Duncan Cambell's personal testimony



My conversion happened under very strange circumstances. God didn't speak to me in a church or in a mission hall, though I went to church every Sabbath. God spoke to me at a dance. I happened to be a player and a step-dancer. I was very fond of bagpipe playing and just as fond of step-dancing. I was asked to play and dance at a concert and also to give several demonstrations of step-dancing. The concert had begun. I had already played several pieces when a minister came over to me and said, "There's a special request that you play "The Green Hills of Tyrone;" one of our favorite Scottish tunes.

As I came to the second part of that great tune, I found my mind altogether wandering from the tune. My thoughts centered on another green hill. At family worship on the farm, we frequently sang: "There Is A Green Hill Far Away." That was the green hill before my mind as I continued to play "The Green Hills of Tyrone." When finished, I was so gripped by the Spirit of God and so distressed in my mind that I turned to the other players and said, "Boys, you carry on. I'm leaving the concert. One piper turned to me and said, "Are you not well? I said, "I'm very well in body, but I'm terribly disturbed in my mind."

As I walked along the country road toward the farm, I saw a light in a church. I had been away in business and had just come home to play this dance. No one had told me that two workers of the Faith Mission were conducting a mission in the parish. And on that particular night they were having an all-night affair in the church along with the minister of that parish. I was curious to know what was happening. So I went up to the door and listened through the keyhole. Someone was praying. I listened and who did I discover praying but my own father. I am sure he was praying for his wayward son at the concert and dance. Horses could not have dragged me past that church. I was in my piper's regalia with its buckles and plates and whatnots, two swords in one hand with which I had been demonstrating sword dancing. and a set of bagpipes in the other. I laid them down in the back seat and walked up the aisle and sat beside my father.

The minister looked at me and then he looked at the two girls on the platform with him. I'm sure they thought I was either drunk or mad. Whoever heard of a piper in full regalia walking into a prayer meeting? I sat down beside my father, who turned to me and said, "I'm glad to see you here." That was all. After that, a young woman from the island of Skye, Mary Graham, a worker in the mission, stood up and spoke for about ten minutes in Gaelic. She spoke from the text: "God speaketh once, yea twice, but man perceiveth it not." The arrow of conviction struck home, and now I became fearfully distressed in my spirit, so much so that I was afraid I would create a scene in the church.

I walked out, left the others there praying, and I made my way along the road outside of town, arriving home about three o'clock in the morning. If I prayed one time along that country road, I'm sure I prayed ten times, crying to God to have mercy on me. I saw myself so vile and sinful. Upon arriving at the farm, I found my mother on her knees by the kitchen fire. Oh, thank God for a Christian home! Thank God for Christian parents! Mother couldn't attend the prayer meeting because we had visitors on the farm that night. But she could pray at home. And there she was on her knees by the fireside. I'm sure she too was praying for her wayward son. I went over and told her my story, told her how distressed I was, and asked her to pray for me.

Like a wise woman, she said, "There are visitors with us this evening. Your cousins have come, and there's one occupying the bed in your room. I would suggest that you go out to the barn and tell God what you told me." I went out to the barn and knelt in the straw prepared for the horses in the morning. I still remember the prayer I uttered. It was in Gaelic. I'm thankful that God understands Gaelic! If He didn't, I wouldn't be saved today; for I had not a word of English then. I prayed, "Oh, God, I know not how to come and I know not, what to do; but, if you'll take me as I am, I'm coming now." And God, in less time than I take to tell it, swept into my life. It was miraculous! It was supernatural! Never for one minute, since that hour, have I had any occasion to doubt the work that God did that night.

I knew nothing about the doctrine of simply believing, or about this matter of making a decision. My cry was, "God, come into my life!" I was, that night, supernaturally altered, and so supernaturally altered that godliness characterized every part of my being, body, soul, and spirit. On the following Wednesday, I walked seven miles over the hill to attend a prayer meeting. I had aspirations and longings of the soul that found expression in being at prayer meeting. Shortly after my conversion, I found myself along with many others, on the battlefields of Flanders, a soldier in the king's army. (For the conclusion of Duncan Cambell's testimony, see: Holy Spirit, Baptism With)