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A Teenager Sailor Finds Jesus

Charles Cleveland


Part one of Elder Cleveland's inspiring personal testimony


  • April 28, 2017
    6:45 PM
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Think. The privilege to be with you during this kind of occasion. Where in the last days we believe that very much. We need to be sure our inventory is correct. In our relationship with God is solid shaking times before us I want to share a story of my own personal experience with you tonight. Not to glorify myself. But as an example of the marvelous way God is willing to work with anyone. So I'm trying to share. God cares about every one of us. We are each to have our own story. I just turned seventeen years old. And three days when I joined the US to. Youth normally think you have to be at least eighteen but if one parent will sign they can send you N.. I got my mother to sign. I don't recommend this as awful young. But nevertheless that particular day for me was exciting because after six months in the Navy I was assigned to ship duty and I'll never forget the day I walked down the pier in Long Beach California and saw before me this huge steel vessel U.S.S. friend two year and realize I was going to be part of that sealing crew in just a few days it was a destroyer tender may not mean much to you but it's the mother ship. That takes care of the destroyers overseas we had a six hundred man crew it was a good size ship and we were going to sail the ocean blue. Other It was exciting. But Satan was there also he longs to influence young people particularly that age so I had different buddies that I got acquainted with we visit a different boards. But the day I walked up the gangway into the US S. and I wasn't thinking of those things. It was just an exciting time for me as a young man. And my excitement for that ship was to work in the Mechanical the partment the engine room the heart of the ship sometimes just the belly of the whale. It wasn't my preferred job. But then what could you expect ice school dropout to be assigned anyway. So I accepted it. I barely got in the sleeping quarters. And put in my duffel bag of clothes away and looking over the three tiers of bunk beds. I got a message to report to the executive officer and the chaplain. I was not expecting that I thought they were the people you went to when you were in trouble. So I didn't know what to think of it but I knew I needed to get there soon. Before I tell you about that experience I want to back up and let you know a little bit about my family. Where I went to been there at seventeen. My father was a Norwegian. Our name wasn't Cleveland it was Klavan but when he immigrated this country made it simple. During the Depression in the early one thousand nine hundred when he was growing up as a boy in Norway the oldest of the children. His father would come to America and work in the northwestern logging industry. Try to get funds to support his family back at home. He promised my father that if he would hold the farm together outside of Bergen. We still have their family still there. That someday when he was at least twenty he'd bring him to America to find a job over here and he kept his promise. And the day came that my father came to America my grandfather Klavan got him started in the logging industry but soon my father found his way into the business world. And came to California Northern California met my mother at a dance and the last day that my grandfather stayed in America was the day my current got married and he left on the ship to go back to Norway and he didn't return again the economy began to prove that my father was able to send money as well. In time my father in the business world became employed with Sears and Roebuck which was the. Premier country cut country company at that time well before Walmart you could buy everything Sears catalog let me remember that. I was second born I had two sisters one older and one three years younger. And I was born in Berkeley California. In any good thing come out of Berkeley. My dad was a department manager for Sears and Roebuck and we became pretty comfortable there in the Bay Area we were a Sunday going church family but it wasn't the right reason my father thought as an immigrant and a good American you just go to church because that's what American people do. But you know it was. When you don't practice your religion you damage young people. We were watching on. You know we go to church on Sundays but it was an argument in the car on the way and one on the way home. We never even said Grace at a meal I don't think my father owned a Bible. That's just the way it was. That's what we grew up with. We were in a happy family and so I compensated not having a brother my bike was my best friend my paper route kept me busy I was a busy boy way in lines and all kinds of things I like to work. But I needed to be more on my own I didn't realize some things that were happening in my own like two sisters suffered sexual abuse all the growing up days. We just didn't talk to each other about those things we were a close family. When I was fifteen I got a job on a farm in Colorado. The train headed out to work with an old couple that had a farm and sheep and a lot of hanging to do in the summer time and I really enjoyed helping the lady Mrs Wiemer it was a great cooks made homemade bread and it was just a relief to get out of the city and the in the country in the care of the sheep and up the bale hay and put it up and so forth. One day when I was working. There was another young couple that came young and younger very man came it was then it was twenty six times are you member. And Mr Weiner was old enough he really couldn't handle all this and so he agreed it is often farmers do it you'll put up the hay you can have app of it with that line and you can have the rest and so Dan came over and was a very positive person and I really enjoyed working with him and so we were several. X N A together. It was during that time later that summer I received a letter from my mother telling me that she was divorcing my father leaving California and moving to or again taking my younger sister older one it got married and home just before I moved to. Colorado. I knew of course there was a lot of tension and I knew the divorce had come up before somehow I just wasn't expecting it there. And when the news came. It pretty hard of course. Years old and I was angry. I didn't know all the background if I'd known the background perhaps you would have understood. But for me from my point of view I knew I couldn't go back to California the father. Was angry with my mother because I didn't really understand the whole situation and suddenly I was. Home in my opinion. Dan stepped in at that time this other man that had the farm nearby and he said you know what if you aren't going home and you need a place to stay I'm Cock to Betty and our kids and we'd like to have you come stay with us we can't. Give you room and board. Like this family they have four little kids four five and seven and I was that. So I said Yeah I joined the family went to the high school there out of Grand Junction Colorado for the year for that year. And it was it was really good to be in a home where. There wasn't arguing back the scene happy somehow and it was just refreshing for me. More than that as I was struggling with. My history and my background in the evenings I had to if my parents. It was good to have their influence where they would bring out things to me that at least brought the most positive parts of what they observed with my parents as they would see letters come or a birthday gift I was remembered in this some ways. My parents were responsible and they were carrying individual even though from different points California in Oregon. But it got me thinking about kind of giving them another chance and trying to look at the best of them you know we have to do that I mean life in general is not that easy for almost any of us. You know more homes break up today in America than stay together there's a lot of hurting young people out here and it hurting people. So. My attitude towards them improved. Christmas time I went and visited them. And. Made the best of it. I went to school that year and when I turned sixteen because of my paper route I'd save money. My sixteenth birthday I not only have my driver's license I had my second car. That's great for a boy in a farming community there aren't boys with cars but I had my car. Problem is I got new friends imagine. And the problem was they weren't the best friends they were the dance friends and the fights friends the drinking friends. Dan tried to help me. He tried to urge me to get home from school or. I was supposed to be helping on the farm and I did. But he could see I was being pulled into town and the thing hearing. Is obvious approach wasn't the best but I at the back I could see he was really trying to save me from getting into a back road because I had been in the background. When he did that Satan was right there. These folks are just trying to control. They just want your work they don't really care about. And I begin to think about that you know what. That's true. And I like my car and I What's wrong with some friends. And so it was a real struggle. But I also realized I was getting an ultimatum either I needed to change this is. It home quicker or I needed to move on. I took that as a negative thing you know if you don't really want me here I can do it my own way and. I didn't go far I still stayed in school I went nine or ten miles over to the town that I was going to school got a job at the rail cafe for ninety cents an hour and one meal a day. And my car became a home. But weather was coming and. It was not an easy winter I could die. But I was a proud boy and I was a hard working boy. And I thought I'd been misunderstood so I toughed it out that winter. I felt like I would. Have to start the car warm it up and warm up for a while but afraid to leave the engine running that shut it off and I just got up again and sleep in that car go to school the next day work at the real cafe get that one meal. Wasn't the. Best I will recommend that program. Can you imagine why I was anxious to join the at the end of that year. Re meals the day. And sailed the ocean blue and wear that nice uniform. So I didn't even finish that school year it was rough. As a junior in high school at that time but I when spring came and that weather warmed up and things you just were not easy for me. And it got into situations with some of those kids and now I said you know. I really don't want to go away they're going to go I was working on my heart I couldn't label that then. But I didn't feel comfortable with their lifestyle and. The mentality that they had. So I want to get away but where so I headed out to Oregon where my mother was living to be married by now and God blessed her with a very kindly person who has been. Taking care of my mother my sister was still living with them. And convinced her to help sign for me to get into the Navy. Well I sent a set to send you a California camp and I tell you what I love the Navy it just set well for about two weeks. And then I realized I was in trouble because I'd signed the contract for years and now I knew I was in high school. But I'm not a quitter so I tried to make the best of it that I realised it wasn't the Dispy a piece of. God is so good to us I think of Proverbs three my son despise not the chastening of the LORD neither be weary of his correction for whom the Lord Lovel. Her record. I needed that I needed gentle loving caring hand. So after seven months of this is my duty I was excited to be part of this big ship in. And yet I have to report in the executive officer I know I'm supposed to work I've got my bunk assignment. I better get up there. So I saw the chaplain first it was very warm and friendly. He offered me a Bible I wasn't expecting that and the study book Haley's and and books and out of courtesy I took it I knew I wasn't going to be reading it I just. Wasn't negative against God. But I was there to sail the ocean blue What's this got to do with it but I took it anyway. That I met the executive officer. This ship had to be different I can't believe that all the ships do it this way but this Executive Officer was very fatherly. And he welcomed me to the ship and it turns out that he was trying to interview the new people coming on board number the guys were already on the previous tour but the new ones he was just getting acquainted with them somehow. Any So we welcome me and he looked at my papers and he said I see you're assigned to the engine room and he said are you looking forward to that. And my body language betrayed me and he sensed that and and I was planning on it but it wasn't what I really had asked for and he dug a little deeper and I said Well sir you know when they asked me back in boot camp what I want to do I told them I'm not to be a medic. But when they go. Aptitude Test I scored high in the practical and he said you know. It's not going to work we can't as I did the medics. So I accepted that I understood that you know my school dropout I'm going to it in to do the best I can. So they just said you can learn on the ship if you don't want to go to school and my little teenage mind I thought you know if I accepted machinist's mate school I will never get to be a medic so I just go on as a striker what they called it and I'll learn on the job and maybe somehow. This dream would come true. You know I really thought that I mean the military does doesn't work that way. But he asked me and so I told him that story and I said you know my hat's a nurse my mother was becoming a nurse my two sisters became nurses God knew I was going to marry a nurse why should I be a medic. But they didn't know that. And he stopped and he said that's interesting. He said Come with me. Why what have I done. So we went on down a couple of layers and and we headed up this long hallway and I looked up there at the end of the hall and I saw a sign I couldn't believe it so. I said cutie. D.N.A. just like that. And we got up the hallway and just before we got to that door he stopped and there was a door to the right and it said into a clinic. And I thought and he opened the door and I thought oh the mistake what am I doing here I in this. I mean it is a paper boy I had I had I had pocket change all the time I was bubble gum and candy and milkshakes and. I knew Dennis because of it. And her me. To be awkward to work in the dental office. But you know I was seventeen Ozark too smart. But all of a sudden I got to thinking about it. White uniform airconditioned. Easy our. Nothing between Cruz the. Heir to the bill does of the Indian and I think all volunteer. As a you explain to me they were short handed and if I was willing to do the job and if I was they feel I could even be recommended for school when we got back a year later. I signed up and joined and R.. And I really enjoyed it it turned out to be a real blessing and that was an encouragement to God works marvelous he wasn't just trying to help me out of the bills is he provided me an opportunity and an atmosphere that was more a lift in working with the officer one by one working with a small crew within the office but that Bible the chaplain gave me. A miracle to this day I can't even remember the first day I begin to read it but after I did it drew me in with the power of the word very quickly. And the only time we were really busy in the dental department would be at every port but those weeks between port sailing the ocean in the Pacific we were free unless there was an emergency we just had to be buying double. Which is not too hard to do under ship and so the guys would scatter and do what they want I had the whole office to myself. And I often was there read the scriptures and study in that little handbook and try to understand it. God gave me a friend on the ship and in my department in the same situation Lee Manley who also was a striker he was invited to join as well like I was the two of us the rest of them had been training. And he had a Christian background more practical than mine more practice than mine. And it was really a blessing all he had his struggles we had our temptations and some boards. But we also had some tremendous experiences I remember like in the Philippines. I mean Subic Bay is the pits procedures. I mean there's nothing uplifting I mean the government helps make alcohol cheap for young people if you drink on the base you get it for ten cents a glass. And so it's easy for young people to be led astray. Leigh and I didn't do much with I could. Or should it and there in the Philippines in May It was a Christian group that had a burden to have a little outpost to welcome servicemen generally sailors that you could just come there and and have a and have a hamburger and place of course to music and be encouraged to write letters home and so forth they suppose it just encouraged to be part of your family don't get this connected while you're over here and then pray with you. And everywhere I went. From port to port it was always some kind of. Encounter were God was trying to speak to me. And I really appreciated those people that they were so warm and kind and inviting. Then we got to Hong Kong. And our ship was anchored out there and it was it was impressive to see a port in which we were mingling with ships that often were considered our enemy because Hong Kong was a crossroads of the world her shipping industry. And so there we were for some days. Or are in our restaurant creation. And we had just something strange happened in the for the first time in this cruise we had women come aboard our ship at mealtime and meet us in at the end of the challenge as we called it when we went to the new star meal and took her trays out and these women were methodically taking our tray and if we had anything left over peas went in this bucket over scraps of meat and that bucket something else in this bucket and they sorted it. And I thought oh this is different. Civilians on the ship you know and corners but they had a special contract. We saw the rest of the contract if you went outside during the day here were the men on a raft six with huge long poles and paint rollers and they were painting our ship for us in exchange for our garbage. Because there were so many refugees on the hills. That living under cardboard ten that they were trying to support feed themselves. And then they be allowed them to collect their garbage to do that and myself What is this world coming to this has to be done this way and even though it's a strange set of circumstances that actually probably was the first thing that happened to me that got me into asking the bible are there answers to these kinds of questions why is it some of us have it so good. And. Harrison those are the like they're living. But the time. Our ship was due to come back to America. I had had enough of these kinds of experiences. That I decided that when I came back to this country I want to find a church. I tell you one more experience that a come back to another on the morrow. When we got to Japan we went to three different ports in Japan over a period of time. And in one port we were there on a weekend. And by this time I had gotten to know a few of the men in the ship that were into spiritual things I mean of a six hundred men if you were at the library on Sunday for a church service there could be twelve of us. It was of the big thing but they noticed that I was interested they had gone on shore on Sunday on leave and came back. After lunch just excited what happened at church that day in a Saka no one called me and said that they had an invitation to go to a girls' school this evening for supper and want to know if I'd like to come. And that the girls invited them were American girls. And that were teachers at the school but of course I want to go. I mean you know her cultural reasons to see your own people act your overseas a while you like to see your own people and I said Yes I want to go. So we got together. And we went there and there were six of us guys and there were six of those girls. And these girls. Were dedicated Christian women who were teaching in that private school it was nothing. Out of line in our home is it and as they took us around this beautiful campus the Japanese people you know are very educational oriented they push their kids in the high suicide rate of children because a lot of kids if they don't do well they just you know it's over with. So that we on this campus beautiful flowers and Pattinson and. We kind of paired up together with each of us with the girl just talking and listening about the school ask them about what we were doing but it was all very wholesome. In my mind. It was both my request and almost like the Morgan said but most requests as I walked with this one woman every member name now but why she was a little older than me but not much. And I said to myself someday I want to marry a girl like this and that her got that it was like a prayer. God didn't create it either that or that about God. So when we came back to the states. After most of the year overseas. I tried to find a church I went back to the Methodist Church which I had grown up just attending in a social way. And had a bad experience. A big deal. But I knew it wasn't in the back there it just didn't fit. I would go Catholic church I went to Mass. Pretty soon I started and up studying with the Mormon missionaries. I never heard of that dentist at this time. But then I met my first at bat at the same time I was having bible study with a Mormon. The man that I met the dead don't think he's even a Seventh Day Adventists. The guy. God used him. To notice my interest in spiritual things. And offered to put me in touch with someone who would give me answers and questions. And he put me in touch with a retired chiropractor that was a man of God you could just look that you had a piece of Jesus in. And we begin to study. Him on Thursday the Mormons on Tuesdays. When the Mormons found out I was studying with those had been they were pretty upset. They brought all the bad information you can think about Adventists and about Ellen White and really tried to discourage. Every question they would raise I would take it right to Dr Brenner and said they said this and they said this and he'd say OK that's a good question let's just open the Bible and he would always open the Bible and he would answer every question. A little Mormon boys didn't do that they raised questions. Very well and a little bit of time I realized that. It's a larger need otherwise I want to continue that. There were two other guys that were in the military at the Navy at the time too we all three started with Dr Brenner. But in a few weeks' time they dropped out and almost pulled me out devil does everything you can as I care. Looked at me like well and he almost looked like you assumed I was going to quit because these other two did. And I said No I mean if it isn't too much trouble I want him to go in the rubble or the earth and we continue to study. Every single week for six months I had a wonderful written mentor. And at six months I asked her about this and before that me and I was looking forward to it. I was they'll then a. Study me every day. I was really really happy it was a wonderful experience I had found a new fan. When I was baptized that day the day I was baptized. There was a woman there an older woman course. And I tell this story and as we were in a receiving line afterwards it was a you know another young man that I had when I was. And the two of us were in line in church members came by and were shaking her hand and hugging us so horrific and this lady said something in the I would never get. She said oh you know man it's so good to see people like you got this is my art. But. I suppose like so many of them you'll cool off in a few years in that you can see. Will what did she say I mean this you know who she's talking to I mean I'm Peter no way never me you can all deserve but I'm not going to do you understand kind of thing I mean I was on fire for God I didn't know what was going to happen at the base when I you know would come to a Sabbath problem I've been keeping Sabbath by the time I was baptized at least very much. And I but I had seven duties that came up. And I had to work them out I had to find a way to be excused from them by trading with somebody else and and it had worked so far but I didn't know if there was a guarantee that would continue. So I was baptized to have her say that. She just didn't understand and it was very sad that she said it but I won't forget it and I thought of it again from time to time. So the Lord allowed things to go well for me after my baptism there on the base for about six months. On Saturdays we would spend the mornings doing routine dental work I was the dental technicians I was assisting the dentist with feelings we used to talk about real Still girls that Bill. And it was routine work. And Sunday we were free to do whatever we were just there for emergencies so I tried to find guys that I could create with and cover for them on Sunday they'd cover for me on Saturday and all you had to do is sign a paper to show that he's a green and that you're willing to read the office and it's a done deal I mean they had to prove it but they always did it. Until six months was up. And then they sent the request back this group and. I was surprised. In fact I learned that two of my buddies had been given approval to be off on Saturday for a party. I thought well if they can let them up there's no inspection Comey why didn't they let me off so I went to the office I asked to speak to them about it and I found that they were very. Nonchalant. But perms. I would be there that Saturday for duty. I thought somehow they just an understanding so I asked permission to see her the captain. Of the department he said Sure you can see him go it's a Titian it led me into his office it was like he was expecting me. I explained to him my desire to just exchange duty he treated me like I was. And to get out of duty you know like I'm asking to be exempted from even taking my turn when I actually just treated with someone. And he shook his finger at me and he said Cleveland even I come into work on my holy day and you're going to work on your Earth. And he added It had made a decision. To just force and. Why I go I really understand except you know the devil that explains it there was no reason but it was just they were going to humble me into service. It's a shame that that happens but that was a situation. I didn't know what to do but I wasn't afraid somehow all through what happens in the next few days. Call it is there with all these biddings are enabling and I knew was I was going to honor the saga. So I called that afternoon when I finished at the office I called. Civilian chaplain the New Jersey we didn't have a navy we didn't have an admin a strap on the on the base. We did over than the Naval Training Center but by this time I had gone through the dental technician school and had been assigned. With the Marine Corps in the U.S. Marine Corps and able training center there in San Diego as well as the Marine Corps is a branch of the Navy they love us to remind us of the no that there's only the airports the army and the Navy and Marine Corps a division of the Navy if you want to make a Marine that is telling that and anyway so they don't have any medical staff all the medical personnel for the Marine Corps or navy that's why so we were stationed with them all the democratic were Navy and then. Recruits. So. There was no I had been established on our base so I called. Over again with the civilian chaplain. And told them my situation he said Be sure to follow the chain of command you need to go and ask for help those on the base he says are checked there's chaplains are not added but she was one of them and asked them to help you That's step number wise OK I'll do that this is early in the week so I went to the chaplains and there were three of them and Episcopalian and I didn't know what that was I couldn't even spell it and never even heard I didn't think that fit then there was the Catholic priest and I said No I don't think so and then there was a Methodist I thought well I know those fellows. And so I went to see him. And I. Was I explained my situation to him. And as I talked to him he looked like he was angry. And he listened in the end let me finish and then he got his big black book out but it wasn't the Bible it was the Code of Military Justice. And he said to me without explaining the reason at all he said to me. If if you insist. On this pushing or being up on Saturday he says I will join then we're going to book you. Whoa what is all this about you know I was so surprised to see him take that position it's contrary to what the chaplains code. I've always wondered. If somehow he could have know I was coming it just it just was so reactionary and he even should be. In the in the huge book where this might fit I was disobeying an order and that I would be court martialed and put in prison. He's telling me this. So that evening when I was done at the office I called ever get back I told him that you ation and he said just take it one day at a time. And that day I'd also receive notice that I was to report on Thursday morning. To the colonel the Marine colonel in the legal department. And over again to look at I'll be praying for you. You know that many of us are praying for you God going to see you through. Just go and listen and answer their questions. So. That. Next day. I reported to the legal office. And the colonel invited me and it was just him and I except for his secretary in the office. And he began to. Talk to me about the situation. And asked me questions about my faith. And my motives. But when I tried to answer his questions he would always come up with another one and never really that we finished and it was almost like he was trying to frustrate me. Somewheres after by every ten minutes. He came in there was a knock on the door. And guess who joined us. The chaplain. Who told him I was going to be there I don't know. So the Colonel continued to question me for a while. And. In my sharing. Eventually the colonel kind of ran out of his list of questions and funny just sort of let me share in my own words. Why I was why he said Why do you think you deserve this special kind of treatment. And I said to him Sir I said I'm only asking to trade. And I'm more than willing to carry my share I said before I gave my heart to Jesus. I said I was in the drinking and smoking and and and honestly I I I. Came to work and did as little as possible and when it was over I got out as quick I said but since I've given my heart to Jesus I come to work early I stay late I said you look at my scores my records I said that today the military has twice the person they had before I just spilled it all out. And. I saw the chaplain kind of wiggling in his chair and looking Schelling at me and. Finally he. He said to the current work can I ask leave in a question said yes'. And he said to me a very confusing question. And he said Cleve and he said. All this talk about giving your heart to Jesus and yet you grew up in a church atmosphere and and. He was trying to make me look hypocritical as far as I could understand and his question and to be honest with you I never understood his full question and I never really got to even try to answer it because at that point the Lord took over one hundred percent I don't know if you've ever had your mouth used by someone else but my mouth began to answer things I didn't even think about. And it was an awesome moment. I would have never done it. But in his asking me that question I tried a little bit to answer and then the Lord took over and next thing I know I said to the colonel sir may I ask the captain a question I mean the chaplain in question and he said OK. And I turned to the chap and I said sir no I didn't say my mouth said sir do you smoke. And they both stopped breathing and so did I And it was dead silent. And and the man turned his face was red and green and and he was squirmed and. The colonel looked at him as if to say well he didn't say it but you could see it and finally the man admitted that he was a smoker too I was about that and just when that happened it was tremendous tension the phone rang and we all jumped it was that bad. And the Colonel answered the phone and text said excuse me a moment and he told me to leave and I went outside or by Britain minute oh I didn't know what was going to happen I said why did that ever happen I sensed God did it but I didn't know it's going to make it worse or better I really couldn't reason about it it was just beyond me. They called me back again and they said. Cleveland. You've taken enough of our time and never asked for any you think enough of our time he said From now on when your duty comes up on Saturday it's going to automatically be. Changed to Sunday do you understand I said Yes sir. He said. He said So this week. Your duty we will arrange to be changed to Sunday do you understand I said Yes sir. He said Well is there anything else you need I said No sir he said Well then sign you're dismissed you can go and it's all going to be worked out. I said Yes sir and I went out floating out of that office floated across that parade ground all those poor recruits ringing yelled out by the sergeants you know Margene and when I had walked across that parade ground that morning on the way to the office the devil said see all these guys out here they know how to obey orders you're going to go to prison. Talk to me try to talk to me as I walked across that huge big row alone that God was there with me and I wasn't fearful and so I just went to the office not knowing what was going to happen now I'm coming back across to I don't understand it I can't wait to tell somebody the office back at home was you know the dental office people they had pressured me to even my own my own dentist and said to me. Who is a Catholic. You need to talk to your priest you know don't don't do this to yourself you're going to get in big trouble you were trying to help me and that's how he would have handled it I said and under Brower I can do that priest can't give me permission to go against God's commandment. Is to do no I'm just trying to trade I'll do my duty he says you're heading for trouble so he could tell me. Now I came back and I couldn't wait because. After office than that day I called and I was telling the story of what had happened and I noticed eventually he began to say I know I know. I know this is what do you mean you know how did you know he says because when you went over there I came to the base and made an appointment with the commanding general and I explained to him who you were what was happening and he said My experience was seventy AD in this has generally been positive if you're telling me that this young man is faithful to his church has been faithful to duty I will see that he gets that and he was he was a telephone call that came during our exchange and he told the colonel I would have sat us and to work it out. Well you know you could say that's the end of the story. But when you go over the heads of your officers in the department they were not happy here. They were very upset and I was I was there alone there was no one else to talk to about this. But I could see they were very happy I mean seen it inspired them to do this it was no real reason to do it but from that point on they tried for a number of months to great me to to cause me to stumble it they. Sure they respected the order and I came in on Sunday on Sundays there was nothing to do but just be on the base you can even go to movies which I don't do anymore but you just had to be available when I came to work on Sunday. Cleveland. Death you need to do this this and this they had me on my knees. I don't know if you've ever been a painted baseboards in a huge military base where there's miles of. But they had me paint the baseboards on my knees every Sunday. I don't know if you've ever had to. Privilege a plane you painted a dark room over again a black dark room or you develop the X. rays that is black to paint it black again it's really exciting. And I was there one time doing this. On another Sunday. And I was tempted her a little pity party that this is discrimination this isn't really fair I didn't go there very often but that day I remember I got caught doing that in my heart and the Lord says look you have. You have the South I'll take care of the rest later you just do your best. And I determined to never complain never complain. When I became an ad business I was not even living on the case I got an apartment. To the Vista California it was so good to get off the base. At night in just be out of that atmosphere. I started working at Paradise Valley Hospital one of our hospitals in years and. And it was like heaven for. Those nurses I was just working as an orderly but as I would get off the base at three in the afternoon I'd get out there as quick as I could and joined the evening shift. And he said Don't worry if you're late it's OK we're going to work with you and those nurses like the mother you know they they gave me books and cookies and you know all kind of encouragement and it was just like I gained a new family it was just precious to me you know that and so it was just a little heaven. But then the they said you know what you're not married and according to the fine print. You're not entitled to live off shore. And so we want you back. In the barrier. I only have a few more months why would this happen. But anyway I I I had a roommate that I was sharing the apartment with and he was getting married and you had trouble finding an apartment for themselves to move into and he'd actually just about the time approached me if I'd be willing to have a partner over them and then I got invited back to the base. They'll be throwing bricks at me when I pray and swearing that. I move back into the base move back into. The very. No one ever who that. They stuck that never noticed I mean God is with you in whatever happens you guide to and and so those last months. Little by little the Sunday assignment stop. Little by little I could see the day except for having something real it was such a blessing to know that. Even my Catholic dentist said to me if I would sign up for two more years he take me with him he was being transferred to Hawaii Surely you want to go. And I said Commander I love working with you but I couldn't do that interest the Sabbath situation again and he understood. When I was getting ready for discharge. I had to have a physical. Blood work. On that. It was an interesting time I didn't know a lot about the health message. But by God's grace I had gotten a wonderful mentor beside Tiller again and Dr Brenner another family had. Kind of adopted me and coached me. Through several things OK more about tomorrow. And. In their influence I had made a decision to become a vegetarian. And so I had had at least six months on the base as a vegetarian. And even in the sixty's if you can picture that far back by the way we had a solid bar at the base. And when I go through the mess line the guys soon notice I didn't pick the meat and they would come up to me and say well look you take the meat I'll give you my potatoes I love what they do anyway so there was lots of ways it all worked out very recently but when I had that physical and I came in I'll never I'll always remember with the blessing it was to me he said the doctor said to me my lab report he says Cleveland he said you have got to be you have got to have the lowest cholesterol of anyone on this basic and I was and. And I had the joy of explaining to him that I didn't cholesterol and that made a difference. Finally I remember some of the fellas saying to me on my last couple of days there we don't know much about seven S. but whatever they have must be very powerful because it walks would review that was such a blessing. When I left. When I left the Navy I continued to work at Paradise Valley for a while and I wanted to go to an avid a school. And the Jensens that were my spiritual mentors. Had been a great help to me and eventually. They influenced me to go to. The mother college I visited the California school and I just was that it was a real challenges even in the sixty's so I ended up going back and her university was and then a missionary colleges before that. And I want to just take a few minutes to close with these thoughts I want to go back to the lady that told me what was like going out the back door. I got to Ender's university and there as a as a theology student I had wanted to go into medicine originally but. Even though I worked at the hospital I worked in surgery and I had that medical pre-medical background who are eventually just kept speaking to me about going to the ministry be quite a while to accept that tell you more about that tomorrow but as I got back to energy diversity I got involved in the campus and I was very active on campus in fact I helped organize the first public evangelist series had ever been held in the Pioneer Memorial Church where we invited the public and God blessed I was active in the Student Association I was chaplain and I hadn't really good experience I had some very good teachers. I work with a conference I helped raise up a church in Stevensville I led a whole group of young people out there and we go every week every day every So every weekend door to door. And do we had a lot of Bible study in the summer we had so many bible studies the conference hired me as a bible worker each year so I was very involved. When I graduated I had three calls into the ministry it was a pervert some guys and get me but all of them were by at the seminary I was raring to get out in the field I've already been healed of the Bible. But they wanted me to go then I went to Margaret. That was really really rough. They have me in school those many years after the an icicle drop out I made it through college by what I loved just the practical aspects of being out in the field. But how am I had two more years of study. I was burned out I was really burned out. And I was fearful. Of starting the ministry because I'd been so active in the Michigan conference they didn't even offer me an internship they said the day you graduate is the key to churches and they sent me out on my own. I became the king of the north in Michigan up at Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula and had a marvelous years up there but I went there. Tempted the ministry was that. Yet I didn't know how to talk to who would understand what I was going through your all that training. Too much and some of it just to theoretical. And now faces two churches who Communion services to preach to them when I'm struggling for viable I'm married I have two children. And that little ladies. Who come back to my mind her time to time. Oh every morning I go downstairs in the parsonage and I wrestle with God God give me back my person. I didn't want to be a hypocrite I didn't want to be a mechanical pastor I wanted to give them the real thing and I used to have but I didn't have. It strange how it came by like I was at the workers' meeting in Lansing. In wintertime. And we went out to a Chinese restaurant her dinner. I was still struggling with this situation six months ago. And I hadn't had that answer and I remember getting my food and I didn't want to eat with the fellows and I did have to take out container and back to my motel room and I would I never like to miss a meal. But this was so bad. And I discovered on the knees the only I'm going I said for your I met workers meeting I still not answered this prayer. And I played with him and that night that Greer motel room. Lit up like a think surely. God. I can't even tell you how I knew except I knew it was. You come back in my life in a special way gave me that first love and. I want to mention that to you because. There are too many of us that come into the church. And end up going out the back door in one way or another you understand that. It's just risky to so many young people that come in they don't stay. And I'm just thinking of where we are today why I ask myself once in a while in gratitude I say Lord why am I so fortunate. To have even learned about of them the way I did learned about it from a man who wasn't even who didn't even stay in the church but was just there long enough that he was somebody hearing me or why do I be supportive when I walk down the street whether it be in New York City when we used to have the restaurant work and I was that for a while and I see those thousands of people and I think why am I so fortunate and so few of these people have this. Town that will do the now small town. Though not in a city of try to reach out and. Why are we so fortunate Why are you so hard. Here we are so close to the promised land. How is your experience with God You still have that personal experience. You have to ask yourself. When December twenty sixth came a few months ago. I. Was praying as I did every morning. And I was saying Lord you have Bless you help me. And I and I I want to do inventory is or am I am I doing what you want me to do is or something I should do I'm getting older I want to have so much more to give to you am I on target am I where you want me to be is there anything I should adjust this year did you do that the end of the year When's the last time you didn't. We need to take our temperature we need to check in with God. And so I'm I'm the head elder my church I have a wonderful church. And I came to the elders and our pastor in our meeting their monthly meeting and I said you know guys. What can we do for Dunlap. Think of the time that we're in you all agree we're in the last days. Are we going to do something different in our church this year compared to last year or are we going to be just happy to go along with our happy way of doing sure we have peace of our church sure we have fellowship dinner every week or guest sure we're doing a lot of good things yes I have been to the doctor program every month yes we're doing outreach. But is there something different and I challenge them why don't we start a curb why don't we have a prayer group in the church some of us every every Sabbath morning before the church members even come let's have a let's have a. What was the name we used. Anyway let's lift up Christ somehow Let's come early. I mean you know how it is Sabbath morning you just rushing to get there or Sabbath school. And I said to my wife as a you know. This bump it up an hour let's get there an hour early you know it's just a decision all witnesses make the decision we're going to be there at eight o'clock not nine o'clock and once we made the decision it was easy. And so we began to purr band and every Sabbath morning we come and a small group of come and we would hold up the church service and all of the Sabbath school we pray for the pastor and his strong as close together I'm just giving an example you don't keep your first love by accident we need to be thinking about you know when a national disaster comes is not if it's just only when when some national disaster comes. And suddenly there's panic across the country. The churches are set now to press forward asking that we get back seriously to God You understand that it's all set up it's ready to go that's going to be the cry we got to get back to God if we're going to stop these disasters and it won't take long after that to push forward this and we're moving there you understand I don't we're not we're not just making it eries we're almost there we've got to ask ourselves how are you doing will I be able to go through these difficult. I don't have the day to day of a martyr I don't have that exact same faith that I had back then was the teenager I am promised though the faith that I need to be given to me but I need to do my own. I don't know if you've studied lately Matthew twenty five The Who are these ten who administer that were virgins. They were all church members. And they all had a degree of relationship but only five of them had done this kind of introspective home. Her that impressed them to have more oil you understand. And so when push comes to shove when the overwhelming surprise came and the bridegroom was delayed. The ones who had not laid the groundwork were unprepared when I first as a young Christian heard that parable I thought that was selfish of those people why did they share the oil while I was in the I didn't know better you can't share the only spirit you have to get it right. So you can't get it all of us. And so it behooves us. That no matter how God has brought you to where you are I mean my experience was singular the way that chaplain addressed me the way that the executive officer got me this job what it provided for me that's my story but you have a story and you have an experience that need to keep alive. And you need to we need more wise virgins to go all the way. Christians. Prophets and King says Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise and this preparation they should be they should make by diligently study the Word of God see the preparation. And striving to conform their lives to this precept. We need the fruits God calls for a revival and a wrecker mation. That's how we get this spare oil that look areas through delays disappointment and overwhelming surprises Jesus said in Revelation three five he that overcome of the same should be clothed in white Raymond and I will not blot out his name from the book of life but I will confess his name before my father before the angels he that hath an ear. That in here with the Spirit says to the churches. It's such a privilege for me. That the A Some of the evidence first I believe with all my heart we're part. Of. The remnant church of Bible prophecy I believe God to show this is good we know that the church through it's just are we going to be part of it. None of us here are here at heart and by accident you don't get Gartman by accident you have to choose to drive out you're going to the here. So you're special people to me. And I just believe that God is looking for us to be part of his army. Supporting work you know we used to call ourselves self-supporting work and we changed to supporting ministries because we were trying to get the message that we're not just independent people that we believe in pressing together to finish that work I know not everything is OK in the church not everything perfect in our institutions either. We need to push together pressed together deal with problems at this time let's not get sidetracked just before we get across the promise land. So let us know in the lesson on the who these virgins be wise at a virgin and get the oil that we need and let's press forward in my struggle to find them or the new. He was there. And after I went to that experience he's taught me new concepts he's taught me about her education there's things of course I would do differently if I could have repeated that but he saw me through that and he spared me her being lost and so they could educate me further. In the ways of the Lord and I'm just saying that to you he would do that for you also. In one way or another let us press together and. God creates in the end of time not of us would need to be lost let's finish the work together. As we need. Thank you for the privilege of coming together at the beginning of the Sabbath. And to be able to praise you and and to share. The life of a simple person. Who really got a bad started so many different ways like so many others. Satan has done so much to mess people up today and the essence. Of so thankful that you're always reaching out to us to listen and open our hearts you're there and I just praise you for your intervention in life and you help me to mistakes that I made. And were so patient with me and kind and gentle. And brought me to loving Savior who gave me a new life a new family a family of God. I'm so grateful for all the turning thankful for the the wife who gave me the children that come along that we could raise your glory. Now that we're so close and very difficult times are upon us. Are coming upon us like we've never seen before it will seem like an overwhelming surprise we will be able to stand a storm. I believe Lord this is the preparation time this is where we need to get this extra oil. Filled with your spirit rest. As we've obviously for you I pray this for all my brothers and sisters are. They to. Reach out not cool I'll press together. And if there's anything in our lives that needs to be dealt with that would be really you that I'm now. Using. 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