My first question to my friend was, "Which courses should I take in college to prepare for seminary?" Remember, I had only been saved three days earlier. He responded by saying he didn't remember and suggested we call a local preacher. I agreed. He got the phone book and read me the number to call. I dialed and a woman answered. I asked to speak to her husband but he was not at home. He gave me another number, and the line was busy. When one of the women who answered said her husband was not home but was at the church and that "he would love for you to call him there." I said to my friend, "How does she know he would love to talk to me; she doesn't even know me or my question?" He laughed and said, "Forget it, he's a Baptist anyway." We both laughed. Baptists were a "thorn" to most Catholics. We tried a couple more calls, and finally he said, "Let's just call the Baptist." It had taken us six calls to "lower our standards." When he answered, I told him I was saved last Sunday, and I knew God wanted me to prepare for the ministry. While we were talking, I heard music begin to play in the background. Baptists went to church on Wednesday nights! He said, "Paul, let me have your number and I will call you back right after the service." After I hung up, I realized that I had given him my friend's number, and now I had to hang around until he called. Believe it or not, I sat by that phone for over an hour waiting. That, in itself, was a miracle.
The phone rang and the preacher asked me if I worked for the Blue Angels. I was surprised, to say the least, and told him I did. He then told me that one of his church members had come to prayer meeting and told everyone that the atheist we had all been praying for every Wednesday night for six months had been saved. He then asked, "Do you know Hal Judd?" I couldn't believe it. Hal was the guy I "destroyed" in the debate over the existence of God! Hal was the guy who sneered and said, "What do you want?" just the day before. Hal had been mad, and although it appeared he had little fondness for me, he cared enough about me to ask for prayer on my behalf!
The Pastor asked if we could meet the next evening at Krispy Kreme, and he had me; I loved their donuts. I met him and another fellow the following night and we went to the church to talk, or so I thought. As it turned out, it was visitation night, and he coupled me with another guy and sent us to visit a Marine Colonel who was home on medical leave. There I was, sitting in his living room on church visitation, whatever that meant. I expected the guy I was with would say something, but he just sat there. So, I told them both my salvation experience. As I finished, I mentioned that I had applied for Conscientious Objector status, so I could get out and go to seminary. The Marine got up, got his Bible, and showed me that it was alright for a Christian to serve in the military. I don't know why, but I was actually relieved. I thanked him and we went back to the church. I never saw the Colonel again, but God had used him and I withdrew my application the following day. Lord willing, tomorrow I will tell you about my conversation that night with the Baptist preacher.