I was born and raised in a Christian home in Philadelphis, Pa. My parents came from Ireland. We read the bible almost every night and some nights we were in church. I was taken to Sunday school and church at an early age and also attended vacation bible school in the summer.
At the age of 8 or 9, my mother had to go to the hospital. A wonderful older lady who was a Christian came to help my dad take care of me and my 2 brothers. One night my younger brother and I went outside to play tag. He had a sweater on but I did not. The lady told me to put on a sweater, but I told her I wasn't cold, although it was quite chilly that night. The next morning I awoke quite ill with pneumonia. The doctor was called, (doctors back then made house calls). He gave me some pills and told the lady and my dad to give them to me day and night. He said that if they didn't help to heal me, I would have to go to the hospital that my mother was in. I prayed to the Lord that if He made me better, I would put my faith in Him.After I got better, however, I forgot my promise and went on my merry way.
One day when I was 12 years old, some friends asked me to go on a walk with them, but my mind was elsewhere, I had come under conviction of my sins. So I told them that I had to hurry home. I ran all the way home, into the house, put my books on the dining room table, hurried past my two brothers and my mother and went right on upstairs. I got to the door of my room, went inside and immediately started praying to God about my sins. At that moment I trusted in Jesus Christ to save me from my sins.
That day was a wonderful day for me - my life was in the hands of Jesus Christ forever.
In 1960, my mother went home to be with her Lord and Saviour.
Fourteen years later, in 1974, my girlfriend Jean and I went on a bus tour to Virginia. There were only 25 people on the bus so the tour guide permitted us to sit anywhere we chose instead of having seat assignments. So Jean & I sat across from one another on each side of the bus, near the back. As we were talking across the aisle, a man sitting behind a group of people entered into our conversation. We invited him to come to the back and sit with us so we could get acquainted. We toured the University of Virginia campus together that day and then traveled to our next point. At the motel we were staying at, Jean and I had a nice swim in the pool. As we sat at poolside, we looked up to see our new friend Al sitting outside his room by himself. We told him to come on down and join us. At poolside, he asked if we wouldn't mind if he joined us for dinner. So Al and I had our first walk together after that dinner.
The last stop of our trip was to Natural Bridge. There we viewed a light and sound display of God's 7 days of creation. Al was quite impressed. He mentioned that he was Jewish and said that the show was beautiful. We came back to the hotel at Natural Bridge. After dinner, Jean retired early. Al and I and some of our group sat and talked together on the porch.
The next day, Sunday, we were to arrive in New York. That evening when we departed from the bus, Jean and I looked for Al but did not see him - and the next morning we were to go take a train back home to Philadelphia. Fortunately, Al did come to the hotel that Monday before we left, to see the 'two girls' again. So we all had breakfast together. After breakfast, he walked us out, hailed a cab and rode with us to the train station - even boarding the train with us. He asked for our addresses and contacted us that next week.
On Sept 14, 1974 Al came down to Philadelphia for the first time for the day. We all went to see the Liberty Bell and other points of interest. During the weeks that followed Jean and I sent Al literature, tracts and a bible to read. We went up to New York to visit and he came to Philadelphia.
In 1977, on a hotel porch in New England, Al was sitting on the rail and I was in a rocking chair. He quoted John 3:16 to me:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
His face was beaming with joy at this grand moment in his life with the knowledge that he had everlasting life.
A few months later, he asked me to marry him. We were engaged on Palm Sunday, 1978 and were married in a Baptist church in Philadelphia on August 12, 1978. We lived in New York for 3 years and have been living here in Florida ever since.
Just last year Al went home to be with the Lord - the joy of his salvation ever more expressed on his face in those last moments before he departed.