My Testimony - Part Two
During that time everything was about doing whatever we had to do to get our supply of drugs and partying as much as possible. Eventually I hooked up with a girl that I built my whole life around, and when she decided I wasn't her cup of tea anymore, I attempted suicide. Obviously I didn't succeed or I wouldn't be writing this story. I also found another woman who I married, and she attempted suicide too and ended up in a mental institution because she was schizophrenic with suicidal tendencies. As you can see my life was a mixture of pleasure and torment. The drugs numbed me to the reality of who I was and where I was headed, and it didn't seem to matter to me at all. I finally left Pennsylvania for Florida and dreams of fun in the sun, booze, drugs and plenty of "chicks" who would all be beautiful and willing to party and have sex with me. What really happened is that I was arrested on possession and quickly jailed in Broward County Prison in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with a fifteen year sentence hanging over my head. Two friends that I came to Florida with quickly left promising to send help. Needless to say, that help never came, and I suddenly realized that I was far from home with no help coming and facing prison. The judge told me that since I had no previous record and had not resisted arrest that he would leave me off with a misdemeanor charge and an eighteen day sentence. I know now that it was God's timing, and that he had a hand in touching the decision of the judge. So there I was in jail with nothing of my own except what I had on my back. I had no clothing of any kind except pants and shoes, no money, no cigarettes, no drugs, no girlfriends, and nothing to keep me from facing reality. BUT there was one thing in that cell that caught my attention and it was just laying there for me to pick up and do something with.
The Gideon's Bible on the table across from me caught my eye, so I picked it up and began to read it. At that time I had no idea where any of the books were or that there was an Old or New Testament or that it was anything more than just another book. Earlier in life I had gone to church and heard some of the teaching of the Bible and even went forward with my brother to get "saved," but I really didn't understand what we were doing or that there was more to being a Christian than being saved. Well, anyway, the book was there, and I started to read it and ask the other prisoners questions about it. There was nobody there who had a clue about what was in the Bible, and so I was pretty much left to myself. As I read the Bible I thought to myself that I had tried everything else in life and it didn't satisfy me, but maybe I should try God. With that in mind, I prayed this prayer; "God, if you're real and you can prove it to me, I'll give you my life." Seems like a simple prayer, but it was a very real and earnest one coming from my heart and from being sick of life period! After 18 days I finally got out of jail and headed for the beach. I had a small bit of change someone gave me, a pair of pathetic shoes full of holes, a prison shirt, a handkerchief around my head, and the pants and underwear I was arrested with. On the beach I found a group of hippies just like me partying, and they gave me a can of beer, a joint that was being passed around and a cigarette. I suddenly had the thought that if I was serious about living for this God that I had prayed to that I had no business smoking dope, drinking and smoking cigarettes or anything else. I gave the beer and joint to someone else and put the cigarette out in the sand and left them. I had seen a monastery on the way down from Pennsylvania and was determined to go there even though I did not remember where it was that I saw it. I walked from Ft. Lauderdale to Pompano Beach, about 10 1/2 miles in my quest to find that place, and that night I was forced to sleep in a newspaper bin outside a store because I had no other choice.
The next day after long hours of trying to get a ride without success I decided to return to Ft. Lauderdale before it was too dark. The first car that I saw stopped and gave me a lift. The very next car after that one that I thumbed down also gave me a lift and took me close to the camp of the Jesus Freaks that I had heard about as I was leaving the beach. I remember walking across this huge open lot with my little bit of clothing and my hair flapping in the breeze toward an enormous tent that could easily cover a football field. I noticed a man outside the tent who was busy digging a trench around that tent, and then I went inside and sat on a folding chair at the entrance. My first thought that I can remember is; "Home at last." I didn't know why that thought came to me, but I know now. The man who was digging the trench came over to me and asked me what I wanted. I told him that I came to give my life to God. He said, "Well, that's not the way you do it." I became very angry and yelled at him, "What do you mean, that's not the way to do it. I came to give my life to God!" He patiently told me to wait, and then he went to where he had been digging and picked up a book and came over to me.