Testimony Monday – Denis Romkes, The Netherlands
Each Monday, for a number of weeks, someone from around the world will share the story of how they heard the gospel and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. This week’s contributor is Denis Romkes, who lives in a village in Drenthe, the Netherlands, with his wife, Esther, and three children.
I was born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and raised in a somewhat religious but non-Christian family; my mother was raised as a Roman Catholic but did not practice herself. At Christmas, we attended a church service and that was the only time each year. We never read the Bible or prayed in the home.
As children, we went to a Catholic primary school. I finished school at the age of 19 and worked for various companies. I was interested in sports and music; the main ambition of my life was cycling.
In October 1994, at the age of 23, I started working for a new company as an assistant surveyor. The colleague I worked with was a Christian and he asked me if I believed in God; the answer was short – “No.” My colleague gave me a booklet – the gospel of John. While reading through it, I started to consider that God is the Creator. I had been brought up believing that man is the result of billions of years of evolution, but now I saw and believed that God is the Creator of all things.
‘He that cometh to God must believe that He is.’Hebrews 11:6
After a while, my colleague invited me to attend the Sunday evening gospel meeting in the church he attended. I thought to myself, ‘If it doesn’t do me any good, it won’t do me any harm.’ So, I went. The first night I attended, my colleague’s neighbour preached the gospel. I thought that my colleague had been speaking to him about me because everything he said was so personal. I asked my colleague on Monday morning if he had been speaking to his neighbour about me, but he hadn’t. The Spirit of God was speaking to me; I was under the conviction of sin but tried to defend and justify myself by saying that many people are like or worse than me. ‘I am not that bad or sinful,’ I thought. My colleague and I had conversations about the gospel…well, he tried to have conversations for I was not a person for conversation.
My colleague was struggling if he should bring up the gospel again and was greatly encouraged by God to do so when he found a tract nailed to a pole in the middle of nowhere while we were together surveying. He gave it to me. God was at work.
My colleague invited me again to attend the Sunday evening gospel meeting and I attended for approximately three months. Every time, after a meeting, I was struggling with my sin.
Underneath, questions about life bubbled up and fell as a jigsaw puzzle into place. Truth is what I wanted, and I thought to myself, ‘If this is not the truth, there is nothing else.’
Driving home alone in the car after another Sunday evening gospel meeting, I thought to myself, ‘Jesus died for me.’ The next morning, while my colleague and I drove to work, he asked me how I was. I told him that last night I had understood that Jesus died for me. While I told him, for the first time in my life I had such a peace within; I cannot describe it. The truth of Romans 10:9 was the reality in my life:
‘That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’Romans 10:9
That Monday morning, 27th February 1995, I now can say was the day of my salvation. At the time, I could not put any Scripture or biblical expression to what had taken place. But from that moment on I started to read my Bible (given to me by my colleague) and came across verses such as Matthew 11:28 – ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’, and realised this is not only what I had been searching for, but what I have. I had been restless, and now I have rest because of Jesus.
That same year, in October, I was baptised and gathered to the church of God which is at Schoonoord.
Two years later, I sold my racing bikes and stopped competition cycling. As a Christian, I came to understand that putting all my time and energy into competitive cycling was vanity.
Now, in 2021, after 26 years, I know and continue to learn that it is all through grace that God saved me. How beautiful to know my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ loved me and gave Himself for me.
To Him be glory, and honour and majesty for ever and ever.
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