In his youth Dennis Penner was wild at heart. Growing up in Germany with a group of unruly friends, he made sport of vandalism and theft. Although he pretended to be well-behaved before others, behind the scenes he was rebelling and breaking all the rules.
Most of this rebellion was caused by Dennis’ volatile home life. Although he was raised by church-going parents, they struggled to keep God a priority in their lives. Their marriage was troubled and chaotic. This deeply affected Dennis and left him feeling frustrated and angry with God and the church. “I hated attending church and Sunday school,” he recalls. “I found it boring and started hanging out with other equally disinterested kids.”
One night, however, something happened that changed the course of Dennis’ life. Attending a church youth camp, he and his friends stole some money and used it to purchase alcohol. But when they were caught, unexplainably, Dennis was let off the hook. “Everyone in my room was sent home except me! Alone, with all my friends gone, it gave me time to think.”
It was the camp leader, a Christian named Andy, who had caught Dennis and his friends with the alcohol. Later that evening Andy led the Bible study time. He spoke to the youth at the camp about Jesus Christ and the gospel. Closing the message, he invited those who wanted to be saved to pray with him. Dennis was touched. “I was overcome by a sense of how much I needed Jesus and that I was utterly lost without Him. In a moment that I will never forget, I cried out to the Lord, ‘Jesus, I surrender my life into your hands. I am Yours. I am Yours!’”
That very night the Lord took a lost rebel up in His arms. In the Bible, God promises us that “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Romans 10:13), and Dennis proved this scripture true as he called on God. “Christ revealed Himself to me. I felt a joy and peace that I had never known before. The guilt that I had been carrying all my life was gone. I was forgiven!”
Dennis has served God as a youth missionary in Cape town. Presently he is back in Germany, serving the Lord, getting ready to get married to his fiancé Lydia, and preparing himself to further serve the Lord wherever He would have them.
To find out more about Jesus Christ and how you can have eternal life, read the Bible. Start in the gospel of John, and ask God to reveal Himself to you as He did to Dennis. Trust Him – God is faithful!