Testimony of Donald (Conn) Maciver
I was born in the village of Aird Tong on the Island of Lewis in 1961 and had a mother and father that were second to none. My mother used to take me to church every Sunday and I clearly recollect the passion with which the late Rev Murdo Macaulay preached. I often asked my mother why he used to shout so much and for so long. His sermons lasted an hour and a half and it was the longest and most painful time of the week for me. Little did I know that this screaming preacher was later to be one of the best friends that I could wish for. I was privileged to spend afternoons with him when he retired to Carloway and he has given me some of his books.
I rebelled when I left school and was involved with the attractions of the world and had no time whatsoever for church life and spent many years not going to church.
I became increasingly involved in music and my drinking was also excessive. I clearly remember discussing the afterlife in the pub with some of my mates one night, (you would be surprised to know how much small chat goes on about the hereafter in pubs you know) and I for the life of me could not understand how life could come from something that was dead. I would listen to the address to the lost at funerals as the cold body would be lowered into the cold ground and could not believe that this body one day would rise out of the grave.
I served my apprentischsip in Stornoway as a Plumber and afterwards worked in Arnish Fabrication Yard, this then took me to the Scottish mainland, serving in Nigg Bay and Methill in Fife. I had married Margaret by now and was and still am very happy in marriage. We had one daughter at the time, Christina; there were 4 other kids to follow.
My mother had put a small Bible in my bag when I left for the mainland and for many years remained unopened there, but I felt that it should always accompany me.
Working, drinking and music were getting excessive and my wife had said that I was heading for trouble unless I stopped. There would be Celidhs and parties that were for me by then so much part of my life, and yes I was happy in the world and I wanted more of it. I remember once playing at a few functions in the Southern Isles and believe it or not the author of this web site Iain Mackenzie was stationed on the Isle of Barra as the District Linesman for the local electricity company, and when I saw the condition that he was in I felt great because Iain was well under the weather through drink and it made me feel good because a wee voice said to me that I was not half as bad as he was. Later on I would be privileged to have Iain as a brother in the Lord and confidant.
One Saturday whilst on leave at home a knock came to the door at around 4pm. (The beer can and whisky were shoved under the chair as he came in.) This was the late Rev Murdo Alex Macleod minister of Stornoway Free Church. He had a mannerism about him that floored me. I enjoyed his company and as he parted, he asked me to come to church the following day, as he was kind enough to visit me he felt that I should do the same.
I went to church that Sunday and was captivated by the passion with which he preached, and it felt that I was alone in church with him speaking to me.
I went back to Methill the following Monday and carried on with my work as usual. I tried to blank out the niggling thoughts that I had about the sermon the previous day but I could not for the life of me. He had preached on Philippians Chapter 3 Verses 20 & 21.
The oil platform that was getting built in Methill was called the North Everest Topside and today was the day for weighing it. All 37 thousand tones of the platform were sitting on 4 jacks; one jack on each corner, specialist-jacking vendors carry out this work. My Foreman came to me and asked me to disconnect the water supply to the structure, which meant crawling under it and removing the water pipe. I said, “no bother I’ll get some tools” and off I went under the massive platform, which is only 18 inches off the ground. Once I reached the pipe, I was overcome with absolute fear. If these jacks fail Maciver, you are going straight to Hell! These were the words that I could audibly hear, I looked about but there was no one there. I dropped the spanners and rushed out as fast as my feet could carry me. I was in a state and told my foreman that I had to go to my digs and take the rest of the day off.
I did not go to my digs; I went to the Golf Tavern in Leven and try as I might I could not get drunk. I had a very restless night that night and was not sleeping, with the thoughts of Jesus taking my place and being crushed under the weight of sin that I should go free. This was unbelievable and I refused totally to believe it. “Nonsense” I said.
I did not go to work the next day, but made my way to Edinburgh where I had a good friend who knew of some real good Ceilidhs that were on at the time as the Edinburgh Feis was in full swing, which was just what I needed.
As I entered the Hebridean Bar in Edinburgh with my friend, he ordered 2 whiskies and 2 pints of Lager. They were there on the bar in front of me but I could not drink it. I started to tremble and cry like a little child and told my friend that I had to go outside for a minute. I went round the back of the pub where they stored the kegs and was next to the beer cellar, I fell on my knees in tears asking and pleading with God that He would speak to me and help me. I was in turmoil.
I went back to Methil that night and the first thing I did was to take the small Bible that had been in my bag for so long and started to read about Jesus.
The following day I telephoned my brother who was then minister in East Kilbride, he said, “why don’t you come and spend the weekend with us as it’s our communion weekend?” I took him up on the invitation immediately and what a weekend that was!
As I drove back from Glasgow to Methill on the Monday evening after the communions I had to stop 4 times on the hard shoulder as Christ was revealing Himself to me in a wonderful way. I was a few days without sleep and was immersed in prayer and reading, I wish I were still the same today.
I was then going to convert everybody at my work, little did I know in my ignorance that it is indeed a sacred thing to be met by God and loved by God, a sinner like me who was worthy to be cast into Hell fire. Friends, Jesus has paid the price for all my sins. He has set me free, He has me in His hand, and He intercedes on my behalf every day. I hope dear reader that you also have put your trust in this marvelous Savior.
I am so glad that my wish is to have Heaven full and Hell empty. Please do not leave it too late, as Hell is the truth found out too late.
I spent no time in going to the Lord’s Table (professing my faith in public) as He commands. I have no time for doubt.
I have been and still am enjoying the privileges He puts before me every day in my work as I have many stories about meeting Christians from all over the world from Nigeria, Vietnam, Singapore, Cairo, Baku, Tunisia, Dubai, The world is a small place, and I am convinced that when my Master says, “go ye into all the world” He means it. May He richly bless you dear reader, and thanks Iain for letting me tell my story.