I had Polio at the age of two and was on crutches until early elementary school. My family moved a lot and I grew up mostly in the country surrounded by nature and saw God’s handiwork all around me, but never thought about where it came from or how it came to be. I just accepted that it was and loved to wander through it when I was finally able to. Because of the persecution I endured while being on crutches, I divided the world around me into that of people, which was selfish and threatening, and nature, which was utilitarian. While people attacked each other for pleasure or to take what others had, animals killed each other but solely for food or defense. Nature generally provided for the needs of those in it. We gathered nuts, fruits, and berries in their seasons and grew much of what we needed in our garden. Because of my experience, I was a loner and had few I could call a friend. I had little emotional attachment to those around me. However, it gave me a deep concern for those who were injured or oppressed.
Our family lived mostly in Michigan and nearby Ohio so we had contact with a variety of relatives. Our family members lived long lives and many of my great uncles and aunts were born in the late 1800’s and came from big families so many died during my childhood. I attended a good many funerals in my early school years. I saw life as that of grass which grows up today and tomorrow dies. Life had no meaning or purpose outside of survival. It was a very fatalistic life and I often took chances with little thought to being killed.
In high school one day, I heard that a group was showing a film on Africa. I loved travelogues and movies about foreign lands so I went to the group meeting to see the film. However, the film had not arrived and so the group members related their experiences with one they called Jesus. I had no idea who he was but he seemed to be someone important in the group. Many talked about how he cared for them and helped them. He didn’t seem to be at the meeting, but he seemed to be pretty active in the group. Though I didn’t know anyone there, they seemed to care about me and wanted to get to know me. That was a new experience because most people didn’t pay much attention to me. Members of the group attributed their concern for me to the fact that Jesus cared about them.
I joined the group and eventually began to learn about Jesus and His love and after several months in the group went with them to a revival service where I gave my life to the Lord. The members of the group then urged me to find a church home and since I had no car and couldn’t drive, I started attending a Methodist Church about a mile and a half from where I lived, which was the only one I could find within walking distance. I found that the people there shared the same love that those in the high school group did. I have found many in churches today who do not have the love of God and have learned to distinguish Christians from non-Christian by whether they have the love of God, not by whether they attend church.
While attending the church, I was asked to speak at the Sunrise service conducted by the youth group. Since I was a new Christian, I had little understanding of Easter outside of Easter baskets and chocolate bunnies. I asked the pastor for help and she told me to pray and seek God’s guidance. While praying, I felt the Lord speaking and I hurried to write down what he said. I felt God calling me to full time service. The Methodists merged with the Evangelical United Brethren into the United Methodist Church and I was later licensed to preach in the United Methodist Church. Since there were often former Methodist Churches and former EUB churches across the street from each other, the United Methodist Church was in the process of merging churches leaving a great surplus of pastors. As a result, there were no United Methodist Churches available, I accepted a call to pastor a Presbyterian church to help it get back on its feet. I found the people didn’t like the idea of a Methodist in their pulpit but they had no choice since no Presbyterian pastor wanted it. It was dying and no one wanted to see the church die on their shift. I found that few had much Bible teaching and few knew what Presbyterians believed, let alone what Methodists believed. I was finally able to show them that my preaching came from the Bible and they were satisfied. I have found that members in many churches today have the same lack of Bible teaching and are easily led astray by false doctrine.
I was later ordained as a mission pastor in the Evangelical Church Alliance and supported myself as a Social Worker and for awhile as a supervisor for a company. I later served several United Methodist churches. When liberal pastors took control of the United Methodist Church, I was forced out of the church along with many other pastors who believed in the Bible as God’s Word and who opposed abortion. I began attending a congregation of the Church of God, Cleveland, Tenn. and was appointed to various positions such as associate pastor and Christian Ed. Director. I later gravitated to the Christian Missionary Alliance. As I have moved from church to church. I have often been presented with different beliefs but have always weighed them against the Bible. I have found that some churches may have separate beliefs that are distortions of Biblical beliefs but most Bible-believing churches have a basic agreement on the basic tenets of the faith and differ mainly in practice in how they worship and which beliefs they emphasize over others.
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