I was "first born" in Toledo, Ohio, and reared in a rural area south of Cleveland and west of Akron. I have two older brothers and an older sister. We were "fortunate" (or rather perhaps better put, "by God's providence") to have been born to parents who took their children to church and Sunday school every week, even to church camps. Thus, we've been quite familiar with the Bible stories and of Jesus all our lives. And so, I lived a “good” life through the years, not a raunchy lifestyle, one perhaps that wouldn’t be aired on Unshackled, but a quiet be-to-myself temperament. Nevertheless, I don't know or recall of confessing faith as a child or in my youth years. But, we had lived near an amusement park in that rural area – within walking distance. There, one day I met a Native American, and he had noticed my "double crown" with which I was born. He predicted that I would see two worlds someday. How young I was then I don't recall, and I haven't given much thought to that "prediction" through the years until recently, and I had learned that such a “good” life doesn’t make one good before God. (See Romans 3:10-13; Psalm 14:1-3.)
After high school, I joined the Air Force. I had to as Uncle Sam's draft being in effect then. (My first brother was in the Army Reserve; my second brother, the Navy; I wanted something different.) Joining the Air Force, I relocated to Lackland AFB, Texas, for my basic training – the only starting point for all Air Force inductees, unlike any other branch of the military I believe. After basic training, I was assigned to Patrick AFB, on Florida's east coast near Cape Canaveral in Brevard County, where I served for three and quarter years in transportation.
It was during my time at Patrick that my "turn about" more towards the things of God began happening. My second brother, who was in the Navy at the time, had book one of a Bible study series by The Navigators sent to me; that study was about the person of Jesus Christ. Finishing, it included an invitation to receive Jesus. Having read it, I did so, and signed and dated it. I consider that the time of my "second birth" (see John 3:3) – thus why Florida, in particular, Brevard County, holds a special place in my heart. For several months afterward, I continued through that Bible study series.
About two years later, a Navigator representative moved into the area purposely to begin a ministry among the servicemen stationed at Patrick. My name on the Nav mailing list, he looked me up. We met at a cafeteria on base, and he shared with me the Steps to Peace with God by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. I consider that meeting my gaining an assurance of my salvation, holding to John 1:12 as evidence of that happening.
For the remainder of my time in the military, I was involved with The Navigators, receiving help in my new/real life of faith, essentially through Bible study, prayer, and Scripture memory. My first Navigator conference I attended was a large one; I think it was an international happening, held over a Thanksgiving weekend in Estes Park, Colorado.
The closing of the last message of the conference the speaker gave an invitation to answer the call as Isaiah did, "Here I am! Send me," (Isaiah 6:8). I stood with several others in so responding. Again, I had no idea then all that would encompass.
Having received word from Uncle Sam that I could get out of the Air Force eight months early, I considered it, perhaps though not so terribly long. I could have remained and even possibly have re-upped, but I decided to get out. Having done so, I stayed in Florida for another year or so, still "hanging" with The Navigators. For some reason, I had attended a couple of semesters at a college in Brevard County. (Then it was Brevard Junior College; today it's Eastern Florida State College.)
For some reason, too, the Nav rep suggested that I apply to a Bible college in Columbia, South Carolina. Three of us in the Nav fellowship group visited the campus, then Columbia Bible College. We all three applied, but only one other and myself was accepted.
After graduation from C.B.C. four years hence, of course, I needed a job. My parents had passed away – my dad when I was a junior in high school, my mom when I was a junior in college. I had no more home in Ohio. Thus, I remained in Columbia. The Lord provided work with an office supply company in delivery and shipping, which I continued at for about nine years.
Having been impressed with the idea that perhaps the Lord would have me involved in some writing work, I searched for where. Thinking that I'd found it, I ventured out west to Pasadena, California, where I joined the then U.S. Center for World Mission (now Frontier Ventures). There, I worked as a staff writer for the Global Prayer Digest, writing short vignettes focused on unreached peoples.
That work was helpful in developing my writing skills. On little support, however, I left that job after about five years. But the Lord provided a paid job basically with the same organization, but in a different role at William Carey Library Publishers – in order processing and shipping; I continued there for about ten years. Those 15 years out West I consider the best years of my earthly pilgrimage. Finishing, I returned to Columbia, South Carolina, believing I was led by the Lord to do so.
Having done so, the Lord provided work for me in warehousing. Not exactly to my desire, but I needed a job. It began as a temp job and then became full-time until the company let me go about eight years later due to the closing of their warehouse in Columbia. Thus, out of a job not earning a dime, the better alternative was to begin drawing Social Security. But it was only as a means for needed income, as I continued my search for still other employment.
For a little more than three years I had been employed in custodial work at C.I.U. But that too I believe the Lord led me to quit. However, I did give briefly custodial work another try for a hospital, but I felt led not to keep that job either.
My reflection on it all through the years I consider the coming of my unemployment has been the "defining moment" of my life. In that, God has set my focus more on the realization of the "greater cause" (consider Matthew 6:25-34). As that Native American in my youth predicted I would see, I realized that there are indeed two very distinct different worlds in this physical time – the temporal and the eternal. Hence, apart from the things of God, everything else here in this physical time has little or no meaning to me now (consider Colossians 3:1-3). I've realized that my real purpose for living is to be a “salt spreader” and a “light bearer” of God’s eternal truth (see Matthew 5:13-15). In that, I believe that He would have me to be more vocal in sharing my faith (see Exodus 4:10-12), even in my quietness, attentive to the Holy Spirit’s leading (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). As well, I believe God led me to develop my web page as my virtual witness of faith, encouragement, and challenge, trekking this earthly, temporal way, trusting Him for His provision in whatever other employment He may still have for me. Hence, my life now, more particularly, is service for the King of kings.
“He brought me [too] up out of the pit of destruction, out of miry clay, [out of my own good life]. And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…” Psalm 40:2-3, NASB, [brackets mine].