|My name is Bob Hrebik and I am grateful for the opportunity
to provide my testimony. I grew up in Northern Wisconsin where "Religion"
was in the home but not in the hearts. There were lots of rituals and rules
and can't do's, but no love of the Lord. The family life centered
on alcohol and taverns. There was no security or happiness as a youth.
I joined the Marines at age 17 and it seemed like that step gave me purpose. It built up my self esteem and now I was one of the Proud, the Few, the Marines. I was with one of the first units called into Vietnam (Ist Light Antiaircraft Missile Battalion) in 1964 and 1965. I spent most of the tour on Hill 327 and at the old French Compound at DaNang. My security came from my rifle and being part of a Marine team that really stuck together. I look back now and can see how foolish I was----to be without the Lord Jesus in a combat zone But as with most young people, death always happens to someone else. I came back, but I always asked, " Why did I survive when so many of my friends died there?
After my Honorable Discharge, and in civilian life, I was dissatisfied with where I was heading. I had failed at marriage and drank way too much. I had totaled out several cars, lived hard and lived empty. Over the years, I filled the void with all the wrong things and did so many things that I'm not proud of. I felt a loss because of joining the Marines at such a young age, I thought getting in college would satisfy that gap. I tried to do more, study more, earned several associate degrees, Bachelors, MBA and even accepted into PhD program. Six states and 28 years later, I was still searching, but still had no relationship with God.
It all started coming together on Christmas in 1993. My wife Erna and I had just been transferred and it was our first Christmas in Texas. I asked her if she was happy with all the presents and of our new home. She said, "If I would give her one more gift , she'd be happy." That gift was to attend church with her!
Erna was always speaking to me in the ways of the Lord Jesus. I was frustrated in my younger religious life and I knew I could never be right in my own works. Here in the Bible Belt of Texas, there were a lot of weird preachers on TV and they turned me off. I had a lot of old religious baggage to contend with. It was a fearsome experience to agree to come with her.
My wife had found Northeast Baptist Church in Keller, Texas and loved it. She was so positive about it. It was touching my heart but I didn't feel ready yet. I didn't want to go that Sunday but for her I did. I went with her a few more times. It was then I knew I couldn't hide from God anymore.
One Sunday, the Pastor's message was "Tough Guys Need The LORD Too". He spoke on great generals and great military men, both present and in biblical times, who knew that the Lord was their strength. After VietNam, the Marine Corps, a lot of brawling, and being tough, and loving a scrap, I could relate about men in war facing terrible pain and fear. If they died without Jesus as their Personal Savior, they went into more pain and fear...in Hell! He spoke on Benaiah ( II Chronicles verses 22), the toughest of the tough and how he jumped into a pit on a snowy day, just to slay a lion with his bare hands. Compared to these men, I was nothing and it humbled my heart right then. I was needing the Lord Jesus as my Personal Savior-I was in the pit and couldn't get out without His hand. It wasn't just emotion but a deliberate step to reach out for Christ. There was never a doubt that I was a sinner; in that instant, I had accepted Jesus and His grace. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3 verse 5). I went forward to tell Pastor. That was on February 6, 1994.
It was shortly after that I realized that there was a plan for me and I am so grateful that I wasn't taken from this life before I was ready. There is great hope in believing and my favorite Bible verses put Christ in total control. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3: verse 5 and 6).
It's now several years later. I now have a plan and am using those college degrees and life experiences to teach Bible Study to high school age youth. I tell them they can save themselves a whole lot of trouble by having Jesus as their Personal Savior early in life. There is only one way to find peace, peace with God, and peace with yourself, and that is by the Grace of God alone. There has never been but one way of salvation - the way of the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. " I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. No man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14 verse 6). My only regret is not making that choice sooner.
The Marine Corps'motto Semper Fidelis reflects Jesus,
Your Brother in Christ,