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Arrowcreek

My Story and Testimony of God’s Saving Grace

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My Story and Testimony 

My Story starts with some of my early childhood background. Born in the small town of St. Charles Missouri, just north of St. Louis on the Missouri river. The town in 1938 maybe had 4,000 people more or less. My Dad and Mom had no religious background at least none that I know of. Dad was one of eight children four boys and four girls who helped their parents farm the Missouri river bottom lands in the early nineteen hundreds. Dad was English and Irish, Mom was of German and French decent, my Moms family made it to America just before the turn of the century, where my Dads side of the family, was part of the first founding settlements of America in the sixteen hundreds.

My early childhood was good, we grew most of our own food on a few acres, Mom did all of canning so we could survive the cold Missouri winters.
My uncle had plenty of cattle and hog meat, they butchered and smoked in those days, dad raised chickens, and I had rabbits to eat.
Life was good as it gets at that time, because we were living in the Roosevelt years of depression, nobody I new had any money and we were all trying our best, to survive on what we had.

When I look back on those years, Dad and Mom had a hard road to go down, raising two boys and two girls. My Dad had to work in a factory forty hours a week for less then fifty cents a hour, to help keep us going during those hard times. My Mom also made all my sisters clothing, out of chicken feed sacks, that came in many different flowered colors, and keep my jeans patched when I tore holes in them.

Now we all would get a bath on Friday nights, in a big wash tub that was heated outside, and brought inside where in was warm, yes we all used the same water. Mom would use that wash tub for doing her laundry in also, she had a big scrub board that she would rub the laundry on, to the point where the skin on her fingers got so thin, they would bleed, she never complain about it, because it was another chore in daily living, that had to be done.

When it came time for me to start school, I was enrolled in a public school, not far from my house, so walking there was no problem. Anyway I had a cousin that attended the Catholic school, a couple miles from where I lived, she must of told a Catholic priest about me, because he payed my Mother a visit, on getting me in the Catholic school, convincing her that I needed some religious teaching, since we had none in the family.

So I started my second grade year, and graduated my eighth grade year, in the Catholic school system. We never once opened a bible, that was for the priest only. But we sure did a lot of reading, from our Catholic Catechism, all about the history of the church, and the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Every day we had Church Mass, for the first hour, on Friday, we had to fast from eating meat, before communion was served, to all the school kids.
The part I didn't like, was going to confession, every Thursday afternoon, and confess our sins to the priest, we would do penance, so God would forgive us our sins. That just didn't seem right to me, so I would do my best to skip out, on going to confession, I made up a lot of excuses in those days, so not to be with the school class, as they marched us, to and from the confessional.

After I graduated from grade school, I decide not to enroll in a Catholic high school, but decided going to our local high school, for the next four years. I never was a very good student, I just didn't apply myself, to working harder, in my studies to get better grades. I'm not implying my grades where failing, just enough to get me through high school, never thinking about college, just learning a trade, or working in a factory like my Dad.

After graduation I did just that, excepting a job in a steel factory, where we built subway cars, for many big cities across America, the same company my Dad was working. I continued working there until, being drafted to serve my country, I chose the Army because I wanted to get this over quick as possible.

Now not knowing what military life would be like, I was headed to Fort Leonard-Wood Missouri, for the next eight weeks of basic training, right in the middle of winter. When you enter the military, they put you through a day of testing, to see just how smart you are, and where you best fit in, for serving their purpose, for the next two years. So after basic training, your now ready for the next eight weeks of training, I was sent to Fort Sill Oklahoma artillery training base. My test scores must of been good enough, to get a Top Secret Clearance, to attend Special Weapons school, with other enlisted men and officers.

After that eight weeks of training, I was sent overseas to Germany, on a ship, the USS Buckner, that took us twelve days on the ocean, and finally reaching land, glad I didn't join the Navy. The good part in all of this, is being in Germany and having a chance to see Europe, back in the 50's, where America money was king, at that time it was cheap to travel around to different countries. You only get so much leave time that's it, I used up all I had coming to me while I was there, traveling to Spain, Switzerland, France, Denmark and Sweden.

When it was time to return home to the states, the Army offered me a large sum of money to stay, and reenlist for three more years, my answer was no, I had just spent 1 year and 11 months, I was ready to get home. I had a good reason to go home, because I had my girlfriend waiting for me, who became my future wife, as of right now that was 57 years ago. All my buddies that took the money, and reenlisted for three more years, went to Vietnam, they were the first ones there, before the war broke out.

My ride back home, yes just my luck some got a airplane ride, I got another ship ride the USS Randolf back to the states. Now this was a ride I will never forget, because we hit a hurricane out in middle of the ocean, and we spent two days riding it out, before it calm down. Everyone including the sailors got sick on this ride, water was coming 20 feet over the upper bridge, during this event, I was really excited to see the US shore line, and the statue of Liberty, setting out in the harbor, what a beautfull site that was to be home in America again.

Back home in the States.

To be continued:

God Bless
 

Edited by Arrowcreek
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25 minutes ago, Arrowcreek said:


My Story and Testimony 

My Story starts with some of my early childhood background. Born in the small town of St. Charles Missouri, just north of St. Louis on the Missouri river. The town in 1938 maybe had 4,000 people more or less. My Dad and Mom had no religious background at least none that I know of. Dad was one of eight children four boys and four girls who helped their parents farm the Missouri river bottom lands in the early nineteen hundreds. Dad was English and Irish, Mom was of German and French decent, my Moms family made it to America just before the turn of the century, where my Dads side of the family, was part of the first founding settlements of America in the sixteen hundreds.

My early childhood was good, we grew most of our own food on a few acres, Mom did all of canning so we could survive the cold Missouri winters.
My uncle had plenty of cattle and hog meat, they butchered and smoked in those days, dad raised chickens, and I had rabbits to eat.
Life was good as it gets at that time, because we were living in the Roosevelt years of depression, nobody I new had any money and we were all trying our best, to survive on what we had.

When I look back on those years, Dad and Mom had a hard road to go down, raising two boys and two girls. My Dad had to work in a factory forty hours a week for less then fifty cents a hour, to help keep us going during those hard times. My Mom also made all my sisters clothing, out of chicken feed sacks, that came in many different flowered colors, and keep my jeans patched when I tore holes in them.

Now we all would get a bath on Friday nights, in a big wash tub that was heated outside, and brought inside where in was warm, yes we all used the same water. Mom would use that wash tub for doing her laundry in also, she had a big scrub board that she would rub the laundry on, to the point where the skin on her fingers got so thin, they would bleed, she never complain about it, because it was another chore in daily living, that had to be done.

When it came time for me to start school, I was enrolled in a public school, not far from my house, so walking there was no problem. Anyway I had a cousin that attended the Catholic school, a couple miles from where I lived, she must of told a Catholic priest about me, because he payed my Mother a visit, on getting me in the Catholic school, convincing her that I needed some religious teaching, since we had none in the family.

So I started my second grade year, and graduated my eighth grade year, in the Catholic school system. We never once opened a bible, that was for the priest only. But we sure did a lot of reading, from our Catholic Catechism, all about the history of the church, and the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Every day we had Church Mass, for the first hour, on Friday, we had to fast from eating meat, before communion was served, to all the school kids.
The part I didn't like, was going to confession, every Thursday afternoon, and confess our sins to the priest, we would do penance, so God would forgive us our sins. That just didn't seem right to me, so I would do my best to skip out, on going to confession, I made up a lot of excuses in those days, so not to be with the school class, as they marched us, to and from the confessional.

After I graduated from grade school, I decide not to enroll in a Catholic high school, but decided going to our local high school, for the next four years. I never was a very good student, I just didn't apply myself, to working harder, in my studies to get better grades. I'm not implying my grades where failing, just enough to get me through high school, never thinking about college, just learning a trade, or working in a factory like my Dad.

After graduation I did just that, excepting a job in a steel factory, where we built subway cars, for many big cities across America, the same company my Dad was working. I continued working there until, being drafted to serve my country, I chose the Army because I wanted to get this over quick as possible.

Now not knowing what military life would be like, I was headed to Fort Leonard-Wood Missouri, for the next eight weeks of basic training, right in the middle of winter. When you enter the military, they put you through a day of testing, to see just how smart you are, and where you best fit in, for serving their purpose, for the next two years. So after basic training, your now ready for the next eight weeks of training, I was sent to Fort Sill Oklahoma artillery training base. My test scores must of been good enough, to get a Top Secret Clearance, to attend Special Weapons school, with other enlisted men and officers.

After that eight weeks of training, I was sent overseas to Germany, on a ship, the USS Buckner, that took us twelve days on the ocean, and finally reaching land, glad I didn't join the Navy. The good part in all of this, is being in Germany and having a chance to see Europe, back in the 50's, where America money was king, at that time it was cheap to travel around to different countries. You only get so much leave time that's it, I used up all I had coming to me while I was there, traveling to Spain, Switzerland, France, Denmark and Sweden.

When it was time to return home to the states, the Army offered me a large sum of money to stay, and reenlist for three more years, my answer was no, I had just spent 1 year and 11 months, I was ready to get home. I had a good reason to go home, because I had my girlfriend waiting for me, who became my future wife, as of right now that was 57 years ago. All my buddies that took the money, and reenlisted for three more years, went to Vietnam, they were the first ones there, before the war broke out.

My ride back home, yes just my luck some got a airplane ride, I got another ship ride the USS Randolf back to the states. Now this was a ride I will never forget, because we hit a hurricane out in middle of the ocean, and we spent two days riding it out, before it calm down. Everyone including the sailors got sick on this ride, water was coming 20 feet over the upper bridge, during this event, I was really excited to see the US shore line, and the statue of Liberty, setting out in the harbor, what a beautfull site that was to be home in America again.

Back home in the States.

To be continued:

God Bless
 

Good story of your life. Tell us in due time how you became born again. And how it change you.

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When do we get Part II Arrowcreek?

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My Story and Testimony 

Part 2

I got back home and out of the Military in October 1960, just in time to vote for the very first time, for John F Kennedy who won the election, for Presidency of United States. Well after being home for a few weeks, I went back to work at the steel factory, and 6 months later I married my sweetheart, who had waited for me to come home. Everything was great I enjoyed married life, and it's struggles to get ahead, making just sixty dollar a week paying for rent, furniture, and car payments, was all new to me. My wife got a job also, just to help out with things and getting our own house, was a goal we achieved three year later. I just want to mention we bought a three bedroom house, with a full basement for ten thousand dollars back then, that was still a lot of money to us. How times have changed since then.

My wife and I struggled to make ends meet, from paycheck to paycheck, with three boys that where born, in the first ten years of our marriage. All this time we was attending the Catholic Church on Sundays. I forgot to mention, my wife was Lutheran so our wedding took place in her church, then we got married again, a few years later when my wife joined the Catholic Church. Now when the boys where born, they where all baptized in the church, because that was a big deal with family members and friends. You can see we were trying to do the right thing, so as not to be like my family with no religious background, again you got to remember the Catholic Church teaches, it's the only true church found on the rock of Peter the first real Pope as they claim.

Now it gets real interesting, because God has a different plan for my life, that goes beyond my wildest dreams. The factory I was working at, was now paying me a good sum of money, doing piece work on a daily bases, that made it possible for me to build a new home, in a new real estate development, and buy new cars every other year, of course I didn't save any money, now I was spending it trying to keep up with our wealthy neighbors. At this time my oldest boy, was attending kindergarten, in a catholic school. Well needless to say, the bottom fell out at work, the factory filed bankruptcy, and we had just a few months, to finish what was still on the assembly lines. I was forced to fined another job, and I did but it only paid about half of what I was making, I couldn't keep the new house, and cars, on what I was now making, this is where you wish you had saved some of the money, for a rainy day.

I worked at this low paying job for a few months, all the while looking for a better one, everyday I would look in the newspaper adds for work in my area, paying more then I was making, but to no avail. I started looking at out of state adds, and found a company in Reno Nevada, that was looking for someone with work skills related to what I do, then making a phone call that went well, they flew me to Reno for a interview. After arriving in Reno, the company owners Ned and Vivian took me out for dinner, at the Nugget Casino. Reno is a gambling town you know, and they showed me around, I liked what I saw, but it was way different then Missouri. Now after they left later that night, I checked in my room at the Nugget Hotel that they reserved for me.

Now it was way to early for me to go to bed, so I decided to check out the Casino gambling floor, with all the slot machines and card tables, not knowing anything about slot machines, I dropped a quarter in and pull down the handle, ding-ding jackpot. A person standing near by said, that machine has not paid out anything all night, lucky me I guess. So now what, go play another machine I guess, so I did the very same thing happened time after time, the machines keep paying off with jackpots. I noticed it was getting late, so I had to go outside to get to my room across the street, and there was a slot machine just outside the entrance, oh what the heck, put some money in and pull the handle, one more time before going to bed, yep jackpot.

Now when I got to my room, I just emptied all my pockets and bags with my winnings on the bed, I couldn't believe all the money there, so I decided to call my wife, and tell her my good luck story, with the slot machines, she said great I'm on way out there, she got a flight the next day to Reno, that meant I would be here a little longer then I expected. After her arrival here in Reno, we looked things over and we liked it, mountains with trees and valleys with wide open spaces, with the Truckee river running through the middle of town, just beautiful, except one thing, we had no family here that meant, living without them and that would be a first for us, because in Missouri most families live close by, and that was true for me and my wife's extended relatives. So we had to make a decision, and they gave us time to talk it over, because making a move like that, you better be sure it's the right one.

After a few weeks back in Missouri, my wife and I decided it would be better for me to drive to Reno alone, and work at this job to see if it was right for us. Every thing was going great at the job, so we decided to sell our home and make the move, but that meant leaving my wife alone with three small boys, and selling the house without my help, she did a great job with everything falling into place in just two months. I did go back to help pack things for our family flight to Reno, we arrived here on Halloween 1973, to start our new life out-west in cowboy country, to us it felt like a distant land some where else, being from the flat lands of Missouri.

We were now living in a motel while our new home was being built, my wife was beside herself, because we were dealing with mice running throughout the motel rooms all night long, finally after a month or so our new home was completed, and ready to move into. Our lives where now coming together here in Nevada, but we also longed to be with our family and love-ones in Missouri.

All that was mentioned here didn't happen without a lot of questioning God, plus a Hail Mary and Our Father here and there, at that time we didn't realize this was Gods plan all long. These things happen for a purpose, to bring us from darkness, to His light, and Saving Power, in His Son Jesus Christ.

To be continued:   God’s Amazing Plan.

God Bless

 

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Looking forward to the next chapter!

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My Story and Testimony 

Part 3 

I was working this new job for two years as we manufacture stainless steel kitchen equipment, for restaurants in Casino's, Schools, and Fast Food joints, all across America. Ned the boss came up to me one day and said they hired me some help, I guess he though I needed help, maybe to speed up things. Anyway this young man name Jim was to work with me every day, and it was a good thing, we got along real well, he shared things about himself and his family as we worked together, most of it about his religious belief. We talked about the Catholic Church, because Jim and his family where members for many years, then he started talking about the saving grace of Jesus Christ, I new all about the Catholic Church, but what I was hearing about God, and His Son Jesus Christ, in the light of things I never heard of before, this being all new to me, I ask my wife to pick me up some books on religion from the library to read including the bible, because I never had one, didn't need one the priest was the only one allowed to read the bible the Nuns didn't have one either, at least not during school classes.

Reading many of these books, trying to prove Jim wrong, and the Catholic Church as the one true church, wasn't going to well, So I started reading the bible for the first time in life, my understanding of Gods creation in the book of Genesis was amazing, I could not put the bible down, I would read until midnight or more, before going upstairs to bed every night. Then during the day at work, we would discuss things that wasn't real clear to me, concerning parts of the bible I read, the night before.

My reading the bible, and discussing how Jesus Christ was the Redeemer, who came to this earth to die on the cross for my personal sins really struck me, because I never new that, then to hear that he was every ones personal Savior, and by confessing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you could have eternal Life, and forgiveness of your sins. I had to do a lot more reading to be convinced, that was true.

I was now reading in the new testament books of Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, when I hear a voice in my spirit or from some where say, how much longer are you going to wait, the time is now. With that I laid the bible down on the table, got down on my knees, and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to be my Savior, and to forgive me of all my sins. Now as I was kneeing there on the family room floor, crying my eyes out, I felt a weight on my shoulders and back that kept getting heaver, and heaver, crushing my head to the floor, then all of a sudden the weight lifted and I got to my feet, I could not stop crying and praising God, as I was drunk in the Holy Spirit, I had a hard time just standing, crying and laughing at the same time, with great joy for the first time in my life.

This happened in March late at night 1975, I had to go upstairs to get some sleep, but going up the stairs to my bedroom, still drunk in the Spirit holding tight to the railing was Awesome. I never experienced anything like this before, because I new how it felt to get drunk on beer, and liquor, done that many times before.

The morning after was a day in this world I never new could exist, the freedom of all that bondage, and the weight of sin, completely lifted off my shoulders, and my first day experiencing what it was like being a Born Again Christian, and walking with Jesus Christ my new best friend and Savior, now some 40 years later is still Wonderful, the song if I died today, I could honestly say I had a Wonderful life, is very true.

I have always been a shy person, very rarely ever speak out first to anyone, my wife is total opposite of me, she can talk to anyone. But she immediately noticed the change in me, because I would talk about Jesus Christ to her and anyone around me, about how he saved me, now they could have the same assurance by excepting Jesus Christ's suffering and dieing on the cross for their sins also. Most people I new would rather hear the old me instead of religion, that is what they all called it.

Now you would think that my wife would be very happy, and want what I have but that was not so. I would talk about Jesus day, and night, never getting tired of reading Gods word, as the Holy Spirit was revealing it to me, and wanting her to except Jesus Christ as her Savior. We where at the point of divorce our marriage was in shambles, until one day in April a month later, she set down to write my mother a letter about what was going on between us, no longer able to deal with her religious husband. When she finished the letter she wanted to check what she had written, and got the biggest surprise of her life.

She had no idea of how to explain my problem with religion, but the Holy Spirit must of helped, while she was writing, she had no knowledge of the bible, and what she would write in a letter to my mother. The letter explained the way of salvation for my Mom, she needed Jesus Christ as her Savior. Upon reading this letter she new this had to come from God, she had no other idea how the words got there, so she did what the letter said, got down on her knees excepted Jesus Christ as her Savior.

What happens next is I get a phone call at work from my wife, she is crying and trying to explain what just happened to her, explaining the letter, excepting Jesus Christ as her savior, well now she had me crying for joy also. I ask her what time did this happen, she told me just NOW.

To be continued:  But I had some bad news to go with the good.

God Bless


 

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Part 4, " My Story and Testimony “

Jim my coworker just got fired for no reason.

But there was a reason I'll explain it. My wife excepted Jesus Christ exactly the same time that Jim got his notice, he was terminate as of that day. After telling him that my wife just excepted Jesus as her Savior, and her rejoicing, he went on to explain that this was Gods plan all along. The reason he was working with me, and witnessing the word of God to me, was because the Holy Spirit directed him to do so. You see he said I already had a good paying job, I was praying when the Holy Spirit said open the phone book to the yellow pages so he did, the phone book opened to the sheet metal section listing companies that do restaurant equipment, the Holy Spirit said call this company so he did, just happened to be where I work, ask if they need help, he did and they hired him. 

We as a family still attended the Catholic Church on Sundays, for some time as we studied the word of God at home, now the strangest thing happened one Sunday morning as I was setting with my family, not paying much attention to the priest or the mass, my spiritual eyes suddenly opened, the Holy Spirit showed me all the evil around me, the statues, the paintings, the art work, the building, the priest clothing, then I heard in my spirit or a voice I don't know which, all of this is not of me, I couldn't wait to get my family out of the building, we left the Catholic Church and never returned.

Jim kept in touch with me, as soon as he found out we left the Catholic Church, he invited us to a Sunday Meeting, that was in a persons house. This was all new to us because every one had a bible, we sat in a packed living-room with chairs all facing a table, and piano, we all had church Hymnals. The songs we sung where the Old Gospel hymns, the teaching was from the Bible, as I had a hard time finding the different books and verses in the bible as we followed along with the teaching that Sunday.

My family and I where well excepted in this group of Christians, Jim had already told them about how we came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This group of believers was a spinoff from the Plymouth Brethren, the women wore long dress and head covering, the men just wore normal clothing and where by most parts clean shaven. My family was their first outside family to be excepted in their Sunday meeting, because of their teaching of being separate from other believers, I will explain this later.

I could see now how God had a plan for us, I found myself among men that were so knowledgeable in the word of God, that it is hard for me to explain it even today, these men of God have studied the Bible together for many years, old and new testaments, I was interest in what they could teach me, so I would set and listen as they explained, how the old and new testaments came together, for the church believers today.  

Now here is why they keep all of this knowledge to themselves. Read Hebrews 13: 10-14, but verse 13 sums it up. Let us go forth, therefore unto him OUTSIDE the camp, bearing his reproach. We would pass out salvation tracks to people in parades, and large gatherings, also they had scriptures like Acts 16: 31. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be Saved, beautifully written on the side of their vehicles.

Right after my wife and I accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we made a trip back to Missouri to visit and tell our family members and friends about Jesus and the Bible. Not knowing how well this was going to be, turned out really good, because they seen a big change in me and my wife, they all had a lot of questions. Like I said before I always have been shy, speaking around other people, but now they could not shut me up, we would have Bible talk going on to midnight some time.

Not long after we arrived back home in Reno we started hearing the good news about our family members, one by one receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In about a months time fifteen or more family members reported the good news, how Jesus Christ changed their lives also. With all these new Christian believers where could they fellowship in Gods word, I mentioned this to the Brethren, they agreed to send a Brother and his family back to Missouri, to help them get grounded in the word of God. They started having Bible study, prayer meetings in each others home, until they found a bible teaching church in their area. This was much like what happened the Book of Acts, meetings took place in each others homes.

My family and I stayed with the Brethren about 3 years, then the Lord took us in and out of many Churches over the next sixteen years. While I was with the Brethren we traveled to others cites, like San. Fransisco Ca. and Boise Idaho, where the Church meetings took place in larger buildings, by this time I learned you better be ready because you could be the guest speaker at anyone of these meetings, that's just the way they did it.

I'll just say this for a example, my family and I stopped in on a Church meeting in Boise Idaho, we were on vacation headed to Vancouver Canada, I though we would get to hear this older Brethren do the teaching that evening, we arrived there just a little before their Church meeting began, and he ask me to be the guest speaker. I had no idea what to say, these brothers and sisters where older then me in Gods word, what could I say that they would want to hear. So while the Hymns where sung, I was praying about what the Lord would have me say. I walked over to the podium we opened in prayer, the Holy Spirit took me to some bible verses as I spoke about forty-five minutes, to this day I have no idea what I said. After the meeting was over, and very one left to go outside, this middle age couple came over to me, while you was speaking they said the Holy Spirit convicted them, that what they where about to do was wrong, they were about to get a divorce, but choose to come to the meeting together for one last time, to hear what the Lord had to say about it. They left the meeting with a commitment to work things out between themselves, and put the love of God back in their lives. We serve a Awesome and Holy God that knows our every need. Amen

To be continued:  God is about show me His power thru Prayer and Faith.

God Bless
 

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Part 5, " My Story and Testimony”

In the early eighties much of our time was spent me working a forty hour week, my wife at home raising our three sons. Things weren't easy, we were making ends meet from one paycheck to the next, the Lord was providing, no complaints. Also at this time we were attending a Assembly of God Church that was close by in our neighborhood, they had just bought some property and were in the process of building a new church. Many of the church members would help out doing what they could to getting the building finished. All of us drove a lot of nails in that building, working in the evenings and on the weekends.

Life was good but some time we find ourselves in the valley and we lack faith and trust in God as daily living consumes our time with the Lord. 

God moved in a mighty way to get my attention a get me back on track by saving my friends house and all his belonging. This was one of the most awesome moments in my new Christian life to see the mighty hand of God move in unbelievable power.

Sunday morning August 9th 1981, my family and I attended " The Evangelic Free Church " on the outskirts of Reno, not far from us. That morning my friend Joe was teaching the adult Sunday school class, I remember that most of us where concerned about the heat, because it was a hot summer day. After church was over and all of us where headed home, you could see these dark rolling thunder clouds forming over the mountains to the west, our greatest fear is not rain but lighting, because of all the dry grass and sage brush on the mountain side leading up to the tall pine trees on top. After getting home it was not long before we hear distant thunder, on the mountains, then it was right on top of us. Usually on hot days we get no rain but a lot of lighting strikes, this is just what we don't want, then it happened a lighting strike about a mile northwest of our house, started a small brush fire we could see it from our house, as the winds begin to pick up, the fire spread quickly with wind pushing it northeast.

The fire was headed towards Reno and grew in size to the likes of anything I ever saw in my life. Picture this I'm on one side of a mountain separated by a valley looking west towards a mountain on the other side where Joe lived. I could see his house on the other side real well with my binoculars, the fire was headed away from his house so there was very little chance of his house being in danger with wind blowing strong from the southwest. Also the chance of any rain to help put this fire out had completely dissipated at this point. As the family and I were seated in lawn chairs, in the backyard, watching this fire getting bigger by the moment. All the while we watched and prayed for those who might be in harms way of this fire, and for the winds to die down. By this time the main line of fire was along way from us headed northeast, while just a small line of fire, still burning on our end of view.

Then suddenly there was a 180 degree shift in the wind, switching from southwest, to northeast this was not good, because this put all the houses across the valley from me in big trouble as the fire now was headed towards Joe's house. Now as we continued to watch this fire the winds got stronger and stronger as all HELL broke loose, the fire seem to generate it's own winds whipping funnels of flames fifty feet high and consuming every thing in it's path, brush, trees, houses, buildings, and bridges, it would jump across roads as the wind continued to push it southwest. This truly was a firestorm.

My wife and I along with my three sons formed a prayer circle, asking the Lord to save Joe's house, animals, and all his belongings, I felt helpless not being able to do anything but pray for Joe. I got a call later that night from him saying he got to safety, with some of his neighbors, and headed up the highway to higher ground. Joe wanted to know if his house had burned down or if I could see any thing at all of his property. I said Joe your house is still standing but I can't see any damage from here.

Here is where I’m going let Joe tell his story about The Firestorm. It was written by him and published in a Christian Magazine in 1981.


Don't Miss The Following Article By Joe as he tells " His Story " of what happened.


God Bless 
 

My Story and Testimony to be continued:

Edited by Arrowcreek
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Part 6, " Joe's Story "

Please bare with me on this being just Joe's story, I felt that I needed to explain some of the things that happened long ago on that Sunday afternoon. With me and my family having front row seats, looking at a all consuming fire, and how, The Hand of God, took control of it, to save a friends house and all his belongings, was a, amazing experience for me. This event and how God moved in a mighty way, strengthen my faith back then, and this holds true even today as we will need, faith, to deal with our own Tribulations as it comes daily, upon our world today. Jesus said how much faith will I find on the earth at His second coming?

I have not seen Joe and his family, for many years since they moved to California, that was a few years after the firestorm. I want to stay away from using any last names, without their permission, as not to offend any family members, who didn't want their names mentioned in this story.

Because of copyrights to this story it’s presented this way. Enjoy.

God Bless

The Firestorm:

The Sunday morning of August 9th 1981 with it's clear blue sky was going to be a beautiful warm sunny day in Reno Nevada. Joe and his family got up early to get things started, his wife Janice and the children were going to pack-up and head south to Las Vegas NV. for a week to visit her sister. After getting the family on their way, that left him with the dog BJ and two cats at home. Now this also left him little time to get ready, for church, he had a adult Sunday school class, he was teaching, and to prepared for.

After church on his way home Joe was thinking about all of Gods blessings, his family, his home, and all the things they worked hard for, and now having the time to enjoy some of it was great. With the family gone for a week he could a get few things done around the house, that his wife had ask him to do, like clear all the dry grass, and brush, close to the house that was a fire hazard. Also he was thinking he could get some reading, and relaxation time, after completing the needed work around the house, besides the quit time would be wonderful, while he had the opportunity to enjoy it.

The clear blue sky was now turning dark, with rolling thunder clouds, and the threat of lighting striking, the dry vegetation, in the valley corridor that surround houses, trees, and roads. About two PM lighting struck about two miles northeast of Joe's house starting a small fire. Joe and his neighbor Tony watched the fire spread to the northeast away from them. They both felt sure it would be contained before it could possibly reach them. just as a precaution, Joe loaded a few belongings into the car. He then got out a hose and began wetting down his roof and the brand-new deck he had just added to the house. Other people in the area were watching the fire also. several times the phone rang with people calling to say that they were praying, he would be alright. There was comfort and reassurance in that. But abruptly, around 4:45, the wind changed direction 180 degrees. The southwest wind suddenly became a northeast wind, the flames were now heading straight for them.

Then Tony, who had left a few minutes earlier, came racing back. They both stood there, half paralyzed by what they saw. What had been a small brush fire was now a gigantic firestorm roaring toward them, consuming everything before it in a wall of flame fifteen to thirty feet high and half a mile wide. The fire came at them at an incredible speed, consuming some of the oxygen from the air around them, and creating tornadoes of fire that shot fifty feet into the smoke-blackened sky. The popping and crackling sounds the fire made was terrifying. It was as if some gigantic monster of destruction had materialized from nowhere. It roared up the hillside, leaping across a canyon sixty feet deep and a hundred feet wide as if the canyon weren't there. Its speed was incredible. With in seconds it would be upon them, Joe snatched open the door of the house and screamed for B.J., but there was no sign of the dog and no time to look for her. Tony and Joe dropped the hoses and ran for there lives. As they ran, Joe said, he said, the fastest wide-awake running prayer he ever said in all his forty two years of living. Joe said Lord, I put my house and everything into Your hands. And then, remembering what St. Paul said about the importance of giving thanks for everything, good or bad, Joe said he managed to pray although he didn't feel like it at all, Lord, no matter what happens he said thank You for it all and I praise You.

Joe said he jumped into their little Omni. Tony flung himself into Joe's other car. They tore down the road to Tony's house, picked up his wife, warned a family in a third house, and raced for the highway. Behind us, the fiery monster swept on, roaring, hissing, crackling, engulfing everything. At the highway, Joe said he stepped out of his car and stared back at a wall of flame and smoke. How do you react when everything you've spent twelve years dreaming and working for is destroyed in seconds of searing flames? Do you swear? Do you scream? Do you cry? Others were all doing those things, Joe didn't, because the thought that was uppermost in his mind at that moment was: I'm a Christian, so act like one. Remember: All things work together for good to those who love God. Praise God. So he did praise Him, out loud, although he knew some people thought he was crazy, or in shock, or both.

Joe and Tony, stayed at the highway a few minutes, watching other houses become engulfed, too dazed to do or say anything. The flames were now getting close to where they where standing along the highway, and police told them they had to move farther up the mountain. Joe said later he heard that 125 utility poles burned along the highway that day. Also at this point something very strange happened, although it didn't seem strange at the time. Joe said he walked toward his car, a young man with dark hair, dressed in a T-shirt and blue jeans, called to him. Hey, you in the white shirt. He didn't know this young man, and actually Joe was wearing a light-yellow shirt, but pointed to himself questioningly. The young man looked directly at him and said. He got upon his roof and watered it down for him. Tony also heard the young man say it. Joe was sure he had mistaken him for someone else, since no one could possibly have gone near his house after he had left. So he thanked him anyway, and though no more about it.

Joe said he arrives later at a friends house in Lake Tahoe, he was able to reach his wife Janice at her sister's. Having to tell her that their dream house had burned to the ground was harder than watching the fire. All she said to him was, Thank God you're all right. The threat of fire along the roads made it impossible to get back to Reno that night. He called the fire department repeatedly, but couldn't get any information. At one point he called me and my wife Betty, Joe knew I could see his house from across the valley. I said Joe, we watched the whole thing through our binoculars. When we saw the flames change direction and head for your house, my wife and I along with my three sons formed a prayer circle, asking the Lord to save your house animals and all your belongings. And, Joe, I said it's still standing.

Joe, thanked me, but he said he didn't believe me. Maybe he thought, I could still see the shell of his house, but he knew nothing could have survived the fire storm. His house was surrounded by dry brush and wood that his wife had asked him repeatedly to clear away. When Joe got back to his house soon after dawn the next morning, he couldn't believe his eyes. This is what he found: The fire had burned to within ten feet of the house, and all around it, but no farther. House and contents were untouched. The power line coming into his house had melted, thirty feet in the air, and had fallen to the ground just a little ways from the house. The telephone lines above the power lines had fused, his chicken coop, just forty feet from the house, was scorched and smoldering, but all ten chickens were alive. The dog and two cats were unharmed. The cats were outside, one in the garage and one on the back steps. The dog was inside, very glade to see him he said.

His bridge, which is two hundred yards from the house and not even on his property, was untouched, while the neighbor's bridge just fifteen feet away, was completely destroyed. Only dry brush was between them. Of the seven houses in the area, three were completely destroyed. All the others were damaged, two seriously. How do you account for all this? How do you explain the fact that absolutely nothing he owned was touched by the fire, whether it was on his property or not? All you can do is say it like this maybe, Joe said being a Christian almost all of his life, but he knew that his faith wasn't as strong as it could be. And this may be true of a lot of church going people, knowing we're Christians and we think that's good enough. but believing there are times when God wants to test our faith and reinforce it. also believing, you can't pretend to understand it fully, that sometimes when we are able to thank God in the face of seeming disaster, and place ourselves unreservedly in His hands, and get out of His way, He can and will do astounding things for us.

The intensity of that fire on that morning of August 9, 1981 cannot be exaggerated. At the time Joe was working for the Nevada Bell System, and so he said I know something about cables. It would have taken at least 1800 degrees of heat to melt those power lines that were thirty feet above the ground. Maybe 2000 degrees. And yet his house, thirty feet away, wasn't even marked. To him, that was God speaking clearly to him, and He was saying, I'm here, I'm real, I care. Joe said that did reinforce his faith, because He knew it needed reinforcing. He said that he would never be quite so smug or casual about it again.

Then there's the enigma of the young man, whom Joe never seen again. How did he know who Joe was? How did he know it was Joe's house? When Joe finally got back to his house, the hose he had dropped on the deck was now on the roof. At least three witnesses have told him that they saw somebody on the roof. But Tony and Joe left by the only route that was not in flames. How could anyone get there without their seeing them? And if someone did get there, how did he get up on the roof? There is no ladder. You can't just climb up because of the overhang. And since the power line must have been the first thing to be destroyed, how could water flow through a hose from a well pumped by electricity?

You can't answer these questions. But maybe, just maybe, there's an answer in the Bible. Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. For the word " entertained" substitute the phrase " been rescued by " Then you may have a clue as to what really happened that August day on Mount Rose Highway. Joe said it's more than a clue. He thinks it's the truth.

To be continued: My Story and Testimony 

Edited by Arrowcreek
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Part 7 “My Story and Testimony “

After the firestorm and the completion of our new South-hills Christian Assembly of God Church, our lives begin to go in another direction. My three boys where getting older and they could do things now with-out their mother holding their hand. So this meant my wife had more freedom to do other things, so she decided to get a part-time job earning some extra money, to help out in our living expenses. By this time I had about eight years of experience fabricating food service equipment, and ventilator hoods for some big restaurants all across America.

Then one day I heard the company had been sold, to a group local businessmen, for three million dollars, that seam strange, because without any knowledge of manufacturing food-service equipment, how was this going work, and be profitable for this new group of owners? After Ned and Vivien left and turned the company over to the owners, it wasn't long after that, they approach me and ask me to engineer, and help in manufacturing of all the food service ventilators, so I excepted their offer.

This seam like a good thing at the time, but over the long haul it wasn't any thing like I had pictured it in my mind. Let me go back and explain some things, after getting out of the military in the sixties, I started night school three nights a week, studying communication electronics on the G.I. bill that covered all my cost for four years of studies. After I graduated in 1970 I had a opportunity to work at some companies that where hiring but didn't pay much to start. I was making good money at the factory, during that time, but couldn't afford to give up my job, and loose my new house and cars because of the money situation, you see I was a little greedy I'd say. I liked having money and spending it.

Now with my new position engineering and manufacturing food-service equipment, was going to allow me the chance to use my electronic abilities in research and development of new types of food service equipment, like utility distribution systems, that controlled the electric, hot and cold water, and steam, all the needs for a cooking line-up. From there it developed into ductless ventilator hoods for restaurants in tall buildings, that only allow filtered clear air to return back into the restaurant without duct work, just to keep from polluting the outside environment.

Everything sounds hunky doorie but not so, this meant I had a lot of traveling around to do, going to different states keeping this equipment operating when there was a problem. After a few years of this and putting up with the management group there I decided to start looking for work some where-else. I had been in contact with Wayne in St. Louis Mo. who also worked for a food service equipment company, I explained the difficulties I was having here with management, and not liking my job any more, so he ask me if I would be interested working for their company, sure I said any thing would be better than this place. I also liked the fact that he was a Christian, we would talk scripture over the phone when we had the opportunity to do so. 

I talked to John the company owner and he offered me a job engineering layout plans, for all the underground work, stubbing-up the utilities that connected to the food service equipment they built and installed. With that I gave my company a two week notice I was quitting. I was so bent on getting out of Reno that I didn't even look for a opportunity to work here. The company gave me a going away party that I really didn't enjoy that's how bad I hated this place. We listed our home for sale by owner, and it sold within a month, or two, after closing on the sale of our house we finished packing some of things, we hadn't pack yet, into the remaining boxes.

My wife and I rented a U-Haul truck the biggest they had to put all of our furniture, and belongings in, and my three sons where a big help in getting the truck loaded. We had a few items left where there was no more room in the truck, so we donated them to the church. With the truck all packed and ready to hit the road to Chesterfield Missouri, a suburb in south St. Louis county. We had a rented house waiting for us there, that my wife's sister had found. So I'm ready an anxious to leave, when I get a phone call from Steve the owner of another food service equipment company in Reno, asking me to drop by his office he wanted to talk to me. I said sure I'll see you in the morning.

The next day early in the morning I meet with Steve in his office, he ask me to come and work for him, he was building a new 20,000 square foot building and needed someone to work in his engineering department, that would be ready in a couple months. He had heard that I quit the other company, but he didn't know I was packed-up and ready to move to St. Louis. Well I said the offer sound great but I can't, soon as I leave here I'm hitting highway 80 and heading east back home to Missouri.

To be continued:

Was this new Job offer that Steve spoke of from the Lord? Was I meant to stay put here in Reno, where the Lord saved my entire family, surely he could of done that back in Missouri? Was I going against the Lords will, by moving back home? I know this much I was so bent on getting out of here, and moving back to extended family and friends, that I wasn't listening or praying about it. It was going to be my-way or no-way. What did the Lord have to say about it? A lesson I'll never forget. 
 

God Bless

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