Going To Heaven?
by Arnold Stobbe with Naomi Epp
Are you going to heaven? Sooner or later someone close to us gets very ill or is in a tragic accident. At those times we take time to think about death, and we may wonder, "Will I go to heaven?"
God has very interesting ways of bringing people together. When my wife and I first began visiting the couple in Hafford, we discovered that I had had a part in building their house. However, it had been built in Borden, and years later our friends bought it and moved it to Hafford.
Dave, a young mechanic in Borden, built the house and had hired my neighbour, Art, and me to work for him. Art was married the same year that Helena and I were married and lived only a few miles from the small log house that we first lived in. Through working together on Dave's house, Art and I were able to get to know each other better.
But my young neighbour, Art, had a big problem. He liked his liquor. This was
hard on his body. Some years later he was in the hospital, and I visited him
several times. Though still in his 40's, he had drunk so much that he had ruined
his health and had to quit farming.
One day as I visited Art in his home, he asked, "How do you know that you are going to heaven?" I told him how God had shown me my sin, and how I had asked God to forgive me for my sin and to make me His child. God punished Jesus for my sin when Jesus died on the cross, and God had been waiting for me to accept His forgiveness. When I did, I knew that I would go to heaven. Art said, "In my church, if you get baptized, then you will go to heaven."
Shortly after this, Art passed away. At the funeral the minister said that Art had been baptized, and therefore, he would go to heaven.
When Art's funeral was over, a friend of Art's came up to me and asked, "Did you talk to Art?"
"About what?" I asked.
"Well, about . . . ." he hesitated.
"About heaven?" I questioned.
"Yes. Yes," was his quick response. So I told Art's friend the story of how I had received forgiveness of sin and had become a child of God, just as I had told it to Art.
"Oh," he said, and walked away.
Not too many minutes later, another friend of Art's came up to me and also asked if I'd talked to Art about heaven.
I blinked a few times and then told him how God had saved me from my sin and made me a new person.
"Oh!" he said and also walked away.
It struck me that these drinking buddies of Art had been expecting and had been hoping that I had told their friend Art how he could be freed from his sin and go to heaven. I am thankful that I had.
In my many visits to the hospital, I was richly blessed. Of those I visited, I know of two who received God's gift of salvation through my visits with them and who were then ready to go to heaven. In each situation, I was not aware of what happened and only found out about it later.
One day I entered a lady's room and introduced myself. She did not seem too friendly. We talked for a while, and then I asked, "May I read from the Bible and pray with you?"
"Yes," she replied. So I read from God's Word, prayed with her, and left the room.
Surprisingly, she was very friendly the following week and invited me to come into her room. Again we talked. Then, I read from the God's Word and prayed with her.
"Will you be a pall bearer at my funeral?" she asked me several weeks later.
"Why would you ask me to be a pall bearer?" I questioned.
"I prepared my funeral years ago and asked a pastor to conduct it. At that time I did not know I was going to heaven. I had a lot of Bible studies with the pastor, and I thought he was good. But we did not talk about Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the grave to forgive my sin and to make me a child of God," she answered.
"When did you do that?" I asked.
"The first time you visited me, I prayed with you. I became a child of God. Now I know that I am going to heaven. I am sorry that many years ago I asked my pastor to conduct my funeral. Would you conduct my funeral?" she said.
"It is quite alright for your pastor to conduct your funeral. I will be pleased to be a pall bearer," I replied. How thankful I was that this woman had accepted God's offer of salvation and now knew that when she died, she would go to heaven.
Another time I went into the room of a man who had had a stroke. I tried visiting with him, read the Bible to him, and prayed with him. He didn't talk. He just looked at me. I saw no response.
What a change there was in him the next time I visited at the hospital! He seemed to be looking forward to my coming and reading the Bible and praying with him. He tried saying some things to me, but I couldn't understand too much.
After this, I visited him several more times in the hospital, and each time I sensed a warm feeling towards me.
With time the man went home. Several months later the man's wife phoned and asked, "Would you and Helena like to come for supper on Friday?"
I had not met the man's wife and was surprised to receive an invitation to supper, so I asked, "Why are you asking us to come for supper?"
"For what you did for my husband when he was in the hospital," was her response.
Helena and I went to their home and had a wonderful supper. While we were visiting in the living room after the meal, the couple's son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons arrived. We continued to talk for some time. Then I said, "May I read from the Bible with you?" They responded with a hearty "Yes".
I read to the family from 1 John 5 where it says that we can KNOW that we are saved and will go to heaven. I explained the verse a little.
Then the man's wife said, "My cousin, Jack, knows that he is saved and will go to heaven. You and Helena know. My husband knows, but I don't."
"You can receive God's gift of salvation right now," I told her.
"I'm not ready now," she said.
"When did your husband get it?" I asked.
"When you visited him in the hospital, he prayed along with you. Then he knew that he was saved and was going to heaven," she responded. A big smile spread across her husband's face as she said these words.
Although this man had made no response when I first visited him, he had understood and believed when I explained to him about the gift of forgiveness and salvation that God was offering to him. His wife could make out more of what he was saying than what I could, and she understood that he now had peace with God. Praise the Lord. This man, too, was going to heaven.
None of us know when we will die. We may be young, middle aged, or old. Each of us is precious to God, and He wants us each to receive His gift of salvation while we are still living on this earth. If we do, then we can know that when we do die, we will go to heaven!
Other testimonies by Arnold Stobbe:
I Would Like That JOY!
Overworked, BUT - God Said...
The Burn Patient Who Laughed
"Visit in the Hospital? . . . Not Me!"
Serve Faithfully - God Can Use You!
A New Church in Town
Our House is on Fire!
Working with Western Tract Mission
Back to Index of Hope Testimonies
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