TESTIMONY BEGINNING IN 1967 ON HIGHWAY # 1
My journey in this ERA OF REVIVAL among the COUNTER CULTURE HIPPIES and STUDENT RADICALS began on a lonely Highway called # 1 on the coast of beautiful Monterrey County in the middle of my darkest night.
I was trying to chase down one of my younger brothers, who had just stolen some property from a motor cycle bandit, and almost had my friend blugened in the cyclists rage. I wanted to get some of what he stole as some kind of compensation for the trouble that he had caused. I took an over the counter medicine to help me stay awake, as I hitchhiked down Highway 101 that night from the San Francisco Bay. I got a ride to Highway #1 in the darkest and most desolate place on the freeway in Salinas Valley that one could imagine. I just looked at my shadow in the moon light and wondered where I was going, and how was I to get there. I was picked up all of a sudden in the middle of the night and dropped off on an equally desolate appearing curve in the rode on Highway # 1.In Monterrey County in the middle of what appeared to be no where, in the dark.
I went down to the beach that night and pulled my little pocket knife out and stuck it into the sand next to me in case some maniac tried to attack me. I feel asleep in a fitful night made up of cold and shear blackness. I had imaginations of multi- colored beasts coming out of the ocean surf and swallowing me up, or dragging me out to sea. It was a horrible black and cold night, with just a light jacket to try and keep me warm, which didn't happen.
THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN IT WAS DAY I woke up to see a black robed priest walking along an incredibly white sanded beach with a beautiful little chapel perched on it. I wasn't dreaming I was actually seeing this with my own eyes. little did I know that I had spent the night on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It was so dark that I couldn't see it. I woke myself up and shuttered towards the green Monterrey Pine treed Highway. I stuck my thumb out and cursed in my heart the long haired hippie types of people that past me, just the like straight squares that they were all suppose to be so different from. Years later a friend of mine told me that being HIP is just short for being a HYPOCRITE. But here I was now thoroughly DISILLUSIONED by the lack of brotherly love among the so seemingly, brotherhood of the PEACE AND LOVE GENERATION. It was the year of the climax of the SIXTIES generation,THE SUMMER OF LOVE,it was all downhill from there.
As I stood there hoping in my heart that someone would take pity , and pick me up so that I could shake off the early morning cold all of a sudden stopped and gave me a ride some miles down the road, then dropped me off in another deserted area on the side of a cliff over looking the Pacific Ocean. As I stood there at first disturbed that I didn't get a longer ride, I began to realize the beauty of the place I was in. It was still somewhere in mid morning and the sun began to warm my skin through my light jacket and clothes. I looked out over the ocean (deserted as I felt), yet awed at the SERENITY and BLUE GREEN TRANSFIXED VISION of the place I was in. Along with the clear sweet air and brown dirt I stood there soaking in the beauty and serenity. I thought to myself that in spite of my cold night and present hunger, that I am in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. While I was absorbing mountains to my right and the translucent oil painting like ocean to my left and feeling an unusual peace, all of a sudden a large late model Oldsmobile pulled off the road in front of me, and stopped. A kind gentle man in travel leisure clothes said "where are you going". I said to Los Angeles and he responded by saying "come in I'm going there to". I couldn't believe it, here was a strait looking man in the most strait looking car that you could ever imagine stopping and giving me a lift, after so many long haired or supposedly hip people passed me by. I was thoroughly disillusioned with the so called LOVE AND PEACE GENERATION that I was ready for a change, and GOD KNEW IT. This kind and gentle man somewhere in his fifties or sixties and healthily feed, introduced himself as a Christian and began to share with me things that I never expected. He started by telling me about the LOVE OF JESUS and though I was bewildered I listened because he stopped and I was in a warm beautiful car, on the road again. He told me of his wife who has passed away a little earlier and how he is looking foreword to being with her in HEAVEN WITH JESUS. I was polite and listened, even though I had never heard any one talk so assuredly about HEAVEN and that he new he was on his way there. The things that struck me the most was his AURA THAT SEEMED TO BE AROUND HIM, FILLED WITH THE LOVE OF JESUS. I NEVER FELT SUCH LOVE COMING FROM ANYONE in my life as he spoke about GOD. For the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I FELT LIKE GOD LOVED ME.
Not long after the gentlemen me up near the beginning of the most beautiful setting of land meeting ocean possibly in the world. We came to a stunning sea cliff side restaurant Coffee Shop on the most gentle area of exquisite beauty, near San Simeon and Hearst Castle. He asked me If I was hungry and I was stunned to find that he offered to buy me breakfast. I thought I was in Heaven, to use a figure of speech. The Sixties and the world had been so cruel towards the end 1967 that I just leaped in my heart to be sitting at a table in the morning with a view. I ate and drank every word he said, because he backed what he was saying by love and action. He took me next through San Louis Obispo, where he was so in the Spirit telling me about the love of Jesus, and how he was going to see his wife one day in Heaven, that Satan got into a man in front of him who slammed on his brakes and we gently hit him from behind. it was all so good, the gentlemen didn't even flinch, nor was upset, no bad works, not even a darn. He just simply got out of the car and exchanged license, insurance and registration with the owner of the other vehicle and we were on our way again. The gentlemen drove me right to the front door of my father and mothers home in Encino California. but I was ashamed of the place they were living in for some reason at the time, and asked to be let out next door. Then climbed the neighbors fence and went into my mothers home, with the gentlemen right behind me. Somehow the Lord showed him the house that I really went to, how I'm not sure, but the Lord wasn't going to let go of me that easy, especially since the kind man had invested so much time witnessing to me. He talked with my mother a great deal, they shared their faith with each other and my mother was so thankful to God and the gentlemen. Because she hadn't heard from me for over a year of more and had been praying to God that I would come back home safely, and saved.
My mother then took me to a doctor, who told her that I could only have six months to live, the way my life was going. Because I had come down with Hepatitis Type A twice, and I was only 19 years old. Unless I stopped taking drugs, pills and changed my lifestyle in general. She also took me to Angeles Temple in downtown Los Angeles, where a little known piano player and singer named Andre' Crouch was performing during a prayer service. A black women got up and began giving a testimony like I had never heard before, about needing rent money, then after prayer when she opened the door of her apartment, the money was there somehow. I had never heard such singing, music shouting, praying and preaching in my life. I was raised a Catholic and that was all that I really know about formal Christianity before. Now I was in an old fashion Pentecostal Revival Prayer Fellowship Meeting. I was stunned again, God was truly reaching out to me in ways that i had never experienced. I was unsure of the whole process at the time, the meeting with it's beautiful black housewife looking preacher giving her testimony and all. But I was impressed enough to let some of the elders or members of the special meeting to pray for me. As they started praying they started shouting and crying out to the Lord all at once, a whole handful of them laying hands on me while my head was bowed. I was startled, dazed, confused, but kept letting them pray. I started getting warm, uncomfortable and started towards the door after they were through. I thought I needed to get out and get some air, I was so bewildered and dazed with the spectacle that I decided without any guilt from anyone, to reach into my pocket and throw my cigarettes away.
I was wondering what to do next, the Shrine Auditorium was so full that the fire department had closed the doors, because it had reached its capacity. Inside moving among some seven thousand people, was the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ,He was healing many of them. I had just hitchhiked with my future wife, Becky Kettenhofen from the San Francisco Bay Area, all the way to L.A. to attend this Miracle Service, and to visit my parents Ritva and Arkady Romanowsky. The woman of God who was conducting the service was named Kathryn Kuhlman, she was a tall red-haired, white skinned, a beautiful woman, well on in her years. While I was listening to the music on the external loud speakers in front of the Shrine, a tremendous presence came into me, rushing suddenly like a spiritual wind into my heart and my mind. It felt exactly as though a channel of wind split in two, and parted half into my mind, and half into my heart. I never before had such an experience, nor have I experienced anything to this degree since, only various degrees, because, this was the NEW BIRTH that I later would learn, was foretold in the BIBLE. Truly, it can be said, that this is the MOTHER OF ALL SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES, because it deals with the initial SALVATION of ones SOUL. Hallelujah and GLORY TO GOD ALMIGHTY, may HE SHAKE EARTH with HIS GLORY, amen.
Hallelujah! after the HOLY SPIRIT came into my heart and mind, I was stunned, amazed, I had never experienced anything like this before in my life. I was walking on air, clouds,IN HEAVEN. Even though my initial reaction was fear, that was losing my mind. Every time an angel appeared to someone in the Bible, the first thing the angel would have to say is 'FEAR NOT'.Because most people do not experience things of this supernatural nature every day. In a split second, in a moment, after I felt this WIND THAT SEEMED TO GO RIGHT THROUGH ME, into my mind, into my heart, I thought I was losing my mind. I pictured myself being carried away in an ambulance, in front of the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles. Then I realized, that this wasn't some kind of horrible major flash back from the sixties, it was something different, something I never felt before, real inner peace in my mind, real joy in my heart. Even thought the initial SUPERNATURAL EXPERIENCE was so awesome a feeling. After walking in a SUPERNATURAL DAZE, IN FRONT OF THE SHRINE, I felt exactly like one would feel, I imagine, when one dies, and goes to Heaven. There was no sense of fear or guilt before God. It was though I had never sinned, nothing stood between me and my Creator. No sense of guilt or shame. After what seemed like hours, days, an eternity, I began to come back on my feet to the ground. I was stunned amazed no one had ever told me of such an experience to be had, except by saints and a saint I wasn't, or certainly didn't feel like one before. In fact, I was a sinner and had to come to that conclusion, that I couldn't save myself, by being good in my own power.
I don't remember anyone telling me of such an experience, 'HEAVEN ON EARTH'. I thought all I would have to do is describe it to anyone that would listen, and they would instantly believe. I turned to me future wife Becky, but she was literally in a corner at the Shrine, and was just shaking her head, in disbelief. She later said that I completely changed,to the point that she didn't even know me any more. I was that changed, I shaved my head when a barber gave me a fifties style haircut, I read the Bible constantly. I was in meetings all the time, she was very tolerant, but had a sad experience in the formal church where she attended Sunday school. She started crying when she looked around one Sunday morning, and no one seemed to be taking the gospel seriously, so she drifted away, til I meet her in a commune in 1966. But now things have changed, I was the one on fire for The Lord, jumping up and down on the couch, sometimes with joy, sometimes with frustration, why couldn't she see. Later on in a Christian Coffee House called the Crown of Life, in Mill Valley Calif. at the Assembly of God Church. She was born again. But now, I was a new creation, heaven came down to my heart, I was walking on air, I had a mission. I felt, from the day I was born again, that I had to tell somebody, somebody, anyone, that would listen. I have been doing that, to this day, with brief interruptions. From that day on,I knew what I had to do, the ministry, was my calling. After their initial new birth experience, we were going home to the San Fernando Valley in the suburbs of Los Angeles, where my mother and father lived, and while traveling up the Hollywood Freeway, I began to wonder if I could have experienced this through Buddha,or some other way, JUST THEN the CROSS on the HOLLYWOOD FREEWAY APPEARED IN MY VIEW.
HOLY CROSS ON HOLLYWOOD HILL
The cross began to burn with love into my heart again, like the feeling I had in front of the Shrine Auditorium, the love I felt was indescribable, the joy I felt was out of the world, beyond anything I ever experienced before, these were the feelings, the experiences, the facts, in front of the Shrine, and before the cross. This settled my doubts forever, that Jesus was the only way, to experience this NEW BIRTH. People may have other names for HIM in other lands a cultures, but they better have the person right, of they will not experience this SALVATION. There is only one way to the FATHER through the HOLY SPIRIT, no matter the up bringing, culture, geography, name you use, it better spell JESUS, SALVATION, SAVIOR, because that's what HIS NAME MEANS in the ORIGINAL HEBREW. After that experience never again have I had any serious doubt that Jesus is the FIRST BORN from the dead, the CO- CREATOR with the FATHER and the only one that ultimately can bring one to the throne room of GOD. It's not to say that there are not other prophets and holy men on earth past and present, but I am testifying that JESUS is the ONLY WAY that I could have been brought to the THRONE ROOM. Upon returning home, life was different from then on, people, my friends, began to quiz me and even ridicule me testing me to see if I would break. but I didn't, they did, one after the other, they came to me in the night to really talk to me about what happened. Though before, in the day, they mocked me. Yes you will be mocked also and tested, when you believe to the point of the NEW BIRTH in God in Christ by His Spirit, but withstand the test, complete your trial, for in doing so, you will be like the angels, saints, most holy.
THE FINAL SHOW DOWN WITH MY BEST FRIENDS
upon returning home, as I shared already, my friends tested and taunted me. But the final show down was like this. All were gathered together one day in the commune I lived in. Since my future wife and I were the only ones paying rent. i had to give my best friends their ultimatum. They had to leave the house. One by one after a very dramatic scene, they walked out the front door. The last thing my ex-former girlfriend Sally said, was that I didn't have a friend in the world. She was right, the world walked out my front door. I locked the door, and for the first time, in the history of the commune, there was no traffic. I only person of note that was not there, was my old best friend Wes Holk who was in Viet Nam. He came home later, a changed person, but not ready yet to receive Christ as Lord, like my friends before him, he tested me. But later like the rest, he came to me in the night, to ask me if It was really true. Yes there is a price to pay to commit your life to Jesus Christ. But remember, He paid it for you in advance and all you have to do is receive and believe, separate yourself in your heart from the things of this world that you know are harmful and He will give you the strength to walk away from those things. That's all I asked of God that He would give me the power to walk away from my sins. He did with the NEW BIRTH which I wasn't even expecting. I just wanted the inner strength to be whole. I literally asked God to give me something better then I already had and I would follow, very simple.
HOME OF MY OWN FOR THE FIRST TIME
After my best friends all left me I locked the door of the commune I was living in and found for the first time that I had my own home. My future wife and I shared this house and began attending First Baptist Church of Sausalito. After a few months I began to wonder if I was married before God and man. In my mind I felt committed and married yet my heart was bothering me. It was the sixties, I had asked Becky to marry me and was committed all the way, but she felt that her father would have a heart attack (to use a figure of speech) so we never got formally married. We both felt that true love was more important then just a piece of paper. But my heart was still nagging me. So one night when I asked the Lord to show me if I was really married or not, the words fornication moved across my vision like a moving sign. I knew then, that I was not married, the Lord showed me without condemnation. He had already excepted me as I was, now He was cleaning me. You have to catch a fish first, before you can clean it an old timer said years later.We continued living in the house together, but in separate rooms. The next few months were wondrous, joyous filled with personal victories. God saw me thorough the good times and the bad. The bad times were far and few the good times seemed to last forever. I couldn't hardly wait to wake up in the morning to see what God had in store for me today. Those early days were wondrous and glorious, 'before ye pray, I will answer' so the good book teaches and so was the wondrous experiences of the early days. Like a child, God provided for in marvelous ways, by answering the earliest prayers. For instance when a dog would be barking it's head off with saliva flying from it's mouth, with only a fence to protect me, " a wire one at that", God would silence the raging beast in an instance by His angel's, least I have my peace disturbed.