What to say…
I can’t believe it, the little kid is half a century old now. It just hit me a couple of months ago, how the length of my life compares with things – you know, the “longevity” charts of the Bible characters? Well, i’ve never, ever thot for even a second how my lifespan would look on such a chart. It was just, well, a chart of history. But when i realized recently that my little life would translate into a line almost half as long as Joseph’s, it really hit me.
What have i made of this life God has given me? What’s the point of it? I’ve used some of it to hurt my creator. I’ve used some of it to help people. Why have i wasted most of it? Will Jesus come back before i return to dust? Am i going to be able to live thru the Time of Trouble, and be one of the 144,000 who will never die? Will the gates of eternal life be opened for me, or do i have sins that need to be burned up in the lake of fire?
I’ve collected 5 pics, each representative of a 10-year period of my life.
sucker born every minute
Life was fun, as i remember it. Yes, there were awful times of parents screaming at each other, and i remember a Seventh-day Adventist pastor from the Madison, Tennessee church come our house when i was 3, and yell at my mother for studying the “Awakening”, after which my father tried to kill her and i, but life had many fun things – playing plastic ball, riding bicycles, then heading into the countryside at age 7 – oh, what a great time in nature! It was “normal” to me, but now i realize, it was a very special thing my parents did to help me develop a good character out of the city. My mother loved to study the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, and i will always, always thank her for instilling a love of the truth in me.
After around 2nd grade, i was always the runt, so had to make up for my shortness by being a clown. I loved to read, and made excellent grades in class, but i was also a cutup, having to write “I will be good in school” 500 times. Even there i “improvised”, by making the “L”s just 2 lines down the page. Growing up in the countryside, i had few friends come to play, so i became good friends with the chickens, ducks, dogs, cats, rabbits, cows etc. Yes, i had good friends, and see now how this period really set the stage for the rest of my life. Generally i prefer to be alone and study, make good friends (but no girl friends) have a problem following orders from other people when i don’t agree with them, like to keep on the move, enjoy pinching pennies, like writing better than talking, slow to catch on to new things, hopelessly lost when it comes to understanding emotions, clueless on how the world really works from man’s point of view with “tit-for-tat” and “backscratching” etc., and enjoy tackling difficult things. I remember, even now, that the ages of 10-12 or so were the best of my life – free without big responsibilities, and yet starting to get a brain that could think things thru. Lots of days were spent playing in the creeks, building houses, feeding chickens, playing baseball and football and card games etc.
official winters clan 1984
The 20s was the decade of the biggest changes in my life. I graduated from the university with good grades, and got a job in Atlanta as a computer programmer. True to form, after 3 months i decided paying rent was a waste, and so, with the help of my brother and sister, i bot a house. Sure, my car was a heap as all the other college graduates who went out and bot new cars, but after 5 years, their new cars were heaps, and i had a worse heap, and a house that had appreciated in value. I was crazy to make money, spending lots of time poring over stock markets and futures, working nites and Sundays delivering pizza, and even buying a lawnmower to cut yards for extra income. Fortunately, the Lord led me to consider what to really do with my life, and i chucked it all to go to Japan to work in Country Life Restaurant Osaka, with a reduction in income of 90%. It was scary, without much income, and not knowing much of the language, even tho i had studied for over a year before going. It really drove me to the Bible.
Bible study with homeless friends in osaka
I started picking up English students, studied Japanese hard, made lots of friends who were nearly all of the women variety, and learned a bit about emotions, especially when my mother and father died. I moved back to America a couple of months before my dad died, and then stayed around a year, and when i worked at a translation company, was, for the 1st time that i can remember, praised effusively for my work. Even tho i had been a “missionary”, it was hard to distinguish me from the world with my choice of music, and watching movies. During this time tho, slowly, the Lord was leading me to better things, and both the bad music and movie love was cut during this time. Spending 4 months in India really opened my eyes to how Christ and Satan are battling it out in this world, showing me many important things about how this world really works from God’s point of view, instead of man’s. Loving Japan, i moved back and had one of the biggest experiences of my life – working for the SDA church, and getting “parted” when i brought homeless people to church.
spreading God’s words
My time in Japan was very nice, and i continued to teach English, getting up to around 60 students. My life became increasingly oriented around the 1858 edition of The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels, and Satan and His Angels, by Ellen White. This book woke me up more than any other to the realities of what is really happening from God’s point of view. Spending 2 years in on-n-off translation, i finally completed the Japanese version, and printed 5,000 copies. This would become the start of my life-work, spreading this book in the various languages. After leaving Japan, i travelled for 5 years, with nearly 1/2 that time spent in Thailand and India. It was hard travelling — In 2009, i spent the nite in 41 different beds, 10 nites on a bus, 4 nites on an airplane, 1 nite on a train, and even paid for 1 nite in a dormitory in Istanbul. When people hear i’ve been to around 35 countries, they usually say: “You’re rich, so you can do that”. But when i tell them the facts that i only spent a little over 6,000usd all year, and around 1,500 of that was to print the Romanian 1858gc book, they nearly always stay quiet… Looking back, i think how risky it was to just jump off, and also how audacious it was to think that others would be interested in helping spread this book too. But God’s ways are very mysterious, and he did provide people to help push this book forward. By God’s amazing providence, the book is in 27 languages now, with 3 more in the pipeline. While in Thailand, i had the fortunate opportunity to be a daytime “father/teacher” to a little girl. It was a precious experience, which taught me much about the love, patience, and forgiving heart of God, and also how much he loves it when we are humble, honest, simple, and quick to obey. Probably never getting married or having kids of my own, i believe God moved on my friends’ hearts to allow me that opportunity to get to understand God better 🙂
What does the future hold? I don’t know. Lord willing, i want to earn some money for a few years to help out others in the world who are spreading the inspired words of God in the 1858gc book, and then start or help with a Bible school probably in SE Asia, but trust God that he will do the best for me that i need, especially trials and tribulations to make me focus on him.
I love you Jesus. You’re everything i need, and the only thing i have. Jesus, please forgive me for all the pain and suffering i’ve caused you. I’ve strayed so many times. Yes, the outward appearances may look righteous, but you know my heart. All the evil that has found its way in, please purge it, and make me clean, whiter than snow. May my words and actions and thots all be focused on you, so your Holy Spirit can abide in me, and i in you, and we can be one.
come back, Come Back, COME BACK!