David Patterson's Testimony
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed, from faith to faith, as it is written the just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:16,17 KJV)
On different occasions, I wondered how did the Lord ever bring such a one as I was to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Preceding being saved by the Saviour, my lifestyle, my way of living was in no way bringing glory to God our Creator. Looking back, I am able to testify without exaggerating that I was in every sense of the word a practical sinner, living in the ways of the world with little or no time for God and the Christian Church. At the time, I was ignorant of God's love and the truth that Jesus died for my sins and wanted to save me.
From my earliest days, I was very superstitious and afraid of the Devil. This was due to the stories mother told us as we sat around the fire. At nighttime, when dad or mom would blow out the old kerosene lamp, this dreadful fear caused me to sleep with my head under the bedclothes. The only help I had in bed was repeating what is commonly denominated "The Lords Prayer," until I fell asleep. This happened every night preceding my conversion to Christ.
In addition to being superstitious, by the time I was sixteen years of age I was a confirmed gambler. I was often seen in the betting office, and at times at the dog race tracks where the language of losers was deplorable. I worked in the weaving factory just across the street from my parents home and each lunch time I would run almost one mile to the bookmakers office, place my bet, and run the almost one mile home to be in time to start work. I was also engaged in other questionable habits and was truly a very worldly person. I can remember my precious mother saying to me, "Davy, you should go to Church or the neighbours will be talking about you." I replied, saying, "Mom, I'm not going to Church just to please the neighbors, let them mind their own business." Most of my times in Church before the Lord saved me, was for my sisters' weddings. Nobody ever told me that God loved me, and that Jesus died for my sins, and that I needed to come to Him in penitence and in faith for Him to save me. Truly I could join in singing:
I tried the broken cisterns Lord,
But, ah! the waters failed;
E'en as I stooped to drink they fled,
And mocked me as I wailed.
Once again, I repeat the question, how did the Lord bring me to Jesus Christ? After years of prayerful consideration, I am assured that I am a born again Christian because I was prayed for, especially the prayer Jesus uttered on Calvary's cross, He prayed, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)
After taking charge of the High Prairie Church of the Nazarene, November 1965, we received a letter from Irish midwife nurse Kerr. In the letter she wrote, "Davy, the day that you were born, I delivered you from your mother; and for the first time in this life I washed you, and as I washed you I prayed that Jesus would save and make you a preacher of His gospel." During a visit to Northern Ireland in 1978, after my dear wife Margaret sang solos, and I shared the word in the Christian Workers Union Mission Hall, the Lord blessed us with the privilege and joy of meeting the nurse that prayed for me before I was hours old. The prayers of this godly woman did not save me, but I sincerely believe that they helped as she was filled, motivated,and led by the Holy Spirit to pray for me.
It was in the year 1949 that a big horse bit my back, and the resulting consequence ended me in the Belfast City Hospital for treatment. It was in the hospital that I befriended Pauline Allen from Portadown. Leaving the hospital we corresponded as pen pals. At Christmas time I received a card, letter, and gospel tract from Pauline. In the letter she testified that she had been saved by the Lord Jesus and tried to encourage me to get saved. The tract was by the late Bishop Charles Ryle and was titled, "Are you saved?" I confess that I hadn't the slightest idea as to what it meant to be saved. To retain the friendship, I lied in writing, "Pauline, I'd like to be saved but do not know what to do about it." I confess, that I did not mean what I was writing. She took the letter to the prayer meeting and told the people what I had written. The saints at Portadown started to pray for my conversion and things happened. I became dissatisfied with the way I was living and about two weeks before I was saved I was reformed. I stopped gambling, smoking, and all questionable habits. I renounced the habits and started to attend Church and meetings in Mission Halls.
On Thursday night, 22/2/50, about 10:30 P.M. after the Sacred Cantata in the Lisburn Congregational Church, the Holy Spirit used the Lord's servant to lead me to Jesus. Convicted of my sins and the need for God's salvation, I confessed my sin, asked the Lord to pardon me, and save my soul, at that moment the Lord entered my heart and life by the Holy Spirit and I was born again of the Spirit of God. Indeed I became a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). I then could truthfully sing, "What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart."
AFTER CONVERSION WHAT?
On Boxing Day 1950 I heard Rev. Duncan Campbell preach full salvation in the Faith Mission Conference conducted in the Derriaghy Mission Hall. God spoke calling me to make a full surrender as He wanted to sanctify me so that He could use me in the ministry. On that occasion I did not respond, but on Monday 1/1/51, in another Faith Mission Conference held in the Ballinderry Mission Hall, I put my all on the altar and offered myself for full time Christian work. I knew God accepted my offering and that I was called for full time service for the Lord sanctified me filling me with the Holy Spirit.
My application for training in the Beech Lawn Bible College was accepted and I completed the two years of training for the ministry in the year 1954 under the godly leadership of Principal Jack Ford. This man of God was used of the Lord to encourage and inspire me to work to improve myself for the ministry.
David and Margaret Patterson are retired from active service with the Salvation Army. They continue to do the work of evangelism. ed.