A Little About Me
Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (born and spent my first 20 years there), I came to First Baptist Church and Hyles-Anderson College in January of 1974 (more about that below).
I was born into a Catholic family. My mother's side of the family is Polish Catholic (You can't get much more Catholic except for being Italian Catholic); my mom and dad were divorced when I was four years old. If we did go, I never remember us going to Mass together as a family (Not that I had missed anything. These were the days before Vatican II, when the Mass was still in Latin and all we saw was the back side of the priest.). Even after the divorce until Mom was remarried, if we did go, I don't remember even going to church with her.
Mom was remarried when I was nine to my step-dad, who is Lutheran. Again, I don't remember us ever going to church together (Not like I had learned much in the Lutheran church either, except that Reformation Day was October 31, 1517. I also received my first phony "bible" (small "b" on purpose) in 1966, a Revised Standard (per)Version for perfect attendance for a period of time, which I still have to this day).
I would either walk the mile or so to the Lutheran church I attended, or my mom and step-dad would drop me off. Then they would go to the tavern, and I would usually walk home after church was over. Church is a great baby sitter! I was also confirmed there (but I didn't know Jesus, like some of you religious people reading this).
I never saw much of my dad until I was 16. I do, though, very clearly remember him giving me my first new 26" one-speed bike, a Royce Union, made in England, for my tenth birthday. It had chrome fenders (Zowie!). The brackets on the back fender eventually broke because I would give my buddies a ride; and like all bikes, both fenders eventually went to bike heaven.
Somewhere in my teen years, Dad received Jesus as his Saviour. Naturally, he wanted me to know Christ, too. He began taking me out on weekends (visitation rights, you know) and telling me about Jesus. I quit trusting in religion and trusted in Jesus when I was 16.
At first, Dad would pick me up on Sunday mornings and take me to the Evangelical church in Milwaukee he and his wife were attending. We lived in St. Francis, a southern suburb of Milwaukee. Later, a family that lived closer picked me up. In 1972, I eventually earned enough money to buy my first car, a 1965 Ford Mustang (eat your hearts out), which was my mode of transportation to church.
Going with Dad to his church didn't go over very well with my unsaved mom and step-dad, but God gave me grace for these difficult years.
Without going into details, after attending the Evangelical church for about two years, I found out about a Baptist church on the west side of Milwaukee, a suburb called West Allis, which was right across the street from the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, on 81st and Greenfield.
I joined Central Baptist Church in August of 1973 by baptism. The pastor was an independent Baptist--a man free from any conventional control! It was he (with the help of the Holy Spirit) who directed me toward Hyles-Anderson College, which was, at that time, in Schererville, Indiana, a few miles south of Hammond.
As soon as I joined Central Baptist Church, I started working on a church bus route, being the bus driver, and learned to win others to Christ. These were the days before you had to get a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) to drive a church bus. The pastor tried to get me enrolled in Hyles-Anderson College in September 1973, but it was already past late registration, so I got a job in a machine shop near my house until it was time to enroll in January 1974.