History of the Ministry
Return to Custody
I left prison and my folks took me in. Not knowing what to do, my mom paid for a correspondence course in Medical Billing. Well, I was never one for memorizing and to be a Medical Billing specialist I would need the skill of memorization. However, God used this correspondence course for another reason. I was looking at it from the perspective of how they put it together, physically. It looked like it was put together on a home computer, printed and then bound. Pretty simple. I could not see into the future, but Jesus did. I would remember that and He would use it in His future plans for me and this ministry.
The other wonderful thing my folks did was get me a computer. Keep in mind, this is 1996. Computers were very new to the public. They were not exactly “user friendly”. But they were getting better. I began exploring the computer and learning how to use it.
About 30 days after being out, Jesus used a “violation” excuse to put me back into prison. This is called “Return To Custody” (RTC). God had more training for me to do, but from a different perspective. Just as Joseph had one perspective when sold into slavery, then he had another perspective when he was put into prison. This time, I entered prison, not as a “student” but as a “teacher”.
I was sent to Chino Prison for Men while they decided where to place me in the prison system. I immediately began teaching what I had been taught by the Spirit of God. The reception I got from inmates was completely different from what it was before. Now the inmates listened. Bible studies were held and men began studying. One night while on my bunk reading the Bible, a young man came up to me. He had been listening to the Bible studies and had given his heart to Jesus. So when he came up to me, it was as a brother in Christ. He asked me if I had anything for pain. He said he had the flu and was feeling terrible. I told him that I had no medicine. However, I would give him what I did have. I laid my hands on him and prayed that Jesus would heal him. He left and within about 10 minutes he returned and let me know that the pain and sickness had left him. We praised God.
From RTC I was sent to do a simple seven month violation at Avenal State Prison. Here Jesus had more for me to learn. I was placed in a computer class. In this class I learned about the inside of computers. This would be very helpful in the ministry for years to come. I could not even begin to tell you how many computers I built in order to save money, but also to have the specific internal parts needed for the work this ministry requires.
My work for Jesus was growing and growing. When I sat down at a table to study, 10 to 20 inmates would gather around to listen and learn. It was awesome. At one time I saw this young man listening but then he left. Come to find out, he had to go to work. But later that night he came by my bunk while I was sleeping and woke me up asking for Bible studies. He had just gotten off work from the kitchen. We went out onto the floor, found a table and studied.
However, this made Lucifer very unhappy. He was losing his subjects. He instigated many inmates to try and kill me. This one man came up and told me very plainly that if I continued to teach the Sabbath he would kill me. So I let him know that God would have to move him off the yard since I had to teach truth. A few days later an inmate came up to me and said, “Do you remember the man who threatened to kill you?” I nodded. He continued, “He has been moved off the yard.” This was very interesting since his removal had nothing to do with me. God simply moved him and the whole yard understood the power of God.
Another time an inmate, who was from Cambodia and skilled in Martial Arts, came up to me while I was lying on the top bunk, my head resting on my left hand. He came up and was talking nonsense and how I had to get off the yard or he would have to hurt me. I told him that I wasn’t going anywhere. Then, in a flash, his hand came up and he hit me in the nose with the heal of his hand.
The inmates were expecting me to be hurt very bad if not dead by the driving of the nose bone into my brain. They expected lots of blood and screaming, etc. So they were all prepared for the C/Os and a lock down. However, the only one hurt was the Cambodian. He walked away shaking and holding his hand showing great pain. The next day the inmates were expecting to see lots of black and blue marks on my face. I had no cuts, no black and blue marks, nothing. No pain. God is very good to those who obey Him. I learned in prison that I do not need to “defend” myself. God will defend us if we are living for Him. But if all we are doing is putting on a show and going to church, God can’t help us much.
One evening while sitting at “my” table, the janitors were going to sweep and mop the floor. We had a choice, go outside or go to our bunks. I decided to go outside. It was winter and the nights came early. I entered the queue and waited for the gate to open. When the gate opened, we all pushed into the little hallway that led outdoors. We must wait in the hallway while the back gate shuts, then they open the front door. We all pushed out and then it was that I realized I made a mistake. It was raining. But the door had closed behind me and it would not be opened again for another hour. I raised my eyes and hand to heaven and ask Jesus to stop the rain until the door opened. Just then the clouds cleared away and the stars came out. It stayed clear and beautiful until the door opened. Then the rain came down. God is so good.
The seven months went by fast and I paroled in 1997. The week before I was to be released I was instructed that the prison committee was going over my case to see if I could be released or needed to be kept longer. I got on my knees and made a vow to God. I would not eat until I was released. Seven days later I was paroled.
A Ministry is Born
I didn’t know what to do with mylife. Serving the Lord was my top priority. How was another matter. While in prison the Lord and I became very close. He had revealed Himself to me on such a personal level that when I paroled I felt as if I had been orphaned. My folks had purchased a very small trailer up in a small trailer park at Big Bear Lake, California. Being in the mountains and far away from “the world” I found myself back in the presence of God. I began jogging and we resumed our personal relationship.
One day, about four weeks after paroling, the Holy Spirit came to me and told me that we were going to write a book. He told me that He was going to dictate and direct the book to me. “Windows 95” was the operating system of the computer I was using. Having spent the last almost 6 1/2 years behind bars I knew nothing about computers. As the Holy Spirit dictated to me, I would become frustrated by not knowing how to work the “Windows” software. That was when the Spirit would direct me on how to maneuver through it to find what I needed to accomplish His mission.
One day while taking a break from the book, I was walking the RV park and meditating. I saw an older gentleman, by the name of Ben, who seemed to be distressed. We began talking and I shared with him what I was doing. Stopping, he looked at me with great anguish in his face and asked, “How can you believe in a God who would burn little children forever? I go to church and try to believe, but to burn a child forever because of a sin, that is torture.”
“Ben”, I said, “you have been taught wrong, God is not a torturer, He loves people.” I then invited him to my trailer. We sat down at the park bench and began a Bible study on what happens when a person dies. As we progressed through the Bible study, I could see the burden lift from His soul. I could see the pain of lies give way to the joy of truth.
Many months later his wife told me that his whole life changed after that. Not only did his life become happier, but the whole family benefited from his joy in the truth. I studied with them and within about three months they sent a letter of resignation to their church of 15 years. They became Sabbath keepers and strong supporters of this little ministry.
The Holy Spirit would wake me up at about 6 o’clock in the morning and we would work until about 1 a.m. It was usually about that time my eyelids could not stay open. I would ask the Spirit to let me sleep. One day while the Spirit was dictating to me, the computer froze up. “Windows 95” was notorious for freezing up. I did not know what to do. The Spirit of God was dictating and I was not able to keep up. The computer refused to respond. “Stop. Stop.” I cried, “The computer won’t work. What do I do?” Just then there was a knock at the door. I opened it and there was Ben. He came for another Bible study. After the Bible study, I turned back to the computer and there on the screen were the instructions on how to clear the computer and unfreeze it.
We finished volume I, of about 160 pages, in about a week. It was perfectly done. Every graphic, every clip art, all was just as the Holy Spirit had dictated and directed it. The Holy Spirit then gave me the title for the book, “Change Your Life Biblically”. He then told me to send it to inmates. “Holy Spirit”, I said, “That is not possible. I am on parole and I can’t have contact with inmates.” He told me not to worry about that. All I had to do was be obedient. Sure enough, when I explained what I was doing to my Parole Officer, he was in total cooperation.
But then there was this little matter called money. I was broke. Not a nickel to my name. I had nothing, I owned nothing and I was nothing. How was I to get the funds to buy the paper and equipment to make the “book” and the postage to send them to inmates? Not possible, I said. The Holy Spirit was so gentle and kind. He told me to just obey and He would take care of everything. I stepped out of the trailer and went for a “meditation” walk around the RV park. As I was walking and thinking on this money “problem”, I saw a man preparing his RV to leave the park. We began talking and in the course of our conversation he asked what I did for a living. I told him that I sent books to inmates to help them change their lives. He said, “Wow, I feel impressed to help.” And with that he opened his wallet and pulled out a twenty dollar bill and gave it to me. From that moment on the Spirit of God impressed people, total strangers, to support His little book and this ministry in the work of changing lives. He has never let me down. Never too much, never too little. He has always provided what we needed in order to do the work He called me to do.
You must understand how hard the walk of “faith” was for me. I had spent 10 years as the owner of my own photography business. I was good. Customers came to me from all over the United States. I photographed the wealthy, millionaires, billionaires and Hollywood. I was booked a year in advance to photograph weddings. Money was not a problem for me. Now, not a penny to my name.
A few months later the Spirit told me that we needed to move to a bigger home. This I could not understand. We could hardly make it where we were. Besides, who would rent to a little ministry that had nothing? But when the Spirit says to do something, I do it. My mom and I went looking for a place and found a mountain cabin in Arrow Bear, about 20 minutes from Big Bear Lake. It was nice having a lager place. It was here the Spirit of God returned, dictating and directing volume II, about 160 pages, of “Change Your Life Biblically”. Again, it was accomplished in about one week.
The requests for the book began to arrive in ever larger numbers. I was amazed at how inmates learned about this little book. Requests were coming in from inmates from every state in the Union.
After being in our mountain home for about a year the Spirit instructed me that it was time to move again. I was disappointed at this. I liked the mountain home. I was not looking forward to moving all the equipment. However, we did find a little home for rent in Yucaipa, California. This was nice in that it was close to my parents who were in their early 80’s. They loved the work I was doing and helped out as much as possible. After moving in, the Holy Spirit was sent to me again and He dictated and directed volume III of about 160 pages. With that the book was completed with over 480 pages.
During this time of the ministry, I was printing, collating, folding and binding the books by hand. The work was beginning to take more time than I had all by myself. One day I received a letter from a young man in Youth Authority by the name of Jeff who had read volumes I & II. After several letters and getting to know each other, he asked if he could come to the ministry upon his release from Y/A. He explained to me that he had no family and no place to go. Jeff was given up by his mom into the California foster care system at the age of seven. He lived in group homes and Y/A most of his childhood life. I thought it over and decided that God must be providing the help that I needed. I invited him to come.
When he arrived at the age of 18, we began organizing the ministry into a “two-man” operation. We had a large table in the middle of the room with lines and lines of shelving around the room. The pages of the book were printed on the copier and then we would run around the table collating them. I bound the book myself. When I had purchased a folder, that made the work a bit easier.
Living at the ministry was so different that Jeff could not control himself to stay. Over time he would run away and then come back when he had no place to go. Then he would run away again and get into trouble with the Law. On one occasion I went before the judge and Jeff was placed in my custody.
Another inmate, Juan, who had read the book, contacted me. Juan struggled from his old street and gang life. As long as he was involved with the ministry, God blessed him. But Juan, after many years being involved with the ministry, lost sight of the life Jesus had for him. He returned to the world and drugs. He also returned to prison. This broke my heart as I considered him a “son”. While in prison he decided to return to Jesus and support the ministry. He also translated the book into Spanish. Within six months after paroling he was being trained to be a manager of the plant he was working in. God blesses those who bless this ministry.
One morning I awakened with a heavy heart. After going over the bills and the list of donors we had I, realized we were not going to make it. It was costing us more than we had in donations. Even though we had no incomes or salaries, there just wasn’t enough funding to handle the ministry’s operation. I was weeping. I called the people who owned the property and let them know that we would not be able to continue renting and would leave when our time was up.
A few mornings later while in the living room doing my morning workout routine, crying my eyes out, the phone rang. The voice on the other end identified himself as the director of a worldwide ministry. He had been going through the mail that morning and had come across a letter from this ministry. He stated that his ministry would support our little ministry for as long as we needed it: no conditions. About a year later his secretary told me that when he came to the letter from this ministry he heard the voice of God tell him to support us.
One Sabbath, while Jeff and I were hiking in the mountains, we came to an open meadow. A person appeared and Jeff and I wondered where this person had come from. We had a perfect view of the whole meadow and did not see from where this person had come. The person approached us and we entered into a conversation. This person told Jeff to listen to me and to obey me. When the conversation was done, Jeff and I turned and climbed a pile of rocks near by. We reached the top and looked out over the meadow. Not a person was to be seen. It didn’t take but a “minute” to climb the little rocks. There was no way this person could have vanished humanly. We always understood that God had sent an angel to impress upon Jeff his duty.
It had been about four years since the Holy Spirit dictated the book to me. The Holy Spirit now instructed me to go up into the mountains and buy a home for the ministry. This was not possible, I thought. I explained to the Holy Spirit that we were a non-profit with no savings, nothing of value, no income and no one would lend to us. All He said was, “Go”. Jeff and I went up into the mountains to do as we were told. We went from one real estate office to another and all we got were laughs. Finally, at one real estate office, a sales lady asked if my folks would be willing to co-sign. I knew they would, but I didn’t want to put them into that situation considering their age.
My folks agreed. Bringing all their financial documentation, we sat down at the desk. I looked up at the real estate agent and said, “What we really need is a seller who will sell us the home and carry the paperwork.” (To be honest, I have no idea where those words came from.) She told us that she did not have such a seller. However, from the back of the office a voice spoke up and said, “Did I hear you right? Are you looking for someone to hold the paperwork?” She told us that she had just the person. We all piled into the vehicles and went to the mountain home. The owner, her friend, didn’t even have it on the market yet. He was fixing it up to sell. We contacted him and he agreed to sell the home to the ministry.
A few months later Jeff left for Texas to find his mother. He ended up going to prison for two years. “Dad”, he wrote, “you were right, I should have stayed and never left. I’m coming home when I get out.” He didn’t. He got out and stayed there and in a few months was right back in prison. “Dad”, he wrote, “you were right, I should have come home. There is nothing for me out here.” However, over the years Jeff turned his back on the ministry for the world. His life has been full of prison and crime.
The Holy Spirit then instructed me to remodel the mountain home. This I could not understand. We had no money. What little we had hardly paid for the paper, ink, postage and other supplies and equipment needed to keep the books going to inmates. But He was very insistent. Fortunately, the neighbors up there were all in construction of some kind or other. With neighborhood assistance I began remodeling the home. We finished in about six months. It was wonderful. More room and very comfortable. I said, “Thank you Lord”. But then He said, “Sell it.” That broke my heart. What? I was enjoying the mountains. It was wonderful. Why sell? Where would we go? And how much could we get for it? Would it be enough to buy another place? These were questions I had. However, because He commanded, I called the real estate lady who sold us the house and ask her to sell it for us.
She came over and we filled out the paperwork. Then she asked how much we wanted to sell it for. We bought it for $80K. I told her that God told me to sell it for $120K. She laughed. It will never sell, she told me. Nothing up there was selling for that price. Not even close. I told her that was the price God told me to sell it for. We signed and she left. Three hours later she called and said she had a buyer. They bought it for $120K.
Now I needed a place for the ministry. Mom and I got into the car and headed for the High Desert of Victorville, California. I told the Lord we would take the first exit off the freeway and go to the first real estate place and see what they had. We did. We gave them the parameters of what we needed and they gave us five properties to look at. As we headed up the dirt road to the first property we saw a “4 sale” sign, but it was a house and we were looking for a trailer. The next property with a “4 sale” sign had a trailer, but it had water and power. The property we were looking for did not. When we did get to “our” property, it was a burned out trailer and we would never be able to use it.
We went back to the property with the trailer, water and power and called to inquire about it. They wanted $44K. We asked if they would take $35K. They said they would take $38K. With the proceeds from our mountain home we were able to pay off the four acre property in cash. With the balance, we contracted with Pacific Press Publishing Association to print our books. No more running around tables!
From 1997 through 2018 over 33,000 inmates have received from this ministry pamphlets, booklets, Bibles, books and the book “Change Your Life Biblically”. I write every inmate who writes me. I figured I have written over 120,000 inmates during this time.
Your help is needed to keep this ministry reaching inmates. Your donations do not go to salaries, incomes or private use. They go to the ministry to keep the ministry supplied with equipment to send God's truth to inmates. Please go to our newsletters to read letters from the lives of inmates who have been affected by God's truth.
I thank each and every one of you who loves Jesus so much that you continually, every month, sacrifice for this, His little ministry. So few love the truth. Your help is greatly needed at this time. Please remember us at tax time.