I was born in East L.A. and grew up in the San Fernando Valley until I was 11 years old. At that time, we moved to Arroyo Grande.
Although, my Grandpa and Grandma Green were Apostolic preachers, my parents never went to church, nor took us. I have a couple of faint recollections of my Grandma Green locking herself in the cellar and praying for several days seeking God for her lost family. She passed away when I was 4 years old and my Grandpa Green a few years later.
But, I have an Aunt Alpha (my dad's baby sister) who lived for God and would pick us up occasionally for church. She tells stories of how she would hold me on her lap during service and I wouldn't utter a peep. We attended Sunday School in Burbank and Van Nuys when some saint from the church would pick us up. We tended to move quite often in my childhood years, so it was "hit and miss" attending church.
After we moved to Arroyo Grande, I began to seek for the Holy Ghost when I was 12 years old. I was attending church at the Gospel Lighthouse in Grover City at that time. Bro. Cobb was the pastor. As time went on, I drifted away from the church. My Aunt Alpha and Uncle Bill, and their daughter Carolyn always were a strong influence in my life though.
Reaching the teenage years, I began to drink and party. I hung out with the "cowboy" crowd and was always the "life of the party." As I approached my senior year of high school, life as I was living it began to get old. I became very dissatisfied with the direction it was heading. I had seen my dad's life and knew if I kept going in the direction I was heading I would turn out just like him. One night as I sat on my bed, I took my shotgun out, loaded it and contemplated killing myself. I knew what I needed was something that lasted, and that was God.
I began attending the Gospel Lighthouse again. One night, after seeking for the Holy Ghost, the pastor, Bro. Billy Fulguim, asked me if I wanted to be baptized in Jesus Name. I said sure. On November 24, 1974, I was baptized in a horse trough out in the Sunday School annex, and came out of the water speaking in tongues! My first thought was "This is it! This is what I have been looking for!"
I began my walk with God. My life changed drastically. No longer were parties, drinking, and running around the foremost activities in my life. Now it consisted of the things of God. I began to invite my buddies to church, trying to win them to God. Many of my old friends came to church with me. It was quite a sight to see that row of cowboy hats in the church!
After attending church faithfully for a year or so, I began to get discouraged. I began to backslide towards that old lifestyle again. One night after attending a party with my girlfriend, as I drove home, I decided to stop at a 7-11 on the Pike in Arroyo Grande to get something to drink. I never made it there. I pulled over on the side of the Pike and passed out at the wheel. I didn't realize my foot was pushing the throttle down causing the engine to roar until it blew up and caught on fire. As my car was burning, slowly making its way into the interior of the car, where I was passed out, God used a teen-age girl who was awake because she was sick and couldn't sleep. My car was parked right in front of her house. As it exploded and caught on fire, she heard it and looked out and saw what was happening. She called the fire department, who showed up shortly thereafter. My next recollection was being handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. That officer looked at me and told me "Son, you are a lucky young man. A few more minutes, and you would have been a fried potato." That same night another young man who was backslid also was hit and killed. God was so merciful to spare my life. After about a year of being miserable, I came back to God, praying through to the Holy Ghost again. Since then, I have never looked back! God's goodness and mercy is ever present in my life.