From Hating the Sabbath to Loving It
My story probably begins like many others. I was raised in a family that lacked unity in their religious activities. I was born in the mid 1960s in North Dakota in an area where Catholic and Lutheran religions were dominant. My dad was a carpenter by trade and did not have a big interest in religion. My mother, however, was raised a Lutheran. After her marriage she became involved with the Worldwide Church of God.
When I was a young child in school, my mother started attending church on Saturday in Dickinson, North Dakota, thirty-five miles from Killdeer, where we lived. This is where the closest church was for the Worldwide Church of God. She insisted my younger sister and I go with her. We usually traveled with other people from our area that attended church. I hated going to church every Saturday. I had to be in school all week and had to go to church on Saturdays. I wanted to stay in Killdeer to play with all my friends. I thought this was most unfair and had a bad attitude about going.
When I reached high school, my mom did not make me attend church any longer. I was very relieved to be my own boss on those days and not have to attend church. My mom continued to attend church and church gatherings in South Dakota and Canada. She is still a member but does not meet with the church members any longer.
I graduated from high school in 1984. It was wonderful to be out of school. FREE! The party life was now wide open. But God had a different plan for my life. I did not realize it at the time, but as I look back on my life, I am grateful for the Lord’s leading. A friend of mine had a recruiter for Phoenix Institute of Technology stop at my home. This interested me, as I was interested in automotive mechanics. I applied and was accepted.
In 1985, my friend and I left Killdeer for Phoenix and school. I finished my course, but I also got very involved in the party life, which consisted of heavy drinking. Alcohol was a struggle for me as I came from a family with drinking problems.
I was working at a car wash in Phoenix when I met my first wife. We were married in 1987. We had two little girls, Sara and Pam. I got a good job driving truck, but there were problems. Along with my alcohol problems, my wife had alcohol and drug issues. Our marriage ended in 1994. I gained custody of my little girls.
At some point after this divorce, I started taking the girls to church to some children’s meetings on Wednesday nights. They were involved in a Bible Study and some games. My going to church looked good, but I did not believe in church. One day at a fund raiser at this church, the pastor approached me and asked me if I would like to join this church. I looked him right in the eye and said, “No way—there are too many hypocrites in the church for me.”
In 1998, I remarried, and now I had a step-daughter plus my own two daughters. This relationship was not without its problems. In July of 1998, I headed back to North Dakota for a visit. I saw my family, but spent most of the time drinking. One of the people I enjoyed drinking with was my uncle, who is about my age and like a brother to me. He had two little girls about the same age as mine, and he had just recently been divorced.
I returned to Phoenix, and at midnight on August 20, I received a telephone call from my mother. She told me that Jim, my uncle that I enjoyed partying with, had just lost his ex-wife and two little girls in a tragic auto accident. I thought I was dreaming, so I fell back asleep.
The next morning I went to work, not knowing if what I heard was true or a dream. My uncle called me later that day and told me that it was so. Never in my life did I feel like I did then. I cried off and on all day and asked God why this would happen. I thought of my own precious little girls and the life I was leading.
As time went on, I felt extremely empty and started searching for answers. My wife took me to a nondenominational church she had attended. There I gave my life to Jesus. In 1999, I was baptized. I was baptized into the doctrine of “once saved always saved,” but now I understand that is not Biblical.
As time went on, I wanted to give up the drinking. I prayed about it, and God blessed. In November of 2000, I had the victory through Christ. But my troubles were far from over. My wife continued to drink. It seemed the closer I wanted to get to God, the farther my marriage drifted away from what it should be. My wife said we needed counseling, but I said, “No way.” I was too proud.
God was still in control. The church recommended a Biblical counselor, and I agreed to go. A couple of months into the counseling, my wife quit going with me. I kept going for about another year and became good friends with the counselor, and we are still friends today. During our sessions, I told him I believed that Saturday was the true Sabbath. This was being impressed on my heart.
I am so grateful to Jesus for giving me the ability to memorize Bible verses. While driving as a truck driver, I kept a Bible verse in front of me and memorized it. When it was memorized, I started on another verse. I am still memorizing. They have helped me in many situations in my life.
Early in 2004 it looked like our marriage was going to end in divorce, but we decided to move to North Dakota and live in my childhood home. I found a good job, but my wife was not happy. She continued to drink.
In 2005, Frank Roshau came to my home with a card that offered a free Bible study and a book. He said I had received it in the mail and had sent it in. I do not remember seeing it before or sending it in. I have often wondered if my wife sent it in thinking I needed to study more and change. If she did, she was right, because again the Lord blessed.
We studied as a family with Frank and his wife Mimee for short period of time. My wife still was not happy and finally moved to Kentucky, and we divorced. The studies continue in my home until now. My girls and their friends have attended these studies, as well as friends of mine.
Through these studies I learned that Saturday is truly the Sabbath of the Lord as stated in God’s word. I began keeping the Sabbath. I attended the Dickinson Seventh-day Adventist Church with the Roshaus. In April of 2011, a new pastor, Donavan Kack, came to our church. He visited with me about being re-baptized. I was uncertain, but as I realized I had learned numerous wonderful truths from God’s word, I wanted to dedicate my life totally to the Lord. Pastor Kack studied with me, and before long, I was re-baptized.
The Lord has led in my life from the very beginning, and I am so thankful for His wonderful love and care.
By Delwin Olson. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.