, called the bishop and the sister missionaries aside and told them that I was not leaving the building until I was baptized. I was told that there was more that I needed to learn before I could be baptized. “So then teach me,” I said. That afternoon, we went to a senior missionary couple's home and stayed into the evening as I received all the lessons I needed. Soon after I was interviewed and found worthy for baptism.

The Lord Jesus Christ has placed me where I need to be and nurtured me for the call and purpose that He has for my life. My prayer is that God will someday provide all of the blessings of family to me in this life as I remain a faithful servant in His service. 
My Sheep That was