For some reason I have always been drawn to two particular branches of history, military history with an emphasis on unconventional warfare, and the history of the Russian revolution. My passion for the first came when I was still in my early teens during the Vietnam war. I was a young man in a family that valued military service and the difficulties of guerrilla warfare captured my interest.
My passion for the second came about the same time as I became interested in the writings of Karl Marx as well as revolutionary guerrilla leaders like Che Guevera and Mao Tse Tung. It was a time when communist philosophy was in vogue and I was drawn to the high-sounding ideals myself.
At the time I had a cousin, Denny, with whom I was very close. He was a ‘Jesus freak’ but it never seemed to come between us that we had divergent philosophical views. We had similar family backgrounds and related on a much closer bond than surface politics. He had something that made me keep coming back to him. I think it was his honest concern for my well being. I was not aware that he had shared with his Pastor how often he had prayed for his family, including me. He asked his Christian friends often to pray for us as well.
In 1975, Denny was killed in an accident and at his funeral I remember staring at his coffin there in front listening to his pastor challenge us all with those prayers for us. I felt an overwhelming sense of a love I could not resist. I came back for more in the weeks to come and became close to some of Denny’s old friends in the church youth group.
That stirring of love led me at last to ‘accept Jesus as my personal Lord and savior.’ With time, I became convinced that God would have me be a missionary in communist countries…..