“I bumped into an old classmate who had entered the priesthood about 5 previous, I asked him how it was going, and he replied that he had recently quit the order and was very happy about his decision. Great I replied I have just come from Friar Tuck and his merry men and I wouldn’t join them either. To be honest I can’t remember our conversation, I may have said something like that, but I do remember that he was not happy with the priest hood and so he quit. Anyway, it was like a confirmation that God did not want me to enter by that doorway, so I went of to look behind door number 3.
About a week later as I was walking home from the unemployment office I started talking to God, I was not too sure if he existed at all and yet deep inside I felt a strong desire that I was meant for something better than this present predicament. I came to a cross walk outside a pub named Flannerys that I used to frequent, stopped looked up to heaven and said God if you are really there please show me as I don’t know what to do or where to go from here and then I walked across the road and proceeded up the long slow hill in front of me. As I neared the top I thought I recognized a man I used to know coming out of a corner store as I drew closer I called out his name ROY is that you? He turned around looked at me and with a big smile said Hi Mick how’s it going? At first I was not to sure it was him as the Roy I knew was always drunk, stoned and no fun to be around. I knew Roy’s Dad Harry Grey from my motorcycle racing days as his younger son was also a rider and both were club members. Roy only showed up when the club bar was open.
I kept looking at Roy, it looked like him but he didn’t act like Roy, this guy was too happy .He invited me inside the store (I had fitted the place out about 2 years before) we talked like we were old friends. Finally I stopped Roy and asked what has happened to you? Why are you so happy? He replied with a big Smile ` I met Jesus Mick; he’s real and living in my heart. My mouth fell open and I immediately told him what I had asked God at the bottom of the hill. I became like a little kid firing off questions and hanging on to every answer Roy gave. I was excited and could feel that the growing desire inside was about to be met.
As the store became busy and we could no longer carry on our conversation Roy invited me to his church that night and I eagerly accepted his invitation. I arrived early, it was an old rented hall with high ceilings and white walls and blue carpet. At the front of the hall stood a speakers podium and facing it were rows of neatly arranged chairs divided by an isle. There were a about 15 or so people standing around chatting and Roy was with them, he came right over and began to introduce me to everyone. They seemed friendly and warm, especially the girls who were quite good looking! Okay I’m in the right place I thought as I talked to a beautiful red head with blue eyes and sharp black rimmed spectacles. I always thought of church people as reverent and boring but these individuals had something I wanted, I could feel it but I just didn’t know what that was – yet.
Then the pastor walked in with his wife and Roy introduced me, his name was Michael O Brian and he and his wife (can’t remember her name) where Americans. They seemed rather friendly. Michael then excused himself and the couple walked to the front of the hall and positioned themselves, Michael at the podium and his wife sat down at the electric piano, by this time the room was nearly full so I sat with Roy at the back and watched.
Behind Michael was a large white screen and all of a sudden it was lit up with the bright light of an overhead projector the kind I was used to in high school. Michael then proceeded to open with a short prayer and then the words of a praise song appeared on the screen and a young boy with a guitar stood in front of the podium and began to lead the group in worship accompanied by Michaels wife on the piano, they sang about 2 or so songs and then people began to raise their hands as if in surrender and shout out praises to God as they sang, some also began to speak in what sounded like garbled language then the room was filled with a wonderful peaceful presence, it made me want to cry – I felt embarrassed so I held back. I could feel this strong compelling coming from inside of my body wanting to let go but I was afraid so I sat down pretended to pray hoping no one would notice me. I just wanted to run out of the hall as I felt so unworthy to be in that place. I became very aware of the sin in my life and it made me uncomfortable. Then the music stopped and there was silence and then one by one people began to speak out words they believed God was giving then, some in the garbled language and some as I later found out gave the meaning of the garbled words. I had heard my Mother talk about this kind of thing before but had never experienced it until now. Then it was over and big loud thanks went up to God.
The pastor then gave a short sermon and when he was finished we all filed into the adjacent room and drank some coffee. Roy asked me what I thought .I told him I was not to sure but I think I liked it.
I kept returning over the next several weeks and watching. Some nights they did altar calls-that is to ask if anyone wanted to ask Jesus into their hearts. I still was not ready for that yet. One night Harry, Roys father came and at the altar call he walked boldly down the isle and accepted Jesus, Roy and I both cried.
That night the pastor talked about the baptism of the holy spirit and then again the next week (I wont go into what it means now) it sounded great and I knew I wanted it but there was a price to pay it meant surrendering your whole life over to Jesus. That scared me because I thought what if God wants me to become a Catholic priest those guys could never get married or have sex, hey, that was a big hang up for me.
Then about two weeks later after a Friday night meeting in the coffee room I was talking with Trish a girl I had become close to and I confided in Trish my secret fear, she looked at a me and smiled and said she didn’t think that God would want me to do that but it was also a possibility. That did not make me feel any better about my upcoming decision .It was tearing me up inside and I knew I would not have any real relief until I surrendered my life to Jesus. Then I thought my life isn’t that great now what have I got to lose. So with knots in my stomach I walked over to the pastor and youth leader who were praying for someone else and waited. When they were finished they asked me what they could do for me, .I told them that I was afraid but that I wanted to accept Jesus into my heart and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit as well. Then John the youth leader led me in a simple prayer of repentance and renouncing Satan and all his hold over me and then I asked Jesus into my heart and surrendered to him at which point Michael prayed for me to receive the baptism of the holy spirit .He then asked me to ask Jesus to baptize me with the holy spirit and during this whole time they placed both their hands on my head and shoulders. Michael also told me that I would receive tongues as a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Well I asked Jesus to baptize me with the holy spirit and all of a sudden I was engulfed in what I can only describe as fire from heaven – not fire that burns – but fire that is out of this world, warm, yet peaceful and the presence of strong Love and then Michael asked me to open my mouth and speak my new language in faith and as I did out came this sound I had never heard before, it was a language I did not understand and the more I spoke it the more peaceful I became .It was a wonderful experience. I still speak in tongues today and can turn it on and of as I choose. When I’m confused or unsure of how to pray I simply pray in tongues and if I don’t receive direction right then I at least receive Gods peace that all is in his hands.”