Al Campsen

Al Campsen

An encounter in Kayenta

August 2012 – We have just taken our son to a high school in the USA. Now my wife and I are touring the southwest of the country for six days. It is Sunday morning. On the right side of the road we see a small church. Three minutes later we are sitting on comfortable chairs listening to the sermon.

The worship service is over. On our way out we meet the speaker, his name is Al Campsen, and start a conversation with him. Al tells us how many years ago he came to believe in God.

“As a haulage driver I was driving across the whole of the USA. Actually, I was only allowed to be behind the wheel for 10 hours. But I cheated on my logbook. In order to stay awake, I took pep pills. As a long haul truck driver I was living fast. I had been through two divorces. At home my cupboard was filled with liquor.

One day I temporarily got another truck. In the evening I crawled into my bunk and spontaneously reached under my pillow. I found three books. One was about Jesus. I threw it into the nearest corner. The second didn’t interest me, either. The third had a strange title and I opened it at random. My eyes fell on the sentence, “One day everybody will have to give an account of himself to God!”

Suddenly an idea began to worry me. Would even I have to give an account for my deeds to God one day? I felt terrible. If God was really looking at my life, I would be in trouble. All of a sudden I felt desperate. I knelt down on my bed and stuttered, “God, save me!” An indescribable peace came over me. I could hardly believe what was happening to me.

When I was at home again, I just couldn’t go on cheating on the logbook. Something in me had changed. I opened the cupboard and threw all my bottles of beer and liquor into the trash can. My wife was looking at me in amazement. “I’ve become a Christian”, I said, “can you forgive me for what I have done to you?”

“No”, shouted my wife. “You have humiliated me so often, I can’t forgive you!”

Al Campsen continues with shining eyes, “Five days later my wife also decided to entrust her life into God’s hands!”

That was 30 years ago. Since that dramatic change in his life, Al and his wife have been working as missionaries among four Indian tribes in Arizona. He is now 70 years old, yet his sermon reveals the enthusiasm of a committed Christian.

As Tina and I are going to our rental car, we say goodbye to them. “Al, in heaven you must tell us more about you!” Al nods. “Yes, I’ll love to.”

Explanatory note: In Arizona there live 330,000 Navajo Indians in a reservation the size of West Virginia. Unemployment is high. A lot of the Indians are alcoholics.


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