After dropping off our son at a high school in the US, my wife and I are on a road trip through the Southwest.. On Sunday morning, we pass a small chapel located on the right side of the road. Three minutes later, we are sitting on two comfortable chairs, listening intently to the sermon.
When the service is over, we start a conversation with the preacher, whose name is Al Campsen. Al tells us how, many years ago, he became a follower of Christ.
"As a truck driver for a shipping company, I used to drive all across the country. I was allowed to drive for only 10 hours straight but I cheated when updating the log. To stay awake I took amphetamines. I lived a wild life. I was divorced twice and my cabinets at home where filled with alcohol.
One day, on short notice, I was given a different truck. In the evening, when I crawled into bed, I happened to be looking underneath the pillow, where I found three books. One of them was about Jesus. I threw it into a corner. The second book didn’t interest me either. The third one had a strange title and I randomly opened it, focusing in on one sentence: One day, everyone will be held accountable by God.
All of sudden, things started stirring within me. Would I have to justify my actions before God as well? I felt sick. If God would indeed scrutinize my life, I would have nothing to show for. I was in despair. I knelt down and stammered: God save me! After uttering those words, I felt an indescribable peace. I could hardly believe what was happening to me.
When I got home, I simply couldn’t falsify the logbook anymore. Something within me had changed. I opened the cabinet and threw out all the beer and liquor. My wife watched me in complete surprise. "I am a believer now" I told her. "Can you forgive me for all the things I have done to you?"
"No" she said. You humiliated me too many times. I can’t forgive you!"
Al Campsen continued his story. "Five days later, my wife gave her life to Jesus Christ as well!"
This dramatic change took place about 30 years ago. Ever since then, Al and his wife have been working as missionaries among the four Native American tribes of Arizona. He is about 70 now, but his sermons still convey the passion of a true follower of Christ.
As Tina and I are walking to our rental car, we say: Al, when we see each other again in heaven, we want to hear more about your life!" Al nods: "Yes, of course!"
Note: In Arizona, 330,000 Navajos are living on a reservation the size of West Virginia. Unemployment is high and many of the Navajo struggle with alcohol addiction.