The Real Story – Craig Lovatt’s Testimony
There’s a story in the Bible of a man named Saul. Saul was, at one time, thought to be one of the greatest persecutors of Christianity and Christians. While he was travelling one day (on his way to persecute Christians) he was stopped dead in his tracks by a great light that caused him to fall to the ground and tremble. A voice spoke clearly to him revealing that it was the voice of none other than Jesus.
Saul was on a path of destruction; a path of his own choosing; a path that led straight to hell.
When I was just about to turn 13 years old my life and my world was shattered when my father sat both my brother and I down at the dinner table and told us that, “Sometimes people fall out of love.” He left our family and he and my mom were now divorced and that left a huge hole in my heart that I then began to try and fill with every and anything.
I came to Canada when I was 3 years old from Scotland and we grew up in Mornelle Court. By the time we were teenagers, and with my dad no longer around, my mom basically lost control of us. She did an amazing job raising us but now she was alone with two very large teenagers, there wasn’t much she could to stop us doing whatever we wanted to do.
Mornelle Court was quickly becoming known as a place you didn’t want to live in and a lot of that was due to the actions of myself and my friends. It was already known as a rough neighbourhood with lots of violence and drugs and gang activity but we were not making things any better.
One short story…one evening some friends and I were sleeping over at a friend’s house up here in Malvern when the phone rang late at night. My friend’s mom came into the room panicked and telling me that my mom was on the phone screaming and crying. I took the phone and my mom began telling me that there is shooting outside in the playground area and that my brother was there. She didn’t know if he was still alive. I vaguely remember that night but all I know is that I cried myself to sleep not knowing if I would see my brother again. He was missing for 2 or 3 days and we were terrified. Praise God, he did show up eventually and told us everything that happened and how he was hiding out at a friend’s house to be safe. I would later find out that the shooters thought my brother was me but because it was dark out they didn’t know who was who. I eventually found out who attacked our neighborhood so me and my boy hopped into his truck, gun in the glove box, looking for revenge.
I didn’t know it then…but as we were driving something told me to get out of the truck, to go back home. I would have called it my conscience back then but today I can tell you that God was speaking to me even before I knew him.
I asked my friend to turn around and take me back home.
Meanwhile, I was attending West Hill high school and was doing quite well socially, so to speak. I was tall, fairly handsome, and captain of the basketball, football and rugby teams as well as the president of the Boys Athletic Council. I was pretty set on my path as I was pursuing a basketball scholarship as well and had become quite popular with the ladies.
But…God. God had different plans.
I met a group of guys while on the football team who quickly became my very best friends. But there was one particular guy who sort of…stood out from everyone else. He was different. He was always happy and smiling and upbeat and positive. As a matter of fact, he was so different that he was often teased and picked on and people thought he was gay because he didn’t sleep around with girls and whatnot.
He never beat the Bible over my head. But he would always tell me about his church and he would often ask me to come check him out because he played the trumpet in the band. I always knew what he was ACTUALLY trying to do, to get me to church, so I wasn’t having it. I was the type of person that truly believed that if I stepped into a church that I would be burned up in fire upon trying to enter the building. Guys like me don’t belong in a church.
But he was persistent. Both my friend as well as Jesus.
I finally decided to go to his church just so I could get him off my back and he would stop telling me about his stupid church. That Sunday, January 26, 1999, I went to his church. This church, and I never left.
That day…I finally realized who that voice was that told me to get out of the truck and go home. The story of Saul (Paul) touches me deeply because on that Sunday Jesus stopped me dead in my tracks, I got up from the pew and walked down the center of this church, by myself, crying (big old gangster me crying), accepted Jesus into my heart and He forgave me of all of my sins. Miss Olive Marshall led me in the sinner’s prayer and from that day on my life was never the same.