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Butcher Shares Life

James Hartley


Join James as he tells his riveting life story. Listen as he tells how God brought a young man, son of a butcher shop owner, through the hippie experience and many travels to the knowledge of the truth. Find out what a vegetarian restaurant, an organic farm in Italy and a Spanish missionary in Tennessee have in common!


James Hartley

Director/President of Lay Institute for Global Health Training (LIGHT), Vice-President of Wildwood Lifestyle Center


  • July 29, 2016
    7:00 PM
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Good evening everyone. I just want to walk in especially those that are new with the wildwood hope you feel as a family here. It wasn't it amazing to see that they're coming from the four corners of the earth here China and Belgium and all over. It's just one thing I really like about Wildwood it's a foretaste of heaven Saints gathered from all around the world. That's what happens going to be like and this is a place it's very meaningful to me I have I first came here in January of two thousand and nine. Everyone's got different paths of how the Lord brought you here. A different story. And I want to share a little bit about my story this evening. You know when I was a kid I was very inquisitive I was raised a Roman Catholic and I remember quizzing my professors and there was different. Priests that we called them fathers that would come in and try to teach us even though we often were not very interested and I remember one time asking him father. Why is it that we go to church on Sunday when the Jews go on Saturday and Jesus was a Jew and he was stunned by that question I was in fourth grade. I remember asking and he didn't really know what to say is I well Jesus rolled on Sunday. So we go to church on Sunday I was like OK All right so and I would I was quick to have enough that I found enough holes in the in the in the Roman faith that I was losing confidence as the years went on and by the time I was sixteen I had lost all confidence and that church I was raised in and I didn't want to go anymore. And so. Thankfully I was quickly able to get my driver's license and I said you know what mom and dad. I like to drive myself to church and I'd like to go Sunday afternoon at three o'clock and this. Well because I was usually out late on Saturday night and didn't want to wake up in the morning and so they said OK. I never went to church again I would go in three o'clock. I grab the don't get any ideas here young people I get the bulletin. And I come on and say I was there. OK. I mean there wasn't really much of a sermon in the Catholic service it was pretty easy to say what was going on. I'm always read a couple hit songs and. Nothing got the Eucharist and went home. You know sermons of ten ten minutes long. They never asked me what the sermons were anyway. You know when I when I finished high school I was through with Christianity. I saw inconsistency is all through the faith. And I saw a people that were living much. And contrary to what is what I would think would be in the Bible seems very contradictory and when I look on television. I never met a Protestant before so understand. I grew up and I graduated high school without ever meeting a Protestant and I didn't know what they were I didn't know the underside I didn't understand the history of the Reformation. I thought like most Catholics I guess just a bunch of rebellious people that left the mother church or something like that. That are kind of weird you see him on television all falling down and you know doing all sorts of things speaking in tongues and I thought the prostin world seemed pretty crazy to me saw I don't want to be part of that and I'm pretty through with this Catholic business here so I'm done. All right so I was a leaving high school leaving my parents going off to college with an open mind to do experiments and try anything that was out there and so I was reading books and doing different things and I got into drugs and I was get into. Psychedelics and hang out with hippie crowds and going to concerts and all sorts of things got really into music started playing music and my life was pretty average college kid I guess in the US pretty worldly life. I was got very deeply into his. Like I guess we would call it so. Virtual is when I wasn't really. Aware of that type of term or New Age or it wasn't aware of that really but those are probably concepts I was into more eastern religions it intrigued me as something new. I thought well maybe there's something there and through the psychedelics and the hippie crowds and these different experiences that I was having at concerts and so forth which was at times out of body experiences and very different things that were undeniably spiritually powerful and things that you know I had never experienced before I start to wonder maybe there's truth in this and there's a direction here so I started getting more and more in-depth with it. Reading books on eastern religions but to be honest the more I read the more confused I get and I read I read I don't know if you've ever looked at the bag of God Kita But this is the book of the Hari Krishna as and it's quite confusing at tried reading it and I thought you know I don't I don't really get to be honest with you and the more I search the more you know it just seemed very ambiguous and nothing very concrete and so inside my heart I knew that there was really I really didn't know anything and I wasn't getting any answers in any eastern religions but through this experience of mine. Of just at least being open minded it opened some doors for me to reconsider Christianity quite a turn of events that occurred. A friend of mine. He was a guitarist he played in a lot of bands and in Madison the University of Wisconsin was accomplished. He was older than I was I was good friends with his younger brother we got together we got this Geo Desa dome out in the country with no running water and we started living out in the country. The first time I approached went on this property and met and met this guy he had clay smeared all over his stomach and he hadn't eaten in three days and he was they all like on the spiritual higher and and and so we were we were doing all sorts of you know spiritualistic things you know trying to forecast the future. You're not I was I was writing astrology charts and I was all over the place and we were playing music and having parties out there and everything and and I was my I had I was unarmed. I would consider myself a non-conformist to the regular way of life. I dropped out of college because I didn't really see a career path that I was very interested in and I just wanted to play music and live in the country and do drugs to be honest that was probably the direction of my life and I still have friends that are doing the exact same thing. The ones that are still around and sell. Del seven was really the leader of our group and we were going to we were starting a band and so forth but he was getting some mental and balances and it was growing apparent another friend of ours was in drug rehab and I said was aware I was watching all of this and I started thinking you know. Drugs really aren't answer to life and to depend on that seems quite like a crutch. So doesn't last too. You know suddenly he vanished. Wondered where he went to the west coast one time and then the whole thing to start coming apart and one time he says you know what I'm through with all of this. I'm going to Europe and he started hitchhiking around Europe following this band around and doing different things. So we got out we left the deficit dome we will move back to the city. I was back playing video games playing basketball. We're going to job and months had passed didn't see the guy suddenly he come he comes knocking on opening up my friend's apartment door and never forget the day because he had long hair down his back kind of like white man's dreadlocks and it washes hair and probably three four years and he had cut off that hair and was holding a King James Bible in his hand and Del some was regarded by me as an extremist. It was one thing I liked about him he was really into everything and he was always the extreme on everything. So I hadn't known these days but I know when he first went to college. She was like a Republican that would wear out like a suit and carry a briefcase to class then he became a hippie and did that the other extreme and just totally change and now he's got his hair cut off and I thought OK dull son has finally lost his mind. Now he's gone over the deep end. He's carrying a Bible. What little it has gone. You know he's he's he's off the deep end. I thought What on earth has he come up with here. So he I was talking like this probably what you know what happened. You know and he's so he looks at us and we were you know we were just in there playing video games and so forth and. He says well I was in Europe and I went to a vegetarian restaurant. And I met this man named Jose Berba and heat and I got to talking and I stayed with his him a couple of days and he told me about this farm in Italy and I went to this from and I really liked it there and I stayed there for three months and I didn't go to any these concerts and I thought I was like locked on earth. Are you serious as the worst news I've ever heard. I was like Belsen we're living Wisconsin is farms all over the place why do you go to Europe to go to a farm house like you didn't go to the concerts and then I was just dying to know how those concerts where I was as it was like our idol and he's on this farm in the dirt and I was like I don't understand it and he's like well let me and let me explain it. These folks are living off the land. You know these are they. They grow their own food. They're up and above the pollution line. They have their own well water source and they're very spiritual people and I can see they've got a relationship with God that I've never seen before. And they are living a life that I am that we that we all talk about they're doing it. They're they're eating they're eating from food from the ground right there almost ninety five percent of them growing their own food really and who are they is like well you know what it's interesting. They're Christians and I thought Christians. What kind of Christians would live like that. He said well there they call themselves and he and he says the name of the seven day in a certain Italian and I looked at him like. He's like well as like what is that that's an Italian church and he said not well they have some of those here in the United States too. They call themselves Seventh Day Adventist. Seven Day What is that they Christians. He said Yeah they're Christians doesn't sound very Christian name of a church what does that Seventh Day Adventist doesn't even say Christian or Christ in it or anything else like what is that when they go to church on Saturday. I was like All right. What else did they believe Jesus is coming. That's what I haven't. This means. Oh well. So what do you think he's like I'm going back. I'm through with all of this going to bars and drinking and smoking and all this stuff is like forget about it. It's like this is I'm on the way upward and I'm going back on through with all this. We're not doing this band we're not doing any this stuff anymore. You know I'm outta here is I given you guys want to come with me I'm going back my visa ran out. I just had to come and refresh I'm going back to those like. So I counted had contacted him later and I said you know what I'm interested to go and to be honest I was interested in all interested any but I was interested in this farm and these people he was talking about. So we we got it we threw a frame packs fact packed up our backpacks and. Took a train to New York was walking around Manhattan and back then you could go to this that I found this address I was you know it was not so easy to find addresses and here it could be embedded. I'm just walking around looking for this address before Google maps and everything and find this place and I and I had hitchhiked to Europe. It was only like one hundred fifty dollars. I got this voucher I just waited in J.F.K. Airport until a plane came on as I let you get on I was like great. So we got we we got to Europe really cheap landed there. This Italian guy comes picks us brings us to the farm and he sits down and he looks at me and he said why are you here. And I and I and I didn't you know what to say O's like. To pass with the I don't know what I'm talking here. I'm just here. I'm happy to work on your farm. And he looked at me like oh man. He have got a Grateful Dead T. shirt and skeletons shirts and long hair and and else and was his own case you know Dulce and you know and he's like Oh right you can stay like he's like you work and you work in the file we start to mount get up at six o'clock and so forth. I was like All right. I was reading a book at the time of about Buddhism and it was very strict I was I was looking what I was looking for was a solution to living a life in a regiment with with yoga and discipline and diet and lifestyle and simplicity and living in the country to transcend to different levels of consciousness without the use of psychedelics and drugs. That's right that's where my mind was so I was like I'm going to cheat this here with these Christians. So I'm going to try anyway and it's really weird. I was like maybe there is something with Christianity and Christians don't realise it. So I'm basically there like giving Christianity a chance trying to figure like there might be something out of this religion that the whole Christian world is not aware of and it where that was my mindset. So I was reading a book and it was talking about sleeping on wooden beds and waking up at three o'clock in the morning. And doing strict stretching and yoga and the whole VERY of tough lifestyle and there was there was another level. I was like man I don't buy into of that. And fasting and all of this stuff. So this guy was like look Alberto. I'm interested in your lifestyle here and I want to live the way you guys live so you just tell me what you do what you do and I'm going to do it. Tell me what you know what's the deal here. You tell me to get up early. You know I'm going to do it. Tell me you know his time and I don't drink water with your meals I don't know what he was talking about with that but I was like I'm not going to argue with you I'm here to do everything that you're telling me to do many your food. I'm going to have the same schedule sleep like you guys do get up like you guys do work like you do pray with you guys do all of the stuff I'm just here to check it out and see if there's anything of value there and he's a great. OK so in the morning he would have worship with us and he would teach his teaching us about the life of Christ. We went through the Gospel of Mark over a three month period and every day I would wake up early and I would do well to be honest with you. I was doing yoga. OK then I was going down to have prayer and worship with with these with Alberto one thousand and it was they were talking about the life of Christ. Now let me tell you studying the life of Christ and he started bringing out stuff from the desire of this book called The desire of ages and I was very weirded out by that book because the insights of the book were like talking authoritative authoritatively about what's going on in people's minds in the days of Jesus and I was like how she know that you know and they just kind of look at me and else and later it was like they think he's a prophet. I was like oh really. I was like well that makes sense at least that answers it because it was it was kind of I don't know how to relate to it. I had no problem with profits or anything so in fact when I was in college I thought I had this premonition that the Christian world seems very confused and my understanding of profits from the Bible were there to instruct the people and I thought why aren't there prophets today. To clarify things from the Word of God since it's kind of old and help make it a little bit more plain sense and I question God on that. Why isn't there an end time prophet. So I was already. I was already there. When I heard about Ellen White I was like See I knew there should have been you know. It was very easy to accept that I was already there like of course you need we needed that the world is a mess is upside down. So. Anyway so I I want to try to explain something here. Now as I as I learned about the practical day to day life of Jesus through the Gospel of Mark which focuses much on the healings interactions with people I was deeply impressed and I felt like suddenly I'm feeling some direction here now going back to how I thought Eastern religion just became so ambiguous with no direction and nothing substantial to really put your finger on I suddenly felt like Jesus example was something I could see feel understand as a human walk you know who's Buddha you know he's a statute like this you know what do I get at. And I don't quite. Christ became something that I realise as the ideal example for Humanity and then he saw I was interested and he bought me a book bought me a Bible. It was the Good News Bible. I had never read the Bible really before except in church the Catholic Church. You don't really read the Bible you read from this prepared booklet kind of like the Sabbath school quarterly sort of thing. There's no Bibles there right. You read out of that little booklet certain assigned scriptures and it's always the same scriptures. Many scriptures are never read ever and the Roman Catholic Church just hand selected Scriptures from the leaders. OK so I really I never read much of the Bible only read through the call the missile that I think and. So he got out and bought me he says in the afternoon. I would like to you know give you time to read and pray and study and I thought OK now I don't hike up to the top of this mountain near behind his house and he lived in an old house built in the thirteenth century it was an old story house that had been somewhat renovated it was rustic living St Francis of Assisi lives down the road. You could walk over one of the most famous Catholic saints you could walk over to his monastery where he lived San Marino sandal ale was a very beautiful area. I was up on the sea. I could see all of this and I was reading from the Bible I read through math from Matthew through to Revelation and hike up pretty bogged down revelation and time out. But when I went through Matthew and Romans. It was over for me. In fact I was so astonished by what I had read that I almost fell off this cliff. I suddenly realized that what I was reading was the Word of God and in it and suddenly the value of that one book went for after I equated it with every other book suddenly the books value increased infinitely and I realized that this is the book to help us all go to heaven and help us learn about God and and it was God's voice speaking to me and so you know I left that place a changed person A They had put me on a lifestyle program just I didn't realize it but. I needed a lifestyle program and I was open for it. They I was I was getting good nutrition. I mean this food is fantastic and the This I would I would go harvest all of the food and bring it into Victoria and she would she would make these launches from scratch handmade pasta and sauces and all sorts of great food the best bread I've ever had just just everything. I mean the bread was their own wheat and spelt that they grew they had to use their own olive oil from olives that they had pressed everything was from the farm that. It was out of this world now has the first time ever had to turn food to be ass with you. Del since dad worked at a vegetarian shop. My dad was a butcher. So we were you know our families were a little bit different in fact just to clarify if you want to show that picture there. Just so everyone understands where I grew up my my my dad's name is Mike Hartley and know the previous one and that's him on the left there he owned a shop called Mike's meat. And I was his only son. I am his only son and so I was there and he trained me to be the sausage maker. So for about four years of my life I was a sausage maker especially in the winter in the winter time during deer season I made a lot of venison sausage. You see ring bologna and hot dogs and I could live twenty different kinds of sausage OK and I was getting chased around by pigs and all sorts of stuff I actually hated I hated the chop I had to clean up got barrels. OK So when you kill a cattle you know you're dumping all of their gorgons inside these barrels and there's feces and blood all over the place and then a rendering company comes in and empties those but then they left with smear and so forth and magine a ninety degree day and about a room the size of the sanctuary and me as a thirteen fourteen year old told my dad to get in there and clean all of them out scrub with soap and water with flies and maggots all over and I was a sweating so that was one thousand my first job and ever since then I haven't complained of any job that I've ever had all the jobs from that time in life has always been very easy compared to cleaning up barrels at Mike's meats in the summertime and all barrels were heavy then they were metal and I dragged in those things around down to the kill for trying to clean Amal one by one. It was horrible. So you know and he's like look I don't expect you to be a butcher when you grow up. If you want to take over the shop. It's it's successful it's it's financially. There but I understand if you don't want to do it go to college you know I got to support you on that. So it was like it was either to take the strap or to go to college and do something but like what I was anyway I never really fit into either of those two well but. So that that's what I was doing so this food in Italy was was blood was really blowing me away. It was fantastic. So I was exercising. I was out in the sunshine. I was sleeping regularly. I was drinking water and it wasn't drinking anything ounce our I didn't bring any drugs with me I wasn't drinking or smoking or anything for three months I was there and I would say after about two weeks it's interesting. Our lifestyle programs about two weeks after two weeks I felt noticeable changes in my body going on like energy levels. I wasn't overweight those thinner. You know I was I was skinny kid but no energy I was kind of burnt I smoked pot every day for probably above three four years daily regularly multiple times a day and so forth. So I had lost the reality of what it felt like to be healthy. I didn't I hadn't ben healthy or off of that for years. Suddenly I was off and I suddenly felt this energy that had been long forgotten. OK. I was literally bouncing off the ceilings and this and this place and looking for something to do I was hyperactive and I was like would give a Alberto give me something to do and. I've got some pent up energy here. So he would give me work and I was out there farm and so forth and it was a fantastic experience growing food it doing it out of the ground going inside working with the tour helping prepare meals and eating these meals I've never had that experience only experience I had was killing an animal cutting off the meat frying it on a steak and eating it. It's a little different when you're growing food you can understand I guess I was rather really you know the whole thing with killing animals and everything I was not really to do into it and. So I was interested in being a vegetarian that might pretty interested. I was a pretty interested of course when I came back home and didn't have the Turia cooking for me or the farm there. I went back to mediating and I kind of backslidden when I came back but I had a I had a life changing experience that I would not forget the rest of my life. It's stuck in my head I was like I feel spiritually interested. I feel like I'm learning I'm growing and my but I feel energetic and healthy and it's I mean this is excellent. This is the way people should live and this is the way I want to live but I came back and you know you go back to your same old family and friends and associates and you know towns and so forth. Hometown and it's very hard. I didn't know any Christians dolphin. Parted ways and went to different direction. He was around. So all my friends were in the bars and so forth. So that's why I would go to hang out with them and I would my more my morals maybe went up a little bit but I was soon I was back drinking and so forth but in the back of my head I couldn't deny what I had experienced. So I was and I was in a spiritual warfare a warfare of this flesh against the spirit and I and I didn't know what to do I moved to Madison with a couple buddies and I would go to these college party and so forth and bars and so forth and I never felt like I belonged there anywhere I went I didn't belong. I didn't know what to do so I just want to get out of town. I just want to vanish. So I can this a couple buddies and we drove we drove to Alaska. This far. Let's go let's go let's go out there you know out to the wilderness. So we drove to Alaska and I worked there for a summer for months and then I travel all over the place would we worked on a fishing industry and went to Hawaii for a month went down California or just just having fun but to be honest I wasn't deep down I was getting depressed. And it was empty. I was doing everything that I could think of to have fun but I could not forget my experience in Italy. So I was. Actually depressed and I was dry it spiritually and I came back to Wisconsin and all I had left was that. And I didn't know what I want to do I look at a college of courses again I thought I can't do it. I don't want to. I want to sit in office nine to five I don't feel motivated for any of that I want something high I want to do something else. They know what to do. Thankfully the Lord brought Belsen back to Wisconsin and before I go there. I say go ahead and show that next slide when I need to look at the saucers of the salt. And that's it here. This is the restaurant the bottom right hand corner this is country life restaurant this is run by the seventh Avenue this is the all CIA institution the country life restaurants in Prague and Basel Switzerland and and they were in Paris and and London and this is really the work that brought me and my friend into the truth if it wasn't for the restaurant we were never found the farm we needed the city in post to point us to the outpost and that's that's why I'm here without that it wouldn't have happened. I mean look maybe another way but we would not have responded to a door to door of Angeles or Bible work or something like that it had to be something through health that got us and country living. And so Elson comes back to Wisconsin I remember Christmas visiting his family his dad was my tennis coach. So I was really close to them so I went over and was hanging out with those guys and and I asked Doesn't what he's doing. He says why I'm down in Tennessee. I was like Tennessee really and he's like I'm on an organic farm with some Adventists I'm like Really. He's I would do you do and I was like say Well twisting wieners and making sausage and I'm a drinking beer and I'm doing the same thing that we always do and he's like. If I want to come down south as I would as a down there. He's like well it's a it's a farm. With Christians they don't do drugs they do organic farming. It's a nice place. I thought it was. Hippy farm. But with Christians. It's like. Yeah kind of. I was like That sounds good. There's like kind of like the folks in Italy is like yeah Jose's there. So this whole this guy from Switzerland who's a Spanish. Missionary who was there married a Swiss girl Ana Marie had a child worked there as the chef. Hugh didn't want to be in the kitchen anymore and he came to invalid to take over culture course you want to get on the farm and he gets a job offer north of Wildwood here on an on a farm at an end for this institution called Stone case. And so he saw and this is Dulce and sales pitch to come down the beef. It's kind of like to be from with Christians. So I I I I say OK so I go to the I'm in the bar and I'm having a few less drinks with my friends the night before coming down here. I've got long hair and I'm wearing a Grateful Dead teacher I pack up my hand and I drive and I tell my dad I was like so long. Count me out on the butcher shop. And I'm not going to college right now I'm going to go down a farm in Tennessee. He's like a farm in Tennessee yet. And he's like well that's your walk whatever you want to do I WAS LIKE YOU KNOW THAT I REALLY LOVE YOU THANK YOU. Of So he's a how are you going to stay down there I was like well if I don't like I'll be back in two weeks if if if if I like it a lot a come back in two years. It's like all right all the best. So I was like driving down Tennessee Atlanta up on this property here and I'm walking and looking around and looking for adults and and these these these Christian hippie guys and I don't see any of them. And anyway. What I was shocked. Let me just tell you I was shocked and I was a little upset by Belsen and where he had brought me let me just be honest with you. I thought this is the last place on earth that I fit in. And look at these people are weird around here from some of them and this guy you know was freaking me out a little bit and different people. I was meeting and I was like Belsen and I was kind of mad I was like What do you what how kind of like that and he's like just relax he's like there's a good people down here you know and just give it a chance. You know work on the farm you got to meet this guy Jose so I met this guy Jose and I really loved Jose who was a rose there would have never stuck at Stone cave. So Jose was a live wire if any of you know this guy hyper active like my wife says just plug into the two twenty. He's he's four better and this guy's excited about everything he is excited about everything about life and he's excited about breakfast. You know I never really much breakfast as good as I must have breakfast practices ready let's go have breakfast minutes. So he's making noises and everything and I practiced. So I was like I like this guy and his guys excited about everything. So I was hanging with him working with him and living with him and. And you know Jose was trying to get his Bible studies and so he'd sit down because where I was like he was a I've been reading the revelation and I saw these beasts and everything else thinking maybe China is one of these beasts and Russia. What do you think he's like when all we need to study like you know this stuff is like yeah I'll teach you revelation so he gets starts teaching me revelation I can understand a word he was saying and the end also would study and let's watch what he give us a lesson and I look at him after as I did you understand anything he was saying I was like Oh look. Do you have a book that explains these things and he's like oh yeah I've got it. He's like I got this. Book of the twenty seven fundamental beliefs of the seven they have and says I can I have that book has like yeah. So I took the book and I read it cover to cover I was like Ah OK I got you. All right. I'm on the same page. I understand so Mendelssohn we got these books and we started reading that and then we read the great controversy and different books and the great controversy book. Shock to me. And it brought me to tears. You have to understand everybody that I know is Roman Catholic and here I'm reading about the truth of the matter and it floored me. Floored me brought me to tears. I really my family's deceived. And it's hard to swallow very hard to swallow and when I would speak to my family you know in terms about just being not about that stuff but about being a Protestant Christian living the Gospel and so forth. I was met with Curse cursings was yelled at. Pretty Bruff you know so and it was like undue responses. I was very calm and I got sympathy in some ways by the way it all went down because there wasn't any pushing from my part but it was like you know whatever you're selling We ain't buying it here because the mouth that sort of thing that was tough. So my move down here. I was leaving everything. Left family left friends started completely a new home and that was not that was not an easy thing. I try to call my friends. It was just I was on different pages. So I was I was really alone and at night I remember I would weep sometimes and want to leave you know one night because it was getting a little intense and also now when I was getting along and things were going on and and there are many times that I wanted to leave that place one that I was literally weeping in my pillow and I thought I'm just going to pack up you know and I'm going to go. But I can do it you know this in the largest kept holding me there and as like I'm going back to you know. No I just need to have a little patience give got a chance here and I stuck through it and finally the the light started coming in and I realize battling with because what I was what I was reading in the great controversy and with that with what I was reading in the in the Bible. I realize that this is no laughing matter. And it's not just a I'm not going to get into something like this at with in a lukewarm way. If what is with I'm reading is true of heaven and eternity and the price of Christ on my behalf. How could I do anything else but to serve him the rest of my life but it was not an easy decision. Finally I had come to the point where I gave my life to God entirely. And I just asked him to use me in any way that he fit and me and dulcimer both baptized pastor at Would God bless him he he was a good Bible teacher I would say that he gave his Bible studies Dulce and I the drill the poor man relentlessly with a million questions about aliens and all sorts of stuff. I mean we were all over him with all we were all mixed up right and he was so patient give us a Bible answer. You know like Man that guy's patient is with and else and then we could be a little antagonistic we try to get on his go to a little bit and he never you know it's like he's president press of you know and he seemed really humbled me to drive and for me as I don't understand a president of an institution driving like forty five minutes to come and give me a little Bible study and pray with me at what kind of person does that you know really thought it was very amazing. And so. I was baptized in September of ninety nine and. And at that point I was one hundred percent committed and I was talking to the places I wanted to go to and I started by saying the I know the Lord brought us people here different different ways. God brought us here to Wildwood and I was come to church here and I love pastor at will in a few of the people I knew here but deep down in. Really want to come here. I had I want to go to the Black Hills Mission College where David Asher cabin and other guys that were preaching now and getting involved evangelism and so Jose want to go there and I and I filled out an application and I was accepted there and I was on my way to Black Hills I would never come to well it probably. But the night that I got the acceptance letter I knelt down and I prayed. Because I was battling with this thing at that that I just choose that because I just kind of like Rowson schools on a list and while that was number seven on the list and I really only put it there because I knew health was important but I said Lord I don't know how to find your will bury you in all this but if you make it clear to me I will do anything. If somehow you I don't know how you show people how things but if you somehow show me what you want me to do. Of course I'm going to do it. I'm willing to do anything that I would here to run my own show here I'm here to serve. I just don't know how to find your will make it known and I'm not going to Mission college or go somewhere else. The next morning at seven o'clock I was praying and having the similar thoughts Jose comes rushing into my room. He's a genius Pastor I was on the phone for you as I was you call me in the morning like that. That's kind of weird so I went in and I got the phone and he said James pastor it would be a good morning. Pastor it's going on. He's a well my son's going to go to Colorado and been praying a lot lately about I need an assistant here someone to work with me and. What would you think about come to Wildwood working with me. I was like. I was shocked. I don't know what to say I was like oh oh oh I've got to pray about that Pastor I got to go OK and I looked at Jose like I saw ghost my face was white. I was pale. I had a sit down because the Holy Spirit just told. What he wanted me to do it wasn't a pastor out would I. God spoke to my conscious like a thunder bolt when Pastor Ed Wood said that to me I was like oh and you can ring. Number seven. As I close a hole as a pastor I was going to go to while he goes but only should do it. That's my casting I was like All right. Will you support of let me go to my room so I kneel down and I have and I prayed and I was one of those prayers when you kneeling down on my way down. I already knew the answer I was as like a formality as like a lord of all right. As I that was impressive and I wasn't just a phone call I was it was it was it was. It was things lined up in my heart about about the medical missionary work and the providence of it and the impression of the Holy Spirit and it struck me with it that at that hour I took the letter to Mission College and I ripped it up and I threw it away as I'm going to Wildwood. So I moved here and January of two thousand and this place has changed much in my life and it's just such a plute privilege to work for God here I've had an opportunity to travel and visit different ministries around the world. Dozens of them. And this is a real special place and my voice I had such a deep. I believe that God wanted me to be here. So deeply that I would not ever leave this place unless God made it equally clear as to equal evidence of the evidence that he brought me here. With equal evidence I will of course follow the Lord and move elsewhere. Many times I was tempted to leave. I was offered three times by different individuals that I met while I was director of education here to pay my way all through Avonex college. All four years through the theology people wanting me to be a pastor to people I didn't even to people I didn't even know. Just approaching this as a pale you know way it was strong temptations there but the more I gave time and I prayed about it. I never felt like God was calling me to be a pastor and not not that there was anything wrong with that but I just didn't feel I I I was torn on that for years to be to be honest but then I finally really realize that that wasn't my calling that God wanted me to be involved in this this work and I always felt like if I if it's not me who's going to do it because to me as I looked around I didn't see a lot of people in the in this kind of work and I go over to college. Dale and I meet people young people and I didn't see much interest in doing this kind of work and I thought what is the more I learn about Adventists I thought all evidence were country living organic vegetarian and everything like that and then I learned as I learned more and more I thought well there's very few that are doing this kind of work and I guess God just called me to help out this and this corner of the vineyard and a pitchin my work with I can do. I remember being on my knees in the in the farm one time. And pleading with God for to direct my life I was well and told us I'm willing to do anything if you want me to dig potatoes the rest of my life I'm really happy to do it because I do like farming. I came here I work part time at pastoral part time on the farm and I just got more marvellous kind of the tendency of this kind of institution get more and more involved long you stay the more you get into things and I grew on the really fast and saw I've met hundreds of people here from around the world probably a thousand of us so many friends from the four corners of the world and it's so it's so awesome to have that kind of support a new family crisis very sincere when he says if you leave your family. I will reply replace it. Ten thousand times hundred fold and that's what's really happened. I've had mothers in Israel here of had fathers of had grandmas and grandpas and friends and sons and daughters in the faith and it's just an Asus totally changed my life I've met my wife here and I'm so how. Happy to be married to someone equally committed to the mission and to have found a family here in a daughter and to be I would never turn back by God's grace I still spend seventeen years now. It's crazy to think this is my seventeenth year at Wildwood and I can't imagine doing anything else. Getting and being involved in God's work. We're living in times that I believe he's trying to finish things up and it's so awesome to be involved in this work. It's I've never had a dull moment in my life here I don't know if you've noticed that being a while but it's not it's not a boring place I don't think of nerves that way but being it not knowing what God's going to call you to and being open to do it ever he calls you makes life so interesting and just be having a living not making a five ten year plan and speech not being willing for God to redirect your steps the zone that I'm I know it sounds weird that I'm saying that I'm also saying I've been here seventeen years because I know many people. Yeah but if you have that attitude you never going to leave but I don't think that's true. You know. I have still here. So it's hard for me to say you know that that God will show you if you're open to and lead you elsewhere but I just haven't felt that call. I would be very happy to serve in the end of the field but for now I'm here. And I'm happy to be here. And anyway the students I want to encourage you. My experience and all the friends that I've had coming through the program here I would just one thing of make note as I'm finishing here is that the devil works on you expression hard in the beginning. You try to do you don't want to be here this is a good place. There's a lot to be gained by people you meet here and a lot of things to learn and a lot of preparation for service and think the devil likes that. And so he gives trial an obstacle to get you out of here and he succeeds seen it many times guys go of work for every single one of us. Somewhere in his vineyard and it's of it's of fun experience to find out what that is and to get working with the Lord and do and it's just awesome. And after I didn't share the story of a this accident before I came to wildwood but as I was meditating on where to go a bit before the lightning struck and passed I would call me I was on a tractor and the Lord saved my life before coming here. I was bounced off a tractor ran over. I had my head around over my chest ran over my whole body was crushed all my ribs. So got squashed like a pancake. Now my my knee got snapped in half. I was about torn to pieces three weeks after I was baptized and there's a statement from Illinois that actually if you flip through I've got it on the screen but never to someone leave the ranks of the enemy without assailing the his his his his attacks. That's the house by the way and Italy. Another one if you go through another one. You know think there's you know that one yet never does one leave the ranks of the end of evil for the service of got a phone and countering the assaults of Satan never you've got an enemy when you join the ranks of the Lord I found that definitely to be true. I don't know how I got bounced off the track it seemed impossible I was holding on strongly. I have I think I let go slightly as I was I got in a little hairy situation and I got bounced off and dragged underneath. I was pulling up a bush hog I should have been chopped into a thousand pieces. I was dragged underneath the tractor around the field with no one around and I thought I was dead. I was I was a goner. All right. I turn around. I felt wind on the back of my head and I was getting dragged pulled by my ankle and I turned around and looked and I was this close to the bush hog blades to just write right there. I could smell it you know I mean I. I was hours that I was done and well I thought that was the end of it I thought I was in my journey and I was saying so long to this old world and I was saying and I remember my foot started coming out and it was like a guillotine coming on the way down to chop my head off and I remember crying out verbal e Jesus I'll see you in heaven and and then I just clinched ready for it and just then. The tractor hits a tree and stopped. The blade stop from forming and I was feeling like. I have all my land and I was coughing up blood and I had bruised my lungs and broken bones and tore my ligament my knee and my jaw was off and I had I looked like I had been run over by a tractor and I edit and it was of it was amazing though I'll cut it short. It was hard to get out from on the track right got out my lung I could hardly breathe at all I can this small little breaths and and the Lord had placed a crutch there a stick with a Y on the top just the right size for me right next to that tractor I picked it up it was like the perfect crutch that you could imagine. And it stuck right on my arm I had to hop you know like this. Like like a kilometer it was Marathon it was rough but anyway I got that you know and the Lord. You know amazingly just to throw this in here not one rib was broken the whole rib cage one. Like that and popped back into place while a tractor and over my chest and no ribs Republican they're more tendency to break if they have a sharp impact but their God made them flexible in the cartilage cracks and pops and everything but it popped back into place and may not be all like totally straight but it's mostly there and. As saw and thankfully he saved my life I don't know why I just think the enemy was I was a was sailing me as a Strat I was the tractor all Ford tractor fell old friends. He and I. I'm not afraid I will get on a tractor again but it was a little it was a little concerning after that of dangerous equipment. I wasn't following the rules. I was too hasty I was I was trying to drive that thing in fourth gear I was told not to go past two and I was just flying around on it and so forth. So just like you know. So I'm thankful to still be here and have all my limbs and my head on and most of the way anyway and if that would have been the end of it. I really would have hurt and I was bad and I was questioning God on that but I had come to peace with him on it and to be honest I was looking forward to the second coming of Christ at that moment I thought. I'm going to die really quick. I'm going to be asleep I'm going to open my eyes and see Jesus coming in the clouds. What could be better than that. Right. And I thought I got that brought me a lot of peace and I thought you know that's not all bad. So I was kind of anxiously awaiting it for those moments and then when it stopped. Are there was actually a slight disappointment it was kind of weird. I thought like Ellen like coming out of a vision or something and she's like darkness. I was thinking what if I need rehabilitation I'm going be in a wheelchair the rest of my life. You know I don't do that but I think I was have as I go Laura gave me a second wind here I'm alive I'm on my feet and I'm ready to serve and I'm just here as a servant so I hope some of my experiences have been a help or a blessing to some of you. Jesus coming very soon. Now is a time for us to work. It's a blessing to be a guy. It's work well better thing than that. OK let's nail together. Father I'm so thankful to reflect on the goodness of Christ especially in my life and I'm sure we all can think and meditate of how good you are every day to us. Thank you for being merciful and patient all of my. Being in darkness thanks for pointing out of that. And. I just pray for a blessing Lord that you help me to be faithful and pray for each one here that you would help us all to give our hearts to you and to not get distracted by things in the world to not be allured and draw. Aside from the paths that Jesus laid out for us for You'd help each specially student here to be. Get through it difficult times and to be patient lie on you and build and grow their faith and experience with you and be prepared for for for their works. Busser experience that protect them and just pray for this this class that they be unified and support one another lift each other up. Which thankfully you brought all these people from all over the world help us to as a family as much as an institution as a church here to be unified. And. Thank you for your grace your mercy bless the Sabbath Lord give us rest and thank you so much we love you. Bless us. Jesus this media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse. If you would like to listen to more service leave a Visit W W W audio or.


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