Leslie's Life Change

by my Dad, Les Grove

A Life Changing Experience

In the late fall of 1943, when I was thirteen and a half years old, I had an experience that changed the course of my life. My sister Helen was at home that fall. She heard about a meeting to be held in Rich Valley one evening, so she invited me to go there with her. Miss Jessie Hyde had come to that area to have meetings in different places, and on that occasion a room in one of the buildings in the village was used. Just a few people attended.

I have no recollection of any detail of the message, except that it was Biblical, simple, and effective. God spoke to my heart in a powerful way. I was overwhelmed with happiness and thankfulness to God for giving me eternal life through Jesus. The Name of Jesus became very precious to me. Songs that we sang at that time and in succeeding days became engraved in my mind and heart.

My response was a resolve to read the Bible every day, starting in Genesis, reading five chapters a day, together with prayer three times a day. This practice increased my love for Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, giving a sense of purpose and value to my life, which has lasted to this present day.

How God Appointed Me To His Service

The following summer, in July, The Alliance Church in Stoney Plain held a children's Bible Camp at Lake Isle, about twenty miles west of Carvel Corner, that is, about 50 miles west of Edmonton. I heard about the camp, but didn't have money to go there. However, Chester, my brother, gave me eight dollars for the camp fee, and I went.

When Bible Camp was finished I had a strong conviction that God wanted me to serve Him as a missionary in some other country. At that time I thought mainly about Cuba, where the missionary at the camp had an orphanage and also did evangelistic work. Later, as I learned more about Missions, I felt that God was leading me to a life of missionary work in Latin America.

I went to Prairie High School in the fall of 1947. During 6 years at Prairie, 2 high school and 4 in Bible school, I heard many missionaries who were serving in countries all around the world. My interest in missions grew to include the whole world. But one person can go to only one place at a time. I knew that I would have to make a choice.

When Japan was defeated in 1945 and World War II came to an end, General Douglas McArther, the commander of the victorious American forces in the Pacific area of the war, remained in Japan as the leader of the American occupation forces and the governor of Japan. He appealed to Christians in North America to send missionaries to Japan to try to fill the spiritual vacuum left after the collapse of the religious system as well as the government of Japan. My going to Japan in 1957 as a missionary with the Japan Evangelical Mission was my response to that appeal. The vision of Latin America was renewed as we went to Brazil in 1975.