Still not a Christian, I regularly walked to church, often by myself, was baptized, sang in the choir, was involved in the youth group, and was interviewed by the church board to receive scouting’s God and Country Award.
My high school years in Newport began in 1954, the year of Brown vs. The family moved to Medford Lakes in central New Jersey before my junior year in high school where I worked summers as a lifeguard. When my weight lifting buddy obtained an appointment to the Military Academy at West Point, I sought to follow suit.
During an office visit, Chaplain Boyd, asked me, “Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Almost immediately God gave me a sense of call to attend seminary.
” Thinking it would not be wise to lie to the chaplain, I responded, “No.” He led me through a simple gospel presentation showing me various Scripture texts including John and Romans 10:9-10. Being from southern California, Chaplain Boyd recommended that I attend Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.
Memories include hikes in nearby woods, biking to school, school band, Boy Scouts, and involvement in an Evangelical Congregational Christian Church.Once back home, we determined to leave the Army and seek the Lord for pastoral ministry. After working at minimum wage in a printing plant for a time, I obtained employment as a safety engineer with Traveler’s Insurance Company. During this period, we began worshipping with a Christian Reformed Mission and became members of First Christian Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa.The ministers of Classis Pella were of immense help and encouragement in our pilgrimage into the Reformed faith.Upon graduation, my ordination in 1968, and a transfer into the Chaplain’s Corp, we were off to Fort Bragg to serve as Group Chaplain for 6th Special Forces Group.A tour in Vietnam followed where I would serve as Battalion Chaplain for the 2/47 Infantry in the 9th Division stationed on a firebase south of Saigon on the north edge of the Mekong River delta. One of my memories is flying into Cambodia to meet with our troops on missions there. We lost a child that year during the sixth month of Erma’s pregnancy.