John Harper 1916

John Harper 1916

“My name is Steve Crain. Like many of you here, I am one of the survivors of the sinking of RMS Titanic. Today I want to honour one man whose heroic actions changed the future of my life.

I can remember floundering for my life in the sea. The cold cut through me like a knife. It took all my energy to cry out for help. My only hope of survival in those freezing waters, debris from the doomed ship, a wooden spar. I didn’t want to die.

Suddenly, over the cries of other desperate passengers, and beyond the macabre sight of the bodies of those who had already succumbed to the North Atlantic’s bone-numbing waters, I could make out the form of a man swimming from person to person through the swirling waters and finally toward me.

He was trying to say something. As he drew near to me, I saw that he wasn’t wearing a lifejacket. I then realised I had met him earlier in the voyage. I had often heard him speaking to individuals and small groups of passengers about their need to receive Christ as their Saviour. More often than not, those who listened were more interested in enjoying their life in the here and now rather than worry about where they were going after death. Though both friendly and persuasive in his Gospel presentations I, like others, walked away not ready to believe his message.

With sheer determination, Harper took hold of the debris I clung to. His face was pale, his lips blue from imminent hyperthermia, above the sound of the turmoil around me though his voice was weakening I heard him ask,

“Are you saved?”

I replied, “No.”

Harper shouted the words, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved.”

Even in my desperation, something in me wanted to reject his offer.

Waves drifted us apart, but a few minutes later the current brought us together.

In one final attempt to persuade me to accept the remedy for my lost soul, again Harper shouted,

“Are you saved?”

He asked me to believe in Jesus. Then he slipped under the waves for the last time, never to be seen in this world again. I was touched. Given that second chance and with untold miles of water beneath my frozen feet, then and there I gave my life to Jesus.

Not long after, I was plucked from the waters and found myself in a lifeboat, saved from physical death. As I sat there bobbing on the ocean swell, I was acutely aware of an unexpected stillness and peace within me. I knew something had happened within me and that I was also saved from sin’s deadly power, safe in Christ, my heavenly lifeboat.

I was John Harper’s last convert!”
Steve Cain
Re: Pastor John Harper
Titanic Survivor’s Meeting
Ontario, Canada,

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