In Monterey, I initially lived with Pastor Don's family. It was a very crowded situation as I was put in with the children, and one of them in fact had to give up their bunk bed for me. It was an inconvenience of course, but the house was so full of God's love that it was more than bearable - it was an honor and privilege to be part of the family even temporarily. For a few weeks I worked helping a subcontractor laying the foundations for a house. Then when I was needed no more there, I found a job as taxi driver in Ft. Ord where I had taken my Army basic training in 1958. I daily had to rent a cab to use, but found that I could not make enough beyond the rental of the cab to justify the long hours spent driving there, so I quit. Then the position at Tickle Pink Inn opened, and a nicely furnished studio made available for me to live in as "Night Manager." Later, I applied for and was given employment by Macys, where I was assigned to work in Mrs. Field's Cookies store. The apartment at Tickle Pink had previously been occupied by two Mormon missionaries, and when I first entered it I became aware that it was spiritually unclean so asked Pastor Don to help me pray to expel the obviously demonic presence, which he did. Thus cleansed, my new living quarters became a place where God's Holy Spirit could be invited into, and we did. I remembered that at the time I lived in my house in Simi Valley, there was a Mormon elder living next door to me. He was a very pleasant man, with an attractive family. As the reputation of Teen Hope (our evangelistic organization) grew, the Mormons tried to convince us to become one of them. The elder next door made an appointment to speak with me one day after I returned from work. I asked my cousin and his wife to pray for me while he visited. He arrived with a younger coworker, and they began speaking with me, but God gave me wisdom to refute their claims. While the elder was speaking and I was looking at him, suddenly his visage completely changed. I saw peering at me an obviously ugly demonic face with two horns sticking out of the forehead . It was only a momentary look as it changed back to his normal countenance as quickly as it had appeared. I blinked my eyes and wondered if I was "seeing things" perhaps because I was tired from a days work but decided that was not the case. I had to conclude that God had allowed me a look into what was behind Mormonism.
One of the things God did in that apartment at Tickle Pink was of a highly personal nature. After my mother died in 1962, my father put in a small suitcase what he wanted to keep as mementos of their relationship: photos, sides, diaries, letters, etc. Then he gave the suitcase to one of mom's younger sisters to store. In 1980, my dad died while I was on a trip into Bulgaria. In 1985, upon revisiting my aunt to whom my dad had given the suitcase, she reminded me of it, brought it out, we opened it, briefly examined the contents and I took the suitcase with me when I left. Later, back at the apartment, I carefully went over what was in the suitcase. Interestingly enough, this came in the context of seeking God concerning the conviction that I was not enjoying fellowship with Him as I had on the mission field. God's answer to me was that He wanted me to spend increasingly more time in prayer with Him - use my free afternoons basically to do this, pursuing involvement in prayer as His Spirit led me. As I stated above, it was in this context that I felt an urgent desire to delve into the contents of the suitcase - especially with a curiosity to read my mother's diaries. I had questions hiding in my heart for many years concerning my mom and dad's relationship: Why, for instance, did their relationship seem so "casual," why did dad never tell mom he loved her (he never told me or my sister that either) and never put his arms around her or kiss her except perhaps at birthdays, Christmas, New Year's Eve, etc. - and then only awkwardly, as if he were embarrassed? It was a mystery to me, though I had suspicions as to the answer. Their relationship could not always have been this way. So I began to read my mother's diaries in the hope they would shed some light. I had no idea, of course that God would very heavily use these diaries, and that He would be the One who would shed Light through them.
The diaries were for the years from 1925 through 1934. They began when mom was 16, in '26 she met dad, in '27 they were married - and they progressed on through the end of 1934 when she found that she was pregnant with me (I was born July 27, 1935). There was included a number of letters between them when mom traveled back east in '27 just before their marriage. Reading this material was like going on a journey back in time. Incredibly, it was as if I were there with mom as she was going through all these experiences she was writing about. I was coming to see her from a completely new perspective - in a way I'd never seen her before. Here was a young woman very much filled with an exuberance for life, enjoying it - determined to enjoy and experience it fully. I saw the relationship between her and dad grow and blossom wonderfully, wondrously as friendship grew deeper and professions of love came. I could only describe their love relationship as having a "holy boldness" about it. And I was gratified to read where mom referred to God, praying for strength, being assured that "God made me for (him) and (him) for me! May nothing ever break our love!" At another point when dad pessimistically wrote to her while she was back east, that he felt she would never return and he would never see her again because that's the way life is - mom responded that God meant for them to be together, so there was no point in worrying. Dad's writing, I recognized, reflected the chaotic world of the unbeliever I was only too familiar with as a former atheist, while mom's writing showed the confidence in the sovereignty of God in every circumstance a believer in God has. While I was reading this, I realized that a lot of "garbage" was being lifted from me that I had no idea was even there, and that I was seeing my parents in a new and healthier light - especially my mother.
When I had returned to the U.S. from being stationed in Germany with the Army during, I was met by my mother and my sister in New York. We drove across the US in my '61 Volvo. At that time I was an atheist - I had no love in me, in fact I did not know how to love. I was angry at my mother who I thought was trying to dominate me and I was determined to break free. Unfortunately, I was incapable of being sensitive to the fact that my mother obviously was not well physically. She had rheumatic fever when she was very young, which was diagnosed as "growing pains" but left her with holes in her heart. While we were driving across the country I noticed that she had trouble climbing stairs with her weakening heart, having to pause to catch her breath at almost every step. But I was too self-centered to be compassionate and within a couple of months after we arrived back home in Los Angeles, she was dead of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. She died during this period of anger between us, and even though neither my dad or my sister (19 at the time) accused me to my face, a family "friend" was bold enough to write me, "You killed your mother." At that time I didn't realize it, but years later after I was born-again I remembered that a dream that I had in 1960 clearly forecast my mom's death - in a very peaceable fashion, as if she were saying "Goodbye" to me. This dream undoubtedly prepared me subconsciously for mom's death. God's hand was even then at work, for later I realized that even before mom's death God's forgivness was evident in the dream - and so was my mother's.
Three days after my mom's death, I was sound asleep in my bed at night, and suddenly there was this clear intervening thought in my mind, "It's one o'clock, and she's here to say, 'Good-bye.'" Immediately I was wide awake and saw mom's glowing figure at the foot of my bed. As I reached to turn on the light by my bed, I knew she'd be gone when I switched the light on. I did - but it was too late. After I turned the light on, I looked again at the foot of the bed, but she was gone. Later, after my conversion in 1969, I realized this had been from God, and it was only as I was reading my mom's diaries that the revelation of why she had appeared to me after her death hit me: God's forgiveness was ided already at work - mom was appearing to me in the context of God's forgiveness, also forgiving me. But years later as I was discussing this with my sister and her family I received a further revelation: while appearing to me as an extension of God's forgiveness already at work in my life (remember also that dream I had in 1960 forecasting my mother's death) mom in effect was also "passing the baton" to me. She had successfully "run the race" and I was designated to continue on after her. In 1969, I was the first of the remaining family members to be born-again, and soon after began witnessing to my dad and my sister and her family, and praying for them. When Mom was writing her diaries, she had no way of knowing that God would one day use them to free her then un-born son from bondage he didn't even know he had, though at times I would cry out angrily in my dreams at my mother long after her death.
As I sat there with mom's diary in my hand, I began sobbing uncontrollably, cathartically releasing a flood of pent-up emotions that had been inside me for many years. I felt waves of purging flow over me as I cried for joy at the healing I knew my heavenly Father was working in me, purging me of the garbage that had accumulated over the years. And I celebrated as I looked forward to seeing my mother again in heaven at my death or at Jesus' return and telling her how much I loved her. I asked God to send an angel to my mom to tell her now. Then also among the effects in the suitcase I dicovered a tape recording my mom had made back in '61 and had sent me while I was stationed overseas with the Army in Munich, Germany. I had the tape transferred to a cassette and discovered my mother's crystal clear voice (which I had not heard in twenty-five years) telling me about a book she was reading - "Hawaii," by James Michener. Oh, how I so wanted to talk with her! It was as if she were in the next room....
Of course I was also involved in my friend Pastor Don's church ( First Church of God in Pacific Grove). But one day he gave me quite shock when he phoned me and told me that he had received an invitation to become pastor at a church of his denomination in San Jose. He asked if I would help him pray and seek an answer form the Lord concerning it. I told him I would be glad to do that. As I prayed about the situation the Lord gave me a Scripture that seemed to confirm Don's moving in that direction. I shared it with him, he also received confirmation from another believer, and so Don finally told his congregation. They were greatly shocked and dismayed as he and his wife were beloved there but the decision had been made and he and his family departed for their new location. Before they left, however, he called me into the office one day and informed me that in considering who might be interim pastor till a new pastor was chosen, my name had been placed before the church board. I was greatly surprised, and replied I did not think I was qualified because of the fact I had recently been divorced. (In fact, my wife and I had spent our honeymoon in Monterey and I had introduced her to Don and his wife Debbie.) But Don reassured me that he thought I had done what God had required in the situation and was qualified for the position of interim pastor. So I acquiesced and when my name was given to the congregation and the time came to vote (I absented myself during it), all the members of the church voted for me except a young man who had coveted the position and placed his own name for consideration and had therefore voted for himself. So I became Interim Pastor and was in that position for three months until the church found another pastor to replace Don. The only stipulation made to me was done by the chairman of the board who, taking me aside, told me that I should not teach about "tongues." I was surprised at his request, but since I was only interim and it was my intention to try to maintain stability within the church during the transition process, I agreed. God verified this by impressing me with Eph. 4:3, "...being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." But the young man who had desired to be pastor brought up the issue himself though he was anti-charismatic. He decided to let everyone in the church know his opinion on the issue of "tongues," that he did not approve of "speaking in tongues." But I knew it was God's will that I be the "Interim Pastor" and everyday I would walk around the church - and throughout it also - praying, and then spend some time at the altar on my knees. The Word Jesus had given me (at the time my wife had left) had come to pass, ".....strengthen (establish) your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32) The three months I was Interim Pastor was a wonderful learning experience for me - I received loving support from the congregation, and I did my best with God's help to fulfill the role God had put me in there.
One Sunday, while I was sharing the sermon I had prepared, I was surprised at seeing Jesus enter the doors to the sanctuary. The entrance doors were at the rear of the sanctuary and I was facing them while delivering my sermon so I saw Him clearly but the congregation had their backs turned to the entrance as they sat facing me so no one else was aware of His presence. The Lord did not so much as even glance at me but looked first to one side of the room at the congregants sitting there in the pews and then to ther other side at those sitting there. He was not smiling, but seemed to have the appearance of severe concern. He paused only very briefly, then abruptly turned and exited through the doors. I was impressed by the Holy Spirit that He desired that the congregation would follow Him out onto the streets "where the sinners are." I wondered greatly at this visit but felt impressed also not to share this experience with the others there at that time.
The congregation reviewed various applicants for the position of pastor and finally settled on a young couple recently out of Bible school but with some experience in a church in the mid-west.
I had given up my day job at Tickle Pink Inn to become Interim Pastor, and when that came to an end I found day-time employment with Macys, working at Mrs. Field's Cookies. Before my conversion experience in 1969, my life was chaotic, with no meaning - like a cosmic puzzle with pieces floating around me uselessly. In '69, God sovereignly put enough of the pieces together for me to have sufficient understanding to take a step of faith. Since that time, my Christian life had been like a detective story, ferreting out clues, separating fact from fiction, the valuable from the garbage. Vital questions I had over the years since my conversion were finally answered in 1988.. Most importantly, God returned me to my "first love." (Rev. 2:4) But even though there had been this spiritual progress, my physical life had been relatively unsettled. I had moved so many times since the early '70s that it took me some time accepting that God seemed to be allowing me to set some roots down in the Monterey area. My job as night manager at Tickle Pink Inn was going nowhere - I was becoming dissatisfied with it. My job making cookies also had me in limbo, I felt.
It was during this period of time also that a "door" seemed to open to recontact my ex-wife and make an attempt at reconcilation (Matt. 5:23-24). I had been praying for three years while God was healing the wounds of the failed marriage and divorce and believing Him for a healing of the relationship with the sister who had been my wife. I was not looking specifically for a restoration of the marriage, but for Scriptural reconciliation - which was what Jesus was talking about in the above verses in Matthew. I was able to find her address in So. California, and so took a week's vacation to try to make contact with her. Of course I continued to pray for wisdom as I made my plans. When I found her address, it seemed best to me to make what observations I could before I tried to contact her, since of course the divorce had made her quite bitter. I had received a note from the friend in whose house the marriage had taken place to the effect that she had encountered my ex-wife in a local church and had been shocked at her physical appearance and the bitterness she expressed in referring to me. So I thought that perhaps trying to make contact with her at her church might be better than just knocking on the door of her apartment. Sunday morning I waited and did follow her to church, but once there was not able to make contact as I had hoped. As I prayed and observed her further, I came to the conclusion that contact did not seem possible. So I returned to Monterey and decided to write a member of the pastoral staff of the church she attended (a large well-known church that I respected). But I do not remember receiving a response to my letter. Later, I found that another friend of mine was planning a vacation in the So. California area and asked him if he would mind making contact with a friend of my ex-wife and leave some Christmas presents with her for my ex-wife and her son. He agreed to do this. But the final result of these efforts on my part at "reconciliation" was that my ex-wife obtained a "restraining order" against me (stating the lie that I had been "stalking" her for some weeks, along with some other untruthful allegations). The friend at whose house we had been married advised me that she felt that I had done what I could and that I should just "back off" and leave my ex-wife in God's hands. I agreed that this seemed to reflect the mind of the Lord and decided to make no further attempts at "reconciliation," though continuing to pray for her and her son over the years. But I did cry out to the Lord in the pain of being rejected, asking "Why?" His answer directed me to John 1:10-11. "If you want to know Me," He seemed to say, "You must also know what it is to be rejected by those you love."
In September 1988, my job at the motor inn came to an end, and I resigned from Macys. Immediately a possibility of being involved in inner-city ministry in Chicago appeared to open up, so I packed my car and started back there.
The trip to Chicago seemed to witness that I was going in the right direction. On the way I made contact with four cousins I had not seen since the 60s, getting to share my faith in Christ very strongly. In Ohio, while visiting my sister and her husband, the "family friend" who years before had written me a letter accusing me of "murdering" my mother dropped in for a visit with her husband. She gave her heart to Christ after much discussion, and her husband rededicated his life also. But Chicago was a different story. Immediately upon arrival there I began to cope with the feeling, "What am I doing here?" Doors closed right and left. Nothing worked out. There seemed to be mounting alienation between me and the brother and his wife who had invited me to come to Chicago and with whom I was then living. I went on a fast to discern God's will, and after two days it became apparent that I had sinned in leaving my jobs in the Monterey area - it was in the San Francisco area that God wanted me, not Chicago. So I received a "spanking" from the Lord and once more packed up my car and returned, thoroughly chastened and "with my tail between my legs," to the Monterey Area.
The possibility of a good job offer was one of the things that drew me back to Monterey, and some Christian friends (who taught Russian at nearby Defense Language Institute) allowed me to stay with them while I checked that out. Unfortunately, the "job offer" did not materialize and soon I had to move out, but another couple invited me to move in with them. They were an African-American family I had befriended while working at Mrs. Field's Cookies in Macys, the wife being a co-worker and a Christian sister. During the three weeks I was there I became part of the family's life, and their problems. Near the end of the stay I had a good opportunity to have a talk with the husband, who was very nice, and led him to Christ. At one point I asked the wife, "Do any of your friends ever make any comments about the 'Whitey' that is staying in your house?" She laughed and replied, "Yes, there are some who have made some remarks." But then she told me about the racist white man who lived next door to them. They lived at Ft. Ord as the husband was stationed there with the Army, and often when I returned at night after looking for a job, I had to dodge cruising MP cars. I knew it would be only a matter of time before I would have to move again, and after finding a job - I did. I finally wound up in a luxurious studio apartment that was somewhat beyond my means, but I saw God's hand in it.
The first job that opened up to me was with the Thunderbird Bookshop, no longer in business but then a prestigious book store located in the world's most beautiful outdoor shopping mall, The Barnyard. This bookstore turned out to be the local headquarters for the dissemination of New Age literature, in addition to stocking all other types of books. While there I got quite an education concerning the New Age. I've never had any secular job that necessitated the degree of spiritual warfare that this one did. I was in a constant state of prayer, especially when stocking books in the New Age section that dealt with witchcraft, etc. I would plead the blood of Jesus over them and pray that God would actually make the book "distasteful" to whomever bought it and use it to bring them to an end of themselves and to the Cross and Jesus Christ. In fact, God as a result of prayer made available the opportunity to have a two-hour talk with the woman who was in charge of the New Age "Whole-Life Center." Her thinking was of course very "New Age/occult, but our discussion was totally controlled by God's love and was about Him. I remarked in a letter I wrote to a Christian brother, "It's probably the first such intensive discussion I've had where my flesh did not manifest or interfere in any way." There were New Age spiritualist events sponsored by the Thunderbird owners taking place periodically both in the bookstore and on the mall grounds. On Saturday mornings, there was in the bookstore luncheon patio a radio broadcast from 9 to 11 AM. It primarily involved a woman medium who claimed to be in touch with "extra-terrestrials" who psychically spoke through her. The "dead" also spoke through her, as did "Mary, the mother of Jesus", the day before Easter - and Jesus also. Of course, these are lying demonic spirits. The "ETs" and the "Ascended Masters," as the New Agers call them, promise them a coming age of peace and harmony as they seek to become "gods." At the time I was there I kept local Christians informed of these and other New Age activities going on so they could knowledgeably pray against the "principalities......powers......rulers of the darkness of this world......spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12) We also had a weekly Bible study that met at a local restaurant. One day a co-worker admonished me about using the word, "guilty." "Oh," I innocently replied. "You're saying I'm 'guilty' for having used the word, 'guilty,'" She looked at me silently for a few seconds then turned and left. The Carmel area was also a likely place to bump into celebrities. I once served coffee to Doris Day at Mrs. Field's Cookies, said "Good Morning," to Shirley Temple (Black) at Tickle Pink, spoke with Joan Fontaine over the phone at Thunderbird and greeted Julia Childs there, encountered Clint "makemyday" Eastwood and Sandra Locke at a local restaurant, and David Hasselhoff at Tickle Pink. (But then, back in the '50s, I worked one summer on the set of "Giant" in Warner Bros. and encountered, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Mercedes McCambridge, etc. While in UCLA I made a film co-starring Will Hutchins, who later had his own TV series "Sugarfoot" and made some movies. - And when I worked with ECL in Glendale, CA making the film "Let My People Go!" I spent time and ate meals with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. So what's the BIG DEAL??? Do you want my autograph? 8-)
I knew that being in the enemy's camp was only a temporary thing , but it still saddened me the day I received the expected "two weeks notice," My supervisor took me aside and gently informed me I was "being freed to serve the Lord." I thought of replying that "He freed me to do that many years ago" but did not. While I was at the Thunderbird, as I commented in a letter to a friend, "my prayer-life was profoundly deepened and my perspective of God's love for sinners radically altered." Soon after leaving there though I found employment as a 'front desk clerk" at a nearby prestigious senior retirement center located in a fairly secluded part of Monterey. At the end of three months probation, I was given such an unexpectedly adverse evaluation report by my supervisor that I felt I had no recourse but to resign. I mentioned that fact to one of the residents who, during casual conversation, asked how things were going for me. The next thing I knew, a significant number of the residents were creating such an uproar in reaction to this news that I was forced to withdraw my resignation and reach a mutually satisfactory accord with my supervisor. The loving concern that was shown me by the residents during this period quite overwhelmed me and I never really recovered from the wonderful shock of it during the rest of my stay. I found that I was involved in a "love affair" with the residents there that just grew and grew. I had many good opportunities to witness there, and the highlight of my stay was undoubtedly the evening one of the residents (who attended a local Unity church) approached the front desk and asked me, "What does it mean to be born again?" Never one to shirk such an opportunity, I gave a brief explanation, then asked her if she would like to be born-again. She replied, "Yes," and I prayed with her as she opened her heart to Jesus Christ. After the prayer, she remarked to me about the peace she felt, and I observed the change in her being as she reflected the presence of the new life that was now within her. I also rejoiced later at the fact that though she had been going to the Unity church she did not succumb to other residents' subsequent invitations to accompany them there. I had explained to her that God had become man in Jesus Christ as opposed to the Unity church concept of man becoming god, and encouraged her to attend a church that taught the Biblical truths correctly. She later moved to So. California and I never saw her again.
As time passed there, my supervisor and I gained respect for each other, and she shared with me that I "should beware of women supervisors." I was incredulous as she went on to explain her reasoning, but respected what she had to say because of her ability and commitment to her job. (I later had cause to remember her warning when another woman supervisor there had me fired.) Since there were many elderly residents, death was a frequent occurrence. Much earlier in my Christian walk I had to deal with crossing paths with people whom I greatly enjoyed knowing, then seeing the relationship end till we "meet again in heaven!" Now it was a situation of knowing people briefly but intimately and seeing them "pass on" into eternity - how many I tried to witness to and prayed for that passed on and I had to leave their eternal fate in God's hands. There was a little Jewish woman from Czechoslovakia who had lost all her family as far as she knew in concentration camps. She declared she was an intellectual atheist. She had wonderful writing ability and we had some long discussions. I felt happy and successful when I was able to make her smile once. She passed on. I admired another Jewish man's collection of home-made string ties. He made me a present of one. Then he died. There were quite a few Christians there also, including a couple of retired pastors. There was a man who was very despondent because of the recent death of his wife. A precious Christian lady I knew very well took special pains to try to be a friend to him. I remember one day he walked into the front door and I said to him, "Hello, Mr. H-----." He turned and greeted me. Then he walked up to the fourth floor and used a stepping stool to jump off a balcony to his death. When I had to inform the Christian sister who was trying to befriend him of this, she had a heart attack and died two days later. Oh I could go on and on and on...... But what would be the point except to say it was a soul-stirring time for me.
I learned some new lessons from the Lord here, mainly of course dealing with the fact of death. The retirement center was purchased by a large hotel corporation not long after I became employed, and they put the residents through a lot of suffering because of the extensive renovations they insisted on doing to the building. The end result looked nicer but the original comfortable "homey" atmosphere disappeared and was replaced by something less inviting but more efficient. I learned in subtle ways that my Christian witness was known even to the corporate headquarters in Chicago. Visiting executives several times made "friendly" remarks as they passed the front desk that let me know they knew where I was coning from. The enemy was stirring things up too. Sightings of "ghostly" visitors in various places such as the elevators were becoming more frequently reported to me. I began to pray harder in the Spirit and against the enemy and his works. He obviously did not like that. My supervisors had changed several times since I had been there. All of them women. The latest one I thought I had built up a friendly relationship with. She seemed to be interested in being a Christian - up to a point. Then one day she asked me if I would accompany her to a local fair with her daughter and son-in-law. It wasn't a "date" she explained. I told her that the day and time she named was already committed - every week at that time I joined my pastor for a session of prayer in the church sanctuary. She gave me an odd look and walked away. Things seemed to go downhill from then and I was eventually fired by her on trumped-up charges. The enemy thought he had won - but actually, God indicated that it was time for me to move on to the San Francisco area. As a matter of fact, there were a number of things that happened at that time where I could say to the enemy: "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good...." as one of the residents of the retirement center reminded me. (Gen 50:20)
As I stated above, each Saturday I would join my pastor for prayer for our church, the church where I had previously been interim pastor. The present pastor had replaced the one who had been invited by the church while I was interim pastor. I felt that this present pastor and his wife were an answer to my prayers that I had daily prayed. They were Spirit-filled and did their best to help breathe God's Holy Spirit-Life into the church, but after I had left for the San Francisco area I was deeply saddened to receive news from my pastor-friend that he and his wife had decided to leave the church because it was "dead." (Rev. 3:1) I remembered the time Jesus visited the church while I was preaching my Sunday morning sermon (as I shared above) and knew that He certainly had the right to judge His church.
During that time I had also one evening become acquainted with a very attractive young woman who lived in an apartment complex across the street. I cannot give her name or post her photo here because of the extremely private nature of her story, which was so complex that it beggars belief. I spent many hours off-duty talking with her, trying desparately to be a friend and help her in whatever way I could. The life-story she shared with me was incredible in its labyrinthine convolutions, and it became impossible to tell where fact ended and fiction began. I became convinced she was unable to do so herself. She told me that when she was very young - about six years old - her father had brought in a woman to live in the house as his mistress, where she and her little brother and mother lived. Her mother, who was very religious, could not stand the shock and eventually died tragically. My friend became deeply emotionally scarred by this and hated her father till his death. Later she married a San Francisco police officer who she found afterwards was part of a corrupt contingent that dealt illegally in drugs and payoffs. She had tried to remove herself from this situation but told me that this corruption extended to high-level governmental authority. I had reason to believe her about this when I discovered my phone being tapped and mail I tried to send that became "lost." She was paranoid because she had received "death threats" from her ex-husband because of her attempt to disclose what she had discovered to authorities. She had no family to turn to (her relatives having spurned her, she told me). I helped her as much as I could but became convinced she needed the help of a Spirit-filled Christian psychiatrist I personally knew who lived in the Monterey area. She agreed to see him and he offered to treat her with no charge, but after a few visits to his office he let me know very stongly that he could do nothing for her as there were demons in her life and she did not agree to being delivered from them. For the first time since I had known him I saw him extremely frustrated, and he finally had to admit defeat. I continued to try to be a friend to this young woman, who claimed to be my sister-in-Christ, but our relationship came abruptly to an end one morning when we missed a proposed breakfast connection with each other at a local restaurant because she thought mistakenly we had agreed to meet at another nearby. She left me one final message on my phone answering machine. Goodbye, my dear A---. My heart breaks for you and I will continue to pray for you.
For some time I had been in contact with S O S M i n i s t r i e s and was receiving their monthly newsletters. SOS is engaged in street evangelism in the San Francisco area - mainly San Francisco itself and across the bay in Berkeley (or "Bezerkeley' and "The Zoo," as it's not-so-fondly called). It is led by Larry Rosenbaum (a Messianic Jew), who has been involved in street evangelism in San Francisco for more than thirty years. The members of SOS live together in a two-story house in Oakland. They have outreaches each Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and are often joined by other churches and ministries - or just any Christian who desires to participate in street-preaching and/or handing out tracts and witnessing one-on-one and counseling. Christian singing groups are particularly welcome as their music attracts passers-by. When I was fired from my job at the retirement center at the end of 1990, I began asking God where He wanted me next. It seemed that it was time to go to the San Francisco area, so I decided to "knock" on that door and leave it up to the Lord whether it would "open" or not. I drove up to SF on a weekend to participate in an outreach and talk with Larry Rosenbaum. One of the members of the SOS household had prepared sandwiches for the homeless people, so I joined him at his invitation as he drove around the city visiting the homeless in various locations, handing out sandwiches and telling them about the love of Jesus. Driving around SF was quite a change for me as previous to the Lord's bringing me there I had encountered such a noxious spiritual stench emanating from the city I could hardly stand it when I did have to drive through it. Now, because the Lord wanted me engaging in ministry in the area His grace made me impervious to the stench that had bothered me so much before.
I had a good talk with Larry about the possibility of moving into the SOS house and stayed over night to participate in the Saturday afternoon outreach. This gave me a good opportunity to introduce myself to and talk with the other team members. So I slept over Saturday and prepared to go to church Sunday. But I woke to a rude shock Sunday morning when I found my car stolen. Oakland 's "Welcoming Committee," I thought, but knew again that "what the enemy had intended for evil, God intended for good." As it turned out, God opened the "door" to the SOS house as I was admitted by a vote of its members, and a brother from the church in Pacific Grove helped me move my stuff from Monterey to Oakland. After the move, the police informed me they had found my car, and it had been towed to a junkyard. I went to examine it, saw that it had not only been stripped (of tires, etc), but also vandalized to the point that I decided I would have to "junk" it - which I did. It saddened me to the point of tears that anyone would needlessly do such damage to a car, but I realized that the enemy was not glad to have me in the area - and let me know it. However, I knew God was sovereign in every situation and the enemy would have to get "permission" from Him to get at me - certainly there was nothing the enemy could do to me that would catch God "by surprise." So as it turned out, I really didn't need the car in Oakland. It would have been a convenience and useful to SOS, but it wasn't essential to have. The bus line ran just a few blocks from the SOS house, and I learned in time that there were opportunities to witness to its riders about Jesus just through conversations with other Christians I would encounter. Also, riding it gave me extra time for reading (especially the Bible), meditating and praying.