13 June 2018


By John Ollis


I attended Sunday School regularly at the local Salvation Army, for some time, then I heard about a “Military Tattoo” was going to be held at the local football ground on a Sunday. I have always been interested in anything military, so decided to go. The football ground was two blocks after the Salvation Army hall, and I remember literally creeping past, as I felt so guilty, again in hindsight I believe I was already coming under conviction and the Holy Spirit was drawing me to a place of commitment. I thoroughly enjoyed the “tattoo” and turned up the next Sunday for Sunday School.
I was informed that the previous Sunday was “Decision Day” (held quarterly) and I had missed it, and all my class had made a “decision for Christ”, I was asked would I like to make a decision that day, I said yes, and at the end of the class the teacher (who happened to be the officer’s wife) led me out to the Penitent Form, I don’t remember much that transpired while I was on my knees, but when I stood up I knew the reality of Colossians 1:13 NKJV He has delivered us (me) from the power of darkness and conveyed (translated) us (me) into the kingdom of the Son of His love. I believe the Americans call it a “bell ringer Salvation” I KNEW BECAUSE I KNEW, BECAUSE I KNEW I was born again of the Spirit of God, I knew I had eternal life as the Apostle John expresses in 1 John 5:13 NKJV These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life. I had to return home of course to a sad alcoholic situation, but now something had happened and I would NEVER be the same again. It wasn’t too long after this we moved into a new Housing Commission home in another s suburb, this disrupted my Salvation Army connection. I began attending the local Baptist church Sunday School which was a  requirement if I wanted to be a part of the youth group. I eventually discovered the Salvation Army in a nearby suburb, and began attending there. It was a small corps that eventually closed some years later, but it became my spiritual home although there were no other young people in the corps it became my spiritual home.
In hindsight, there was no practical consistent discipleship so my spiritual life was very much like the Australian Stock Exchange (up today and down tomorrow).  I don’t remember specifically any teaching and preaching about Holiness, yet I can sincerely say I longed to live a holy victorious life which became harder and harder when I came into my teen years. I could so relate to the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 7:15 NKJV  For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do,  The MESSAGE Bible says:What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.   Just before I turned 14 my father said to me, “get a job”.. This took little effort, I left school and I became an apprentice grocer just before the introduction of supermarkets.
Not only was I a loner, I was lonely, my memory is somewhat hazy regarding my childhood, but there weren’t many highlights, but I can see recognise God’s hand on my life even before I was converted. At age 14 I became a senior soldier, and signed the “Articles of War” and purchased a Salvation Army uniform, I was proud to
It was soon after this the next important thing happened that propelled me forward in my spiritual journey.