For some, the search for Jesus begins in childhood. A simple love turns into a relentless quest for a closer walk with Him. However, others get started down a different path—until a loving Savior intervenes.
“I was born in South Bend, Indiana, to good parents,” Dennis Fisher begins. “I was one of six kids, and my hard-working father usually held down two and three jobs at a time to provide for us. My mother had been through a lot in her life, but she read and quoted the Scriptures. And although we didn’t attend church regularly, we would visit the Methodist church with our friends sometimes.”
Down a Wrong Path
Young Dennis loved to draw, and did very well at it, but when he was 15 or so he got off on the wrong path. “I began drinking and smoking with my buddies, and I was a little wild in high school,” he admits. “My dad tried his best to straighten me out, but I wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, I quit school during my junior year and joined the Air Force. Then I was sent to Italy—and that’s when I really learned to drink! Soon I began waking up in ditches and rooftops, wondering how I got there. I was even chased by the Italian carabinieri military police, and eventually drank my way out of the service. But when I came home, I brought my drinking problem with me.”
Back in the States, Dennis tended bar for a while, but when he met a fellow who “rode the rails,” he joined him, riding freight trains all over the country.
“Soon I was in bad shape,” he admits, “and I only worked so I could drink. I ended up in Reno, Nevada, tending bar again. They gave me a room and $10 a night—just enough to stay drunk. Eventually I landed in Las Vegas, and that was a whole different fantasy world! I lived to drink, and soon figured out how to get free tokens and coupons I could cash for money and food at the casinos. I didn’t have any living expenses, either, since I lived in an abandoned building. Then one hot July day, after stealing a quart of whiskey, I heard a voice asking me, ‘Denny, what are you doing? If you keep this up you won’t be around much longer!’
“I knew it was God’s voice, and that’s the last time I drank! I walked two miles to a halfway house, convinced that if I didn’t stop drinking I only had jails, institutions, and death to look forward to.”
Dennis sobered and eventually landed a job in the gaming industry where he became quite good at keno, a numbers game. He also met and married his wife Carol, whom he describes as a “very sweet Mormon girl.” But although his life and reputation seemed to be restored, he wasn’t content. “I had a void in my life I couldn’t seem to fill,” he says. “I read history books and painted portraits of the Old West outlaws. I even built a large telescope with a 10-inch mirror, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t even want to do keno anymore—and that’s when I found 3ABN! I’d always been interested in archeology,” he continues, “and I was interested in both Noah’s ark and the Ark of the Covenant. So when I found 3ABN’s channel 43, I watched all the time.
“I’d watch Danny Shelton on my little black and white TV, and soon noticed that no matter the topic, they’d always go straight to the Bible! I learned what really happens when someone dies, I learned about the Sabbath, and soon my wife and I started attending the Living Waters Seventh-day Adventist Fellowship. We loved it there, but when Carol’s health began to decline, we moved back to Utah, where she was from. There isn’t a Seventh-day Adventist church anywhere near here, so I bought a Dish Network system and 3ABN became my church!”
“This Is the Time”
After completing Bible studies from Amazing Facts, Dennis received a call asking if he’d like a visit from a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. He said yes, and soon met Pastor Ruben Vincent of the Moab, Utah, church. “I couldn’t believe they would send him from so far away,” he says, “but he kept returning every month or so, and we became very good friends.”
Then tragedy struck. Carol had seemed to be getting better, but one day she complained of a headache and returned to the car. When Dennis returned minutes later, he found that she had passed away from an aneurism. “We never got a chance to grow old together,” Dennis says with deep sadness, “but I know I’ll see her when Jesus returns. I learned that from 3ABN. She is only sleeping in Jesus.”
Dennis says he’s learned most of what he knows about the Bible from 3ABN, and that after listening to Pastor Kenneth Cox talk about baptism, he had the strong impression that he should be baptized, too. “The Holy Spirit really worked on me saying, This is the time,” he says.
By now Pastor Vincent had moved away and Pastor Ryan Hablitzel had taken his place at the Price and Moab churches.
“After learning about Dennis, I drove to Richfield,” he says, “and when I arrived I knew I’d found the right place because the sign on his door read, ‘The Seventh Day is the Sabbath.’ I found a man who was well-prepared for baptism, and that amazed me, since his contact with the church had almost exclusively been through pastoral visits and 3ABN. Dennis knows as much or more about the Bible as the average church member—all because of 3ABN’s influence.”
“I Feel Clean”
December 24, 2011, was an unforgettable day for Dennis and his pastor. “I could see the anticipation on his face as we traveled from Richfield to Price for his baptism,” Pastor Hablitzel says. “Dennis was so excited to worship and fellowship with like-minded believers.”
“Pastor Ryan drove all the way out here to pick me up, and when I got to the church it was a beautiful place,” Dennis recalls. “The people were so warm, and when they introduced themselves I felt like I was home. I remember a lot of their names because they made such an impression on me! After my testimony they all came up to touch me and pray for me. It was almost like being in Heaven! I only wish Carol could have been there and been baptized with me before she went to sleep in the Lord.”
Following his baptism, his pastor says that they met for a moment of private prayer. “That’s when Dennis turned to me and said, ‘Pastor, I feel clean…. I really do!’
“While Dennis can only make the drive from Richfield to Price for church as weather and finances allow, he remains active, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone who will listen,” his pastor adds. “He tells me that he’s the only Seventh-day Adventist in Richfield, and he’s probably right. But that doesn’t stop him from sharing his faith with the people of his community. He’s even offered his home for people to come and study the Bible—and watch 3ABN.”
Where God Needs Him Next
“Watching 3ABN has changed my life in so many ways,” Dennis says. “I feel like you’re all my family, and I’ve noticed that I read my Bible more and understand it a lot better now. I feel closer to the Lord, and even learned to thank Him for my food before I eat!
“I’ve also felt impressed that maybe God wants me to return to Las Vegas,” he adds. “I know a lot of people down there, and I want to help them. Although I enjoy my painting now, I’m 71 and want to do more with my life than what I’m doing here. I’d also love to have a church family to work and worship with. I’m so grateful for 3ABN, and would feel lost without it, but I know God has something more for me to do.”
Dennis is busy planting seeds of truth in the minds of those around him, and we believe that wherever God takes him next, he’ll find new ways to share his love for Jesus.