To begin, my entire childhood experience was filled with psychological and emotional torment. I attribute this, mainly, to my parents. Some of my earliest memories were crying myself to sleep almost every night because my parents were having violent fights. This went on until I left home at the age of nineteen.
The other aspect of the torment came from the many churches that my parents took me to as I grew up. The reason why there were so many was because my parents moved up and down the east coast of the United States thirty-seven times over eighteen years. The moves were partly my father wanting to escape the responsibility of his abusiveness and partly my mother chasing the newest preacher.
So, I had heard many versions of the same Biblical stories which left many conflicts in the poor information that I was hearing. The conflicting information just added to the torment.
All of this drove me into a corner where I thought the only way out was suicide. At the age of thirteen I had no clue if a “God” or “higher power” existed. I, simply, had no way to justify it based on the torment that I was living in.
My plan to end my life was finalized when I figured out I could steal dynamite from a friend’s father who worked in construction. I had gotten so good at hiding my true feelings that no one would expect anything. There were no cries for help and there would be no note. I would simply construct a crown of dynamite which I would place over my head and set it off. I did plan to do this in a remote location so I wouldn’t harm anyone or damage property. (It’s strange how I could be so thoughtful in that situation.)
Weeks prior to carrying out my plan, I was at a mid-week service at the church my family had attended now for the past couple of years. This night we had most unusual guests. They were a husband and wife music group. What made it unusual was that the husband played incredible jazz piano unlike I had ever heard and the wife sang exceptional jazz vocals. So, it was a gospel jazz duo. Although it was unique and the music was good, I was too busy in the very back of the church making fart noises with my hands along with the music. I did this to get my only friend laughing so hard he’d piss his pants. Then, I was interrupted.
The music stopped and there was about two to three minutes of silence. And then I heard the woman say:
“You…in the blue shirt…”
I looked at my shirt. Yup, it’s blue. I looked up at her and it was as if I was looking through a drinking straw at her face and could see nothing else. Then she said:
“I don’t know what this is but all I can see is your face and nothing else around it…I believe God has something to say to you…would you be willing to come up here?”
I was a very shy person but I tried to let on that I was not. So, this would not be easy if I decided to go up there in front of almost three hundred people. I was left with a couple of choices. Not that there were not many choices I could have made but that there were two main choices I faced. First, I could go up to the front of the assembly and see what happens. Second, refuse and continue on with my suicide plan.
After a few moments, I thought if this is “God” or “Supernatural Bob” or “Something Cosmic That I Don’t Understand” and it could get me out of the torment that I had been in for thirteen years, then I’ll give it a shot. Why not?
So, I went up there. All of us were in a state of awe. I was. She was. When I looked out at the three hundred or so people, they all had the same expression. Mouths open with jaws dropped.
She put a hand on my shoulder and said the following:
“Your natural timidity is only a part of your youth. It is not something that is going stay with you for the rest of your life.”
She did not know me at all. How could she know this about me? This got my attention and I thought I should listen intently.
She went on:
“You are going to learn a lot about God’s word. You are also going to learn a lot about yourself. The things that you are going to learn will change your family. You will have dreams and visions that only a young man could have. God is calling you into a ministry and it’s a public ministry. So, come. Follow God. His thoughts are higher than your thoughts. His ways are higher than your ways. The choice is yours.”
I could just say “No thanks” go back to my seat and move ahead with my suicide plan. Or I could say “Yes” and see what happens.
I did not walk away, so, the woman asked me to raise my hands and repeat a prayer that she lead me through. I don’t remember the prayer and I’m not sure that the words I said were of much importance anyway.
I believe the only thing that was important was to not go through with the suicide and to somehow trust that what was said to me, through this woman, would happen.
I was able to get the audio tape of the meeting from a church member who records all of them. I then transcribed all of what she said to paper. I read over that thing so many times that it became seared into my memory. That’s how I’m able to recall it even today.
Three years later, at the age of sixteen, I went to my youth pastor about it. I wanted to know what it all meant and when this was going to happen. He was there the night it happened. He read what I had on paper. Then he gave me the best advice. He said:
“If this is God, then it will happen. So, just put it on the shelf.”
I agreed that this was the best thing to do. I tried very hard to forget about it and went on with my life.
At the age of nineteen, my mom picked me up from my high school two days before I was to graduate. The car was fully packed. She said we were leaving for good. We drove to Maine to live with my father’s side of the family who were supportive of the decision. My mother, finally, got the courage to get us out of our family’s torment.
It was a beautiful summer in Maine that would start the process of healing.
After settling into a groove, life had become incredibly enjoyable and free of any unnecessary stresses. For years, as a teenager, I had used marijuana to cope with the torment. After being away from it for only weeks, I was able to just stop using it. I didn’t need it anymore.
One early afternoon, while propped up against the headboard of my bed, listening to music with my portable cassette player, I had the “visions and dreams”. I wasn’t asleep. It was as if something transported me through space-time to show me four separate events.
It was as if I left my body and travelled into the future to four separate places. In all of them, it was as if I was floating high above each place as a spectator. I could see everything. But that was it. There were no other sensations such as touch, smell, taste, nor hearing. It was, purely, a visual experience.
The first future-place event:
I was watching and following myself, just above and behind, running down a very narrow paved road. I watched as I jumped onto a grassy area landing on my knees. I watched as I pounded my hands and forearms onto the grass several times. Then I saw myself lift my face up towards the sky and shout something. I looked enraged.
The second future-place event:
I was watching myself speak to a small group of people in a small indoor venue.
The third future-place event:
I was watching myself speak to a larger audience in an auditorium.
The fourth future-place event:
I was watching myself speak to, roughly, four to five hundred people at an outdoor setting.
The vision experience ended and I, physically, felt an electrical sensation over my entire body. I felt completely full of energy. So, I went for a walk around town that lasted a little over an hour. While walking I realized that what I had just experienced may have been part of what that woman said to me back when I was thirteen.
About a month went by and I decided that I wanted to move from Maine back to my home in North Carolina. I missed all my friends badly and thought that my future would be best where I considered to be home. Surprisingly, an acquaintance’s mother decided to let me live in her downstairs apartment of her home indefinitely. So, a girl whom I barely knew got her mother to agree with this. I was so elated and thankful. She also let me use their extra BMW to get back and forth to work and for any other reason.
I had a crush on a girl from high school and kept in touch through letters with her while I was in Maine. Now that I was back in North Carolina, I wanted to get together with her. I called her, at the college she was attending, and she invited me out to a “concert on the lawn” event the coming Friday evening.
I met her at the top of the hill in front of the stage area. She was sitting with another guy. I noticed they would hold hands from time to time and this started to confuse me. At one point, she decided to go back to her room and said she’d be right back. Thirty minutes passed and I got worried so I went to her room to see if she was OK.
When I got to her room I found her curled up on her bed crying. I sat at the edge of her bed and asked her what was wrong. She then tried to gently tell me that she was dating the other guy and before she could express herself fully I jumped up and ran out of her room.
I continued to run down the hall, out of the building, and down a very narrow paved road. I then ran into a grassy area, jumped onto my knees, beat the ground with my fists and forearms, while crying and screaming. Then I lifted my face up to the sky and shouted: “F*&k you God!”
It wasn’t until a week had passed that I would realize what had happened that Friday night. I was taking a shower in my downstairs apartment when it dawned on me that I had experienced the first of the four visions. I was in utter awe and amazement. So much so that I just sat down in the shower with my mouth agape. I must have sat there for over thirty minutes just completely blown away.
Weeks later I, somehow, agreed to hang out a few times with my father. He convinced me to leave my incredible living conditions and move back in with him. While living there I was curious as to what had happened to a mutual friend of ours. We met Larry at the last church that we had attended. He told me that Larry had left that particular church and was just doing his own thing. I inquired more and my father suggested that I should call him. I called and asked Larry why he’d left. He responded by telling me that it would be best if he told me in person. My father agreed to drop me off at his house the following Saturday morning.
Larry told me that he’d been in a spiritual quest prior to attending the church we’d once gone to. He then said that he just wasn’t finding what he was looking for and was becoming frustrated. He told me that one night he was on his hands and knees crying out to God for help. At the time, he had his TV tuned into the Christian Broadcasting Network. As one bout of his sobbing session ended he heard a man speaking to one of the TV hosts and it got his attention. The man was Dr. Roy Blizzard. He’s a Hebraic scholar with multiple degrees in paleontology, archeology, and a Doctorate in Hebrew. Larry went on to explain that he ordered several of his lectures on audio tape.
Larry went on to tell me that another man, from the church we had once attended, came to his home to see why Larry had left. Larry tried to explain that he needed more accurate information regarding what was being taught at the church. Then the visiting man became resistant to what Larry was explaining and finally wrote Larry off completely. Larry then asked the man to leave.
I was so interested in what Larry was trying to explain to me that I just kept inquiring. Finally, he suggested that I listen to an introductory lecture by Dr. Roy Blizzard. I agreed. After only the first sentence I started to cry. Larry stopped the tape and asked me what was wrong. I said to him: “Why didn’t I know this before?” Larry replied: “I know”. The first sentence that stopped me was “Did you know that Jesus was a Jew?”
I spent the next six months with Larry, staying at his home every weekend. I would wake at six a.m., eat, shower, dress, and then walk five miles to his house on Saturday morning. We would listen to a number of Hebraic scholars and read many other books. Then Larry would drop me back at my father’s house on Sunday night.
The tension at my father’s house had been building and I had no idea what was causing it or what to do. One day I drove home from work and parked my car in front of our home. Then, out of nowhere, a voice that sounded like multiple screeching and screaming voices yelled: “Why are you running!?!” I froze and looked into my rear-view mirror. Nothing. I got up the courage to quickly open the car door and jump out. Then I looked back into the car and saw nothing. I stood there trying to calm down before I went inside.
I opened the door and noticed my father sitting on the couch with both of his arms up on the back. He wasn’t moving and appeared to be staring straight ahead through the sliding glass doors. I was going to head around the front of him and into my room. I thought it strange that he was motionless and didn’t turn to greet me when I entered. As I headed around the front of the couch I noticed that his face looked like it was ashen, his mouth was slightly open, and motionless. Then, as I was just about to pass by him that exact disembodied group of voices came out of his direction yelling, again, “Why are you running!?!”
I kept walking into my room and closed the door. I was scared and didn’t want to see my father. About an hour went by and I was getting hungry. Minutes later I heard my father leave so I went out and ate. Then it was back to my room where I worried about what to do. I was lying across my stomach resting on my forearms on my bed listening to music. Then very slowly I felt a tingling and relaxing type of energy come over my body starting with my feet. It enveloped my entire body, soothing my mind. Then a small voice inside my mind said: “Leave your father. He is controlled by evil spirits.”
I wondered how I would leave without a confrontation. Shortly after this, I had fallen asleep. I awoke to hearing my father rustling around out in the kitchen and then I heard him leave. I went out to the kitchen to find a note he had left telling me he was headed to Maine. So, I took my time eating, showering, and packing a small backpack. I left with the clothes on my back, one extra set of clothes, one apple, one light jacket, and about ten dollars.
I headed out toward the highway and in my ignorance and fear prayed that everyone that picked me up on the road be a Christian. The first person to pick me up was a first generation Polish man who said he was not a Christian when I asked. I thought that to be curious. I ended up hitch-hiking from North Carolina to Tulsa Oklahoma. It was there that I decided to head back toward the east coast.
Not once on this trip was I ever without sleep, food, shelter, banter, laughter, and so on. I was having a wonderful time. It was as if God was not only looking after me, but was lavishing me. The very last ride I got was from a couple who had been traveling back and forth from Petersburg Virginia to some place out west every year for over thirty years. They told me that, in that time, they had seen many hitch-hikers and had never picked anyone up.
They went on to tell me that, shortly after passing me on the road, they both felt an overwhelming sense to pull over and offer me a ride. They told me that this overwhelming sense was a first for them and they couldn’t understand what it was. I, simply, replied that it was God.
Not one person that picked me up or helped me claimed to be a Christian when I asked. I made it a point to ask everyone on that trip.
I ended up living with my mother in New Jersey. During that time I had my first serious girlfriend. It was my girlfriend’s mother who suggested I see a counselor for what they both perceived in me as an inability to express my emotions. So, I agreed. I remember that first session was with a Catholic counselor. Thankfully, he wasn’t biased by his own beliefs when he treated me. At one point in the session I started to tell him my anger toward my parents for what they had put me through. He pointed to a small wooden chair in his office and asked me to take my anger out on it. So, I went over, picked it up, and began smashing it into the floor over and over again. When I was done there was just a pile of splinters.
I continued to see a number of different counselors over a six month period. It would be the beginning of a long healing process that took the next ten years. I believe that God provided me with many opportunities to seek counseling and I wisely chose to go through with it. Most of the hours and hours of sessions were reliving all of the painful experiences I had in childhood. It was extremely difficult to go through all of that again, but I knew it was necessary if I wanted to be completely whole.
As for the last three visions where I am supposedly in a “public ministry”, I am not sure. I have no idea what I’d be saying to people. I’ve just decided to do what my youth pastor wisely advised when I was obsessed about the experience I had at 13. I’ve put it on the shelf.