Bestselling author Josh McDowell was awarded the Christian Bookseller Association’s second annual International Lifetime Achievement Award for his work over the past five decades, including The Father Connection (1996) and More Than A Carpenter (1986).

CBA president Curtis Riskey presented McDowell with the award during the 2015 International Christian Retail Show, referring to the author as “a trailblazer for truth and relationships.”

“I was surprised, I felt old,” McDowell told Publishers Weekly. “But really, I felt ecstatic. I was excited for my wife, my children, my staff - they were all a part of it over the years, and they were recognized at that time as well.”

The 75-year-old McDowell has written nearly 150 books that have been translated into over 100 languages since 1960, including Evidence That Demands a Verdict, published by Here’s Life without an advance. Nevertheless, the book went on to become one of World magazine’s 13 most influential books of the last 50 years on Christian thought.

“I sat at an electric typewriter and it took me a year; I typed the entire manuscript—footnotes, everything—myself,” said McDowell. “My fingers still hurt from typing it all out.”

An atheist-turned-Christian-apologist, McDowell has written extensively about Christianity and has published with houses including Living Books, Christian Focus, Tyndale House Publishers, and many more. McDowell’s most recent book, God-Breathed: The Undeniable Power and Reliability of Scripture, was published by Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Publishing. The book describes McDowell’s painful childhood, recounting seven years of sexual abuse he suffered by a male farm hand and his journey to healing through Scripture.

“There was no one to talk to, no one would believe me. I couldn’t go to police, you were all alone,” McDowell recalled. “Probably the worst thing for me was at 9-years-old, I told mother and she said I was lying and whipped me for 30 minutes. That probably hurt more and did more emotional damage than all the times being raped for seven years.”

While attending college at Kellogg University years later, McDowell was introduced to Christians who challenged him to intellectually explore the claims of Christianity. Research that was intended to disprove the Bible actually convinced McDowell of its “undeniable power,” and the author not only converted to Christianity, but forgave the man who molested him, as told in God-Breathed. The book, which also presents evidence for the reliability of Scripture using ancient Egyptian fragments, has sold over 5.5k copies in trade paper since its April publication, according to Nielsen Bookscan.