Cultivate Blog

World War II Veteran Turns from Atheism to Jesus

Categories: Stories

By David Levy

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Every salvation story is a miracle of God. The story of Bob McAllen is one I will never forget. Bob was a World War II veteran. He was a self-proclaimed atheist. His daughter and son-in-law had prayed for his salvation and witnessed to him for years.

After repeated invitations from his daughter, Bob came to our church. He also started to attend a Thursday morning breakfast with some men from our church. Bob scheduled a meeting with me. He wanted to talk to that “Jewish Pastor.”

Bob, not a very tall man, came into my office pulling an oxygen tank. He came in with one question, “What’s the difference between Lutherans and Baptists?” I said, “Rather than answering that question, first I would like to know who is Bob McAllen.” For the next hour, he proceeded to share with me his bad experience with religion, his time in Japan, and his marriage to his late wife Yoshi. 

At the end of our meeting, I thanked him for sharing the story of his life with me. I proceeded to ask him, “Bob, would you be interested in studying the Bible with me? We will use The Story of Hope as our guide. It has 20 Old Testament events and 20 New Testament events that helps to explain what the Bible is all about.” He said, “Yes.” So I gave him his own copy and we set up our first meeting.

Soon after our meeting, Bob came down with pneumonia and ended up in the VA hospital. I sought the Lord for the direction I should go in talking to Bob about spiritual truths. The Lord directed me to use the condensed version of The Story of Hope which has 10 Old Testament events and 10 New Testament events. When I went to the hospital to visit him, I read through the events and made minimal comments. After Bob was released from the hospital, I visited with him at his home and read through The Story of Hope--Condensed again.

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At this visit I referred Bob to the Chronological Bridge to Life in the back of The Story of Hope. The ChronoBridge contains eight key words to explain the redemptive story of the Bible – God, Man, Sin, Death, Christ, Cross, Faith, Life. Under each one word, there are seven statements. I asked Bob to circle any of the statements that he had a question about.

In our next meeting, we discussed questions he had about statements under God, Man, Sin and Death. After I was able to answer his questions about God, Bob affirmed his belief in the Biblical view of God. He did the same thing for Man, Sin and Death. In preparation for the next meeting, I had Bob circle questions about the statements under Christ, Cross, Faith, and Life.

In the next meeting, we followed the same format to clarify Bob’s understanding of Christ, Cross, Faith and Life. Each time he affirmed his belief in the Biblical view. We then personalized the words of John 3:16-18. Instead of “the world,” “whoever,” and “he who,” I encouraged Bob to put his name. I then asked Bob, “Would you like to pray and tell God that you are trusting His Son Jesus to give you eternal life and to forgive all your sins?” Bob said, “Yes!” After Bob trusted Jesus as his Savior, I shared with the promise of eternal life from John 5:24. There was a new light in Bob’s eyes.

Five days later, Bob went home to be with the Lord. It was a great reminder to me that no one is too old to trust in Christ as Savior.

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