Some reflections on my gift of salvation in September 1973 written by William H. Pratt , October 2012

I came from a loving family being a middle child between a younger brother and older sister. My Dad was a lawyer, a good man and loving father, but an agnostic. My mother was very spiritual, loving, fun but I’m not sure of her salvation. Both parents are gone. I had an emotional but not heart felt, life changing experience with Jesus at a Young Life camp in Colorado the summer before my junior year in high school. Once I returned from camp to Glendale, California where I was born and raised what had occurred at camp was soon put aside.

Almost 20 years later my wife Peggy and I were happily married, living in Puyallup, Washington, raising 2 sons while actively engaged in a private dental practice. Peggy had become involved in a woman’s Bible Study Fellowship class and was excited about what she was learning. I watched her for 2 years somewhat puzzled how she could be so excited about the Bible. When she would ask me if I wanted to attend church with her I would tell her “I can be close to God when I’m hunting, fishing, skiing, working in the garden or just being outdoors.” One Sunday when she asked our oldest son if he wanted to go to church with her his answer was the same one he had heard me say many times. This response from him made me realize I was negatively influencing him and his brother to create a God who was convenient for whatever they liked.

While at camp in Colorado I had learned Young Life had just purchased a property in British Columbia called Malibu. Hearing tales of salmon, wildlife, natural beauty planted a seed to see it someday. In God’s providential ways we had some neighbors in Puyallup who were involved in Young Life adult committee. They extended an invitation to attend an adult weekend at Malibu after all the campers had returned to school. Here was my chance to see the property I had thought so much about since high school. Peggy also thought it was a great idea ! Prior to my experiences with Young Life I thought Christians wore black, never smiled and always carried their Bibles. Young Life leaders were popular, many were athletes and interested in things of my interests. Getting off the boat arriving at Malibu we were greeted with smiles, laughter and a sincere joy with living. Before leaving to come home the gospel made sense and I gave my life to the One I had denied for so long.

Many things have shaped my walk with Jesus since that evening at Malibu, B. C. in September 1973. Some of the most significant ones follow. First, a loving wife who has always been an encouragement and challenged me when headed in wrong directions. Peggy has been a great balance for me and a faithful friend and loyal lifetime helpmate. Second, eight and half years as teaching leader for a large men’s Bible Study Fellowship in Puyallup. This gave me a hunger and love for God’s Word. Since those years I’ve never had a problem being with the Lord in His Word on a daily basis. Third, fifty seven short term missionary medical / dental trips from 2 weeks to 2 months each over the past 26 years. These trips gave me a worldview and great desire for the lost to know Jesus. Shortly after we started doing medical / dental missions some financial / business consultants we were using suggested we consider forming a private operating foundation to fund our missions. Again the Lord’s providential hand entered the picture.

I had entered private practice in Puyallup, Washington in 1962 next door to a physician friend whom I had met at Madigan Army Hospital during my rotating dental internship after graduation from University of Southern California School of Dentistry. We were renting office space and decided to purchase property on a main street in order to someday build an office. Not long after our purchase our landlord offered to sell us the property which we were renting. The commercial property we had purchased remained vacant for 20 plus years and greatly increased in value. When my doctor friend decided to return to school for specialty training he sold his half of the commercial property to a developer friend of mine. My developer friend eventually offered to buy my half right at the time Cornerstone Business Advisors advised forming a 501 C3 foundation. Also at this time I had an opportunity to buy a 300 acre hunting / fishing property in eastern Washington. Owning such a property was also a lifelong dream. I now had the cash to buy my boyhood dream or form a foundation. After prayer and tears we decided to form a foundation and use the money for the Lord’s glory and bring others to saving faith in Jesus Christ in developing countries. I still call it “Death of a dream: birth of a Vision.” Looking back over all the mission trips, the people we have met and the salvation of many throughout the world makes us humble and in awe of what the Lord can do when we surrender selfish dreams and surrender to His will. To God be the glory, great things He has done and continues to do.