It was the weekend I was looking forward to. I got off about 2:oo O'clock, Friday and was in high spirits as this was the time I would get the keys to my new apartment, call my wife and fly them over to Charleston where our new life would begin. It was a bleak, overcast day out with gray skies. Chilly, of course, with a very light drizzle hardly noticeable, but I was happy to be at liberty and get a place to sleep off the ship. I couldn't wait to get to the Exchange, buy some blankets, pillows, food and etc. to fix up my apartment.
Little did I know whom I was about to meet. But first I went to call my wife and let her know I was getting the place together and they could go ahead and fly over across the country to meet me. I desired to be with her SSSSSOOoooo bad and then my life would be complete. But being as a calling card was a rarer concept then than it is now, I went to a pay phone to call her collect. This may have been part of the reason I didn't call her as often as I would have liked due to the fact that I felt embarrassed that I called collect.
Now this is important so remember what I'm about to write here as being one of the most important facts in this whole story! So I told her that all things were ready for her to fly out, but she said "I can't come yet…. Call me back Tuesday." Now here is the important part and without this fact none of the things of this picture that happened that weekend could have happened. God allowed me to be dumb! Or you could use the word stupid or foolish or whatever word you choose to use but I really thought in my "narrow brain" at that time that I wasn't supposed to call her back until Tuesday so I didn't! But 2 days later things had changed for her and she was free from the apparent situations and problems she had to take care of and was waiting for my call as it was New Year's day!! And here I didn't even call her on New Year's day, Sunday to wish her Happy New Year! That's dumb. I found out later that she was waiting for my call and was ready on Sunday to fly over but had no way of calling a guy on a ship during an off weekend who just got a place out in town of course! But as this story goes on you'll see it was a good thing that I didn't. In fact after what was supposed to happen happened I thanked God I hadn't called her. When I conveyed all these facts to her about three weeks later there were tears in her eyes. Now if you think about my work schedule and put all the facts together you'll see what I mean. If things had not happened the way it did this whole thing could not have happened the way it did.
Even though I was a little bit let down by the situation I was still in quite an up mood after this. I think it was because I was glad to have the time off and place of my own off the ship where I could spend time with God during the weekend. So my plan was still to do the same things as I was going to do anyway. Of course I didn't have a car to do all this shopping with and it seems to me now that I was so happy that the difficulty of it all was not even considered. Besides it turned out that it didn't wind up mattering after all as the Lord was about to bless me.
I walked from the pay phone to the end of the parking lot at pier Charlie where the driveway turns out into the road to do what I usually did in those days. Hitch hike! So I stuck out my thumb and by the Lord's mercy I did not have to wait very long at all.
A big brown Ford truck pulled over to pick me up. In I got and who should it be but
the brother I wrote of before named Richard! He recognized me from our having met once and said "Hey, how ya doing?" I said, "Brother, I've been wanting to talk to you." Then I told him about what had transpired with me and how I had recently spoken with the Chaplain about him, etc. And here finally I met someone who was completely open to my fellowship concerning the Recovery of the assembly life. He actually heard me out on the concept of the proper unity, etc. He was receptive to the point that the oneness, which I had felt in Los Angeles because of those in agreement on the proper ground of unity, was there again! I felt it again for the first time since I had been in San Diego. This brother began to agree with me. That oneness was there! That which you cannot gain in ANY Pentecostal church or Methodist church or Lutheran church. You can't find it anywhere else except THERE! There on the ground of unity. As we were going he told me he would help me out by taking me to the Commissary food store to stock up my Refrigerator for my family and also to get some pillows and blankets to put on the floor so we could sleep and also various other things we would need to start up a household. I had no furniture so things were rough to start out with.
At that point Richard asked me where I had my new place at. When I told him I got a place at Devonshire Apartments he was surprised because that's where he lived! Then he said that after taking me to the store to pick up a few things and helping me out he wanted me to stick with him and fellowship with him and go back to the ship with him as he had to swing back by there and pick up his wife. I said "Your wife!??"
You see, husbands and wives are not supposed to be together in the Navy at the same command, but in this case they were both Holland sailors and met each other there and tied the knot and the Navy usually re-assigns one of the two to another shore duty or neutral duty command some where else depending upon the needs of the Navy. At this point the Navy had not yet had the tiome to process the paperwork proving that they were even married yet so it was quite some time before they re-assigned Richard to another ship.
So we went to the Commissary and Exchange and got the stuff into my apartment. It is a good thing he was there to help because the light drizzling rain became somewhat heavier and the walk is a little too long to get that stuff to my place. The Devonshire apartments were configured as several different buildings, each with about 8 to 12 apartments in each building. When I brought my pillows and blankets and food and various other things to my place that was all there was because we had no furniture as of yet. I had to lay the bedding things on the floor, which was covered with a dull yellow carpet. But Richard's apartment was not much different as they had recently moved in also and also were a young recently married couple. Their apartment was also pretty bare with only an occasional beanbag and was about the same except theirs was a brown carpet. Any way, as far as the location of theirs to ours it was about 4 stone throws away or a 4 to 5 minute walk.
After this we went back to pick up Richard's wife. When I saw her I remembered that I had seen her onboard ship before but would have never guessed who she might be. Her name was
Ny, a very precious sister in Christ. After this they took me out that night and we had a very good time of fellowship. I shared with them many of the things I shared with you in this book and they could hear what I was saying with their heart and their experiences because they had both passed through an odd set of circumstances. But they did not understand the teaching or the Biblical terms of the things they knew in their hearts in the way I explained to both their heart and their head so there was some questions brought up as a result.
Three Stones Built Together
After this they said let's get together tomorrow again and hang out and fellowship. I said this is good, OK. So we did.
December the 31st, 1983
The next day I began realizing what a coincidence it was for God to have us in the same apartment complex and for the fact that we agreed on the same things about the oneness and the blessing on the ground thereof. The reason for this was that they had had some previous experience without planning it They had been at a place with the ship called Diego Garcia, an island in the middle of nowhere where many Naval operations are conducted. There is not much "institutional church" in an official way there so somehow there was a get together of Christians from off of the ship in a camp meeting type form and they slept in tents. One time they sat around in a big circle in the midst of their tents and somehow agreed that they were members of one another and to drop their differences and … THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED!!!! I am convinced it must have been true for Richard and
Ny are not the only ones who told me. There were others since then that said there was such a presence of God there that night and it could only be remembered as "special." This can be easily explained. Because they chose to drop division and be in unity as all those who believed in one locality and that locality was an island on the Pacific called Diego Garcia.
It did not end with that one night from what I heard but the sweet fellowship went on. (By the way that island is where the both of them met and tied the knot.) They said they would meet at unique times in the passageways of the ship and at unique moments God would meet their unique needs. Also another sign of the true unity was present: God's speaking was there. There seems to be no end to the Lord's communicating to His children where this unity exists. I have seen it over and over and its not weird visions and supernatural out of body experiences as much as revealing His word day by day in a very vital way. The windows of heaven had opened on that island. Why? It was because these Christians were meeting on the proper ground of oneness without even knowing it.
So this was why in their heart and spirit they knew what I was talking about, but in their head they had never heard it the way they heard it that day because I was talking scriptures they never knew before and from an angle they had never considered from before. When I explained the Word to them how they could experience the abundant life, not just the Christian life, BUT the BODY life. The life of Jesus Christ is in His Body just as your life is in your body and He LIVES A BODY LIFE!! The eternal life is the life of God and is best lived and flourishes in a Body. My life is in this body writing this book right now. It's not somewhere else out on the porch while the real me or just the shell of the real me is in here doing this. Where am I? I am in my body. If you take my body and cut it into different pieces, which piece will my life be in? Answer is it won't be in any of them. Those pieces will just be the pieces of a dead corpse. AND YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE WITHOUT THE BODY OF CHRIST! HOW? The eternal life is in the Body of Christ! So we've got to avoid division at all cost. A big point of this book is that we must avoid division at all costs.
We had such good fellowship because they began to agree with me that there was the "church at Thyatira" (KJV of course), the "church in Smyrna" and etc. In other words there can only be one assembly in one locality. And as they were seeing this is so and were agreeing with me there was the flow there! I could feel the flow that only happens in the real Body relationship once again! At one point during that day the brother and I were in his truck going somewhere and were melted into tears. As we were we talked later and found we were both thinking on the same thing concerning the relationship of the Father to us as sons.
After this this precious couple took me to the mall and we ate out and again we got into fellowship some more. And since it was New Year's Eve, we stayed up quite late. Finally as I was about to walk over to my place and turn in for the night after such a blessed day, they told me: "brother, why don't you come with us tomorrow morning and we'll go to the Fire Escape?" So I took their suggestion as the plan for the next day and headed out the door.
As it turned out though, I never did make it to the fire Escape next morning, as it was not ordained of God for me to do so at that time. You will see why in the proceeding chapters.
BACK: Chapter 17 FWD: Chapter 19
Copyright © 2011 by Kevin “the NorthWest”. Non-commercial use permitted.
Kevin “the NorthWest”