By Frank King | First Published: March 10, 2016
David Field was a 25-year-old Halifax police officer when the Billy Graham Crusade came to his city in 1979. Without too much thought, he signed up to help provide security at the event—that decision put him on the path to Heaven and changed the lives of his entire family.
“I was at a searching stage,” recalled Field, now 61 and a retired resident of Chilliwack, BC.
He’d made a commitment to Christ as a child at a vacation Bible school, but the decision had little impact and he soon drifted away. Nonetheless, he said, “the Lord had His hand on me.”
He had thought he would go out and save the world through policing, but after three years he realized his work wasn’t having the desired effect.
“I was searching for something that had meaning,” Field said. “But policing wasn’t filling this emptiness.”
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On the first night of the Halifax Crusade, Field wound up standing right beside the stage while Mr. Graham delivered his message and invited people to come forward and trust Christ as Savior.
Field doesn’t remember Mr. Graham’s exact words that night, but they certainly hit home. And while standing there in his police uniform, trying to focus on his role as a Crusade security guard, he made a commitment to make Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior.
“Our boss said, ‘Don’t make a fool of yourself by going forward in your uniform,’” Field recalls, “so I came back on the third night (out of uniform) and went down to do a public confession.”
This time, Field’s faith commitment held strong. He began intensely reading the Bible and stopped boozing: “God clearly spoke to me that He didn’t want me drinking. I knew I had to change my lifestyle.”
At the time, Linda, Field’s wife of one year, wasn’t a believer. But she, too, had a Christian background (having attended religious schools in Newfoundland) and agreed to attend church with him. Six months later, Linda committed her life to “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
“I think when Linda saw I was changing, she was willing to take that step as well,” Field says.
Linda and David eventually had two children, both of whom are now following Christ. Their oldest daughter, Jamie, is married to a pastor and teaches at a Christian school, and both children are raising their own kids (nine in total) to follow Christ.
After his faith commitment, Field remained in police work— joining the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1981 and ultimately transferring to British Columbia. He served in six communities (Powell River, Coquitlam, North Vancouver,
Mission, Surrey, and Abbotsford) before retiring in 2012.
Being a Christian in the law enforcement world is challenging, says Merle Doherty, manager of BGEA Canada’s Rapid Response Team chaplain ministry and a 30-year police veteran.
“Police officers see the underbelly of the world,” Doherty observes. “As a result, they can become very jaded in their worldview—[it becomes] ‘us versus them.’ It’s very easy to get caught up in the culture of policing, which is not conducive to Christian beliefs.”
Police work is also stressful on marriage, says Field. “I’ve seen too many police follow a path of destruction—no more family, and paying alimony they can’t afford.”
With Linda at his side physically and spiritually, Field was able to maintain his beliefs and his marriage through 36 years in law enforcement.
“I was lucky that I was respected by the people I worked with,” he said. “People knew of my faith and while I heard every curse word in the English language, they respected me, so I really had no problem.
“Policing, to me, is like pastor’s work because you often deal with the negative parts of society. But police officers don’t [always] know who’s behind all that. Pastors know there’s a spiritual battle going on. If [all] police knew that, they’d fight not just the physical battle, but the spiritual battle.”
Since retiring from the RCMP, Field has answered God’s call into full-time ministry. He will be ordained as a pastor in three years, and is already an assistant at Central Pentecostal Assembly in Chilliwack, BC.
“Dave has a wonderful heart for the Lord and for prayer and for revival,” said Lead Pastor Scott Peterson. “He’s been a blessing here—especially with men’s ministry and discipleship and visitations. We’re thankful the Lord has sent him our way.”
Field himself remains thankful for the work of BGEA Canada, including the My Hope video ministry.
“I watched the My Hope videos and they brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “They are so well done, without any religiosity. The ministry’s integrity has been so strong; it’s been a great witness.”
That witness is still packed with meaning for Field because he believes if he hadn’t attended that BGEA Crusade in Halifax almost 37 years ago, “I probably would’ve gotten eaten up with alcohol. I was one of those guys who’s prone to addiction of some type, and alcohol is the choice for police.” D ©2016 BGEA