I was born on July 2nd, 1957, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the state of Washington. I was around eight miles from the nearest town, Puyallup. We were in a wooded area where few houses were found. For most of my childhood I was able to see only two other houses, my neighbor to the left across two pastures, and one on the right. Everywhere else around us was, for the most part, forest land. My younger days before leaving home were not especially God oriented. As a child growing up in a predominantly non-Christian home church, the bible, and God were not taken seriously. It was something we did if we felt like it. Christian ideas were never discussed; and a lot of the time not lived. At age ten I went forward in church and prayed the prayer of salvation. However, to be honest I did it because I wanted to be noticed, not because I was serious about Jesus. I had no idea what it meant, but others had done it so I did as well. I was a very shy and timid boy and had few friends because I never felt comfortable reaching out to anyone. The church we attended, when we did go, was incredibly liberal and not serious about truth itself. After several years, when I did start going to church on a regular basis, I would sit in the back and tell jokes and stories that should never be told anywhere, let alone in a church. Again, I only went because I was required to go, not because it meant anything to me. My friends there were of a similar mindset, and thus we fed off each other’s unbelief.
When I graduated from High School I entered the Air Force. There were fifty of us from Washington State flying down to Lackland AFB together for basic training, and since there were only fifty in every flight (basic training group) we were the first flight where everyone came from the same area. After basic training was complete, which was a six-week training experience, having no idea what job I wanted to do, I was told I would be going to Fort Ord, California to learn a foreign language. They could not tell me what that language was for it was classified, but they were running a Top-Secret security clearance on me which would take around ten weeks to complete, so I was assigned Dorm Guard duty at one of the dormitories holding those being put out of basic training. I worked 3 hours on, 9 hours off twice a day; 4 days on two days off. It was not bad, I basically guarded the one door of the building used for exit and entrance, not letting anyone in or out unless they were given permission to do so. Then after six weeks, they notified me that there was a language which was no longer needed (which language was unknown), so they took everyone who was to learn that language and put them into my class (again, language unknown), and those in my class were distributed into other jobs. So one week later, I received a Secret Security clearance instead of top secret and was transferred to Sheppard AFB to be schooled in Main Frame Computer operations. Then after the six-week class was over, I was transferred to Homestead AFB where I operated the base computer system for three and a half years, after which I left the Air Force.
Now, when I got to Homestead AFB I started out not going to church. But later I began attending since it was what Christians did. It was never a regular thing for me, and I finally ignored the spiritual and got involved with drugs and hard liquor. I was looking for acceptance, and I found it with some friends who introduced me to whiskey, marijuana, and later other stronger drugs. I saw everything as merely a means to an end, and the end here was being accepted. As long as this happened I was satisfied and all was well. Then after some time, three of us were turned in by someone in our dormitory because of our drugs. The Master Sergeant over us was told that if we turned ourselves in we would receive amnesty. So, we turned ourselves in. I did everything that was required except giving up drugs. Even with this lifestyle, I believed I was a Christian because every now and then I would read the Bible, go to church, or think about God. And I did these things just every now and then. Looking back I realized the Christian life was not all that important to me. I lived MY life and did what I thought was just enough to be a Christian.
Then God got a hold of me. He sent a young evangelist to my barracks (he was not in the military) and he witnessed to me. He was emphatic about his beliefs. I then told him I was already a Christian, so he said “great” and continued witnessing to me. I told him I had to go and walked back to the TV room. Then it hit me, he could not tell I was a Christian. As far as I was concerned, it should have been very obvious. I thought about that many times. Then God took me to an even lower place.
I was being watched closely because of my drug penchant. I then backed into a brand-new Cadillac with my little Toyota while leaving a parking space. I knew this was going to break me for I was already financially strapped. I reached the point where I thought I could not take this anymore. I went back to my barracks room, sat in my chair, and cried out, “God, if you are real, you need to make it very clear to me because right now, I am not so sure.” Then He showed me I was not a Christian, but only pretended to be. I just closed my eyes, sat there for a minute as the tears flowed down my face and I cried out again to God, and He accepted my cries and made it obvious at that moment that I became a real Christian. And then the weirdest thing happened. I could not suppress my smile. I was never a smiler because I never really experienced much to smile about, so for this to be happening showed me a reality I had never experienced before.
Then God did an amazing work in me. I left all my old friends because of what we did together, However, I did not have any Christian friends on base. He led me to a great little Baptist Church where the pastor met with me every Tuesday morning in his office and discipled me regarding what this Christian life was all about. However, no one there lived on base. After a time, I prayed to God saying “Lord, this time has been great, just you and me, reading your word and getting to know you. But I need friends down here to fellowship with.” It wasn’t long until God led me to another Church called the Rock Church of Homestead, FL. And this is how He did it.
I went on vacation to visit my parents in Washington State. When I got back and was driving onto the base, the gate guard called me by my name and asked me how my vacation was. This surprised me because I had never met him before, never spoke to him and had absolutely no idea who he was. Then he invited me to his church, The Rock Church. I decided to check it out, so I went there the following Wednesday evening. As soon as I walked into the building, the drummer left the stage, came running up to me and asked, “Are you the one who drives a white Toyota Corona Station wagon with a bumper sticker on the back that says, ‘Praise the Lord Anyway’?” I stepped back and said “Yes”. He then gave me a hug and said, ‘We have been looking for you for the past 6 months.’ And here is the amazing thing. It was around 6 months before that I prayed to God, asking Him for friends down here. And this man who came down from the stage to meet me, Don Sehorn, introduced me to more Christian friends than I could ever have imagined.
I grew tremendously as a Christian attending The Rock Church and fellowshipping with so many new friends. I had to give up the majority of my old friends because I no longer wanted to do what they enjoyed doing. During this time I met a wonderful couple, Larry, and Helen Alspaugh, who I spent a lot of time with. After a time, I moved in with them. They had no television, so the majority or our time was spent fellowshipping together as well as with so many wonderful Christians. They were called to reach out to young people and help us grow in the Lord. They were musicians who also followed the Jesus People movement of the seventies and early eighties. It was an amazing time in my life.
Then one night I felt a calling to go into the north Miami area and witness to whoever I had the opportunity to speak with. I went on my own after midnight, and I will say up front God was with me and protected me all the way. The first person was a young woman walking down the street. She had her hand out wanting me to stop and pick her up, which I did. She guided me to a quiet area and basically offered me her services for a fee. I told her this was not why I picked her up and began telling her about Jesus. She seemed uncomfortable with this and told me she just wanted me to take her back to the highway and drop her off. I sensed she had a quota to make and she simply wanted out as soon as possible, so when I let her out she ran off and probably was looking for other potential customers. I did pray for her that someone could reach her for Christ.
After this I made the decision to only pick up men to minister to that night. So I was driving north on US1 in South Miami and there was a guy hitchhiking, so I picked him up. It did not take long to determine he was gay because he was attempting to get me to take him home and spend the night. He was putting his hand on my legs while I drove, essentially flirting with me. I told him to stop, then asked him if he was hungry, I would buy him a meal. So, I took him to a Howard Johnsons, and I proceeded to tell him about Christ while he ate. I told him I went to the Rock Church, but he was not in the least bit interested. However, there was a young man at another table who heard me mention the Rock Church. He came over and told me he had gone to the original Rock Church in Virginia Beach, VA. And so, we started talking. Turns out he had left home and moved in with some friends here and became heavily involved in drugs. After a short time, I offered to bring him home if he would help me bring the other man home. He said he would, so we dropped the gay man off at his place and I took him home. He lived in an apartment with several other young men, all who were engaged in drug usage. None of them were there, so we walked on the beach for several hours and he told me how his father was a Christian and went to church on a regular basis. And when he moved down from Virginia, he moved in with him. His father had divorced his mother years ago, and thus there was much pain regarding these family issues. I just listened to him, and I told him he needed to move out of this apartment and back in with his father. I did not order him but strongly suggested he get out of this place and move back in with his father, clear up the differences they had and go back to church and build up his relationship with Christ again. He said he would, then I prayed with him and left to go to church for it was now Sunday morning.
I lost contact with him and had no idea where he was. But about a year later I was preparing to go to an outdoor concert where I was running sound for a band Larry and Helen Alspaugh started, and that morning God laid the young man on my heart again, so I prayed and asked God to continue working in his life, and if at all possible let me know how he was doing. When I arrived at the concert site, a church in north Miami, I was walking up to where the band was setting up and started preparing to run the sound board, when suddenly a young man came running up to me, and when he got close enough I recognized him as the young man I spent four hours with one night on the beach. He was doing well and was very active at the church putting on the concert. He told me the morning I left, he moved out of the apartment and went back to his dad. Things were now great between the two and he was developing a strong relationship with God again. It touched me greatly to see how God had changed this man’s heart and now he was free from drugs and was enjoying life with his father. God has used me in so many ways through the years. Then in 2003, God placed on my heart to go to seminary, and by 2019, fifteen years later, I had finished both my Master of Divinity in Christian Counseling. and my Doctorate in New Testament Theology. It took this long because I also worked at a job that required a lot of overtime.
After I retired from Computer Programming, God called me to start a discipleship ministry, and thus True Devotion Ministries, Inc. (TDMI) started. Our focus is to help whoever is seeking truth to find it and live it. We can do this through 0ne-on-one discussions or discussion groups, studies of various kinds such as the scriptures, theology, biblical history, and any other areas of interest where the understanding of truth and reality is needed. It is to help as many as possible understand it is a life dedicated completely and solely on God. There are so many who need to understand this truth; Christians who desire a deeper understanding of what God desires of us; non-Christians who do not understand what Christianity really is. We must understand that, as the Apostle Paul said so clearly, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. The Christian life is not simply making a few changes from the old life but becoming a totally new creation with a completely new life whereby Christ is pre-eminent. It took me years to understand this, and I want to help Christians totally understand this and help the unsaved know there is a better life in Christ. And this is why I started True Devotion Ministries, Inc. and why I will continue to help everyone find this life that is so much worth living.