Did you hear the one about the Canadian and the Southerner who went for coffee? It sounds like a joke, only it’s not. It’s actually the beginning of how I came to Christ.
At the start of 2010, I was a husband and father looking desperately for a job in my native Mississippi so my wife and infant daughter could be closer to family. At the time, I was working as a news producer for a top-rated television station in a neighboring state. While the money was good, I had been battling a sense that there was something much more I could be doing with my life. I was also tired of feeling like I was only telling people bad news and I longed for more positive news.
In spring 2010 I reluctantly took my mother-in-law’s advice to send my resume and writing samples to American Family Radio. While I had been raised in church and participated in various programs throughout my childhood, I was not a Christian and I didn’t feel comfortable getting into the culture war. Sadly, I had been sitting on the fence about many issues for several years and, therefore, did not think choosing a side was in my best interest.
Not long after I sent AFR my information, American Family News Director Fred Jackson contacted me. A native of Canada, Fred had come to the States in the 90s to begin a career in news that delivered information from a Christian perspective. He invited me to Tupelo “for a chat,” and I made the drive over a few days later. Once there, I toured the facilities, met with various individuals, told Fred what little I knew about hockey (his favorite sport) and we went to a coffee shop later that day.
Towards the end of our conversation, which involved what exactly I was looking to do with my broadcasting background, Fred brought up the Bible and the road to salvation. I told Fred that I believed in God, but I was honest in saying that I had not been involved in church as an adult. Fred told me that participating or being a member of a church didn’t matter in the long run, and what I really needed was to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. To Fred, salvation was what really mattered and he informed me that it would only be after I came to Christ that we could continue our discussion about a job.
I thought about that conversation for several days after our meeting and I began to have the feeling that this was God’s plan for me. Things were just coming together in a way that I could not explain, even a year before the interview when my wife was pregnant with our daughter.
Another morning came and I made my decision. I acknowledged to God that I was a sinner, that I needed His Son Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and I asked Jesus to take over from that day forward. I eventually emailed Fred to say that, while it was not for employment purposes, I really took his comments to heart and got it settled in my heart. I was going to live for Jesus.
While it goes without saying, I did eventually land a job with American Family News and AFR. However, if it wasn’t for that Canadian and the conversation we had over coffee, I would not be where I am today.