ALMOST THREE YEARS AGO, I introduced something en-tirely new and different into the show Dale and I were doing down in Houston, Texas - the annual Fat Stock Show and Rodeo, which is held in a huge indoor arena. I didn't even tell Dale ahead of time what I was going to do. Not that I was hiding anything from her; I guess it was just something I had to do by myself.
At the end of one of my songs, I held up my hand to show that I wanted to say something. Then I just held onto the hand mike and opened up. I didn't have a prepared speech; just the thoughts I wanted to ex-press. They went something like this:
"I've been getting a lot of mail from kids - boys especially - who ask me if I don't think it's pretty sissy for them to go to Sunday school. I want to say right here and now that it isn't sissy at all. In fact, I think that going to Sunday school is one of the best things any child can do.
"When your parents tell you to brush your teeth, they know what they're saying. Brushing your teeth now will help you to have good, strong teeth when you grow up. When they tell you to eat your spinach and drink your orange juice, what they're trying to do is get your bodies ready to stay strong and healthy when you're older. And when they tell you to go to Sunday school, they're trying to help you grow strong in spirit. The things you learn in Sunday school will give you the strength you'll need against difficulties and temptations of all kinds when you grow up. So go to Sunday school regularly, and learn all you can about the Bible and Christ's teachings - you'll always be glad that you did."
Now this was quite a statement for a cowboy to come out with, right in the middle of a rootin', tootin' arena show. Dale told me later that when I first began to speak, she could hardly believe her ears. But she said she was glad I spoke up that way - and so was I. I felt it was the blessing of God's spirit that I could do it, and I meant every word.
Speaking up in a meeting wasn't always easy for me. In fact, there were many years when I didn't even go to meetings at all, and it was really through Dale that I came to know the true joy of religious feeling and of believing in Christ. Dale joined church shortly after our marriage, and I couldn't help but see how happy she was in discovering religion again, and how much better things seemed to be in every way around our house.
I had been brought up in a God-fearing home, but like an awful lot of youngsters, I sort of drifted away from church-going, and even from thinking much about religion.
Then, with Dale's help, I started going to church again and it wasn't long before I started catching that same feeling I'd noticed in her. The day came when I too accepted Christ as my personal Saviour, and Joined church along with her.
I was still a little tongue-tied about my religious feelings. It was months before I could even find my voice to join in the grace we say before each meal at our house. Still later, I realized that I could stand up and speak at our little Christian group meetings, arid then at Billy Graham's revival meetings.
Now I've always had a real sense of obligation to children. The way I figure it, they gave me my boost in this business. Through the years, their devotion and friendship have been wonderful. So it was along about this time that I decided that if there was any way I could get back to them with a message on the importance of religion, in language they could under-stand, I ought to do it.
Today, I can say along with Dale the Christian testi-mony we have made our creed: "We believe John 3:16: 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlast-ing life.' We have both accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. We love Him, try to follow Him in our daily lives, and are bringing our children up under His guidance. To us, Jesus Christ is truly 'The light of the world.' "
- Roy Rogers