I have literally travelled the Western Hemisphere!
I was born in Minnisota on the Iron Range (north central, between Hibbing and Grand Rapids) in 1940. I was the first in my family on both sides to be born in a hospital. I was delivered by Dr. Stolen at the Grand Rapids Hospital. In 1986 Dr. Stolen delivered my granddaughter in the same hospital in the same room. Dr. Stolen who was 82 just happened to be there and no other doctor was available.
Mom made us go to church (the Finnish Lutheran Church). We had a farm and my Dad was an iron miner, a machinist in the iron mines. We milked cows, had to weed the garden everyday before we could go anywhere, and we'd go fishing and swiming. I found a man who had been lost for several days. I tracked him. The newspaper wrote an article about it and me and how I did it. I read the signs where he walked. I hunted a lot so I knew how to track. I shot my first buck when I was 10.
I went to Greenway High School in Colrain.
Studios did our class pictures and reunion pictures. You may be familiar already with his most famous work,
. An iron miner who posed for the picture is thanking God for the bread and the soup he was about to eat. My Dad and Grandpa knew the man in the picture personally.
One summer we went to a Vacation Bible Camp at Swan Lake. It didn't really impress me. The Baptists did impress me. After a few Sundays I realized I had memorized the content of their sermons and they never changed.
I always talked about the Lord and he pulled on my heart and I was offered a scholarship to finish Lutheran College in Michigan but I turned it down. At the time it didn't click for me. Instead, two buddies and I went to Colorado to work in the lumber camp. Ronnie enlisted in the Air Force and sold our car so we were on foot. Roger and I continued to work and then went back to Minnisota in September. Roger went to college and I was drafted. I joined the Air Force (1959) to beat the draft.
The Lord kept tugging at my heart. I went to A School (your first training to your air force career) in Amarillo, Texas. I finished A School and got orders to Seymore Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina, a SAC Base (strategic air command). I was an aircraft electrician and my secondary job was air police.
I met Barb and we got married and had a daughter in May of 1962. One day in October of 1962 we heard the sirens go off at the base at 0230 (2:30 am) and the phone rang and it was the base telling me to report immediately. We were taught that they never launch the alert aircraft unless it was the real thing. As we drove to the back gate of the base, we could see the B 52s going airborne and a chill went up our spines as we figured "a nuclear war with Russia???" I had to report to AP Headquarters because all the aircraft were gone and I had none to work on. My secondary job was AP (air police). I got sent to the Little Pentagon Command Center, where a plexiglass display of all U.S. military and world military were in their actual locations so at a glance the generals and admirals could see what was going on. My job was to guard the entrance coming into that room. General Courtis LaMay asked me if I would like a cup of coffee and a donut after I'd been sitting there for several hours. I said yes. He had a captain relieve me and I went in and sat down at a desk and had my snack. The red phone rang and LaMay bit down on his cigar as he was listening on the phone. When he hung up the phone, LaMay said, "10 more minutes and I would have bombed them back to the stone age." He had been on the phone with JFK. Kennedy called off the attack on Cuba. By now you realize this was the Cuban Missile Crisis. LaMay was the only person who could call it off and he could only receive orders from JFK. The B52 bombers would be the first to strike Cuba even before any other branch of the military including the navy. The Bay of Pigs invastion was in progress. So my having a coffee break just at that moment allowed me to witness the Cuban Missile Crisis stand-down. What a thing to witness! I felt relieved that we were not going to war because I was worried about my wife and family. Then they sent half of us home. I went home.
When I got home, it was 4 or 5 am and it was dark. I was taking my clothes off in the dark by the bed not wanting to wake anyone, and I looked out the window and there was a man taking the screen off and sliding the window open. I reached into the night stand, pulled out my revolver, and when he stuck his leg in, I pulled the trigger and the gun clicked. It was empty. Barb screamed. Joann screamed. As far as they knew we were at war and they didn't expect me back. The man ran as I continued to click the gun at him. After all the screaming stopped Barb told me what happened with the gun. She had been baby sitting Skipper, a young boy she baby sat. He had come in to the kitchen when she was fixing lunch and pointed the revolver at her with the hammer back and said, "Bang, you're dead!" All she could think of was to fall to the floor and told Skipper, "My turn!" And he gave her the gun with the hammer back. She emptied it and put the gun in the night stand. That was scary.
I got out of the Air Force in 1963 and went to Minnisota to Vocational Technical Training and I studied business management. There were no jobs there or in North Carolina so I enlisted in the navy and got sent to VP17 (patrol squadron) where I did aircraft maintenance as before. Then I joined the squadron in Sangley Point (the Philippines) and that's where I really came into being with the Lord. I read my Bible my sister had given for graduation from high school in 1959 daily. A friend of mine asked me if I would go with them and pray for the people in the hospital in town. We went to a cinder block church and got on our knees and prayed. I had never prayed like that before. Then some of them started
praying in tongues
(I Corinthians 14 written by the Apostle Paul).Then we got up and went to the hospital and walked in. It was like walking into a chicken coop, nothing like hospitals here in the U.S. There were open bays (rows of beds). The first bed we came to had an elderly lady laying there and we placed hands on her and prayed for her healing. She jumped up, praising the Lord in English and she didn't know a word of English! It amazed me. And after that I went to the services regularly at the cinder block church and on base.
We were in and out of Vietnam and Japan. In Japan I met a missionary couple who had been kept there throughout WWII by the villagers. Even though the man was tall and white and stood out like a sore thumb, he couldn't go anywhere but they kept him safe from the Japanese military and police. And his wife. I'd say it was four years. If the villagers had gotten caught hiding the enemy, they all would have been shot. I was totally amazed. But God does work miracles.
At this point in my life I understood the meaning of Jesus' last command which has been called the
. This is what we are to do until Jesus returns. So regardless of how I feel about talking with total strangers, I must do it and I also do it. We are commanded to do it in
while being sensitive to where people are at when we meet them (as Jesus was).
One Japanese begger sat on the street begging as his legs had been blown off. I would stop and talk with him in English. I asked him about his salvation and religion. He asked me what religion I was and I told him I was Christian. I asked him if he wanted to become a Christian and he said, "What religion is that?" In his way of thinking every denomination was a separate religion. It made me think I have to remember that when I'm in the mission field and witnessing. We know what denominations are, they don't. Denominations are historical manifestations which started in one place at one time and grew in isolation to become distinctive. That's a mouthful. To simplify it, the Methodist church started after John Wesley who was in the Anglican Church in England wanted to preach to the coal miners in the fields above where they worked. Anglicans stayed in buildings so when Wesley went to the open spaces, he was no longer Anglican. He got up early everyday and studied the Bible with such great discipline that he and others with him were called Methodists, as they followed a method. Baptists formed when the current church wanted to baptize babies. The people who were called Baptists wanted to baptize people only after they could make a rational decision about their faith. Usually, Baptists were baptized as adults or young people but not as babies. From these two examples, you can see, both groups read the Bible and followed it and Jesus as they felt was right. But both are Christian denominations. Not every person in a church is personally a born-again Christian, but there is only one religion, not many.
It's difficult for me to say when exactly I asked Christ to come into my heart. But I know when I was in the military running around the far east I saw alot of miracles. At some point in there I asked Christ to come into my life. Christ is real in my life today and all the things I've seen go on in my walk through life as I age I know he's there and on my heart all the time. All I have to do is pray in my heart for something and it will happen. I learned to speak in tongues as it was manifested to me by others. It just came out and it just comes out.
While I was on the U.S.S. Ranger in 1976 with VA113 (an attack squadron) while we were on a westpack (we were like a pack of wolves with a central carrier on patrol), we pulled into Hong Kong harbor for 5 or 6 days, drugs were readily available in the stores. When we pulled out to continue our tour, a sailor OD'ed on drugs and was pronouced dead. But the admiral came on the intercom and told all the
to report to the morgue and pray for the deceased young man that no one was going to die from drugs on his ship. Ted Spurgeon and others went down and prayed and laid hands on the deceased. They prayed for 4 hours and Ted came up and I asked how did it go? He said the young man is in the galley eating. How do you log that? The admiral was a great believer in the power of prayer. We had prayer on the ship every night at 9 pm just before taps (2100). I knew chaplains that knew what I was thinking even before I spoke as they were
Lucky for that young man and his family.
One night when I was in charge of the night shift of aircraft maintenance I was out on a sponson (what was once a gun emplacement jutting out over the water). I was contemplating about getting out of the navy and going into commercial aviation. A voice behind me said, "No, you're going to stay in the navy and retire from the navy because I am sending you to where you will need your retirement money." I turned around and said, "Who are you?" and there was nobody there as it was 3 am. It had to have been the Lord who spoke it. It was just like we are talking. Who else would care when I retire? If it were the commander of the ship, he would talk to me in his office during the day. So I stayed in the navy. That was 1976.
After I retired from the military (1981), I worked on oil rigs in Porta Ransis, Texas, but mainly as an electrician. The company closed so I went to San Angelo, Texas and worked as an electrician. While in San Angelo my boss asked me, "Aren't you going to take a vacation?" and I prayed in my heart, "Where should I go?"
I wanted three verifications
. I got home from work and picked up the mail. There was an Outdoor Life Magazine which I tossed on the bathroom floor. It fell open to Montana. The little kids came home from school all excited that they read about a state called Montana. Then the two oldest came home grumbling about having to write a report about a state called Montana. I said, "Thank you, Lord!" We packed up everything and came to Montana for vacation, stayed a while, then my daughter joined us, and she was pregnant and we went to Minnisota to go to school and that's when she had the baby girl delivered by the same doctor that delivered me. Cost of living was very high so I went back to San Angelo and went back to work as an electrician and went to Robert Chilton Bible College at night. I was going to a Spirit-filled church and Bible college and when I graduated I asked the Lord where should I go? He said, "I sent you to spy out the land. Go back and spread My Word." So I wound up back in Montana (1987).
I worked for Boeing on the missile systems in 1989-1990 in
, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado. I lived in my school bus made into a camper. I shared it with a friend. I stayed in each state a few months each and was made employee of the year in 1990.
My pit crew were playing hippie rock music which I couldn't stand so I openly bound the radio in the name of Jesus Christ and it stopped working! They were awestruck. Another man came over and asked, "Where is your music?" and he was headed for the truck and the pit leader told him, "Don't even try! Jake bound the radio in the Lord's name!" I had to laugh to myself.
When I came back from Wyoming I came back to Lewistown then moved to Moore then to Minnisota due to an inheritance. I came back to Montana and settled in Roy where I am today. Praise the Lord! I study my Bible daily and pray daily. I come to Lewistown on Thursdays and work as chaplain for the senior singles and pray for whomever needs prayer. I visit shut-ins (people who have difficulty getting out of their homes). If someone needs food, I help them out. God provides if we are willing to share. I shared elk meat today and fish and antelope. Elk is like beef but is leaner (less fat). Antelope is the best tasting. All fish is good.
One day I went to install insulation in my attic on the east side. I was crawling through the space and in the dim light I saw that my face was less than a foot away from an active wasp nest. The wasps were buzzing all around my head. I cried out, "Oh God, kill them!" and I backed out and left the attic. I went to town and got wasp bomb which you throw in to the attic. When I went back up in to the attic, the nest was laying flat on the joists (it had been up on the rafters) and there were dead wasps everywhere. I found another wasp nest in the basement under the front but the wasps were also dead. I haven't had any since! God answered my prayer of faith instantly!
Can I preach for a moment? Over my lifetime I have seen many instances of answered prayer while praying orally or aloud or in my heart silently without my lips moving. I have prayed prayers which I thought were not answered how I thought they should be. I have learned it's not always how I think it should be since His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and he knows the end of a matter whereas we only know what we want. But it's always worth praying because God knows and always answers. Amen. It may be yes, no or wait. It is never maybe. And often it is not in our timing. But he can kill wasps instantly
when you need help instantly and desparately
I'm 71 (2012) and I most probably became a Christian during the Cuban Missile Crisis (October, 1962) when we all prayed. So I've been a Christian for 50 years!
One memory I have is of one girl running down the street toward the camera in Vietnam with all her clothes burned off (I saw it on the news in 1967 or 1968). I wondered whatever became of her. I found out she married a Candian minister and is a missionary in Canada.
We'd been in the South Pacific and you see the Maltese Cross in the sky at night. We are on our way back and we're coming into the Straights of Malocca (Asia) when all of a sudden we are up on the fight deck and the ship starts turning a 180 at midnight. We get all excited and ask our radio men what's going on? He runs down to COM (communications center) and gets the info that we are going to back the Israelis on their raid on Entebbe to get their captives back from Idi Amin in Uganda. I remember as it broke daylight we were headed for the coast of Africa. The Russian Bear was following us which was bad. Our Phantoms (jets) were hovering over it. Later in the day we launched our bomber aircraft to take care of the ship that was left in the port of Entebbe. The Israelis got all their people out except for one who stood up (didn't obey the order to fall on the floor). It was exciting.
One day we were in Alongapo (Philippines) tied up at the pier having come in behind a typhoon. They were having boiler problems on the carrier and had to shut them down for repair. My buddies asked me to go to supper with them at the club. I refused and said, "I was going to eat surf and turf on the ship." As I sat down to eat a heaping plate of steak and lobster the call went out, "All hands man your battle stations. This is no drill." I ran up to my shop and reported in. There were three of us left on the ship in my division. The typhoon had reversed and had come back over us. We were tied to the pier and couldn't go anywhere. I was stuck in my shop for two days. I sure missed that surf and turf. I ate junk food only. The guys on shore got free food and everything! After that if they asked me to go with them, I always left the ship with them!
Another day in port, we were going to the club to eat. Our maintenance officer, the lieutenant commander, asked if he could go with us. He could not stand the new officers. He had been a POW (prisoner of war) for 6 years in the Hanoi Hilton. After that he always joined us when we went out because he said we knew the "old school."
I have recently applied for my U.S. passport which the Lord laid on me to do. It's in the mail. He had told me to take along a believing wife.
I Cor 9:5
Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord?
I haven't been married in 12 years. My third wife OD'ed which made me single again. So the Lord puts things in our way and he will have to take care of the future believing wife.
If you want to contact me, please use email@example.com (jj l fish with no spaces). I check my email daily.
Last Updated: 01/23/2015