In 1912, 39 year old, Rev. John Harper, a Scottish preacher, was making a transatlantic trip to preach at the famed Moody Church in Chicago. As fate would have it, the vessel he chose to cross the Atlantic on was the R.M.S. Titanic. Most everyone, of course, knows the story about that great disaster at sea. But how many know the story of Rev. John Harper? Harper, like many others, ended up in the ice cold water. As people desperately tried to survive in the chilled waters, Harper swam to them.
The minister repeatedly asked people in the water if they knew Jesus. Eventually, Harper approached a passenger clinging to a jagged piece of wood; and as he did, he pleaded for the man to trust Christ. By this time, the minister had completely exhausted himself. As he succumbed to the cold conditions, and went under the water to his death, Harper used his dying breath to plead with others. His last words were, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
A few years later, at a meeting in Canada of the survivors of the Titanic disaster, the last man who encountered John Harper told the group that he had been saved twice that fateful night. First, of course, he had been rescued from the freezing Atlantic Ocean. But more importantly, because of Harper’s unceasing efforts, he had trusted Christ as his personal Savior as well. He said “Alone in the night with two miles of water under me, I believed and was gloriously saved. I am John Harpers’ last convert.”
I have often read this story and been convicted by it. I am compelled to ask myself some questions. For instance: How faithful am I to be a witness for Christ? Do I really see people all about me in peril? Do I care that they are in danger of meeting eternity unprepared? Will I be a witness? How many will I win? Will I be faithful to witness to the very end of my days? And, for that matter, just who will be my last convert?
Note: A quick Google search will show that this story is abundantly available in numerous variations all over the internet. It has even been written out as a paperback book (http://www.christianbook.com/the-last-convert-of-john-harper/art-ayris/9780979903571/pd/903571). Despite the multiple variations on the story (as it has been told and retold), its original veracity does not appear to be questioned. Therefore, unlike the one about "Jack and Rose", this story is actually true.