I originally posted this story on 3/27/08. It is the salvation testimony of my grandparents Dale & Anne Simpson. My father, Gary Simpson is pictured above. He is the little boy on the front right side of the picture. I am always amazed whenever I read how God worked in the lives of my grandparents.
“New Year’s Day (1950) we sat in our living room watching television. too lazy to change the station, we watched as Dr. Ockenga of the Park Street Church in Boston introduced Billy Graham. Mr. Graham spoke only a few minutes but there was something in his message that made us want to hear more.
The following Thursday was our tenth wedding anniversary. Dale and I had always celebrated with a theatre date. Even then he had in his pocket tickets to a play in Boston, but after talking it over, we decided to go to Mechanics Hall to hear Billy Graham instead.
‘After all’ we said, ‘Everybody’s talking about him, and it’ll be something different. Besides, if it looks too crowded, we have the tickets and we can go on to the play anyway.’
Knowing that our going would please her, we wrote Dale’s Mother who had been praying for us all through the years and told her we were going to hear Billy Graham. Later we learned that when she read the letter, she knelt and thanked God for saving us; so complete was the assurance she felt.
Driving to Boston Thursday night, we jokingly made remarks like ‘Wonder if we’ll get saved?’ … ‘It would be funny if it did happen but of course it won’t!’ … ‘After all, you know the kind of people that go in for that.’
Having smoked the last cigarette in his pack just as we entered the hall, Dale said, ‘Remind me to buy a pack when we come out.’
He has yet to buy that pack. Neither one of us can remember much of Billy Graham’s message that night, but for the first time in our lives, we knew that Hell and separation from God were realities, and we were deeply convicted of sin in our lives. We knew for a certainty that we were in no way prepared to meet our Maker. Still we sat through the call and made no effort to do anything until Billy Graham said he wanted another chorus sung for he felt there was someone there who was chained to the seat by the Devil, who was saying, ‘Oh sure, we know it’s all true, but…’ I knew that I was being spoken to, and I was finally aroused to do something.
‘Take the first step,’ he said, ‘and God will do the rest.’ I turned to Dale and asked him if he wanted to go forward, and he said he did. He had been fearful of going because of my ridicule. We knew, just as soon as we began the long walk down the stairs and to the front, that we were saved because there was a definite assurance that God was already taking the steps for us.”
Four months after they were saved, my grandparents dedicated their lives to the Lord’s service. They went to Southland Bible Institute for further training and ultimately were called to Rifle Range Baptist Church in Winter Haven, FL (now known as Redemption Baptist). They served the Lord faithfully at that church for over 30 years. My grandfather preached right until the end. His last sermon was on Easter Sunday, 1996. God called him home one week later. My grandmother went to be with the Lord in 2003.