I was born in McKeesport, PA (nigh unto Pittsburgh) into a Catholic family. Our family had a form of godliness in our home. My parents would send us kids to catechism and to St. Perpetua Catholic Church…but I noticed that they would never go.
At the age of 17, I entered into the U.S. Air Force, and I thought it was great! They gave me a new haircut (I needed one!), a place to sleep, 4 meals a day, and I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to wear to work all the time…and to top all that — they even payed me for it!
After Basic Training and Tech School in the Great State of Texas, I was sent to Robins AFB, Georgia. Not only was I to meet my future wife here, but I was also introduced to what I now know as “witnessing for Christ”. There was a man whom I worked with that had such a concern for me, and looking back now I see that he also had such a devoted love for the Lord, that he overcame any fear and favor of man to humbly talk with me about my need of Jesus Christ because of my sin. He gave me my first King James Bible, but I just wasn’t “gettin” it. But thankfully for me, this man (at this point his name escapes me, but not his face nor his sincerety and concern) planted a seed for God in my life.
I got transferred to England. I went overseas “single”, just like my “friends” told me to do. But after a few months of being over there, I proposed to my love, and we were married on February 8, 1987…and praise God, she’s still my love and my wife!!!
God was not done with me. In October 1988, godly sorrow came into my life, and I knew then of the guilt of my sin before a Holy God. I was truly crushed and convicted over my wickedness. Little did I know at the time, our neighbors, a co-worker, and the Victory Baptist Church of Oxfordshire were praying for me.
It started with our neighbors…for 2 weeks, Rose and her husband (again, name escapes me)had me over to their home for supper since, at the time, my wife worked at a little military shoppette during the evening. The food was always good…and the desserts…Mississippi Mud Cake…um, um!!! How could a young guy refuse??? What got me though was, every time we got done eating, they cleaned away the plates and dropped a King James Bible in front of me! I didn’t want to listen, but the food….oh, the food!
Well, my shift changed, and I went to a night shift…no more visiting the neighbors for a while. But it was all in God’s plan. I went to work one night, a Thursday night, at RAF Croughton, Building 39, and our job that evening was to put together a battery bank for an Uninterruptible Power Supply we maintained. I was on shift with only one other man – Howard Herb. This guy…always had a Bible…always read his Bible on break…AND he even took notes! This was strange to a Catholic boy!
Before we started work that Thursday evening, Howard asked me if he could talk with me and show me some things…I agreed. Friends, it changed me forever. Howard and I sat down with the Bible, and I know he was showing me things that my neighbors and that man back in Georgia showed me before…but that evening, I was “gettin” it. I remember Romans 3:23 becoming real personalto me…”For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Because of my godly sorrow for months, I realized that Mike Szekely fit into that “all” in the text. God’s Word just told me that I was a sinner and I fell short of God’s glory…I looked up at Howard and I said, “Howard, what must I do“? We went to Acts 16 and looked over the story of the Philippian Jailer, and Howard said, along with the Word of God, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”.
That night, January 26, 1989, a Thursday night, 6000 miles away from my Catholic upbringing, I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, AND HE SAVED ME! Glory to God! I was so excited about my new life in Christ! I had so many questions for Howard. It seemed like he and I looked through Genesis all the way unto Revelation that night. We didn’t get any work done, and our supervisor wasn’t a bit happy, but I left in the morning knowing I had eternal life in Jesus!
There’s so much more to tell…but as I think back on being born-again, it brings up so many “precious memories”…The Bible was new to me, going to church was a fresh experience week in and week out, talking with my Pastor was such a desire and a blessing…Friend, let me ask us both this: Is salvation that way for us now? Is your relationship with God fresh every morning? Do you still desire and meditate upon the Bible? Is Church a bore and a chore, or do you still hear God speak to you every time you attend? Just stop now…think about the time when YOU got saved…was there a time in your life when you repented of your personal sin and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to save you? Think back to that time…I pray your heart be renewed…time is too short and Christ is too precious ~ may your heart be revived for our Blessed Lord.