Whether the message is written or preached, the message of the Gospel is the proclamation of God’s Way of Salvation.

The Holy Bible is the Word of God. In the Bible, God presents the one and only way that a man or a woman can have their sins forgiven, thereby establishing a right relationship between God who is holy and mankind who is sinful.

The Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, has come from heaven, taken upon Himself genuine humanity, lived a perfect life, and offered Himself upon the cross outside of Jerusalem, as an offering and a sacrifice for the sins of the guilty.

God commends [demonstrated] His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

The Bible says the Lord Jesus “was delivered [to the Cross] for our offences and raised again for our justification. Romans 4:25

Every Christian has a story to tell about how they came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my personal story with you.

My Story

At the age of 28, I took a long look in the direction down the road I was travelling. One of King Solomon’s Proverbs in the Holy Bible says: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 16:25

The Lord Jesus taught that there are only two destinations after death for every person: heaven and hell. The way I was living and the path I had chosen was not taking me to heaven.

After high school, my inclinations took me quickly further along the “broad way that leads to destruction.”

Life in the Sixties

It was the mid-1960s. There had been three notable assassinations in recent history. President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Senator Robert F. Kennedy during the 1968 primaries.

Martin Luther King in Washington, D.C.

Young people were disillusioned. I was easily swept into the current of the counter-culture of the day. Society was in an uproar. They were revolutionary times. Civil rights marches across the U.S.A. were constantly in the news. Sit-ins and strikes occurred in universities across the States, and even in Canada too. There were race riots on the streets of Los Angeles. Protesters against the war in Viet Nam filled the streets.

Riot in Newark, NJ Summer of 1967

There were atrocities being committed over in Viet Nam, such as the My Lai Massacre. Half a million young people, mostly young men my age were drafted to serve the United States in the war in Viet Nam. Many left their country behind and came to Canada. They were called draft-dodgers. They burned their draft cards and effectively said “No! we won’t go.” If they tried to return to the U.S., they would be arrested at the border and face imprisonment. So, in a sense they brought “the revolution” to Canada – my home country.

Draft Dodgers in Vancouver 1960s

Spiritual Searching

In those days, the traditional Judeo-Christian moral influence that was once  dominant in North America began to give way to New Age teachings and eastern religious beliefs such as re-incarnation, transcendental meditation, Buddhism, Hare Krishna type Hinduism, Kundalini Yoga. All these and more, promised a path of spiritual pursuit that led to self realization and a measure of peace in the soul. Sadly, I tried out some of these ways.

Don Hammersmark – Restless and Seeking

Some time in my early youth there were words impressed upon my young heart – “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” I wouldn’t have been able to find them in the Bible, or even known who said them [Jesus]; but they stayed with me. Those words seemed to compel me to keep searching, until I found I knew not what.

When God created the first human – body soul and spirit, He built into us a void that only He could fill. Counterfeits, no matter how good they look or sound, or how much they promise, are bound to fail the test of reality.

Slogans to Protest

Those were the days of rock and roll, and protest and a libertarian, anti-establishment, permissive way of living. Marijuana, cocaine and LSD, although illegal, were commonly available. The slogans of the late 1960s and early 70s included: “Make love, not war.” “Tune-in” to the music, “turn-on” to the drugs and “drop-out” of the mainstream society. “Hell no, we won’t go”- to the war in South East Asia.

1970 Hippies in Vancouver

Hippies and Communal Living

There was a “back to the land” movement during those times too – hippies getting together and living communally, mostly in rural areas. I, with others, moved into a small community on Vancouver Island. We survived by doing odd jobs and just getting by with anything that came our way.

The years that should have been used to further my education were wasted in ‘riotous living’ – the lifestyle Jesus described in Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke Chapter 15.

Source of Discontentment

However, an old friend of mine had been ‘saved’ and he invited me to attend what he called a ‘gospel meeting’ – where two men preached from the Bible. They told us that the source of a people’s discontent was their separation from God. Sin had come between God, who is holy and individuals who are sinful. And no one can ever be truly happy until they are at peace with God.

I attended a Christian Conference where there were hundreds gathered. They had one thing in common – the experience of God’s salvation. I was so impressed by their conduct and interest. I thought: these people have something worth having and they want me to have it too and they tell me I can have it “without money, and without price.”

Alone at a Winter Logging Camp

In the winter of 1974, I was offered a job as a watchman in a logging camp up north on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The Lord had brought me to a place where finally without much outside influence, He could impress upon my empty soul the consequences of living and dying, having wasted my life without any purpose.

The Bible says: “O, that they were wise and understood this, that they would consider their latter end.” Deuteronomy 32:29

Bad Hives and Living Water

There was a heavy snowfall that winter. The road was closed until spring and I had only a short-wave radio and an old camp dog for company. Before long, I broke out in horrible hives. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to stay there. But something told me to get my drinking water supply from a stream a little further from the cabin. And when I did, the hives cleared up.

A British Columbia Winter Cabin

Incidentally, when the snow melted, I discovered that the first stream came from under a pile of cedar logs and must have been contaminated even though I couldn’t taste it. I believe The Lord directed me to the stream of living water so that I wouldn’t be discouraged and leave.

I had been brought up in a Roman Catholic home, but had cast-off Christianity entirely because of the faults and excesses and history of that organization. Consequently, I never read the Bible and I never considered the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ.  

Finding Christ in the Logging Shack

It was sometime later in a little shack in that logging camp on Vancouver Island when I trusted Christ for the first time. It was winter, and I was alone. Snowed in and isolated. I was reading a Bible that I had acquired and listening to gospel testimonies on my short-wave radio.

I was under the conviction of a heavy burden of sin, and I asked God to save me. By faith, I believed that the Lord Jesus Christ had died for me. The burden of guilt and the unbearable load of sin was lifted. I understood that God loved me, and that Christ had died for my many sins on the cross outside of Jerusalem.

Christ took my place: as my substitute, He took upon Himself, the punishment that was due to me. He finished all that God, being holy, demanded to satisfy His own righteous claims against sin. He was buried – proof that He truly died. And rose again from the dead – proof that His claims were indisputably true and that He had power over death, and that God was satisfied with the sacrifice that He had made on the cross.

The blood [speaking of His death] of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1John 1:7.

It was a revelation to my soul that has never lost its wonder.

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy1:15.

That’s my story, to God be the glory, I’m only a sinner saved by grace.

Don and Leonor Hammersmark – Peaceful and Happy in Christ

For You Too

Thanks for reading my story. I am glad I can tell you that you too can be saved, by repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Your search can come to an end. You can have eternal life and wonderful peace. I’d be honoured to hear from you if you would like to email me.

For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13

If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Romans 10:9

Jesus said: I AM the way the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father but by Me. John 14:6

Additional Reflections on Society in the 1960s

One hundred years ago the world was at war. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Following WWI, came the Great Depression in the 1930s. Then WWII from 1939 – 1945 ending when the atom bomb was dropped on Japan. My little life began about 9 months later.

During the 1950s there was the Korean War, and the Cold War. Bigger and bigger atom and hydrogen bombs were being tested all over the world – on the land, in the air and under the sea. Environmental groups were getting together to demonstrate against the tests that were contaminating the atmosphere with nuclear fallout. Traces of Strontium 90 began to be found in the milk supply. Mothers were alarmed. Some people were building bomb shelters in their backyards. There was a sense of fear that war could break out at any time. Air raid sirens were installed in cities for the purpose of warning citizens to take cover.

It was in the 1950s when I was in school, that the full extent of the horrors of the Holocaust were being exposed. The gas chambers and the ovens. Six million Jews and many so called ‘undesirables’ were eliminated by the Nazis in Europe. Stories of the brutality of the prisoner of war camps began to be published.

The terrible aftermath of war was real and evident every day. Is it any wonder, when the Viet Nam war got going, that people began to say – enough! Life is too precious to be thrown away by warring and fighting. Our grandfathers and our fathers had been sent off to foreign lands to fight and die.

The above conditions, as I see it, were what spawned the hippie movement of the 1960s and 70s.

Spiritual Reflections

History paints one long picture of hate and hateful behaviour that began in the Garden of Eden with the fall of man and after that Cain rising-up against his brother – behaviour that continues to this day. Terrorism is not something new.

The conditions in the heart of man are a miniature of the conditions in a world that has no room for Christ.

Here is God’s description of the human heart as He sees it and as found in Romans 3:10-18:

“As it is written, There is none righteous no not one: There is none who understand, there is none who seek after God. They are all gone out of the way; they are together become unprofitable; there is none who do good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre[tomb]; with their tongues they have used [practised] deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

In the Old Testament of the Bible, the prophet Isaiah wrote: “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace saith my God to the wicked.” Isaiah 57:20-21

In the New Testament, about the time when the many prophesies concerning the coming Saviour were beginning to be fulfilled, these words were written: “The Dayspring from on high has visited us, to give light to them who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:78-79. The Lord Jesus is the Dayspring from on high. HE is Gods Way of Peace. HE is The Prince of Peace

“HE satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:9