The Christian Testimony of Dick Dodson
Hi, I'm Richard Red Dodson and this is my testimony, The Gambler.
I was raised a Roman Catholic. When I was about 8, a church, of another faith took some children to a roller skating rink. On the way home they sang, "Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so". The name Jesus sounded so good to my heart. I confronted my mother with this. She, being a Catholic said, "You're never going again." I never did.
When I went to the Catholic Church, I went to a Catholic school for 10 years. I was convicted several times in Catechism class.
One day a priest was talking about idols. The class asked him what an idol was. He said, "When you worship anything except God, this is an idol." My mind raced to the statue that we knelt down to. But sometime after that the conviction left me.
One other time, I remember, we was in class talking about the Holy Ghost. I did not know what the Holy Ghost was. Only that it belonged to the Trinity of God. During our discussion the priest said the Holy Ghost was only for certain people, that the Holy Ghost would lead them into Gods work. We asked him if he could tell us, me and the class was about 50, how many would receive the Holy Ghost. He said, "Probably about one or two but it could go as high as five". I wondered why everyone couldn’t have the Holy Ghost. It is written: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, through the Father was sent in my Name. He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance. Whatsoever I say unto you.
“They talked to me much about the things of God”.
Then when I went to High School there were three girls there that were Christians. They talked to me much about the things of God. Two of the girls witnessed to me often.
I remember one time in the library they confronted me about the Catholic Church. They talked to me. I told them that they was wrong. I said that the Catholic Church was the first church. They went and got a library book to prove to me that which they was saying was true.
Different other times these two girls would talk back and forth about the things of God in front of me. They asked me to go to their church because I didn’t go to mine at this time. I didn’t go to their church. If I would have known what I do now, I would have went if I had to crawl every inch of the way.
There was another girl that sat next to me in math class. I had the liberty of pulling my chair over next to hers. Today, I can not fully understand that. One day she told me that she wished that she was dead. I couldn’t understand why anyone at the age of about seventeen would want to be dead. She also said life didn’t mean too much to her. Almost daily, she talked to me about the things of the Lord.
These three girls talking to me put me under a very heavy conviction. But my Catholic belief was too strong for any other religion. I thought anything other than the Roman Catholic Church was Satanic.
When I was about 10 years old we had a Thanksgiving Dinner at my Grandmother’s place. After dinner they started to play Penny anti. How I got into the card game I am not sure. But I started to play, my Aunts and Uncles all being present. It seemed as if every time a Canadian dime was in the pot I winned. When it came my turn to deal the cards, I would pass my deal because I was too short to reach around the table. I was so small that they had to put two pillows down for me to sit on so I could see the cards and put the money into the pot. This helped me to become a compulsive gambler. I won about 5 dollars and all I wanted to do was gamble from that time on.
When I was about 14 years of age, we moved to another little village where there was a man there that went to the horse races regularly. One time he took me along. This was the first time that I was introduced to this kind of gambling. I probably didn’t place a bet because I probably didn’t have any money but the thrill and excitement made my heart desire to play. This kind of gambling saved me from the depths of Hell and brought me to the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. I can thank God for His Son.
Other than the horse races, I played Crazy eights. I played Poker. I played Pinochle. I played Solitaire. I played Black Jack and I played other card games. And I did it all for money, to gamble. Not only this, I played Bingo a couple nights a week. I shot pool, played the slot machines. I did everything I could to feed this desire. Gambling was my God.
“It didn’t matter where I went, I gambled”.
In high school I gambled as much as I could with classmates. We would pitch coins to the wall. The one that was the closest to the wall would win all the other coins. At other times, we would flip coins. With more than two players, the one that was odd, would win.
Often, my great Uncle would take me to a service station where we shot pool and played poker. I never stopped gambling, even after I got married and moved away.
When we would come home for a weekend, I used to always make the remark; I used to always make the remark; that I would gamble 72 hours out of 76 hours we would be there. This happened to be true many times.
It didn’t matter where I went, I gambled. If I went to a tavern I played the slot machines or shot pool. If I went to somebody’s house you can be sure that within a short period of time I would have lead others to gamble. If I would let others know that I was coming they would either started to play or would begin when I got there. I was never contented unless money was involved.
I went with a friend to the legion together. We played the pinball machines together. Any time him and I played pinnacle, cut throat, we would try to out do each other. We couldn’t have won unless we played that way. The reason for this was we were better players. There was an exception to this. He had an Uncle that was a very good player with a single deck.
My family also gambled. But none of them, or anyone else that I know, gambled any more than I gambled.
Later on in life, one September day, I was told I would be laid off in a couple of weeks. That same day I stopped at a gas station down from where I lived. I glanced at the station and I saw a “Help Wanted” sign. After the manager gave me gas I asked him about the job. It was a lot less than I was getting. He asked me to come back in a couple of hours. So, I come back and he tried me out. I was so clumsy. I fell over the hose. I put the nozzle into a tank of gas, went up collected the money from the customer without telling him that the gas was still going into his tank. He pulled out with the nozzle still in the tank of the car. I felt that this would eliminate my chances of getting hired. But the supervisor came and I was hired.
I came directly involved with Bible tracts then. The customers would hand me Bible tracts, or some of you may call them pamphlets. The manager and I discussed this and he told me not to insult the costumers, stick that into your pocket, then when I got a chance throw them away.
About a year to the very day, there was a new station to be opened up. It would need painted, pumps put in, new poles and lights, blacktop and many other things. I gladly accepted this position.
“The pleasure of this world meant more to me than God”.
While I was going to work, some 30 miles from where I lived, I didn’t get out on town. I was pulled over by a policeman. He told me I was speeding and that he was going to give me a warning ticket. He said "I don’t know why I’m giving you a warning ticket or giving you a break." He said "I don’t do this."
I went to the station that day. After I was there I realized what the policeman had said, what he had done for me. It also struck me that I was manager. All that day it came to me about what the policeman said. And that evening as I started for home I didn’t get out of this town either. Just like in the morning. Just on the outskirts of it, when all of a sudden it struck me that this was from God. My new job, I didn’t get a speeding ticket. I couldn’t control myself. I started to cry. I pulled off to the side of the road. I knew that God had touched me. This was probably the first time in my life that I could truly see the greatness of God. I did what a simple man would do. To let you know when this was, it was about 4 years before my salvation.
I worked to get the station opened. After the station was opened Bible tracts became an issue again. I told the attendant not to offend the customers, to put the tracts into his pocket, after they would leave to throw them away, as I did the same.
What you are seeing here from the beginning of this tape, God always spoke to me. He often speaks to us. Maybe He is speaking to you at this time. God has showed me many things in the past to enlighten me why different things had to be. At times I have seen him draw me close to him but I would turn my back on him. The pleasure of this world meant more to me than God. How sad this is.
About 7 months after I became manager two supervisors pulled in. One was a district and the other was a local supervisor. They asked me if I would consider taking over a other manager job down the road from where I was managing. They were connected with the other company that I came out of. I had heard that there was a religious manager working there at that station but because I knew and I would make more money I accepted the job. I knew that he would be fired. He did get fired.
About 4 months later I’d seen that corruption had entered in. I had to quit because of it. I went 5 months without a job and couldn’t even draw unemployment. We almost lost everything we had. The supervisors both lost their jobs. I truly believe that God turned his wrath on the three of us. “For God knoweth the way of the righteous but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
In February of the next year on the end of my 5 months I didn’t receive my 1040. I went to see the manager of the station. He told me he would look into it. After I got home the telephone rang and it was the vice president of that company. He asked me if I would consider taking over a station as manager. I asked him if it could be possible that I could put my trailer on the station lot because I knew that there was ground there to do this. The reason I gave him was I could look after the station both. He told me he would do that if the city would allow it. That they would even pay for my trailer to be moved. I could hook my trailer from the station. They would pay my electricity bill. I also hooked up my water and sewage from the station. This is what I wanted to have, my trailer hooked up on the station premises. I had what I wanted. I found out that I didn’t have enough money to go around even though I didn’t have to pay no lot payment, no electricity bill and it cost me nothing to travel.
My gambling increased. I went to the race track frequently. On Friday nights I would play poker for high stakes. At times I would borrow money from one of the players. I began to realize that gambling had control on my life. I began to look for an easy way out. Just to hit it big and quit was what I was thinking. I wanted to get rid of this desire some way. From a racing book I had, with another system, I came up with what I thought was a very good system for the horse races. On paper it would win but when I went to the race track it wouldn’t win. This seemed very strange to me. There was time I would win but my winning wouldn’t make up near my losses.
“I used to be just like you. But now I’m saved.”
My wife and I went to New York City to get the Daily News for one year of back papers so I could study up on the races. It was so large and we wanted to take a bus and go to the car. The employees there said “All you need is the racing section.” So, they helped my wife and I take out this section. We put them in large bags and got on the bus and went to our car.
Sometime later, about a month, after I lost a great deal of money within a short period of time, my wife asked me, "Just how much do you expect to lose?" We had turned in our insurance policy or borrowed against them or other places as much as I could. It seemed my pay was going straight into the station.
I went on vacation to get away from it all. I went deer hunting. As I was driving, it came to me again, gambling had control of my life. It is written, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." While I was driving, I asked God to help me or take away my gambling. After I came back from vacation I returned to my home. I sit down at the table, asked my wife to join me. I told her my life was going to be different. She asked me in what way. I told her I didn’t know exactly. I said it would be after the holidays. Just like a man, I wanted God to wait on me.
But God didn’t deal with me until after the holidays. But soon after the New Year these are some of the things that happened that I remembered. There is much more but I can’t remember them clearly.
I noticed that Bible tracts increased. Customers started to confront me about God, sometimes indirectly.
I remember a woman that pulled in for gas. When she was about to pay me she saw a young man on the other side of the road. He seemed if he was a good for nothing, just like me. Before she paid me she told me that she was going to pray for him. She dropped her head. Later she looked up and handed me the money. After I got saved she told me that she prayed for me often.
Bible tracts increased much more than before. Something around 14 a day now and it was winter. In nice weather you would only get about 5 a day.
One day a man stopped to get gas. Before I got to the pumps he asked me why I didn’t get my life straighted out. This man I never remember seeing before the tracts increased. He said, "I used to be just like you. But now I’m saved." How did this man know what condition my soul was in I did not know. I didn’t know what he was trying to tell me. He stopped in regularly after that, about once a week. His wife was with him some of the time. Both of them had cancer and was taking treatment for it. He confronted me much about the things of God, I believe ever time he stopped.
There was a woman that got gas and she said to me that they were praying for me. Who all she was speaking about I don’t know. Some customers would hand me a tract. Others would just talk to me.
One time a car pulled into the pumps. The car was filled with people. A man got out of the car and started to look around. This concerned me because of being robbed. He told me straightly that I didn’t, that he didn’t need gas, that I was to fill it up anyway. He told me he was moved to get of the super highway to talk to someone. He said to me, "You are the only one here so it must be you." He got into the trunk but what that man did or what that man gave me I don’t know. I remember him saying that he was a preacher and was on a long trip. As strange as it may seem, he only got about a dollars worth of gas and his tank was filled. No passengers got out of the car not even to go to the bathroom. The man didn’t stop for service that’s for sure.
"I still was a slave to gambling... I was possessed by it".
Some time after this, the station got extremely busy. The company lowered my price. I was the lowest price in town. Bible tracts that I got I put into my pocket because I didn’t want any customers to see me throw them away. I had to wait until I went into the station. Some had to do with life and death. I became interested in life and death tracts and I began to read some of them.
One day I went inside the station. I had a Bible tract in my hand. I sat down and put the tract face down away from my paperwork. While I was doing my paperwork I was studying on it and I happened to look up in the direction of the tract. All of a sudden like someone would put a penlight on a piece of paper, these words glowed, "The wages of sin is death." While I was looking at this, a car pulled into the pumps. I didn’t want to leave this but I did. I ran out and gave the customer gas and ran back in. I found to my disappointment it was not lit up. I thought to myself, "Who would believe this?" I could have been saved then if I would have read the rest of the verse, "But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
One day an old white paneled van pulled into the station. A man got out of the van and said "Give me five dollars worth of gas." I started to put the gas in the tank when he asked me if I was going to heaven. I said, "Sure I’m going to heaven I’m a catholic." He looked at me while I put the rest of the gas into the van. He paid for the gas and said, "You may be a Catholic, but you may not have the same God I have." As he went to leave he kicked his back tire and went up and kicked his front tire, got in the van and left. He seemed very angry about this. After he left I got angry also.
After work, I told my wife what he had said. I told her that there was only one God. She agreed. Today I believe he was referring to 2 Corinthians, chapter 4 and verse 4 where it is written, "The little "g" god of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not, least the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of our God, shall shine unto them."
My gambling did not stop. I was not saved. I still was a slave to gambling. You could even say I was possessed by it.
We decided to go up to our family’s. I had Monday off. I went to my sister’s to play cards, to gamble, but this Sunday was quite different. Shortly after I sit down to play cards, I was under heavy conviction that things were not the same. I had played cards for years but this night was different. Everything I saw that night, playing cards was wrong. About midnight we quit playing. My wife was at her parent’s place. My aunt and I went to my grandmother’s house as I had done before. My aunt and I went to my Grandmother’s house as I had done before. I went to put the light on to my left of me, when I felt the presence that I was not alone. I turned around where the door was where I had come in and something happened. Then I asked God to make me a Christian, with a repentant heart. Then these things happened, I can’t tell you what order. I knelt and prayed, got in bed, asked God to take complete control of my body. The Holy Ghost that night taught me exactly what to say to my great Aunt and great Uncle. That night I had the most restful and peaceful sleep ever. I had nothing like before or since.
Then when I got up in that next morning, I went to my great Aunt and Uncle directly and just like it was rehearsed, things were said just like the Holy Ghost taught me. I told them about things of God. They were so astonished and said, "Dick I never hear you talk like that before." As I went to leave my great Uncle said to me, "Dick did you see the light?" I said, "No," because I didn’t even know what the light was. But today I can say that I have seen the light. Christ is the light. I didn’t even know what happened to me. I was never taught anything like this before. I thought that I was the only one that had this.
“I wanted a Bible”
I went to work and something very strange happened, no Bible tracts, not that day, not that week, not that month. It was a long time before I got any Bible tracts. I never saw the man after I was saved that said to me, “I used to be just like you” and had cancer. I never seen the man in the white panel truck that got 5 dollars worth of gas and kicked his tires and asked me if I was going to heaven. But I looked for bumper stickers that Christians had put on their bumpers so I could talk to them. Any place I went, I was looking for the things of God. My desire was to know about Him.
I went to the shopping center alone to look at Bibles. My wife didn’t know about this. I didn’t get one because I thought they was too expensive for me. Some of the places I went I would confront people about the things of God but they were not very helpful.
I told my wife that I wanted a Bible. She said I don’t think we have one. We went down to the shopping center. I took her to where I was looking but the one that I wanted was not there. The man said that he could order us one but it would take about a month to come in. My wife looked at me, I shook my head no. How could I wait a month? I needed one now. We started for home and my wife remembered that she may have a new testament in the trailer, stuck away in the closet. After we got home, she went and found it, thank God. I had a very deep desire to know about the things of God, about salvation. “For one to know that he is saved, for it is written, “The Son of Man has come to seek and save that which is lost.”” Now if the Son of man is Jesus don’t you think that you must know that you are lost before you can be saved?
After my salvation my gambling did not quit. When we went to our relatives I gambled. I even went to the racetrack at times. One day I got a tip sheet in the mail. It gave a name of a horse that was supposed to win. About this time a customer pulled in. We went to the races before. I asked him if he would be interested in going to the track in New York on June 5th. He said that he would see. Later he said he would. I knew that there is no sure bet that a horse would win but I wanted to go anyway.
I got up early that day, told my wife I was going on a business trip with a man. This was about 3 months after my salvation. I went and got ready. When I was just about ready my wife asked me, “How much money are you taking?” I answered and said, “Twenty to twenty-five dollars.” As I went to leave I turned to her and said, “I’m taking the car.” I didn’t tell her that before. She said, “Why would you take our car if you are going on a business trip with him?” I stood there for a while then I said to her, “I’m taking the car.” For the second time she asked me, “How much money are you taking?” I said, “Twenty to twenty-five dollars.” Just like that she rushed into my pocket and got all that money, about 200 dollars. There was no way for her to know what pocket my money was in. She never did that before or since. She said to me “But you told you’d changed. You haven’t changed at all.” I was hurt very deeply. I just wished that I could disappear. Your sins will find you out, that’s for sure. She told me that I was to let that man know that I wasn’t going. I did that.
We got into the car. We did not talk just went for a drive on a country road. I don’t believe we were on that road before. We got to the top of a hill. There was a graveyard to our left. She looked at the graveyard and said, “Stop the car.” She went into the graveyard. As I watched her, I felt the need that I had to go in also. So, I pulled into a lane and joined her in the graveyard. As I walked into the graveyard, I realized there was a purpose for me to be there. I realized that people die at all ages.
When we got in to a marking of a little girl, I could not realize why that girl was dead. Then God spoke to me. If I continue to gamble, either my wife or I would be taken home to be with the Lord. When God speaks to you like that you get to fear of God.
We went down the hill there was a church there. There lay the oldest couple. They were very old. They had been dead about 100 years. They were both in the 80’s when they died. While we looked at their grave there was a very great calm come over us and we both had peace. We let God bury the gambler and we left full of joy and happiness.
I can never forget (I can
I can tell you now the time
(I can tell you the time),