Called by God
God works for each one of us in miraculous ways, though we may not be able to see all the times that God has worked for our protection and ultimate salvation doesn't mean He doesn't do it. Normal people in bad situations have always been called by God. In sharing my testimony, I am hoping to encourage, strengthen your faith and push you a bit harder to step out in faith and let God lead.
I was a rebellious youth and I made several bad decisions. I started drinking and smoking pot at a young age. I did well in school and got excellent grades so I was able to keep it secret from my family, at least until I was arrested for using drugs with some friends during school. I moved out of the house at 18 and ended up in more trouble as my roommates were using and dealing drugs. I had no intention to sell drugs and my involvement was more out of an ignorant excitement and a sense of naïve invisibility of being young. My roommate's drug use got worse and worse until they were bringing in several kilos of marijuana and eventually cocaine. I noticed a change in the demeanor of each roommate as they went deeper into substance abuse.
Even though I was also using drugs, I really enjoyed weight lifting and bodybuilding. I thought the abuse that I did to my body on the weekends could be counteracted during the week by exercise and what I thought was a good diet. Working out one day, I met a couple of gentlemen at the gym, Stephen and Eldon, and I remember how amazed I was that they were so strong and healthy being vegan? That went against everything that I knew. I was eating some form of meat at least five times a day. They told me that they were healthy because of the insight of Ellen White, who had written many books on health.
In time, a friendship developed and I would fellowship with their family on Sabbath afternoons. I learned of the prophecies found in the scriptures and came to the conclusion that there must be a God. I struggled with the idea of turning my life over to Him, until one day I was under deep conviction driving down the road. I earnestly prayed to God, and told him if He would deliver me from the bondage of drugs and alcohol, and prove it for the next 30 days, that I would be baptized and follow Him forever. As soon as I was done, my eyes were opened and the sun got brighter. Looking up, I saw a translucent hand descending from the sky. It went into my chest and pulled out what looked like chains and took them back up into the sky. I felt a freedom from bondage and I knew I was victorious, but I also knew I had a part to play. I had to move out of the house with my drug dealing friends. Arriving home, with the vision still fesh in my mind, God pulled the blinders off and allowed me to see the reality of what I had been living in. Coming to the door, I could hear the loud music from outside. I entered the house, which was like going into a dense fog or midst and it gave me goose bumps. There was a Hispanic gentleman Orgas in the corner with a mixing board, mixing records and I saw a tall dark figure, standing high above Orgas with its hands on Orgas' elbows. It appeared as the figure was controlling Orgas like a puppet and I knew it was demonic. I realized that I had been subject to demonic forces in that house. I quickly loaded up a few of my things, and left, never to return.
Thirty days later I was baptized; it was the week before Thanksgiving, but only spent one Sabbath with my new church family. I felt that if I was to be successful in my Christian walk that I would need to get away for a while. I bought a plane ticket to California so I could stay with some of my family. I had no idea how important it was to leave that day. I found out a few days later that the house I had lived in with all of my "friends" had been raided by the police the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I had a warrant out for my arrest. It was a four day weekend and on the Monday after, there were five Troopers at my parent's home to arrest me. Meanwhile, I was in southern California and was asked to contact the Sheriff. I was able to give my testimony to the Sheriff and prosecuting Attorney, who happened to both be Christians, and they told me they would drop the charges, and bid me God's speed.
In California, I got a job at a restaurant waiting tables. They gave me Friday nights off, and because it was winter, I would come to work after sunset on Sabbath. This job had its own issues though: serving liquor, rock'n'roll music, sports fanatics, and foul mouths. These were not good influences on a new Christian, but I was zealous and on fire. However, when spring came I had a dilemma. With the days getting longer, I couldn't work Friday or Saturday and still keep the Sabbath. The owner told me that I could not take both of the busiest nights off, and that I would have to choose to work one night or the other. I knew I could not break God's law, so I went home and knelt in prayer. In all earnestness, I asked God to give me a job where I could honor Him and keep His commandments.
I went to bed that night knowing that God would answer my prayer, but I had no idea that He would do it so quickly. I was awakened at seven in the morning (that's like 2 a.m. to a nineteen year old) by a phone call from Eldon, one of the two gentlemen who had witnessed to me at the gym. Eldon informed me that he had a hard time contacting me, and that something very strange had happened that night. A friend of his, Pierre, in California had opened a restaurant and health food store, and was looking for help running the place. The same night I prayed for a job, Pierre prayed for a worker. That night he had a dream. In his dream Pierre saw Eldon, and standing next to him was a young man with curly hair holding a jar of herbs. He was informed that he should talk to the young man. So Pierre called Eldon, told him of the dream, and they both called me. Pierre had a job for me that allowed me to keep the Sabbath. The business closed at 2 p.m. every Friday and was not open on Saturday. We prayed the night before and God answered both of our prayers by connecting us through a mutual friend. It reminded me of the words of the prophet Joel: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28).
So, amazed, I moved south to Redlands and started a new job. I have to admit my knowledge of herbs was more limited, but I did know a bit about supplements from bodybuilding. That changed when I caught wind of Doctor Richard Shulze and heard some of his lectures. I was amazed by some of the people who had cancer and other diseases, considered incurable by their doctors, yet they were standing there disease free! I began learning as much as I could about God's methods of healing and working with people that came to the health food store. Many people came in with complaints like colitis, high blood pressure, and arthritis that were completely well in a few weeks. I learned a great deal by being faithful to God and desiring to put Him first in my life. As my desire for knowledge increased, I eventually ended up back in Washington, where I met my future wife, Suzanne. We attended some health lectures in the Seattle area and heard about a college for medical missionary training. We both went and were tremendously blessed.
There are few things in life as rewarding as helping someone on the verge of death to be restored to health. I love to see the joy that it brings to a family. Suzanne and I were hooked! We knew this was what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. God's providence eventually led us to Kentucky to operate the Home for Health Lifestyle Center. We feel so blessed to be able to be in ministry. Sue and I have worked with many people over the years and we are grateful for all the friends we have made along the way. It is still hard to imagine how God has revealed Himself and I know that even if someone doesn't experience some of these "manifestations" he is still working behind the scenes for each one of us.
My experience had taught me several things, God is a real, loving being, His justice is always mingled with mercy and that God is not looking for men to rule over other men, but He is fully capable of taking control, if we will let Him lead.
We are all called by God!