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Salvation Stories 24 – Donald Labbe: Personal Testimony

Day 24 – Donald Labbe: Personal Testimony

“Then he [the jailer] brought them [Paul and Silas] up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.” (Acts 16:34, ESV)

This verse similarly reflects the grace of God in my family. Within a span of eight months, the Lord graciously saved all five of us, from the oldest to the youngest. My mother and brother are now enjoying being in the presence of the Lord. 

We were raised with a religion but without a relationship with God. We had all hoped to be in Heaven but lacked assurance. Keeping the ordinances of our church and trying our best to obey God’s commandments gave us a false sense of security.  

As a 16-year-old teenager in 1981, the only thing on my mind was having fun. Thoughts about my sin, my soul, or my need for a Savior never crossed my mind—until God brought the gospel into our lives. I’m ashamed to say that we mocked our mother when she began to read the Bible and to search for something that would give her lasting peace. I’m grateful that our behavior didn’t hinder her from seeking God. 

It’s been said that a seeking sinner and a seeking Savior soon meet. Such was the case with our mother. After hearing the gospel for the first time, she knew that this was what she had been searching for and was saved shortly afterward. She immediately wanted the rest of us to hear this life-giving message and did all she could to get us to listen to the gospel. After God saved my father, going to gospel services was no longer optional for us. Watching God save my parents and quickly transform their lives was a privilege that I will cherish forever.  

At the time, I could barely stand our own 45-minute church service once a week, and now I was forced to listen to gospel preaching for an hour six nights a week. I am now glad that I didn’t have a choice. Despite my best efforts to distract my mind, facing the reality of my sin and the certainty of meeting God were now issues that I had to think about every night. After the Lord saved my brother, I began to think more seriously about my soul. I listened attentively to the preacher and tried to believe, but nothing was happening.  

Gene Higgins, an evangelist, had become a frequent visitor to our home. One night after the gospel meeting, while he personally read to me several Bible verses, I realized that I was lost and heading for Hell. I wanted to be saved more than anything else. 

After a sleepless night, I told my mother that I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t go to school. She somehow knew that I was troubled about my soul and ordered me back to my room and told me not to come down until I was saved! After four hours of trying to save myself, I dropped to my knees at my bedside and cried out to God in prayer to save my guilty soul. At that moment, I understood that Jesus died for my sins. Without knowing a single Bible verse, God saved me and assured me that I would never be in Hell.

A short while later, God saved my sister as well. Like the jailer of Philippi and his household, our hearts were filled with joy because we had all believed in the Lord Jesus. Our souls were saved, our lives transformed, and our destinies changed. By God’s matchless grace, we continue to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 ESV).

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