Life began in Japan for me, as my parents were missionaries. As a child, I was raised in the Scriptures through my home, the ministry, and Christian school. Throughout my youth, I had a desire to serve God, and I requested baptism at age 13. From there things began to go downhill.
My teenage years were years of questioning the “status quo” and of rebellion for me. I was enrolled in a Christian boarding school, which just fueled the fires, as I had other companions of like mind. The culmination came at age 16 when I was expelled from the Christian school and left Japan to live with my uncle in California. This was in the late ’60s when the “Cultural Revolution” was in full swing. My rebellious nature embraced everything that was “anti-establishment.” I grew my hair long and became well acquainted with mind-altering substances as well as other things common to the hippie lifestyle.
After a year of college, I returned to Japan for the summer, where I met an American girl who was newly saved and zealous for Christ. As a peer, she impressed me very much with the reality of Christ in her life. I wanted that reality also and prayed with her to receive Christ. With newfound zeal, I enrolled in Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon. There was a great conflict going on inside me during these days. I wanted to do right, but the desires of the flesh were overpowering. At the Bible school, there were strong influences from both sides. The school itself was not a disciple-making institute. In short time, I began to flounder. The Christian lifestyle was a struggle for me. I had no power over sin.
After one semester, I left school; and, in short order, the influence of the Word diminished, and the world took over. I gave myself over to the gratifying of my senses. I lived a “carefree” existence, working little, partying a lot, and thinking I was free. Even in these years, God, in His mercy, spared me from greater evil. There was a strong influence of eastern philosophies all around, and I considered for a while the teachings of the “masters of the Far-East;” but one night in confusion I prayed to God, and He showed me clearly that His testimony to man was the Bible and not in these other teachings. From then on, I didn’t give the East any further thought. I hitchhiked a lot, and I was frequently picked up by either Christians or homosexuals. The Lord spared me from wicked men, though I didn’t heed His messengers.
Some years later, I married Julie; and we lived a semi-transient existence by doing migrant labor in the fruit orchards of Washington. In time we purchased a piece of land in northeastern Washington and settled down to the “homesteader’s” life. Here it was that God began to woo us to Himself. We had neighbors who were Christians, and they exerted a firm but gentle influence on us. They kept encouraging us to come to a Bible study, and we kept putting them off. One day, we just ran out of excuses.
We considered ourselves to be Christians but knew deep down that we didn’t fit the mold. I think that as a result of much prayer by others on our behalf we began to open up to God. One day, in December of 1979, I spoke in earnestness to God saying, “I don’t want to say that I’m holy if I’m not holy. I don’t want to say I understand if I don’t understand. I want reality.” In turn God said to me, “I’ve been waiting for you to say that.” This was the basis for my new life with God: seeking Him with a sincere heart and finding the reality of His fellowship.
“No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). From that day on, I have not looked back. Jesus is my Lord.