In 1964 my dad moved our family to Santa Rosa, California. My mom, always eager to “turn over a new leaf”, announced that I would attend church that coming Sunday. By now I was 15 and protested the decision to attend a small neighborhood church. In the end my mom prevailed with this simple proposition, “Just go this once and if you do not like it you never have to go again”. I considered this a rare opportunity. By putting in one hour I could get the church issue behind me, for the time being, at least.
On Sunday I appeared at the front of the Santa Rosa Bible Church. Before I could make my way to the door I was met by a couple of young people my age, who took me directly to the Sunday School class in which I belonged. When class time was over and I prepared to leave they pressed me to join them in the Sunday morning service. As I walked from that service I was invited to the evening youth activity. At the end of that activity I was invited to the evening service. I was beginning to think that all of this was a little much. I had thought I would be done with this in an hour and now I have been in church for five hours on one Sunday!! The High School group had a social gathering after evening church. As we prepared to return home, someone invited me to the Bible Club meeting on Wednesday. Thursday afternoon, while alone The Holy Spirit made me alive and I put my trust in Christ my Lord and Savior. I have never forgotten how God used the love and acceptance of these young people to expose me to the Gospel Good News of Christ
Direction into Ministry
The first week I was saved, I scraped together all the money I had, called my pastor to ask advice, and then went down and bought a leather bound Bible”. I opened it randomly and my eyes fell on this verse
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise--"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Eph. 6:1-3
I was immediately convicted that my life had to change completely. I read the Bible constantly through High School, listened to Christian preaching on the radio and attended church whenever there was something going on.
On my sixteenth birthday my high school leader gave me a concordance, and a commentary on the book of Romans. He then taught me how to do a word study at his dining room table. From that time on I knew I must study and know the Bible. That began a process of God’s transforming power in my life that is still going on. I give praise to God for His faithfulness to a fallen sinner like me. What a flood of Grace has been poured out on one lost sheep. Thank You Lord Jesus.
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6
During my junior year of High School God strongly prompted me to abandon the plans I had for my life and career and pursue Christian Service. It took me only a few minutes to exchange my plans for His, while at a camp meeting in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I really did wonder what God might ask me to do, but felt great peace about leaving the decision to Him.
God ordered my steps to Western Baptist Bible College [Now Corban College] where my pastor had attended. I began my formal education in the Bible that fall. Two years later the College moved to Salem, OR. I followed the school there and graduated with a Bachleor of Science in Bible. Ginny and I attended the University of North Dakota's Summer Institute of Linguistics in preparation for missionary service in Irian Jaya [New Guinea].
More recently God brought me to The Cornerstone Seminary where I completed the MDiv degree program. God has graciously used Cornerstone Seminary and its professors to ignite a renewed desire in me for the preaching of the Cross. I am frankly amazed at how easy it is to become a "professional clergyman" when we are actually called to be preachers of the Cross of Christ. By His Grace, my education finally returned to its original starting point...."To know Christ and Him Crucified."
I continue my education every week in my study. I have yet to fully read all the great books God has allowed me to own. The Bible itself seems an unfathomable mine of treasure and Christ is continually pressing His loving and gracious claims upon my life. In addition, I am able to attend numerous Bible conferences and mini seminars throughout the year and to take many others alone with me on the journey.
While at Western Baptist Bible College I met Ginny Cole. We were married in June of 1970. We returned to live in Salem, Oregon where the college had moved so that I could finish my degree.
Today we have four children. Two grown sons and two grown daughters. Abigail our 22 year old daughter is a special needs young woman and lives with us. All the rest of our children have studied hard and are either established in their lives or nearly so.
As of this moment we are also happy grandparents to three beautiful granddaughters and two fine grandsons. Our family is a blessed gift from the Lord to us.
Ginny and I just celebrated our 40th anniversary this year .
Ginny and I were appointed to the mission field with Unevangelized Fields Mission in the summer after our marriage. We began deputation the next summer after I finished college. We moved out of our home and into a 1968 VW van. We kept that quiet at the time because we did not want anyone to know we were technically homeless. This was the only way we could afford to do our deputation ministry. When people invited us in we stayed with them and when they did not we just drove on down the road.
In the summer of 1974 we attended Linguistics training at the University of North Dakota. This was the final step in our training to become Bible Translators in the highland area of Iraian Jaya, New Guinea.
We had now been on deputation for over two years and were hardly any closer to having our support than when we began. Each time that we would receive new support, the mission would tell us that the minimum requirements had been raised again due to inflation. At times we were actually going backwards. The increased needs were outdoing the increased support. We began to wonder why this seemed to be going this way.
That fall we attended a missions conference with several other missionary couples. Among them was a brother from Italy. Ginny and I were strongly impressed with the needs there. After several days, I remarked to Ginny, "If I was not appointed to, and heading for New Guinea, I would think God was drawing my heart to Italy." Her response was, "You Too!"
God changed our direction in a most remarkable way that week. Two months later we attended a candidate school for Worldwide European Fellowship and just six months later, on our fifth anniversary, we arrived in Europe. We remained there for nearly six years.
While in Italy, we learned the language, I preached in Italian at least twice a week. God led us to found a FM radio station and then a recreation center for street kids. Our little church numbered about 25 then. It was in Italy that God gave us our first child in the winter of 1981. We returned home later that year.
Upon our return to North America, God led us to pastor in Garden Valley, CA. This was Ginny's home church and while there we were able to start a Christian School and encourage a lot of giving to missions. We had missionaries almost every month at some points of the ministry. God gave us a lot of joy and pain during those years along with many life long brothers and sisters in Christ.
God directed our steps from Garden Valley after fifteen years there. We worked for a couple of years in home church ministry, then in 2002 I became a Associate Pastor of Visitation at Gold Country Baptist Church in Shingle Springs, CA. God again brought many dear brothers and sisters into our lives. We were blessed to be able to pray for, visit and teach them. We realized again how God's people, His Church, are vital to one another.
It was during our time at Gold Country Baptist that God led me to Cornerstone Seminary where I began my studies leading to a Masters of Divinity. I received my MDiv in 2007.
In the fall of 2004, under the Elders at Community Bible Church in Vallejo, we planted our present ministry, Community Bible Church of Placerville, CA. If your are reading this then you are already on our site and can make yourself acquainted with our mission and ministry.
Ministry for me has come full circle. I started out wanting to serve and please Christ. I spent a lot of years doing "church work" instead. Yes...it is possible for pastors and missionaries to do the work for the church or for the mission and not for the Glory and worship of their Lord. God has graciously returned me to my first love. I now know that only He can grant the soft heart of flesh upon which He writes. He alone grants the knowledge of Himself in all His splendor, that we might love Him with all our heart. May God grant such knowledge to each of you, not because of what you do, but because of what He has done for you. He has made you His blessed child, taking up residence in your hearts for His Glory.
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21