A number of people over the years have asked for an autobiography, which won’t happen unless I feel divinely inspired. Several periods of my life could easily take a book by themselves, so a single book by nature would have to be selective on what it told. That being the case, here are some selections to edify you.
GROWING UP IN NEPAL. My father was engaged in taking an inventory of Nepal’s ag practices, & writing a book-size series of recommendations on how to improve it. Living in Katmandu as a young American boy influenced me, because I went to a private school, read a lot rather than watch TV, plus I travelled worldwide & had a large stamp collection, which gave me a keen sense of geography & history. It also meant that I was on such a different “wavelength & page” that identifying with my peers in America was difficult. While American in nationality, my American peers & myself were foreigners to each other. That gulf helped prevent me from doing some of the crazy things teenagers do as group activities, & made it easier to stand alone as a teenage Christian.
REGENERATED BY THE NEW BIRTH. Around June, 1969 Christ called me, & I responded w/ a yes. The experience was a life changing event, giving me a new outlook on most everything, new energy, hope & peace and a sense of my sins. I was overwhelmingly changed & aware of God from then on. My Christian faith & walk gave me a great sense of satisfaction & purpose in life. It also gave me strong reasons to do what was right, when temptations to do something stupid confronted me. Since my family was not Christian, my journey of faith & prayer life was not a family activity, but one between my Father & I. Also I was blessed by being baptized in living water in Four Mile Creek near where I farmed.
EUROPE AT 15. When I was 15, I spent two months working on my German relatives’ farm near Otterndorf, Niedersachen. I also spent a month on my own travelling around Europe as a tourist, which allowed me to visit family friends in the Netherlands. My Dutch friend Joop Blom, of Arnhem, was not only a great engineer but a comical philosopher whom I admired. He explained how a person will give a different explanation each day for why they did a particular act, thus showing that they really didn’t do it for a particular reason. I mulled that over, and realized for the first time, he’s right, we don’t have a clue about people’s motivations, even if they at some point told us, for tomorrow they might say something different.
VISITING ISRAEL WHILE A WEST POINTER. Between my 1st & 2nd yr. at West Point, USMA, I used my month of leave (vacation) to travel to Israel using standby status on military flights. (The Holy Land has a connection to God that I experienced & soaked up.) West Point life was intense, I didn’t do much non-academic reading, but as soon as I got leave I bought a book on the Yom Kippur War, which I read while waiting for my standby flight from Dover AFB to Europe. Going to Israel right after that great “victory” significantly helped solidify my desire to be a conscientious objector. I really saw first-hand that Israel had not won peace—true peace is not the absence of war, but is something tangible within the heart. When I returned to West Point, I began the process of resigning, which in the event took 6 months, because I tried to give things some time to make sure of my decision. I then took the one lesson West Point taught so well, total obedience, and applied it to my walk with God.
Applying total obedience to God, while reading Scriptures changed the entire Bible; when I reread it, it became a different book. I wrote up a thesis, 50 Scriptural Reasons Why I am Joining the Amish. As a member of the Amish, I farmed, carpentered, & taught elementary school 2 years. Some dreams, whose contents seemed to verify they were divine, showed me I should return to the world and expose the dynamics of corruption of the Church & World. I began fulfilling this by writing 7 small books on Christian doctrine. After six months of doing this calling, and receiving counsel from Christians to abandon the calling, due to lack of maturity I quit the calling, and went into 10 years of spiritual drifting. God Himself had to rearrange my life to where in 1990 He got me back on track with the vision he’d given me. Because of those painful lost 10 years of the 80’s, I identify with Jonah being in the whale.
God’s Spirit never quit teaching me. One day in 1979, early on in the spiritual drifting stage of my life, I was feeling sorry for myself, but got the inspiration to see myself from God’s perspective. I realized how feeling depressed was the sins of lack of faith, self-centeredness, selfishness, etc. It was a total shock to realize how depraved my sin was spiritually, so I repented of feeling sorry for myself. From then on, I went forth in faith, and never allowed the Spirit of depression to control me again. Experiences in prison were tests of this kind of lesson, which I was able to pass successfully, although at times I kind of muddled around feeling more dazed than triumphant. As the Word says, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me….I press toward the goal…of the upward call of God…” PHLP 3:12,14