I was raised in a secure, peaceful home mainly in San Diego, CA. My father was not a believer but my Mom was and she made sure my brother and I went to church (Lutheran) no matter where we lived. I used to read my Bible and go to the Youth Groups at church and was socially active until I was 15. Then I rebelled and quit going. I did not have any experience that God was personal or that He knew me or cared about me. I didn't believe in anything in particular. I was just drifting along. I had no goals or sense of any purpose. In my 20's I got into drugs and became a heroin addict and heroin drug dealer and didn't want anything to do with Jesus. My Doctor told my mother that I would be dead within a year the way I was going. At my worst addiction time my parents ended up taking care of my children because I was no longer able to. I was also facing a two-year prison sentence for crimes I had committed so I moved to Oregon to try to change my identity to "hide the guilty". Just prior to moving to Oregon I kicked my drug habit in a hospital in San Diego, California. After my move to Oregon things started happening.
I arrived in Oregon in June 1976 and got saved four months later in October. When I got to Oregon I started noticing creation. I had come up from a big city and was plopped down in a rural part of Oregon. I was staying with a friend who lived on a river out in the middle of the country and it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. My senses were starting to come back to me in a big way. My mind was racing and everywhere I went I was noticing how beautiful nature was (at the time I didn't think of it as creation). I was desperate to change my life. I did not want to be a drug addict anymore but I didn't know anything else. I couldn't see the purpose of living. I had no goals and didn't see any reason to have goals anyway. I thought if I could figure out how the universe got here in the first place that that would be a clue to my life. I started to ask myself "how did it all happen"? The day I got saved I was driving alone in my car and asking myself that very question. I was thinking "how did it happen that the seed falls to the ground, the rain waters it and a huge tree grows from there and another seed falls, etc. How can it work out so perfectly without the help of any person?" Right at that moment I heard (in my spirit) a voice say, very clearly, "I did it" and I knew it was God and I remember thinking "of course, how else could it all work together so perfectly"? At the same time I got a vision of giant puzzle pieces coming from the ends of the universe and fitting together perfectly all at once. I felt His omnipresence and omniscience and power. I felt as if I was right in the middle of God. I also felt a warmth come over and into me and I had a very definite knowledge that I was supposed to go home and read the Bible.
I believe that the seeds that had been planted into my heart when I was growing up and my Mom insisted I go to church had finally come to fruition in God's timing while I was driving my car that day. When I got saved in my car I knew it was all about Jesus. I went to the house where I had been living and picked up a little New Testament that had been laying around and began reading in Matthew. All the words were popping up at me from off the page as I was reading and I knew that Jesus was speaking to me personally through His Word. When I got to Matthew 5:4 I burst out crying because of the incredible healing the Lord was doing in me at that moment.
That was 21 ¸ years ago. My life now has purpose and I know why I was created and Who I am to live for and why. He is always with me to guide me and love me and hold me up and pick me up when I stumble, which is often. I praise His Holy name. Jesus is Lord. Barrel Vision I was Born Again in October, 1976. I was a heroin addict and a heroin drug dealer for several years before being saved. The Lord saved me in a moment while I was driving my car in Ashland, Oregon and the experience was so intense that I cannot remember driving for those few moments, which seemed like a long time, but must have been only seconds. I am astounded that God loves a person like me and took the time to portion out such a revelation of Himself to me personally.
Until that moment I did not know that God was a personal God that you could know and relate to One on one. I am amazed at His mercy towards me. A few months after I was saved I was thinking of how the Lord had saved me and He gave me the following vision: There was a huge barrel in the sky, just hanging in the universe. It was one of those oval wooden slate barrels that was held together by metal bands going around the circumference. The barrel was the world. It was filled with miserable people and very dark and full of grimy, slimy stuff. I was at the very bottom of the barrel stuck hard in the slime with no idea how to get out or even aware that there was any way out. Then the arm of God appeared above the barrel; a perfect, huge, strong, pure, brilliantly white arm. The arm reached down into the barrel and went right to the bottom where I was stuck and He scraped me off the bottom and brought me up out of the barrel in His hand. As He lifted His arm out of the barrel it was as pure and white and glorious as it was before He reached in to get me and I was as pure and white and glorious as He was, once I was lifted out!