Born in 1940 on the dry and dusty high plains of Eastern Colorado, I became the youngest of four boy siblings, a family, in many respects struggling to survive the dust bowl of the 30s. The report was that they would not have survived without a bag of beans mysteriously appearing once a month at their door.
Gene, my brother, just knew for sure I was going to be lazy. As he says, they had to tap the bottom of my feet to get me to wake up and eat. Later, he told how I bounded into creation with the spirit of an adventurer that never ceased to challenge the family as to what I would be up to next.
Dad and Mom purchased 440 acres, a few miles from the booming town of Bennett. (pop. 200) There, they started a dairy and grain farm. It was a family project, as all participated because the only milking machines were Mom and the boys. Twice a day, seven days a week! Ugh! While milking cows, I looked forward to hearing the current adventures of Tom Mix, The Green Hornet, Inner-Sanctum, Lone Ranger, Strait Arrow, and others on the ever-present in the barn radio. In the evening, it was Judy Canova, Dennis Day, Fibber McGee and Molly. Cisco Kid, Gene Autry, Roy Rodgers….. (I’ll stop here with the early days, as there might be another book in the making.)
My parents were devout Christians, so we boys were exposed to the Christian Faith at an early age. I am truly grateful for parents who endured to teach me life lessons of faith in Christ through the trials of life. Because of their steadfastness, I became a follower of Christ at 8-years old. The benefits of such a commitment are innumerable. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
After a kismet moment with Charlene in the hall of our high school, I shared the story of Jesus with her. We dated for 3-years and grew to love each other by writing letters. After many love letters and spiritual conversations, we married, and to this 47-year union became parents to four sons.
While our boys were growing up, we enjoyed mentoring 18 teenage boys in our home, with stays from several months to a few years. We were able to help numerous boys with their college education and hired thirty-five to forty-five boys each summer. When you saw us on most occasions, it would have appeared that we had five, six or seven sons. We loved mentoring the boys, well, most of the time.
At the age of 23, Char and I purchased my Dad’s farm of 440 acres. Over time we expanded it to 55,000 acres of wheat-land (ninety square miles) located in five Colorado counties. In the late 70s, my brother, Chuck, and family joined us in that effort.
Selling our farm interest in 1985, we moved to California in 1987 and became part owners in a shopping center and several housing projects. Charlene became the director of Women’s Ministry at First Baptist and served for seventeen years until she entered eternal rest in 2007.
I retired in November 2012. After selling my house and giving away most of my possessions, in February 2013, I traveled to Indonesia and served with a Christian missions organization until my health failed. Unable to get a doctor’s release to return to Indonesia, in 2014, somewhat recovered, but now aging, I traveled to the Philippines, a place that Char and I first started giving to Christian Missions in 1965. There I started another project that continues to this day.